Sunday, February 26, 2006

mmm Vivaldi! For Blog 4 I’ve got the Four Seasons and three other Vivaldi violin concertos. I really like the four seasons concertos because they really do capture seasons in a natural sense. The Allegro from Spring feels like plants are growing, the snow is newly melted, and it has the smell of freshly fallen rain outside. The Largo adds depth to Spring with a somewhat strained feel, perhaps giving a feeling of night to the concerto. The Danza Pastorale: Allegro finishes the Spring season with an upbeat minuet. This reminds of something Nicole told Jessi once to help Jessi describe a piece she played: “It’s spring time in Germany, people are dancing outside wearing lederhosen; it’s the first of May.”

Moving on to Summer, the work begins piano with an Allegro non Molto, somewhat interesting and mysterious for such a “living” season. The piece definitely gives a different vibe from spring, such as a higher temperature outside. Also the solo violin gets more technical with faster passages. The Adagio-Presto-Adagio following augments the fantastical side of summer with a simple melody. This melody reminds me of laying outside during the summer, watching the clouds float by. The final Presto of Summer seems rather frantic with scalar patterns, sort of upping the ante for the soloist. The anxious side of this movement leads well into Autumn, giving a feeling of whirling leaves in a forest.

Autumn, my favorite concerto out of the Four Seasons, begins in a similar fashion to Spring with an Allegro; Ballo e Canto de Villanelli; stately in rhythm and simple in harmonic structure. I really like the arpeggiation work in this movement. The movement gives the feeling of September to me: going back to school and the smell of decaying leaves. An Adagio molto (Ubriachi dormienti) follows the opening Allegro. This movement feels rather desolate to me, the structure is mostly harmonic and does not focus on the melodic line so much. For the most part the entire orchestra moves together from chord to chord. The facet of Autumn that I would say this movement represents is harvest-time, everyone getting their last work in before the winter. An Allegro: La Caccia ends Autumn (this is my favorite movement of the entire group of concertos in case you were wondering). This movement is definitely a harvest celebration piece, with festivals and get-togethers with neighbors and family. Fiddling increases the dance-like feel of this movement.

Winter begins with an Allegro with piano staccato bowings, giving the feeling of a coming snow storm. The following violin descending scales represent an arrival point of the snow storm. The snow does settle down and develop however. This movement vaguely ties back to Summer with similar structure and rhythmic motives. There’s an awesome example of 4th species counterpoint in this movement. The Largo of Winter is perhaps one of the most famous movements of the Four Seasons with its pizzicato background to a serene violin solo. Lightly falling snow is somewhat the mental image of this movement, but also there is the indoors image- being curled up on the couch with a good book and a crackling fire. The final Allegro of Winter has a dance-like triple meter to compare to the other minuets of the four seasons. This dance has the least rustic feel, giving a sophisticated holiday ball image.

The other works for this blog include the Concertos for Violin in G major, A minor, and E-flat major. My favorite the three is the A minor, possibly for its more mournful feel. Sometime I think I’ll get the music for this concerto and transcribe it for oboe, it’s just that awesome. Something interesting in the A minor concerto is that the orchestra expands, adding oboes I think. Yeah, I had to go there. Well, that’s it for this week.

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