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The Intersection of Science, Art, Music & Humanities

Vivaldi's Autumn

Sunday, October 07, 2018


Today's Sunday Morning Stop at the Intersection of Science, Art, Music and Humanities features Vivaldi's Autumn. 


Christopher Verrette, from the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir blog titled, Breaking Broque had this to say about Vivaldi's Autumn:


"Antonio Vivaldi uses his signature form, the solo violin concerto, to paint musical pictures of the seasons, supported by sonnets which are actually embedded in the musical score.


"For autumn, he chooses the key of F Major, strongly associated with hunting horns, which suits the last movement in particular, but is evident already in the opening solo of the first movement. The ensuing rambunctious solo passages are specifically designated l’ubracio (the drunk) in the score, as the harvest is celebrated perhaps a little too enthusiastically.


"Baroque composers often used long sustained notes and stable harmony to represent sleep or repose, but Vivaldi portrays the alcohol-induced slumber of revelers with unsettling harmonies that refuse to resolve comfortably, and a further restlessness is added by incessant arpeggiation from the continuo instruments under the muted strings.


"The finale vividly captures images of the hunt, complete with horns, barking dogs, gunshots, and even the final death wail of the cornered animal."


Vivaldi's Autumn Sonnet


I. The peasants celebrate with song and dance
their joy in a fine harvest
and with generous draughts of Bacchus’ cup
their celebrations end in sleep.
Song and dance are done; 
the gentle, pleasant air
and the season invite one and all
to the delights of sweetest sleep.


II. At first light the huntsman sets out
with horns, guns, and dogs;
the wild beast flees, and they follow its trail.


III. Terrified and exhausted by the great clamor
of guns and dogs, wounded and afraid, 
the beast tries to flee but is overcome and dies.


Enjoy and have a thoughtful Sunday morning.


Ellen Troyer, with Spencer Thornton, MD, David Amess and the Biosyntrx staff.