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Friday, June 26, 2020

Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons'

A Creative Commons recording of The Four Seasons by the Wichita State University Chamber Players. 

Gregory Arnott's excellent Nature's God blog post Monday discusses the history of magick, something I know nothing about, and inspired some great comments. I thought for today's post, I would say something about Antonio Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, mentioned in the chapter Gregory covers. (I had a tough work week, working seven days in a row. On the seventh day, yesterday, I finally read the chapter and then listened to a Trevor Pinnock recording of The Four Seasons.)

As Maria falls asleep, she thinks of the "thirteen Weeks in each of the four Seasons, Vivaldi's Four Seasons music running through her head, and the thirteen at the Last Supper, and the sun, which is One, moving in eternal circle through the 12 Houses, one plus 12 being thirteen..."

I would point out that the structure of Vivaldi's work also fits the "one plus 12 being thirteen" that Maria thinks about. It's a work about the cycle of one year, but it consists of 12 movements, three for each season. (Three movements are the normal structure for a concerto, and The Four Seasons is a collection of four violin concertos.)

The Four Seasons itself has an amazing history. Vivaldi, who died in 1741, was pretty much forgotten for more than 150 years (it's not really likely Maria would have known his music) but eventually The Four Seasons underwent an amazing revival. Wikipedia cites the numbers: "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."

If you have a library card, you can likely to listen to dozens of recordings on the Freegal or Hoopla Digital streaming music services. Or you can listen to the recording by John Harrison and the Wichita State University Chamber Players, released to everyone under a Creative Commons license.

1 comment:

Eric Wagner said...

Ezra Pound and his mistress violinist Olga Rudge contributed to the Vivaldi revival.