16 April 2009


With a tip of the hat to the Larcom String Quartet, who performed the Allegro movement at a recent concert I attended, I give you one of my favorite pieces of the Italian Baroque – Vivaldi’s Concerto #4 in F minor, op. 8, RV 297, “L’Inverno” (Winter).  The YouTube video below features a good performance by I Musici and an interesting video.

I intended to post this a few weeks ago when winter officially gave way to spring, but alas, my long trip got in the way.  (Winter often hangs on into April in New England anyway, so I'm really not so very late!)

What I did not know about these popular “Four Seasons” concertos is that they were accompanied by sonnets that were possibly written by Vivaldi himself.  At the concert, violinist Jessica Corwin recited L’Inverno before the quartet played the piece:


Allegro non molto
To tremble from cold in the icy snow,
In the harsh breath of a horrid wind;
To run, stamping one's feet every moment,
Our teeth chattering in the extreme cold

Before the fire to pass peaceful,
Contented days while the rain outside pours down.

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 course through the home despite the locked and bolted doors...
this is winter, which nonetheless brings its own delights.[Note 1.]




1.  The sonnets are available at Wikisource, http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Four_Seasons_Sonnets.  If you’re wondering why these sonnets don’t have fourteen lines, remember that they have been translated from the original Italian verse!


Fiddler said...


I have a great recording of violinist Arnie Roth playing (and conducting) the concerti with Musica Anima that you and the chicks might enjoy. Patrick Stewart gives voice to the sonnets. I'll try to remember to give it to LB when I see her next if you think you might like to borrow it.

Stephen Bourque said...

That sounds great - I would very much like to borrow it. Thanks!

LB said...

But I might miss the the random video attached to this particular recording. Not.

Make it so, Number One.