Antonio Vivaldi

The Four Seasons (Il quattro stagione), 4 concertos for violin, strings & continuo, Op. 8/1-4 ("Il cimento" Nos. 1-4)

    Description by Rovi Staff

    Having produced hundreds of examples, Antonio Vivaldi must be regarded as the indisputable king of the Baroque instrumental concerto. In writing such works for a multitude of different instruments -- violin, viola d'amore, cello, mandolin, flute, oboe, bassoon, trumpet, horn, and others -- both alone and in various combinations, Vivaldi was a seminal figure in the development of a genre that attained Classical perfection in the works of Mozart and Beethoven, reached its pinnacle in the Romantic works of Paganini, Brahms, and Tchaikovsky, and enjoyed continued currency throughout the twentieth century in the works of composers diverse as Berg, Prokofiev, and Ligeti. Given the sheer quantity of Vivaldi's concertos for violin -- he wrote at least 35 in the key of D major alone -- it's not surprising that many have lapsed into near-total obscurity. On the other hand, it is a grouping of four concertos from Vivaldi's Op. 8 (1725) -- known collectively as The Four Seasons -- that remains the composer's best-known and most characteristic work. Aside from the features that have come to be associated with most of Vivaldi's music -- grace, virtuosity, energetic motoric rhythms -- the concertos of The Four Seasons are remarkable for their extraordinary programmatic imagination, which is counterbalanced by close attention to formal structure. Each concerto is accompanied by a descriptive poem whose imagery becomes an essential element of the musical fabric. The birds that greet the season "with their joyful song" in La primavera (Spring), for example, are colorfully depicted in the work's elaborately ornamented figuration. L'estate (Summer) is painted in similarly vivid colors that portray both the piping of a shepherd and a gathering storm. L'autunno (Autumn) is marked by a folksy harvest celebration and the galloping of a hunting party on horseback. The bleakness and dissonance of L'inverno (Winter) create a severe but expressive portrait that provides a striking summation of Vivaldi's pictorial ingenuity in these four works.

    Parts/Movements

    1. 1. Allegro
    2. 2. Largo e pianissimo sempre
    3. 3. Danza pastorale. Allegro
    4. 1. Allegro non molto
    5. 2. Adagio
    6. 3. Tempo impetuoso d'Estate. Presto
    7. 1. Allegro
    8. 2. Ubriachi dormienti. Adagio molto
    9. 3. La caccia. Allegro
    10. 1. Allegro non molto
    11. 2. Largo
    12. 3. Allegro

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2019 Sony Classical 19075925492
    2018 Genuin GEN 18553
    2018 Accent ACC 24352
    2018 Oehms Classics OC 019
    2018 OSJ Alive OSJCD 04
    2018 Mediaphon
    2018 Linn Records CKR 365
    2018 Muso MU 028
    2018 Channel Classics CCSSA40318
    2018 BSX Records BSXCD 9119
    2017 Simax Classics PSC 1356
    2017 Deutsche Grammophon 4796922
    2017 IDIS 6723
    2017 Masterworks / Sony Classical 88985395202
    2017 Naxos 8503293
    2017 Navona Records NV 6114
    2017 SWR Music SWR 19041CD
    2017 Alpha 281
    2017 Alba ABCD 402
    2017 Sony Classical 88985403742
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4796220
    2016 Solo Musica SM 235
    2016 Chandos CHSA 5175
    2016 Challenge Classics CC 72700
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4796316
    2016 Decca / Philips 4788977
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4795983
    2016 Warner Classics 0825646486953
    2016 Warner Classics 0190295929718
    2016 RCA Red Seal 88985321742
    2016 Oehms Classics OC 1822
    2016 Brilliant Classics 95200BR
    2016 Stockfisch 4086
    2016 Berlin Classics 0300829BC
    2016 ABC Classics ABC 4812415
    2016 Warner Classics 554598
    2016 ABC Classics
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon 4795448
    2015 Ars Produktion ARS 38170
    2015 Coviello Classics COV 91514
    2015 Harmonia Mundi HMX 290874547
    2015 Contrastes CR 9201410
    2015 Harmonia Mundi HMX 2902061
    2015 Avanti / Avanticlassic 1042
    2015 Sony Classical 88875051512
    2015 Warner Classics 0825646140534
    2015 Signum Classics SIGCD 437
    2015 Naïve OP 30559
    2015 Finlandia 8573847142
    2015 K-Tel 136144
    2015 ZYX Classics CLB 10172E
    2015 ZYX Classics / ZYX Music CLB 10172
    2015 Alpha ALPHA 312
    2015 BIS BIS 2103
    2015 Avie AV 2344
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    2015 Onyx Classics ONYX 4134
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    2012 Tafelmusik Media TMK 1007CD
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    2005 Deutsche Grammophon 477 5472
    2005 Tactus 672244
    2005 Arte Nova 277810
    2005 BCI Music (Brentwood Communication) / BCI-Eclipse Distribution 40540
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