Vivaldi played a solo accompaniment excellently, and at the conclusion he added a free fantasy [an improvised cadenza] which absolutely astounded me, for it is hardly possible that anyone has ever played, or ever will play, in such a fashion.
~Johann Friedrich Armand von Uffenbach
Let's start Music Monday with some interesting bits about Antonio Vivaldi from Wikipedia:
"Many of his compositions were written for the female music ensemble of the Ospedale della Pietà, a home for abandoned children where Vivaldi (who had been ordained as a Catholic priest) was employed [for 29 years]."
Doesn't that sound like a story in and of itself? Orphans, female ensembles, and a redheaded priest composer.
"The inspiration for the [Four Seasons] concertos was probably the countryside around Mantua. They were a revolution in musical conception: in them Vivaldi represented flowing creeks, singing birds (of different species, each specifically characterized), barking dogs, buzzing mosquitoes, crying shepherds, storms, drunken dancers, silent nights, hunting parties from both the hunters' and the prey's point of view, frozen landscapes, ice-skating children, and warming winter fires."
A folk version of Spring performed by Barocco Boreale:
All four of the Seasons with violinist Janine Jansen:
Four Seasons album covers
The sonnet that goes with Summer