Part 5 Ars Nova,Renaissance and Baroque Music
🎼Vivaldi – Four Seasons
Whilst familiar with the title and no doubt hearing excerpts over the years I have never ever listened to the whole piece until now.
Immediately as I listened to the Spring concerto I thought hold on I have heard this before and didn’t realise it was this. Spring sounded bright and cheerful, the awakening of flowers and hibernating animals, I’ve never heard such beautiful violins. High notes sound like birdsong. Truly a lovely piece. Whilst listening I decided to see of there was any information about the piece and found this very interesting piece from The Encylopaedia Britannica where I discovered that there were some poems to go with this piece, and I loved the dog barking by the violas, very clever. As it closed I could hear that dancing of the nymphs – it really is rather joyous.
Summer. I would have thought summer would have been as upbeat as Spring but it is written in a minor key which I associate with melancholia. When I looked at the poem associate with this I could understand why. the poem has a dark undertone which is achieved in the music. The thunderstorm is very much present in strings playing the same part, it very much changes the sound of the piece and is loud and rumbling like a storm. The weariness of the of the shepherd is expressed in the pace and feel of the strings. I also heard the representation of the hornets and flies expressed by the speed of the violins in that particular section. I then realised that I had heard this when I heard the final part of this poem where there is thunder and lightening. The strings and the violins sounding so loud. The whole orchestra combine to make that thunderous sound. Very dramatic.
Autumn. This is more upbeat and I can hear some of the musical phrases which appeared in the Spring concerto repeated here. No doubt symbolising the festivities taking place to welcome the harvest. Song and dance as it were. I do like the part which is entirely keyboard, what a lovely effect and to me sounds baroque. The keyboard sounds like a harpsichord. The final section of this concerto is very lighthearted but its conveying a hunt and I do not get any sense of impending doom on the animal they are hunting.
Winter sounds interesting at the start as the strings are mimicking cold and ice in my opinion. Reading the poem alongside I feel it is echoing what Vivaldi has written in his poem. I love how the tone changes when we are sitting by the fireside and then to the sense of falling down in the snow and ice. Maybe I shouldn’t listen to the music and read the poem but I have a better for feel and yes I can hear the trills…trills conveying ice and snow.
After listening to this and reading the poem alongside, in a loose translation I should think I really can understand the music so much more and I appreciate how wonderful this whole Four Seasons really is.
🎼Concerto for two mandolins by Vivaldi
This piece I am listening to courtesy of the Academy for Ancient Music. The mandolins have a beautiful sound. In this piece there is clearly a harpsichord being played. The orchestra does not drown out the sound of the mandolins and it has such a pleasant feel to it. I throughly enjoyed listening to the mandolins and how the orchestra complimented them without overpowering the feel of the piece. A very unusual piece indeed but I am pleased I have listened to it.
🎼 Tartini – Sonata in G Minor Il Trills Del Diavolo
I was expecting more of an orchestra in this but the lone keyboard really does compliment the absolutely mesmerising violin playing, the speed at which the violinist is playing is quite impressive with so much going on in the piece. Some parts of this come across as very sad and mournful and I was expecting something much more booming and harsh so that was a surprise. It is very very impressive to listen to and I can only imagine the skill that this takes to play this. The second movement has a dance feel to it, I image the devil playing this as he is surveying his underworld kingdom, the mournful sound representing the should of the dead people, reminding them that this was not a happy piece even though the music is he plays is beautiful. I would actually have thought that there was more than one violinist at some point. A stunning piece.
🎼Bach – Goldberg Variations
I had never heard this piece before this listen. I could not believe how the gentleness of the aria went into the next variation which was so rapid. Each variation is very distinct from its previous piece. I was not expecting such crispness of playing. It is a very different piece from what I was expecting and I enjoyed hearing the different variations and how different they are from one another.I could also picture these variations being played for a royal audience at their court.
🎼Scarlatti – Keyboard Sonatas
I chose to listen to the following
- Keyboard Sonata in B Minor K 27 (Allegro)
- Keyboard Sonata in B flat Major K 544 (Cantabile)
- Keyboard Sonata in D Minor K32 (Aria)
Whilst I couldn’t hear the Spanish folk influence in K27, in K544 I heard some very beautiful trills coming through and such a lovely piece. In K32 I thought I did detect just a hint of what I would call a Spanish feel to it. The K32 was my favourite, it just felt so nice and whilst in the minor key felt gentle and relaxing. I am sure that if I listen to some more I will find others that would appeal.
🎼Albinoni – Oboe Concerto in D minor op9 no 2
I throughly enjoyed listening to this piece. The oboe stands out from the rest of the orchestra so beautifully. I heard the dialogue clearly and the imitation of some of the parts. I can hear what I believe to be harpsichord played in this and it sounds really beautiful. Strings are crisp and clear, allowing the oboe to come to the front and shine. I do agree that the second movement is beautiful.
🎼Telemann Concerto in D for Trumpet and Violin TWV 53:D5
What a lovely piece and not what I was expecting. I actually expected a louder trumpet but the trumpet sounded gentle. The violin was the perfect accompaniment to the trumpet and I could hear how simple the trumpet was compared with the violin. The omission of the trumpet in the central movement was a surprise as you’d assume that in something written for Trumpet and Violin you would hear the trumpet more. I loved the alternating notes in the final movement and this was a piece I enjoyed listening to.
🎼Recorder Concerto in C Minor by Vivaldi RV441
I am absolutely blown away by the beautiful sound coming from the recorder in this concerto. Coupled with the harpsichord it is a lovely sound. I never appreciated the beauty of the instrument and this really does come forward in this piece.