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Classical Notes

Classical Notes: May 19, 2007 Archive

Pieces of Spring No. 18

Posted at 9:12 AM on May 19, 2007 by John Birge

Welcome May, and Classical Minnesota Public Radio's Pieces of Spring. The contest is closed to entries, and thanks to everyone who took part! Special thanks to Jennifer Anderson for contributing to these blog posts; she's the curator of the Four Seasons video gallery below.

We saved the most famous spring piece for last: "Spring," from The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi.

Springtime is upon us.
The birds celebrate her return with festive song,
and murmuring streams are softly caressed by the breezes.
Thunderstorms, those heralds of Spring, roar, casting their dark mantle over heaven,
Then they die away to silence, and the birds take up their charming songs once more.

On the flower-strewn meadow, with leafy branches rustling overhead, the goat-herd sleeps, his faithful dog beside him.

Led by the festive sound of rustic bagpipes, nymphs and shepherds lightly dance beneath the brilliant canopy of spring.

This sonnet was written by Antonio Vivaldi to accompany the “Spring” concerto. It comes from his collection of violin concertos called the “Four Seasons,” arguably the most well-known and loved classical piece. For further proof, just check out a few of the mutations of “Spring” found on YouTube:

The original, for string orchestra, with violinist Nigel Kennedy

Performed by a computer scanner

A medley played by an orchestra of flutes

Ensemble of harmonicas

Three younger guitar players take a stab

Guitar shredder Uli Jon Roth and his Sky Orchestra, with their version

Jazz ensemble with harp soloist

Japanese jazz quartet Vanilla Mood

Glass bottle ensemble

Kamiak Marching Band, with an arranged medley

String orchestra, but superimposed on a time lapsed video of a "magic forest" chemical garden

Bear in mind, most of these videos deal only with the first concerto…guitarists really go nuts for “Summer.”

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