About this Recording
2.110329 - MUSICAL JOURNEY (A) – VIVALDI, A.: 4 Seasons (The) (with scenery and sights from Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Scotland) (NTSC)
English 

The Four Seasons
Austria • Germany • Italy • Switzerland • Scotland
With music by Antonio Vivaldi

 

CHAPTER 1

AUSTRIA Mühlviertel: Landscape

The fields and spring blossoms of Mühlviertel, a region of Upper Austria, reflect the season.

Music Vivaldi: The Four Seasons: Spring – I. Allegro

Le Quattro Stagioni (The Four Seasons) opens with Prima Vera (Spring). The birds sing and the gentle breezes blow. A storm threatens, but soon all is calm again.

CHAPTER 2

AUSTRIA Styria: Landscape

Sheep graze and a shepherd sleeps, in the spring weather of Styria.

Music Vivaldi: The Four Seasons: Spring – II. Largo e pianissimo sempre

The shepherd sleeps and his flock grazes, guarded by his dog, the viola, whose barks accompany the murmur of a stream.

CHAPTER 3

AUSTRIA Bad Aussee: Daffodil Festival

The Narzissenfest (Daffodil Festival) is celebrated in the little Styrian town of Bad Aussee on the last weekend in May, with the flowers used to create floats and figures of various kinds.

Music Vivaldi: The Four Seasons: Spring – III. Danza Pastorale: Allegro

Nymphs and shepherds celebrate the arrival of spring, their dance accompanied by bagpipes.

CHAPTER 4

GERMANY Mecklenburg Vorpommern • Schleswig Holstein • Sand Flats

Mecklenburg-West Pomerania offers popular holiday resorts for visitors from elsewhere in Germany. Schleswig Holstein, the northernmost region of Germany, lies on the peninsula that divides the Baltic from the North Sea. With its agriculture, it again offers places for recreation, outside the large cities that lie within its borders.

Music Vivaldi: The Four Seasons: Summer – I. Allegro non molto

L’Estate (Summer) is a season of heat and languor. The music grows more energetic as the cuckoo sings, then the turtle-dove and the goldfinch. The wind rises and the shepherds are justifiably anxious.

CHAPTER 5

ITALY Lake Trasimene

Lake Trasimene, not far from Perugia, is the background to storm clouds. The lake has three large islands, the Isola Polvese, Isola Maggiore and Isola Minore. The place is the site of the great victory of the Carthaginian general Hannibal over the Romans in 217 BC.

Music Vivaldi: The Four Seasons: Summer – II. Adagio e piano – Presto e forte

In the slow movement the sleep of the shepherds is disturbed by thunder and lightning, and by troublesome flies.

CHAPTER 6

ITALY Lake Trasimene and Storm

There are views of the islands in the lake, and of historical buildings above the banks of a lake which is gradually giving way to marshland, as reeds encroach.

Music Vivaldi: The Four Seasons: Summer – III. Presto

At last the thunderstorm breaks. There are peals of thunder and flashes of lightning, and the crops suffer.

CHAPTER 7

ITALY Tuscany: Landscape • Southern Tyrol: Castel Tyrol

From the fields and vines of Tuscany, we travel north to the Italian Tyrol. Castel Tyrol was built in the 12th century by the counts of Tyrol, eventually to become the property of the Habsburgs. The castle was restored in 1904 and occupies a dominant position, overlooking the valley below.

Music Vivaldi: The Four Seasons: Autumn – I. Allegro

L’Autunno (Autumn) starts with the dancing and singing of the peasants, in an idealised pastoral setting. The celebration of the grape harvest brings sleep, for a moment.

CHAPTER 8

ITALY Tuscany: Chianti Landscape

The fields of Chianti are swathed in the mists of autumn.

Music Vivaldi: The Four Seasons: Autumn – II. Adagio molto

The slow movement brings welcome sleep, after the excesses of celebration.

CHAPTER 9

SCOTLAND Highland Landscape
AUSTRIA Hohenbrunn: Hunting Museum

Scenes of deer grazing in the Scottish Highlands are intercut with hunting activities depicted in exhibits at the Hunting Museum (Jadgschloss) at Hohenbrunn in Austria, an appendage of the Abbey of St Florian.

Music Vivaldi: The Four Seasons: Autumn – III. Allegro

Autumn ends with hunting at dawn, with the huntsman’s horn, the sound of dogs and of guns. An animal takes flight and is pursued, dying in the fatigue of the chase.

CHAPTER 10

SWITZERLAND Engadine: Ftan and Landscape

From the snow of winter in the Engadine Valley the old village of Ftan, with its colourful houses, offers refuge.

Music Vivaldi: The Four Seasons: Winter – I. Allegro non molto

L’Inverno (Winter) brings cold winds, the stamping of feet and chattering teeth.

CHAPTER 11

SWITZERLAND Engadine: Sils and Landscape

The snow-covered landscape at Sils continues to evoke winter.

Music Vivaldi: The Four Seasons: Winter – II. Largo

In winter the home fireside offers warmth.

CHAPTER 12

SWITZERLAND Engadine: Fextal

Fextal, the Valley of Fex, in the Upper Engadine, lets a horse-drawn sleigh make its way through the snow and ice of the countryside.

Music Vivaldi: The Four Seasons: Winter – III. Allegro

People walk carefully on the ice, slipping and falling, then running, in case the ice breaks. The winds are at war, but there is sport to be had.

CHAPTER 13

ITALY Montecatini Terme

Montecatini Terme, possibly the most famous spa in Italy, lies in the Tuscan province of Pistoia. It developed as a fashionable resort in the earlier years of the 20th century. The principal establishment in the town is the Stabilimento Tettuccio, where people meet to take the waters.

Music Vivaldi: Concerto Grosso in D minor, Op 3, No 11, RV 565 – I. Allegro – Adagio e spiccato – Allegro

In 1711 Vivaldi published his L’estro armonico (Harmonic Inspiration), a set of twelve concertos, with solo string parts variously deployed. The penultimate concerto of the set is scored for two solo violins and a solo cello, with string orchestra and continuo, and was later transcribed by JS Bach for organ. The two solo violins start in imitation one of the other, before the cello and continuo enter. There is a short break, after which contrapuntal activity is resumed.

CHAPTER 14

ITALY Borgo a Buggiano: Church

Borgo a Buggiano lies near to Montecatini Terme. Among its historical buildings is a romanesque church.

Music Vivaldi: Concerto Grosso in D minor, Op 3, No 11, RV 565 – II. Largo e spiccato

The slow movement of the concerto, its rhythm suggesting that of the Siciliana, gives the first solo violin prominence, accompanied by the other players.

CHAPTER 15

ITALY Borgo a Buggiano and Landscape

The hillside town of Borgo a Buggiano has various historic buildings, and provides fine views over the countryside below.

Music Vivaldi: Concerto Grosso in D minor, Op 3, No 11, RV 565 – III. Allegro

The second solo violin leads into the final movement of the concerto, closely followed by the first solo violin, both soon to be joined by the solo cello. The movement continues with interplay between the three soloists and the players who form the body of the orchestra.

Keith Anderson

Recordings

The Four Seasons: Takako Nishizaki, violin, Capella Istropolitana cond. Stephen Gunzenhauser [Naxos 8.550056]

Concerto Grosso in D minor: Capella Istropolitana cond. Jozef Kopelman [Naxos 8.550160]


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