Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Itzhak Perlman: Vivaldi's Four Seasons— 'Spring'



Itzhak Perlman performs and conducts Vivaldi's Four Seasons (Spring) concerto in E major, with the string section of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Today marks the first day of Spring in the northern hemisphere; the vernal equinox is at 1:14 am EDT.

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Antonio Vivaldi composed the four violin concertos in 1723; it was first published in 1725 as part of 12 concertos known as Il cimento dell'armonia e dell'inventione ("The Contest of Harmony and Invention") Each movement evokes a sense of the season, or at least how Vivaldi imagined it when he composed the work in his native Venice, Italy. It's coloured by birds breaking out in song, meadows murmuring and leafy branches rustling overhead.

Allegro
Giunt' è la Primavera e festosetti
La Salutan gl' Augei con lieto canto,
E i fonti allo Spirar de' Zeffiretti
Con dolce mormorio Scorrono intanto:
Vengon' coprendo l' aer di nero amanto
E Lampi, e tuoni ad annuntiarla eletti
Indi tacendo questi, gl' Augelletti;
Tornan' di nuovo al lor canoro incanto:

Largo
E quindi sul fiorito ameno prato
Al caro mormorio di fronde e piante
Dorme 'l Caprar col fido can' à lato.

Allegro
"Di pastoral Zampogna al suon festante
Danzan Ninfe e Pastor nel tetto amato
Di primavera all' apparir brillante.

[English Translation]

Allegro
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.

Largo
On the flower-strewn meadow,
with leafy branches rustling overhead,
the goat-herd sleeps, his faithful dog beside him.

Allegro
Led by the festive sound of rustic bagpipes,
nymphs and shepherds lightly dance
beneath the brilliant canopy of spring.

[The sonnet and translation can be found at Baroquemuisc.org.]


Antonio Lucio Vivaldi [ 1678-1741]: He was nicknamed il Prete Rosso ("The Red Priest") because of his red hair, and had many talents" an Italian Baroque composer, priest, and virtuoso violinist. Vivaldi is credited with  composing 500 concertos.
Artist Credit: François Morellon la Cave; painted in 1725.
Source: Wikipedia