The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi


'''''The Four Seasons''''' () is a set of four violin concertos by Antonio Vivaldi. Composed around 1720, ''The Four Seasons'' is Vivaldi's best-known work, and is among the most popular pieces in the Baroque 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,[ Augustinian Monastery], Vrchlabí, 1725 (Klá\u0161ter augustinián\u016f). 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.Walter Kolneder: "Antonio Vivaldi, His Life and Work", ISBN 0-520-01629-7, p. 90 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). Vivaldi's original arrangement for solo violin with string quartet and basso continuo helped to define the form of the concerto.