Antonio Vivaldi, 1678-1741, prolific Venetian composer and extraordinary violinist, invested most of his career at the orphanage called Pio Ospedale della Pieta (Devout Hospital of Mercy) in Venice. Amongst his hundreds of concertos, forty operas and other works, he is most famously known by the masses for his Le Quattro Stagioni, “The Four Seasons”.
“The Four Seasons” is comprised of four violin concertos (Opus 8, n. 1, 2, 3 & 4), musical sonnets, obviously one for each season of the year, and was a striking innovation in compositional techniques during the Baroque era. The listener can hear characteristic sounds of each season overlaid on a background of music as daily life in the Republic of Venice, through Vivaldi’s utilization of functional tonality, consonance resolving to dissonance and back, and every other device in the musical book to represent people, weather, birds and activity in each season.
Some people characterize this work as “kitschy” or “banal”. Others find it to be pure genius. Some critics have even heard the work and are without a musical conflict of interest!
When you have spent enough time in Venice and the Veneto, and in different seasons, to be infused with the sights and sounds of the place, the work opens up like a fine wine. It forever reminds you of your experiences and visions of La Serenissima, “the most sublime” Venezia.
The music lets you see it in your mind as you listen to it
We have had the great gift of hearing performances of Le Quattro Stagione over many years by different ensembles and venues, sometimes properly utilizing stringed instruments. The one to which we are impelled to return to because of quality and environment is performed solely with stringed instruments in the deconsecrated church Chiesa San Vidal before an audience of no more than 144, close to the Accademia Bridge in, of course, Venice! What a setting!
The Interpreti Veneziani, has performed this work together since 1987, and at San Vidal for 21 years, a highly talented and exuberant archi ensemble with violino, viola, violoncello, contrabbasso and claivcembalo (harpsichord).
When you are in Venice, between Campo San Stefano and the Accademia, invest an evening with them and bring another layer of comprehension and remembrance of Venice home with you. In addition to the works of Vivaldi, they will also grace you with their choice from a varying selection of the music of Paganini, Corelli, Bach, Geminiani, Albinoni, Handel, Pachelbel, Mozart, Rossini and other virtuosos.
Their website is worth a visit for more information: www.interpretiveneziani.com
Le Quattro Stagioni — La Primavera, L’Estate, L’Autunno e L’Inverno