Encore: A Sparkling Performance of Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”

There aren’t many classical concert programs where I’m able sit through rapt in attention for more than 45 minutes, let alone an hour. The 2014 performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons at Carnegie Hall was one of those moments (the concert lasted a little over 50 minutes). It helps that the soloist is the hugely talented and photogenic virtuoso, Sophie Anne Mutter, who played with characteristic élan and precision. And it doesn’t hurt that the concert was a visual feast, thanks to Anne Mutter’s gorgeous lemon-yellow gown set against the black attire of the other members of the ensemble, a small string orchestra founded and led by the eminent violinist herself.

Vivaldi and his Masterpiece

Antonio Vivaldi (1678 – 1741) was a prolific composer who wrote more than 500 concertos. About 230 of those concertos were written for the violin. Undoubtedly, “The Four Seasons” was the most famous of all of Vivaldi’s works. The unique concerto was written between 1720 and 1723 while Vivaldi was employed at a girls’ school dedicated to orphans.

The Four Seasons was unique among Baroque music because it was one of the first classical compositions to implement and follow a dynamic music program. You’re probably familiar with the concept of a “music program,” where the music aligns with a specific text. In fact, that style of performance wasn’t made popular until the Romantic era. However, “The Four Seasons” was a musical score created to honor four descriptive sonnets about each season (four sonnets in all). No one is sure where the sonnets originate, so most historians allude to the rumor that Vivaldi wrote the sonnets himself.

The 2014 Carnegie Hall Performance

And now, sit back and enjoy this fabulous recording of the 2014 Carnegie Hall performance of the entire Four Seasons suite by the Mutter Virtuosi, with Sophie Anne Mutter as soloist.

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