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Born in Venice on the day of an earthquake, Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi (1678 -1741) is regarded as one of the greatest composers of the Baroque era, and during his lifetime he was famous across Europe. He composed many instrumental works, especially for string instruments - many of which were written for girls at the orphanage in Venice, whose musical skill improved their marriage prospects at a time when there were few other options for women. He also wrote a large amount of church music, and more than forty operas. His best-known work is the series of violin concertos known as the Four Seasons - we featured "Spring" earlier in this series.
Vivaldi wrote a set of six cello sonatas (works for a solo instrument, usually with accompaniment by a keyboard) between 1720 and 1730. All of them have four alternating slow and fast movements (separate pieces); this is the second movement of the third sonata.
We’ve finally had some great spring days over the past week – we hope you’ve managed to get outside and enjoy them! With spring really getting underway, this seems like the perfect time to offer this beautiful sound picture.
Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi lived from 1678 – 1741 (more or less at the same time as Bach), and his "Four Seasons" violin concertos are among his most beloved compositions. Each movement of each season is paired with a poem, and it’s thought that Vivaldi may have written these too.
Here’s his poem for this first movement of the "Spring" concerto - and where in the video you'll hear the matching music:
Springtime is upon us. [opening theme]
The birds celebrate her return with festive song, [00:36]
and murmuring streams are
softly caressed by the breezes. [1:25]
Thunderstorms, those heralds of Spring, roar, [thunder at 2:03, lightning at 2:06, rain at 2:14 on]
casting their dark mantle over heaven,
Then they die away to silence, [2:43 - 2:53]
and the birds take up their charming songs once more. [2:53]
Painting the full picture takes a lot of notes - you might notice the young violinist moving over from one page to the next a couple of times!