Welcome May, and Classical Minnesota Public Radio’s Pieces of Spring. The contest is closed to entries, and thanks to everyone who took part! Special thanks to Jennifer Anderson for contributing to these blog posts; she’s the curator of the Four Seasons video gallery below.
We saved the most famous spring piece for last: “Spring,” from The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi.
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.
This sonnet was written by Antonio Vivaldi to accompany the “Spring” concerto. It comes from his collection of violin concertos called the “Four Seasons,” arguably the most well-known and loved classical piece. For further proof, just check out a few of the mutations of “Spring” found on YouTube:
The original, for string orchestra, with violinist Nigel Kennedy
Performed by a computer scanner
A medley played by an orchestra of flutes
Ensemble of harmonicas
Three younger guitar players take a stab
Guitar shredder Uli Jon Roth and his Sky Orchestra, with their version
Jazz ensemble with harp soloist
Japanese jazz quartet Vanilla Mood
Glass bottle ensemble
Kamiak Marching Band, with an arranged medley
String orchestra, but superimposed on a time lapsed video of a “magic forest” chemical garden
Bear in mind, most of these videos deal only with the first concerto…guitarists really go nuts for “Summer.”