Antonio Vivaldi wrote over 500 concertos for various instruments. Today, most people know four of them. The Four Seasons for violin and chamber orchestra can be heard in countless movie soundtracks and TV ads. Many modern composers have been so inspired by the concertos that they have reimagined them in their own style. One such composer is Max Richter of Germany.
Richter follows the generally outline of the compositions while diverging from the specifics. “The thing about Vivaldi,” Richter says, “is that it’s constructed in a way that really lets you in. The movements are quite concise, but on a micro level it is modular music, made of these little atoms. You can pull them apart easily, sort of like a Lego kit.”
This week’s Symphonies of Iowa encore broadcast features the wcfsymphony’s “Four Seasons I” concert. The orchestra performs Summer and Autumn from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons alongside Max Richter’s new versions of the pieces.
Vivaldi’s classic is paired with Richter’s contemporary rendition of the same piece, both performed by two of Iowa’s finest violinists, Dr. Ross Monroe Winter and Anita Tucker. Please tune in on Monday, July 24th at 7 p.m. for this Symphonies of Iowa encore broadcast!
VIVALDI Summer and Autumn from The Four Seasons
RICHTER The Four Seasons Recomposed: Summer & Autumn
Ross Winter, violin
Anita Tucker, violin
(Concert recorded Oct. 8, 2016)
Antonio Vivaldi – Sonnets for the Four Seasons
“Allegro non molto”
Beneath the blazing sun’s relentless heat men and
flocks are sweltering, pines are scorched.
We hear the cuckoo’s voice; then sweet songs of the
turtle dove and finch are heard.
Soft breezes stir the air…but threatening north winds
sweep them suddenly aside.
The shepherd trembles, fearful of a violent storm and
what may lie ahead.
“Adagio e piano – Presto e forte”
His limbs are now awakened from their repose by fear
of lightning’s flash and thunder’s roar, as gnats and
flies buzz furiously around.
Alas, his worst fears were justified, as the heavens
roar and great hailstones beat down upon the proudly
With song and dance, the peasant celebrates the
harvest safely gathered in.
The cup of Bacchus flows freely, and revelers find their
relief in deep slumber.
The singing and dancing die away as cooling breezes
fan the pleasant air, inviting all to sleep without a care.
The hunters emerge at dawn, ready for the chase
with horns and dogs and cries.
Their quarry flees while they give chase.
Terrified and wounded, the prey struggles on, but,