Four Seasons by Vivaldi is one of the most famous compositions written for the violin, which is filled with various melodies and moods. On this recording of the concert, an orchestra consisting of 15 violins, 4 cellos, and piano masterfully performs Vivaldi’s symphony. Janine Jansen is a leading violin, and her beautiful play reflects all the shades and emotions that the author put into his music. The musicians are on a small stage and wear elegant black clothes, which adds some chamberness, although the concert hall and the audience are quite large. However, it is most important that Vivaldi’s symphony is filled with smooth transitions, unexpected accents, and drama, and the excellent performance of the musicians makes the audience feel every melody and listen to it again and again.
The symphony consists of 12 movements, which are divided evenly into four seasons, the mood of which the author wanted to convey. The First Concerto consists of the first movement in a fast tempo, a second slow, and a third fast again, reflecting the changing mood of spring. In the first movement, one can hear the main theme repeating the orchestra after each solo, which adds fullness and completeness to the melody. In addition, the contrasts of the solo and the repeated main theme make it possible to hear different manifestations of spring nature: birds singing, a breath of wind, the murmur of a stream. The dynamics of movements also change, so in the first and third movements, musicians mainly use forte to show the liveliness of the awakening nature, and the second movement sounds in piano by demonstrating the still sleepy mood of spring.
The Second Concerto was written to convey the mood of summer with its vibrant and contrasting days. It also consists of three movements that display different stories. The first movement is filled with a combination of melodies with various tempo and timbre, which displays the sounds of birds. The final contrasting phrase sounds like a summer storm that suddenly broke out on a summer day. This feeling creates a fast pace, a vibrating melody, as well as a unison of sounds that are simultaneously picked up by the entire orchestra. The second movement is also filled with contrasts in dynamics and texture. The movement begins with a slow Adagio and then turns into a fast Presto, while the solo of violin in piano transit in fortissimo in the final phrase, since the whole orchestra creates the melody. In the third part, the viewer can also hear the use of a monophonic texture and its contrast with a polyphonic texture, and although it does not sound long, it is expressive.
In the Third Concerto, which depicts autumn, the tempo, as well as in parts of spring, changes from fast to slow and again to fast. The first movement reflects the joy of a still warm spring and harvest festival; hence, a listener can hear a fast rhythm in the theme performed by the orchestra and solo violin. At the end of the movement, a gradual deceleration and “fading” of the melody are also heard, which prepares the listener for the next part. Joy and warmth are replaced by cold, sleepy, and dull autumn, which is reflected in the change of dynamics and tempo, which becomes slow and quiet. The third movement again fills with contrast and sensual melody, since it should reflect the joy and excitement. In this movement, the listener can note an excellent example of harmonic sequences that repeat throughout the entire part. “Autumn” will end with a calm but solemn phrase, which marks the end of a successful season.
The Winter Concerto is one of the richest parts of the symphony. Firstly, this part uses several Ritornello, that is, repetitions of theme that are used in music in Barroco. These harmonic sequences allow musicians to show the cold, boredom, and harshness of winter, but at the same time keep the melody dynamic. In addition, the themes in movements combine different rhythms that replace each other and make them sharper. However, winter also has pleasant moments, which sounds in the second movement, which more smoothly and elegantly conveys the mood of nice winter days. Although in the same movement, there are sharp changes in rhythm, timbre, and tempo, which sound against a smooth melody contrastly. This combination and repetition and contrasting elements create and convey the exact atmosphere of an unstable and varied winter mood.
I think this concert was amazing and I would like to be in that concert hall. Vivaldi’s symphony is lively, emotional, and diverse, so for all 45 minutes, I was interested in listening to it. The performers, especially the first violin, also professionally and enthusiastically completed their work by creating an atmosphere and filling the audience with emotions. I believe that such concerts can and should instill the love of a wide audience for classical music, since it cannot leave anyone indifferent. I was also fascinated by the expression on the faces of the musicians when they play their instruments as their emotions convey the mood of the music to the hall and fill it with depth. I believe that the audience also appreciated this feature as highly as a symphony and its professional performance because the orchestra received a loud ovation. In addition, the enthusiasm of the audience prompted the musicians to repeat the excerpt from “Summer,” which is also a pleasant moment for me. I would love to attend the concert of this orchestra again and also listen to the Four Seasons performed by other musicians.