Since the summer is winding to an end and we will soon (for those of us in
non-tropical climates, at least) be surrounded by orange and red leaves, I
thought it was a good time to bring back a piece we’ve heard before that
will get us in the mood for fall. Today you will hear the violinist
Frederieke Saeijs perform Autumn from Antonio Vivaldi’s famous
“Four Seasons” on a 15th-century Italian Guarneri violin.
She is accompanied by the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra.
Here’s a quick refresher on the “Four Seasons.” The “Four
Seasons” is a set of four violin concertos (or, in the more
appropriate Italian plural form, concerti) in which each concerto
represents one of the four seasons of the year. The composer is the great
Italian violinist Antonio Vivaldi, who penned them around 1716 and later
premiered them in Venice to dazzling reviews.
As with the rest of the seasons, Autumn is based on a set of
written sonnets. Each movement of the “season” corresponds to one of the
sonnets. The first movement’s Allegro, which represents the harvest
dance of a drunk farmer (Vivaldi’s subscript says that he has been “inflamed by
Bacchus”), is delightfully cheerful. The pensive second movement represents the
eventual and peaceful slumber of the tired peasants. The third and final
movement depicts a country hunting party setting out a dawn with their horns
blaring. If you watch the (incredibly helpful) subtitles that the maker of this
video inserted into the video, you’ll be able to see when the hunt begins and
what takes place as the hunters journey through the wilderness.