A New Listen to an Old Favorite

By George Bozarth
Co-Artistic Director, Musique du Jour Presents

Click image to view – Vivaldi – Autumn from The Four Seasons | Netherlands Bach Society

Antonio Vivaldi’s “Autumn” (Concerto in F major, Op. 8 No. 3) from The Four Seasons (1716–17; published 1725). 

Cast in three movements, it portrays in music three autumn scenes: a drunken peasant dance at harvest time, a sated slumber, and a vigorous hunt on horseback.  What is special about the performance here by violinist Shunske Sato and The Netherlands Bach Society is all the “extras” that they improvise, including the deliciously out-of-tune playing of the inebriated country fiddler in the first movement.  I’ll leave you to spot the other “extras.”

Here’s a translation of the sonnet that accompanied Vivaldi’s piece:

The peasant celebrates, with songs and dances,
The pleasure of a bountiful harvest.
And fired up by Bacchus’ liquor,
many end their revelry in sleep.

Adagio molto
Everyone is made to forget their cares and to sing and dance
By the air which is tempered with pleasure
And by the season that invites so many, many
Out of their sweetest slumber to fine enjoyment.

The hunters emerge at the new dawn,
And with horns and dogs and guns depart upon their hunting
The beast flees and they follow its trail;
Terrified and tired of the great noise
Of guns and dogs, the beast, wounded, threatens
Languidly to flee, but harried, dies.