One Nice Thing: Sonnets for Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” Concertos

November 20, 2020 | Filed Under One Nice Thing | No Comments

Thanks to this article from Alan Chapman at Classical KDFC (the classical music station in San Francisco, California), I learned that there are four sonnets to accompany each of the concertos in Antonio Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” suite—possibly written by the composer himself.

I did a bit of searching, and found the wonderfully informative Baroque Music Site, which includes a page devoted to the piece, as well as the sonnets in their original Italian and with English translations. The Baroque Music Site is included in the Britannica Internet Guide “for quality, accuracy, and presentation”, so I’m inclined to think the information and translations are reliable.

Christopher DiMatteo, a polymath extraordinaire, runs a site devoted to “Writing, Translations, Music & Design”, and includes his own translations of the sonnets. His translation of the “Autumn” sonnet was read on air during the BBC Radio 4 program “Something Understood” on November 25, 2018.

If you don’t have a copy of the Concertos, you can easily find recordings on Youtube to listen to as you read.

Enjoy!

An oil painting of Antonio Vivaldi in a red robe, loosely fitted, open to show the pleated collar, v-neck, and ruffled cuffs of his white shirt. He wears a curly, long white wig. He is holding a quill pen in his right hand, and a violin in his left hand. There are pieces of paper with music written on them, and a pot of ink on the desk in front of him. The caption reads, "Antonio Vivaldi, Anonymous portrait, 1723, Museo della Musica, Bologna (public domain).

 

[Image description: An oil painting of Antonio Vivaldi in a red robe, loosely fitted, open to show the pleated collar, v-neck, and ruffled cuffs of his white shirt. He wears a curly, long white wig. He is holding a quill pen in his right hand, and a violin in his left hand. There are pieces of paper with music written on them, and a pot of ink on the desk in front of him. The caption reads, “Antonio Vivaldi, Anonymous portrait, 1723, Museo della Musica, Bologna (public domain).]

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