Talking about the weather might not make for the most original conversation, but the weather, and its cyclic pattern of change over the seasons, has inspired some wonderful music.
In 1798, Haydn celebrated the seasons in an oratorio, for orchestra, chorus, and vocal soloists. Haydn's spring sounds like this: Listen to Spring from The Seasons by Haydn.
In the 19th century, Tchaikovsky heard the seasons as piano miniatures. And while his set is titled The Seasons
, he divided it into 12 movements, one for each month. Here's some of Tchaikovsky's April: Listen to "April" from The Seasons by Tchaikovsky.
Dancing the seasons was also popular in Russian ballet, including Glazunov's The Seasons
and scenes in Prokofiev's Cinderella
In Argentina, tango-inspired composer Astor Piazzolla celebrated the Four Seasons of Buenos Aires
. Take note: Argentina is in the southern hemisphere, so the seasons are opposite of those experienced north of the equator. Listen to Piazzolla's "Spring in Buenos Aires."
The most famous of these seasonal celebrations in music is the original: Antonio Vivaldi's set of four violin concertos that he titled Le Quattre Stagioni
, or The Four Seasons. They were first published in 1725, and they've been a bit ever since then.
Vivaldi also wrote sonnets to go with each of the concertos, describing the images that the music evokes. You can read the poems online.
The West Virginia Symphony
performed Vivaldi's Four Seasons with violin soloist Julie Levin this past weekend as part of FestivALL
. Grant Cooper, music director and conductor of the WV Symphony, took some time to share his thoughts on dramatic music without words and the enduring popularity of these pieces. Listen to my interview with Grant Cooper.
Bonus Track: Listen to Maestro Cooper read Vivaldi's Spring Sonnet, accompanied by selections from Vivaldi's Spring Concerto
So, what's your favorite season--musically and in nature?