Even though I am admittedly not a very well-rounded musician, I did know that Vivaldi’s Four Seasons are considered “programmatic,” music which tells a story. What I didn’t know is that Vivaldi wrote sonnets to accompany not only each concerto but even each movement. At the concerts this weekend (Saturday, 7:30 and Sunday, 4:00) the sonnets will be read first in Italian and then in English. Saturday’s reader will be Betty Grierson and Sunday’s reader will be Kathryn Klingebiel.
In case you want to review the sonnets before the concert, I have inserted them here:
- Spring has come and joyfully the birds greet it with happy song, and the brooks, while the streams flow along with gentle murmur as the zephyrs blow. There come, shrouding the air with a black cloak, lighting and thunder chosen to herald [the storm]; then, when these are silent, the little birds return to their melodious incantations.
- And now, in the pleasant, flowery meadow, to the soft murmur of leaves and plants, the goatherd sleeps with his faithful dog at his side.
- To the festive sound of a pastoral bagpipe, nymphs and shepherds dance under their beloved roof, greeting the glittering arrival of the spring.
- In the harsh season scorched by the sun, man and flock languish, and the pine is on fire; the cuckoo begins to call and soon after, the turtledove and the goldfinch are heard singing. Zephyr [the west wind] gently blows, but Boreas [the north wind] suddenly enters into a contest with its neighbor, and the little shepherd weeps for he hears the awesome threatening storm and his fate.
- To his tired limbs rest is denied by the fear of lightning, awesome thunder, and the furious swarm of flies and hornets!
- Alas, his fears are justified. The sky is filled with thunder and lightning and hail cuts down the proud grain.
- The peasant celebrates the pleasure of the happy harvest with dances and songs; and inflamed by the liquor of Bacchus, many end their rejoicing with sleep.
- The mild pleasant air makes all abandon dance and song; this is the season that invites all to the sweet delights of peaceful sleep.
- The hunters, at the break of dawn, set forth with horns, guns, and hounds. The animal flees, and they follow its tracks. Already frightened and tired by the great noise of guns and hounds, the wounded animal makes a weak attempt at fleeing, but is overcome and dies.
- Trembling with cold amidst the freezing snow, while a frightful wind harshly blows, running and stamping one’s feet every minute, and feeling one’s teeth chatter from the extreme cold;
- Spending quiet contented days by the fire while the rain outside drenches people by the hundreds;
- Walking on ice, and moving cautiously, with slow steps, for fear of falling, spinning around, slipping, falling down, again walking on ice and running fast until the ice cracks and splits; hearing Sirocco, Boreas, and all the winds at war burst forth from the bolted doors – this is winter, but it also brings joy!
Tickets will be readily available at the door of each concert. Inquire at the desk about discounts for full-time students.