Antonio Vivaldi was an Italian Baroque composer famous for his many violin concertos. Along with Johann Sebastian Bach, George Fredrick Handel, and G Philipp Telemann, Vivaldi was one of the greatest composers in the Baroque era of music.
“The Four Seasons” was his best known and best recognized set of four short violin concertos. Each season, Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer were represented. Vivaldi’s original arrangement was for solo violin with string quartet and basso continuo. So, instead of a traditional concerto with a full orchestra and solo instrument, Vivaldi wanted to have a chamber music effect.
There is something to like in all the seasons concertos. Maybe the most recognized movement is the first movement of the Spring concerto. One of his most beautiful movements in these concertos is the second movement of his winter concerto.
As we move into the winter season, with today Dec. 21 marking the Winter Solstice, this Winter Concerto in F minor, from Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons,” is most appropriate.
The first movement begins with much tension in the strings and that tension has me thinking this beginning could have been written for a scary scene in a movie. The dramatic tenseness probably represents a winter snowstorm. Following the first movement comes the soothing Largo [slow] movement, which I bet you recognize. You can imagine yourself resting at home on a snowy winter day with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate with this music. The final movement is marked Allegro [fast] but is played at a smooth moderate tempo until the exciting dramatic flurry finish.
Please turn up the volume and enjoy this Vivaldi Winter music!
Antonio Vivaldi: The Four Seasons, Concerto #4 in F Minor, “Winter”: