WRTI Spotlight
9:47 am
Sun July 31, 2011

SUMMER from Vivaldi's The Four Seasons: A Closer Look

Comprised of four violin concertos written by Vivaldi in 1723, The Four Seasons is probably the Baroque composer's best-known work.

Each of the four concerti is based on a sonnet - supposedly written by Vivaldi himself. Each sonnet is divided into three sections (fast, slow, fast), which correspond with the three movements in each concerto.

Read the "Summer" sonnet and listen to each part of The Four Seasons, Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 8, RV 315, "L'estate" (Summer)

SUMMER SONNET

1st Movement ("Summer") Allegro non molto

Under the harsh season's blazing sun, men and flocks languish and pines are scorched. We hear the call of the cuckoo, followed by sweet songs of the turtle dove and finch. Gentle western breezes blow...until the ominous north winds suddenly sweep them away. The little shepherd sobs in fear of the violent storm...and his destiny.

LISTEN: Nigel Kennedy - Vivaldi "Summer" 1st Movement

2nd Movement ("Summer") Adagio e piano - Presto e forte

His tired limbs are roused from rest, frightened by the lightning bolts and roaring thunder, as flies and gnats swarm furiously.

LISTEN: Sirena Huang - Vivaldi "Summer" 2nd Movement - from Daniel Pearl Memorial Concert, 2010

3rd Movement ("Summer") Presto

Alas, his worst fears are realized, as huge hailstones fall from the roaring heavens, cutting the heads from the proudly standing grain.

LISTEN: Gidon Kremer: Vivladi "Summer" 3rd Movement