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The Four Seasons (Vivaldi)

The Four Seasons (Le quattro stagioni in the original Italian) is the name given to the four violin concertos by Antonio Vivaldi, Opus 8, No. 1-4. Penned in 1723, they remain among the most popular concertos in all music.

Each of The Four Seasons are named after a season: "Spring", "Summer", "Autumn", and "Winter". The texture[?] of each movement is varied, resembling its respective season. For example, "Winter" is dark and somber, whereas "Summer" has sounds reminiscent of birds chirping and flies buzzing.

Vivaldi wrote four sonnets, to be read with the concerto:


Italian:

Spring

Giunt' la Primavera e festosetti
La Salutan gl' Augei con lieto canto,
E i fonti allo Spirar de' Zeffiretti
Con dolce mormorio Scorrono intanto:
Vengon' coprendo l' aer di nero amanto
E Lampi, e tuoni ad annuntiarla eletti
Indi tacendo questi, gl' Augelletti;
Tornan' di nuovo al lor canoro incanto:
E quindi sul fiorito ameno prato
Al caro mormorio di fronde e piante
Dorme 'l Caprar col fido can' lato.
Di pastoral Zampogna al suon festante
Danzan Ninfe e Pastor nel tetto amato
Di primavera all' apparir brillante.

Summer

Sotto dura Staggion dal Sole accesa
Langue l' huom, langue 'l gregge, ed arde il Pino;
Scioglie il Cucco la Voce, e tosto intesa
Canta la Tortorella e 'l gardelino.
Zeffiro dolce Spira, m contesa
Muove Borea improviso al Suo vicino;
E piange il Pastorel, perche sospesa
Teme fiera borasca, e 'l suo destino;
Toglie alle membra lasse il Suo riposo
Il timore de' Lampi, e tuoni fieri
E de mosche, e mossoni il Stuol furioso!
Ah che pur troppo i Suo timor Son veri
Tuona e fulmina il Ciel e grandioso
Tronca il capo alle Spiche e a' grani alteri.

Autumn

Celebra il Vilanel con balli e Canti
Del felice raccolto il bel piacere
E del liquor de Bacco accesi tanti
Finiscono col Sonno il lor godere
F ch' ogn' uno tralasci e balli e canti
L' aria che temperata d piacere,
E la Staggion ch' invita tanti e tanti
D' un dolcissimo Sonno al bel godere.
I cacciator alla nov' alba caccia
Con corni, Schioppi, e canni escono fuore
Fugge la belua, e Seguono la traccia;
Gi Sbigottita, e lassa al gran rumore
De' Schioppi e canni, ferita minaccia
Languida di fuggir, m oppressa muore.

Winter

Aggiacciato tremar tr neri algenti
Al Severo Spirar d' orrido Vento,
Correr battendo i piedi ogni momento;
E pel Soverchio gel batter i denti;
Passar al foco i di quieti e contenti
Mentre la pioggia fuor bagna ben cento
Caminar Sopra 'l giaccio, e passo lento
Per timor di cader gersene intenti;
Gir forte Sdruzziolar, cader terra
Di nuove ir Sopra 'l giaccio e correr forte
Sin ch' il giaccio si rompe, e si disserra;
Sentir uscir dalle ferrate porte
Sirocco Borea, e tutti i Venti in guerra
Quest' 'l verno, m tal, che gioja apporte.


English:

Spring

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.

Summer

Beneath the blazing sun's relentless heat
men and flocks are sweltering,
pines are scorched.
We hear the cuckoo's voice; then sweet songs of the turtle dove and finch are heard.
Soft breezes stir the air.but threatening north wind sweeps them suddenly aside.
The shepherd trembles, fearful of violent storm and what may lie ahead.
His limbs are now awakened from their repose by fear of lightning's flash and thunder's roar, as gnats and flies buzz furiously around.
Alas, his worst fears were justified, as the heavens roar and great hailstones beat down upon the proudly standing corn.

Autumn

The peasant celebrates with song and dance the harvest safely gathered in.
The cup of Bacchus flows freely, and many find their relief in deep slumber.
The singing and the dancing die away
as cooling breezes fan the pleasant air,
inviting all to sleep
without a care.
The hunters emerge at dawn,
ready for the chase,
with horns and dogs and cries.
Their quarry flees while they give chase.
Terrified and wounded, the prey struggles on,
but, harried, dies.

Winter

Shivering, frozen mid the frosty snow in biting, stinging winds;
running to and fro to stamp one's icy feet, teeth chattering in the bitter chill.
To rest contentedly beside the hearth, while those outside are drenched by pouring rain.
We tread the icy path slowly and cautiously, for fear of tripping and falling.
Then turn abruptly, slip, crash on the ground and, rising, hasten on across the ice lest it cracks up.
We feel the chill north winds coarse through the home despite the locked and bolted doors
this is winter, which nonetheless brings its own delights.



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