Work: The Four Seasons: Spring
II. Largo e pianissimo sempre
About This Work
This Concerto is the first of four in what is probably Vivaldi's most popular effort, The Four Seasons. Cast in three movements, theConcerto in E major is subtitled "Spring" and, like its three siblings, was inspired by an Italian sonnet,
whose colorful pastoral scenes and events the composer depicts in his wonderfully imaginative music.
The opening movement's main theme is so familiar as to have reached well beyond the boundaries of classical music to attain popularity with the man and woman on the street. Marked Allegro, the music bounces along joyfully in the strings, the solo violin soon joining in to depict the chirping of birds and other pastoral sounds. The music brims with spirited joy here, but is suddenly interrupted by a violent trill -- a storm. It is short lived, however, and the mood returns to the gaiety of the opening music.
The second movement, marked Largo e pianissimo sempre, is tranquil and dreamy, the soothing, though wistful music depicting a goatherder sleeping peacefully, his dog attending him amid the gentle rustling of nearby plants and leaves. Vivaldi's strings quiver and murmur here, imparting a rich nocturnal atmosphere, while mesmerizing the ear with lovely lyrical sounds. The finale, marked Danza pastorale: Allegro, begins in a lively, bright manner, Vivaldi imaginatively bringing to life the festive scene of shepherds and nymphs dancing at the onset of spring. While the music here recalls the mood in the opening movement, it is a bit less vigorous, at times turning somewhat reflective, especially in the interior portions and the ending. Still, the overall character exudes a sense of both spirited cheer and pastoral calm.
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