Friday, January 27, 2012

Sunday Classics preview: Given the resources at his disposal, Vivaldi's musical storms may be the most remarkable of all


This may not be quite the winter storm Vivaldi imagined, but we'll be hearing it in more traditional form in a moment.

by Ken

We began our exploration of storms imagined in music with the orchestral prototype, the thunderstorm embedded in Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony and the storm of all operatic storms, the opening of Verdi's Otello -- with the "Royal Hunt and Storm" from Berlioz's epic opera The Trojans thrown in. We have a gaggle of musical storms on tap for Sunday's post, but tonight I thought we'd backtrack and rehear some music we've actually heard before: the storm movements from three of Vivaldi's Four Seasons.

(We heard them in one of my favorite Sunday Classics posts, November 2010's "I wonder whether Vivaldi would be surprised by the still-growing irresistibility of his Four Seasons," in which we managed to encompass the entire piece -- all four concertos, all 12 movements. By the way, I've just upgraded that post, which included "what may be the only Four Seasons you'll ever need," to Internet Archive's new format for music files, even though it meant replacing the code for 50 music files.)

We'll talk more Sunday about the idea of capturing storms in music, but for now let's just note that Vivaldi was doing it without many of the orchestral resources that later composers -- even Beethoven -- would rely on for their storm depictions. All he had at his disposal was the modest baroque orchestra.



Preview: Tonight's musical selections should give you a good idea of Sunday's subject (January 13)
The thunderstorm movement from Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony and Otello's "Esultate" from Verdi's Otello
Stormy weather, part 1 (January 15)
Verdi's Otello, Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony, and Berlioz's Les Troyens, plus Lena Horne singing "Stormy Weather"
Preview: Given the resources at his disposal, Vivaldi's musical storms may be the most remarkable of all (January 27)
The three storm movements from Vivaldi's Four Seasons
With the full symphony orchestra you can create a heckuva storm (aka: Musical storms, part 2) (January 29)
Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony (again), Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique, Grofé's Grand Canyon Suite, Johann Strauss II's Amid Thunder and Lightning polka, Richard Strauss's Alpine Symphony, Grieg's Peer Gynt incidental music, Britten's Peter Grimes, and Rossini's Barber of Seville
Preview: En route to more of our musical storms, we encounter perhaps the most eerily wonderful music I know (February 3)
The Preludes to Acts I and II of Wagner's Siegfried
Storms that set three great operatic scenes in motion (aka: Musical storms, part 3) (February 5)
The openings of Wagner's Die Walküre Act I and Siegfried Act III and of Act III of Puccini's La Bohème
Preview: En route to our final operatic storms, we hear two famous tenor tunes sung by a very famous tenor (February 24)
"La donna è mobile," the Quartet, and the Storm Scene from Act III of Rigoletto
Musical storms, part 4: We come to our raging storms from Janáček's Kátya Kabanová and Verdi's Rigoletto (February 26)
The storms from Act III of both operas, with a close-up look at how Verdi created the Rigoletto one -- plus the whole of Act III

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home