Vivaldi Four Seasons Baroque

If listeners had to commit to a single version of Vivaldi's Four Seasons for the rest of their lives, this 1984 BIS recording would be thoroughly satisfying choice. Superbly played, brilliantly recorded period instrument performances of this perennial masterpiece are all but a dime a dozen, and the differences between Hogwood's and Pinnock's and Harnoncourt's readings don't begin to make up.

  1. Vivaldi Four Seasons Youtube
  2. Baroque Four Seasons Vivaldi 10 Hours
  3. Vivaldi Four Seasons Mp3

Vivaldi's The Four Seasons are not only among the most popular pieces of classical music today, but they circulated widely in the composer's time, as well, and inspired programmatic pieces by others. The concertos were especially popular in France, where they were played many times in the Concert Spirituel. Spring (La primavera), perhaps the particular favorite of the French, was not only. Antonio Vivaldi (1678 - 1741) was a prolific, 18th-century Baroque composer who wrote more than 500 concertos. About 230 of those concertos were written for the violin. The most famous of all of Vivaldi’s works is 'The Four Seasons” (“Le quattro stagioni”) violin concerto.

Conductor and Violinist Rachell Ellen Wong leads the Seattle Symphony for the complete performance for Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, on Thursday, October 22, 2020 at 7:30pm on Seattle Symphony Live.


Le quattro stagioni (“The Four Seasons”), Op. 8, Nos. 1-4
La primavera (“Spring”), RV 269 Allegro—Largo—Allegro: Danza pastorale
L'estate (“Summer”), RV 315 Allegro non molto—Adagio—Presto
L'autunno (“Autumn”), RV 293 Allegro—Adagio molto—Allegro
L'inverno (“Winter”), RV 297 Allegro non molto—Largo—Allegro

BORN: March 4, 1678 in Venice, Italy
DIED: July 28, 1741 in Vienna, Austria
WORK COMPOSED: 1716–1725

Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi (1678–1741) famously said, “There are no words, there is only music there.” And yet, ironically, Vivaldi’s best-known work, Le Quattro stagioni (“The Four Seasons”), Op. 8, Nos. 1–4, is based upon a series of sonnets. These concerti can arguably be considered among the first truly programmatic pieces; that is, music that tells or follows a narrative. Although Vivaldi composed a wide range of genres, his concerti endure as one of his greatest contributions to the Western classical canon.

Vivaldi lived and worked in Baroque Venice. He was an ordained Catholic priest as well as a composer. For nearly thirty years he taught music and composed for an orphanage in the town, named Ospedale della Pietà. Vivaldi crafted an immense œuvre of concerti during this period, exploring the potential of conversations between soloist and orchestra. Although he did not compose The Four Seasons for the orphanage, the works were undoubtedly influenced by his compositions from that period.

Vivaldi composed The Four Seasons between 1716 and 1725. A typical Vivaldi concerto includes three movements, but there is only one sonnet to accompany each of the seasons. As a result, the sonnet breaks into three sections to follow the individual movements. As you listen to these concerti, let your imagination wander and fill with images. The first movement ofLa primavera (“Spring”), RV 269, arguably the most famous of Vivaldi’s works, reads: “Springtime is upon us. The birds celebrate her return with festive song, and murmuring streams are softly caressed by the breezes. Thunderstorms, those heralds of Spring, roar, casting their dark mantle over heaven. Then they die away to silence, and the birds take up their charming songs once more.” Many cues in this sonnet appear in the music, such as the celebrating bird in the solo violin and the murmuring streams in the string accompaniment. The second movement continues: “On the flower-strewn meadow, with leafy branches rustling overhead, the goat-herd sleeps, his faithful dog beside him.” In this Largo, pay attention to the branches rustling overhead in the ensemble and the slow breathing of the faithful dog. The final movement brings the frivolity and joy of spring: “Led by the festive sound of rustic bagpipes, nymphs and shepherds lightly dance beneath the brilliant canopy of spring.”

Following the whimsical wonders of spring is the intense heat and fierce thunderstorms found in L’estate (“Summer”), RV 315. The first movement begins with a slow introduction that reflects the opening lines of the sonnet: “Beneath the blazing sun’s relentless heat, men and flocks are sweltering, pines are scorched.” When the solo violin enters, however, the piece suddenly becomes fast and furious. During this movement, listen for the violin imitating the sounds of birds and Vivaldi’s subtle transition to the promise of a storm: “We hear the cuckoo’s voice; then sweet songs of the turtle dove and finch are heard. Soft breezes stir the air, but threatening north winds sweeps them suddenly aside. The shepherd trembles, fearful of violent storms and what may lie ahead.” The brief second movement features a slow meditation, highlighting the shepherd’s anxiety: “His limbs are now awakened from their repose by fear of lightning's flash and thunder's roar, as gnats and flies buzz furiously around.” Following this moment of reflection, the dramatic third movement brings the storm: “Alas, his worst fears were justified, as the heavens roar and great hailstones beat down upon the proudly standing corn.” Listen for the solo violin mimicking the rain pouring down while the accompanying orchestra plays bursts of thunder and lightning.

The subsequent concerto, L’autunno (“Autumn”), RV 293, celebrates the harvest with rousing dances and hunts. Listen for a lively dance in the first movement depicting the end of the harvest and the solo violin mimicking an overflowing cup of wine: “The peasant celebrates with song and dance for the harvest safely gathered in. The cup of Bacchus flows freely and many find their relief in deep slumber.” In contrast, the second movement brings peace and sleep: “The singing and the dancing die away as cooling breezes fan the pleasant air, inviting all to sleep without a care.” Vivaldi paints this serene picture with a slow tempo and harmonious chords. All instruments move together — including the solo violin — to transport listeners into a tranquil state. The third movement, however, features an exhilarating hunt: “The hunters emerge at dawn, ready for the chase, with horns and dogs and cries. Their quarry flees while they give chase. Terrified and wounded, the prey struggles on, but, harried, dies.” Listen for the strings imitating hunting horns, guns and dogs while the solo violin leads the chase.

Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons concludes with biting winds and idyllic images by the fire in L’inverno (“Winter”), RV 297. Imagine the brisk chill of winter upon you in the joyful first movement: “Shivering, frozen mid the frosty snow in biting, stinging winds; running to and fro to stamp one’s icy feet, teeth chattering in the bitter chill.” The runs in the solo violin perfectly encapsulate the brisk chill found in the air. In contrast, the second movement transfers indoors: “To rest contentedly beside the hearth, while those outside are drenched by pouring rain.” The solo violin presents a lyrical, reflective melody as the strings play simple accompaniment underneath. Vivaldi layers images in this movement, adding plucking strings in the background as a subtle nod to the rain outside. The final movement of tonight’s program is a fast and frenzied depiction of winter’s dangers: “We tread the icy path slowly and cautiously, for fear of tripping and falling. Then turn abruptly, slip, crash on the ground and, rising, hasten on across the ice lest it cracks up. We feel the chill north winds course through the home despite the locked and bolted doors. This is winter, which nonetheless brings its own delights.” The solo violin begins with runs before the strings join in for an ominous illustration of cracking ice and bracing winds. The concerto concludes with the solo violin scampering indoors in attempts to escape the winter frigidity.

Scored for solo violin; harpsichord; theorbo; strings

© 2020 Megan Francisco

Posted on October 15, 2020

The Four Seasons

The Four Seasons (Italian: Le quattro stagioni) is a set of four violin concertos by Antonio Vivaldi. Composed in 1725, The Four Seasons is Vivaldi’s best-known work, and is among the most popular pieces in the classical music repertoire. The texture of each concerto is varied, each resembling its respective season. For example, “Winter” is peppered with silvery pizzicato notes from the high strings, calling to mind icy rain, whereas “Summer” evokes a thunderstorm in its final movement, which is why the movement is often called “Storm” (as noted in the list of derivative works).

The concertos were first published in 1725 as part of a set of twelve concerti, Vivaldi’s Op. 8, entitled Il cimento dell’armonia e dell’inventione (The Contest Between Harmony and Invention). Vivaldi dedicated their publication to a Bohemian patron, Count Václav Morzin (of Vrchlabí 1676–1737), and in so mentioned the count’s longstanding regard for these four, in particular (which had apparently been performed with the nobleman’s orchestra, in Prague’s Morzin Palace)—although his dedication may have been closely related to the completion of an Augustinian monastery that year, where Vivaldi, a priest himself, refers to Morzin, the church’s dedicator, as “Chamberlain and Counsellor to His Majesty, the Catholic Emperor”—while (as Maestro di Musica in Italy) Vivaldi presents them anew, with sonnets or enhancements for clear interpretation. The first four concertos are designated Le quattro stagioni, each being named after a season. Each one is in three movements, with a slow movement between two faster ones (and these movements likewise vary in tempo amid the seasons as a whole). At the time of writing The Four Seasons, the modern solo form of the concerto had not yet been defined (typically a solo instrument and accompanying orchestra)[citation needed]. Vivaldi’s original arrangement for solo violin with string quartet and basso continuo helped to define the form of the concerto.

List of concertos and movements

  1. Concerto No. 1 in E major, Op. 8, RV 269, “La primavera” (Spring)
    1. Allegro
    2. Largo e pianissimo sempre
    3. Allegro pastorale
  2. Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 8, RV 315, “L’estate” (Summer)
    1. Allegro non molto
    2. Adagio e piano – Presto e forte
    3. Presto
  3. Concerto No. 3 in F major, Op. 8, RV 293, “L’autunno” (Autumn)
    1. Allegro
    2. Adagio molto
    3. Allegro
  4. Concerto No. 4 in F minor, Op. 8, RV 297, “L’inverno” (Winter)
    1. Allegro non molto
    2. Largo
    3. Allegro

Sonnets and allusions

There is some debate as to whether the four concertos were written to accompany four sonnets or vice versa. Though it is not known who wrote these sonnets, there is a theory that Vivaldi wrote them himself, given that each sonnet is broken down into three sections, neatly corresponding to a movement in the concerto. Whoever wrote the sonnets, The Four Seasons may be classified as program music, instrumental music that intends to evoke something extra-musical and an art form which Vivaldi was determined to prove sophisticated enough to be taken seriously.

In addition to these sonnets, Vivaldi provided instructions such as “The barking dog” (in the second movement of “Spring”), “Languor caused by the heat” (in the first movement of “Summer”), and “the drunkards have fallen asleep” (in the second movement of “Autumn”). The Four Seasons is used in the 1981 film The Four Seasons along with other Vivaldi concertos for flute.

Hear the Music

Use the link below to listen to recordings of the Four Seasons:


The first recording of The Four Seasons is a matter of some dispute. There is a compact disc of one made by the violinist Alfredo Campoli which is taken from acetates of a French radio broadcast; these are thought to date from early in 1939. The first proper electrical recording was made in 1942 by Bernardino Molinari, and though his adaptation is somewhat different from what we have come to expect from modern performances, it is clearly recognisable. This first recording by Molinari was made for Cetra, issued in Italy and subsequently in the United States on six double-sided 78s in the 1940s. It was then reissued on long-playing album in 1950, and was once again reissued on compact disc.

Not surprisingly, further recordings followed. The next was in 1948 by the violinist Louis Kaufman, mistakenly credited as the ‘first’ recording, made during the night in New York using ‘dead’ studio time and under pressure from a forthcoming musicians strike.[citation needed] The performers were The Concert Hall Chamber Orchestra under Henry Swoboda, Edith Weiss-Mann (harpsichord) and Edouard Nies-Berger (organ). This recording helped the re-popularisation of Vivaldi’s music in the mainstream repertoire of Europe and America following on the work done by Molinari and others in Italy. It won the French Grand Prix du Disque in 1950, was elected to the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002, and in 2003 was selected for the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress. Kaufman, intrigued to learn that the four concertos were in fact part of a set of twelve, set about finding a full score and eventually recorded the other eight concertos in Zürich in 1950, making his the first recording of Vivaldi’s complete Op. 8.

I Musici followed in 1955 with the first of several recordings of The Four Seasons with different soloists. The 1955 set with Felix Ayo was that ensemble’s first recording of any music; subsequent I Musici recordings feature Felix Ayo again in 1959, Roberto Michelucci in 1969, Pina Carmirelli in 1982, Federico Agostini in 1990, and Mariana Sîrbu in 1995. The 1969 recording by the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields conducted by Neville Marriner, featuring soloist Alan Loveday, reputedly moved the piece from the realm of esoterica to that of program and popular staple.

Nigel Kennedy’s 1989 recording of The Four Seasons with the English Chamber Orchestra sold over two million copies, becoming one of the best-selling classical works ever.[11]Gil Shaham and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra recorded The Four Seasons as well as a music video for the first movement of “Winter” that was featured regularly on The Weather Channel in the mid-1990s.

The World’s Encyclopedia of Recorded Music in 1952 cites only two recordings of The Four Seasons – by Molinari and Kaufman. By 2011 approximately 1,000 different recorded versions have been made since Campoli’s in 1939.[citation needed]

Commensurably, it has become an aspect of these recordings for classical musicians to distinguish their version of The Four Seasons from others’, with historically informed performances, and embellishments, to the point of varying the instruments and tempi, or playing notes differently from the listener’s expectation (whether specified by the composer or not). It is said that Vivaldi’s work presents such opportunities for improvisation.

Derivative works

Derivative works of these concerti include arrangements, transcriptions, covers, remixes, samples, and parodies in music—themes in theater and opera, soundtracks in films (or video games), and choreography in ballet (along with contemporary dance, figure skating, rhythmic gymnastics, synchronized swimming, etc.)—either in their entirety, single movements, or medleys. Antonio Vivaldi appears to have started this trend of adapting music from The Four Seasons, and since then it has expanded into many aspects of the performing arts (as have other instrumental & vocal works by the composer). This contest between harmony and invention (as it were) now involves various genres around the world:

1726 (or 1734)

  • Vivaldi re-scored his Spring allegro, both as the opening sinfonia (third movement), and chorus (adding lyrics) for his opera Dorilla in Tempe.


  • Nicolas Chédeville (France) arranged Vivaldi’s four seasons (as “Le printems, ou Les saisons amusantes”), for hurdy-gurdy or musette, violin, flute, and continuo.


  • The French composer Michel Corrette composed and published a choral motet, Laudate Dominum de Coelis, subtitled “Motet à Grand Chœur arrangé dans le Concerto de Printemps de Vivaldi”. The work, for choir and orchestra, consists of the words of Psalm 116 set to the music from Vivaldi’s Spring movement with vocal soloists singing the solo concerto parts.


  • Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony contains many of the same themes, including drunken peasants and a storm. Beethoven had acquired a solid grounding in baroque music from his teacher Albrechtsberger.


  • The Swingle Singers (France) recorded an album (The Joy of Singing) based on Vivaldi’s work (and other composers’).


  • Ástor Piazzolla (Argentina) published Estaciones Porteñas, “The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires”, and these have been included in “eight seasons” performances, along with Vivaldi’s work, by various artists.


  • Moe Koffman (Canada) recorded a jazz album of Vivaldi’s four seasons.


  • The New Koto Ensemble (Japan) recorded Vivaldi’s 4 seasons, on their koto instruments.


  • Michael Franks (America) composed a vocal serenade based on the theme of Vivaldi’s summer concerto (adagio). ] This was subsequently covered by WoongSan (Korea) in 2010.


  • Patrick Gleeson (America) recorded a “computer realization” of Vivaldi’s four seasons.


  • Thomas Wilbrandt (Germany) composed and recorded “The Electric V” (later adapted for film), which interprets Vivaldi’s work with ambient electronics, vocals, and samples of the original concerti.
  • Roland Petit (France) choreographed a ballet (entitled “Les Quatre Saisons”) to an I Musici performance of Vivaldi’s work.


Vivaldi Four Seasons Youtube

  • Ben Shedd (America) produced a scenic tour of nature with Vivald’s four seasons (narrated by William Shatner).


  • Jean-Pierre Rampal (France) recorded arrangements of Vivaldi’s four seasons for flute[20] (also recorded by Jadwiga Kotnowska).


  • Arnie Roth (America) recorded “The Four Seasons Suite”, including sonnets (recited by Patrick Stewart). This may or may not be considered a derivative work, depending on whether Vivaldi’s translated sonnets were meant to be narrated with the music (versus being read in Italiano, or silently by the audience).


  • The Baronics (Canada) recorded surf guitar versions of the violin concertos in Vivaldi’s four seasons (one movement from each).
  • French musician Jacques Loussier composed and recorded, with his trio, jazz-swing interpretations of the Four Seasons.


  • The Great Kat (England/America) recorded a shred guitar (and violin) version of Vivaldi’s summer presto.
  • Vanessa-Mae (Singapore/Britain) recorded her crossover version of Vivaldi’s summer presto, for electric violin.


  • The Chinese Baroque Players recorded arrangements of Vivaldi’s four seasons for traditional Chinese instruments.
  • Petrova & Tikhonov (Russia) performed their long program to a medley of Vivaldi’s seasons to win the European Figure Skating Championships.


  • Venice Harp Quartet (Italy) recorded arrangements of Vivaldi’s four seasons for harp ensemble.
  • es:Gustavo Montesano (Argentina) recorded a tango guitar version of the spring allegro, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
  • Jochen Brusch (Germany) & Sven-Ingvart Mikkelsen (Denmark) recorded arrangements of Vivaldi’s 4 seasons for violin and organ.


  • Bond (Australia/Britain) recorded two singles based on Vivaldi’s winter, with electric strings (violin, cello, viola), vocals, and electronic beats. They similarly interpreted a movement from each season for Peugeot car advertisements (2009).
  • de:Ferhan & Ferzan Önder (Turkish twin sisters) recorded a transcription of the Four Seasons for two pianos by Antun Tomislav Šaban.
  • BanYa (South Korea) recorded a dance version of Vivaldi’s winter for the Pump it Up video game.
  • Susan Osborn (America) recorded a new age vocal serenade based on Vivaldi’s winter largo.
  • The Charades (Finland) recorded Vivaldi’s presto as “Summer Twist”, for surf guitar ensemble.


  • Red Priest (UK) recorded arrangements of Vivaldi’s 4 seasons for recorder.
  • Hayley Westenra (New Zealand) adapted the musical piece called “Winter” into a song titled “River of Dreams” which is sung in English. It was recorded for her Pure album in July 10th.


  • Tafelmusik (Canada) arranged a cross-cultural arts special based on Vivaldi’s four seasons, involving a Chinese pipa, Indian sarangi and Inuit throat-singing.

Dark Moor (Spain) recorded an electric guitar version of Vivaldi’s winter (allegro non molto), and this was later integrated into the Finnish video game Frets on Fire.


  • Juliette Pochin (Wales) volumed an operatic suite of sonnets to Vivaldi’s four seasons on her debut album.
  • Accentus chamber choir (France) recorded a choral version of Vivaldi’s concerto for winter (complete).
  • Stéphane Lambiel (Switzerland) performed his long program to a medley of Vivaldi’s seasons to win the World Figure Skating Championships.


  • Celtic Woman (Ireland) recorded the winter largo with vocals (Italian lyrics). The youngest former member Chloë Agnew originally recorded it for her Walking in the Air album which was released in 2002.
  • PercaDu (Israel) performed an arrangement of Vivaldi’s winter (allegro non molto), for marimbas with chamber orchestra.
  • Mauro Bigonzetti (Italy) choreographed a ballet of Vivaldi’s “Les quatre saisons” for a French-Canadian dance company.
  • Tim Slade (Australia) directed a documentary (entitled “4”) of four classical violinists and their homelands (in Tokyo, Thursday Island, New York, and Lapland), as they relate to Vivaldi’s four seasons.


  • Sveceny & Dvorak (Czech Republic) produced both an album and stage production of world music based on Vivaldi’s four seasons.
  • Yves Custeau (Canada) recorded a rock & roll “one man band” version of the spring allegro.
  • Daisy Jopling (England/America) recorded a violin & hip-hop version of Vivaldi’s winter (allegro non molto), and also performs it reggae style.
  • Innesa Tymochko (Ukrain) performed her crossover version of Vivaldi’s summer presto, for violin.
  • Wez Bolton (Isle of Man) recorded a cover version of Vivaldi’s winter (allegro non molto), based on the Japanese video game “Beatmania” remix.
  • Patrick Chan (Canada) performed his long program to a medley of Vivaldi’s seasons to win the Canadian Figure Skating Championships.


Baroque Four Seasons Vivaldi 10 Hours

  • Absynth Against Anguish (Romania) produced an electronic (trance) version of Vivaldi’s four seasons.
  • Riccardo Arrighini (Italy) recorded Vivaldi’s four seasons for solo piano, in the style of jazz.
  • fr:Christophe Monniot recorded ambient jazz interpretations of Vivaldi’s four seasons.
  • Christian Blind (France) recorded a surf-guitar/acid-rock version of Vivaldi’s spring allegro.


  • Art Color Ballet (Poland) performed their “4 elements” show to Vivaldi’s summer presto, arranged by pl:Hadrian Filip Tabęcki (Kameleon).
  • David Garrett (Germany) recorded a crossover version of Vivaldi’s winter (allegro non molto), combining classical violin with modern rock music.


Vivaldi Four Seasons Mp3

  • Black Smith (Russia) performed Vivaldi’s summer presto in the style of thrash metal music (likewise, this movement has been covered numerous times by aspiring electric guitar virtuosos, and other crossover musicians).
  • Angels (Greece) performed their crossover version of Vivaldi’s summer presto, for electric strings.
  • Szentpeteri Csilla (Hungary) performed her crossover version of Vivaldi’s summer presto, for piano.
  • Leonel Valbom (Portugal) remixed Vivaldi’s summer presto with VST Synths.
  • Tim Kliphuis (Netherlands) performed Vivaldi’s spring allegro, as a crossover of world music styles.
Vivaldi Four Seasons Baroque


  • German-born British composer Max Richter created a postmodern and minimalist recomposition released as “Recomposed Vivaldi – The Four Seasons”. Working with solo violinist Daniel Hope, Richter discarded around 75% of the original source material while the running time was reduced to 44 minutes playing time.
  • Aura (Japan) recorded an a cappella arrangement of Vivaldi’s four seasons, and had also performed Vivaldi’s Spring chorus (from Dorilla in Tempe) on a prior album.
    Sinfonity (Spain) performed Vivaldi’s four seasons for “electric guitar orchestra”.
  • Bachod Chirmof (America) produced a MIDI recording & animation of Vivaldi’s winter (movements I & III).
  • Tornado Classic (Russia) performed Vivaldi’s summer presto, with electric guitar and slap bass.
  • The symphonic rock band Trans-Siberian Orchestra used a portion of the first movement of the Winter Concerto in their song “Dreams of Fireflies (On A Christmas Night)” on their Dreams of Fireflies EP. The song also uses a portion of Mozart’s “Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen,” which it had used previously.


  • Richard Galliano (France) recorded Vivaldi’s 4 seasons concertos for accordion, as well as a few of his opera arias on the instrument.
  • Vito Paternoster (Italy) recorded Vivaldi’s Le quattro stagioni in the form of sonatas for cello.
  • Periodic (Germany) produced a megamix of Vivaldi’s four seasons, which incorporates electronica with samples of the classical version.
  • Steven Buchanan (America) produced a tetralogy of “midseasons” (slow movements and corresponding sonnets) from Vivaldi’s program music.


  • Si Hayden (England) recorded a solo acoustic guitar improvisation of each movement in Vivaldi’s four seasons, playing by ear.