Thursday, November 20, 2008
Nov 20 2008
Journal Response to Victoria: Vivaldi, Four Seasons
Music is often inspired by emotion, feeling, and aspects of life, the changing seasons of the year motivated Vivaldi to write one of the most renowned pieces of music the world has known. Vivaldi captures the essence of spring, summer, fall, and winter through sounds of the Baroque string quartet. He uses the ornamentations and timbre colors of the ensemble to portray what one might feel toward a certain season. There are moments of light dancing through spring; lush vast sounds within summer, beautiful color changes of fall, and icy briskness in winter.
After reading Victoria’s blog I wanted very badly to listen to this work in its entirety. It is something that I must admit I have not done before. Her response was very enlightening and informative. She gave a great overview of the work Vivaldi was doing in the girls’ orphanage and how proficient those students became at performing. One thing I would have liked to read more about, since she decided to go into the history of Vivaldi himself a little bit, is the kind of music he was writing to be played. She mentions briefly that his Concertos are in slow fast slow form, but never says much about the other works he was writing. She also mentions a couple other places Vivaldi was composing music for, but does not talk about those places as she does the orphanage, but I am unsure of why? Are they less important? What kinds of works was he writing for those places? Those are just a few questions that came to my mind.
I appreciated that fact that Victoria put in her journal that the original season Concerti were written for a string quartet, after looking up different recordings of this collaborative work it proved difficult to find an example that was not played by a full orchestra. If I did nothing but look up the pieces, I would most likely assume that the piece was always written for several strings instruments verses four.
Victoria also spoke about the use of ritornello in these Concertos. She explained what ritornello is and gave an example in the music of where it was used and what the listener should hear. I would have liked to read about more stylistic features of these works, each season Concerto used the fast slow fast form that she mentioned, but it would have been great to read about the different characteristics of these tempo variations for each Concerto and how they added to the season they were portraying. Other things such as ornamentation, imitation, harmonic progressions, and the way the music interacted would have been wonderful to read about.
One last thing I would like to comment on Victoria’s blog about is her personal response to the music. It is obvious to me as a reader that she appreciates this piece a lot. She mentions early on that she too plays violin and the Four Seasons is a piece that she has been exposed to all throughout her life. She includes a short paragraph at the end of her journal entry stating that Vivaldi serves as a direct inspiration to her, but she says nothing more than that. I am interested to know in what ways Vivaldi has inspired her. Are there certain things he has done, written, or said, or is it just an overall general feeling that his existence and everything he did combined inspires her.
Over all I thoroughly enjoyed reading Victoria’s journal. Her style of writing is easy to follow and understand. The things she had to say about the piece inspired some thought of my own as well as motivated me to look up more information about the Vivaldi piece. Victoria has a great written voice, I think if she uses her own questions and answers to provoke more thoughts in herself she will be able to expand on her writing even more and provide a very personal read.