The vibrant Fall colors outside my window are a great excuse to listen to Vivaldi’s third concerto, “Autumn” from “The Four Seasons. Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) was writing and playing this music at a time when the violin was developing as a virtuosic instrument. There’s a youthful joy in this music, as if he’s saying, “Look what the violin can do!” The key to playing this music well is to make the technical passages sound effortless and fun.
The piece is in three contrasting movements (fast, slow, fast). Here is a video by Julia Fischer and The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields:
To get an idea of how many ways this music can be played, listen to this performance which uses instruments similar to those in Vivaldi’s time. Notice the difference between the Baroque and modern bow. Can you hear a difference in the sound which is created? Also notice the sparing use of vibrato. Here, violinist Giuliano Carmignola performs with the Venice Baroque Orchestra:
Listen to Vivaldi’s Winter and Spring concertos here. Leave a comment below with your thoughts on these performances.