Vivaldi's Four SeasonsRavel's Bolero
The Four Seasons
The Four Seasons is one of the most famous classical works of all time, loved for its freshness and expression. Using violins, string orchestra and double bass, Vivaldi conjures up vivid pictures of the changing seasons – from twittering spring birdsong through the sweltering heat and sudden thunderstorms of summer to the sounds of a hunt and harvest dance in autumn, culminating in the icy winds and driving snow of Winter, brilliantly evoked by staccato strings.
Part of a set of 12 concertos for violin and orchestra, The Four Seasons is unique for having a sonnet at the head of each season indicating the music’s meaning. Vivaldi was a virtuoso violinist who composed almost 400 concertos and surpassed his Baroque contemporaries with this masterpiece, combining innovative orchestration, a powerful imagination and technically-demanding solos into a work that has inspired audiences ever since its premiere in 1725.