Vivaldi Four Seasons Music Notes

My doodles: Vivaldi Four Seasons Music Notes... Why should you listen to Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons?

Vivaldi Four Seasons Music Notes - Light, Bright, Cheerful - birds singing. Who was Antonio Vivaldi?

COVID19 and the Four Seasons of 2020

No matter what, spring will follow winter.

Michael Francis of the Florida Orchestra explains the boundless optimism of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons in this video.

Some pieces are bigger than classical music! Some pieces are so famous they reach every member of the whole world… You think about those — certainly it’s The Four Seasons, probably Beethoven’s Für Elise, the fifth and ninth symphony of Beethoven… maybe Bizet’s CarmenNessun Dorma – from in the 20th century… Carmina Burana … certain pieces – like Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik

“Certain pieces are just so iconic. They are the Sistine Chapel; the Mona Lisa. Things that go beyond its own art form. But why The Four Seasons? Well firstly it’s a piece of music written by a brilliant composer – Antonia Vivaldi.”

A 1 minute audio clip (mp3) of birds singing. (Public domain)

 The Four Seasons are famous “because they are a delight to the ear”, explains Betsy Schwarm. “Even more notable is the fact that they have stories to tell. At the time of their publication in Amsterdam in 1725, they were accompanied by poems describing exactly what feature of that season Vivaldi intended to capture in musical terms. In providing specific plot content for instrumental music, Vivaldi was generations ahead of his time.”

“If one were to read the poems simultaneously to hearing the music, one would find the poetic scenes synchronizing nicely with the musical imagery. We are told that the birds welcome spring with happy song, and here they are doing exactly that. Soon, however, a thunderstorm breaks out. Not only is there musical thunder and lightning, there are also more birds, wet, frightened, and unhappy.”

Vivaldi Was a Brilliant Violinist

As Michael Francis explains: “There’s a tremendous virtuosity to it.” But above all these things – “the wonderful
melodies and the great inventiveness. It’s about man’s connection to nature. How do we all as a human race connect to the elemental forces around us? The spring and the autumn are much lighter; more gentle. The summer and winter are wilder. Much more about the individual’s response to the danger of the forces of nature. ”

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons Music Notes – The Seasons Explained

Here’s a 42 minute recording (audio/video) of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons with musical notes (musical score synchronized to the music) — provided by Marcel Simader. (Performed by the Budapest Strings.)


“In spring there’s a bright optimism. There’s something distinctly cheerful about this. Although, in the second movement you’ll hear the goat herd starting to doze off. There’s a lot of people sleeping….”

You can hear the dogs barking and the birds chirping, and the little brooks murmuring — the way water does in the spring time. “You feel like the shepherds and nymphs are coming together. There’s a glorious promise of life. Something uplifting and beautiful.” (M. Francis)


“Here this is perhaps the most extraordinary of all of the four movements of the Four Seasons. You really notice the fear of the shepherd — as he’s put against the fierce storms — the Saharan winds that rush through Italy.” There is a sense of “languishing in the heat”. There’s a “deadness to the air. But he is terrified of the thunder and lightning that’s about to arrive.”

“In the third movement all hell breaks loose. This is extraordinary… The wild coruscating scales flying through the strings. Absolutely electric. This performance is just as fast as any you can imagine.” (M. Francis)


You’ve survived the fierce storms of summer. Time to harvest your fruits. You feel this joy of harvesting of the fruits; the fermenting of the juice. There’s a lot of alcohol going on here… and there’s the hunting of the beast. I think Autumn is one of the most extraordinary movements. Clearly the peasants have had too much of the old grape juice they’ve been refining and fermenting. As they fall asleep the harmonies are absolutely amazing. A real tour de force of harmonic invention. You can was feel the crazy inebriated dreams going on.” (M. Francis)


Winter is a wonderful passage of music begins with the sense of fear; that sense of danger. How do we cope with such excessive cold? You can hear the teeth chattering (in the cold). Hear them stamping their feet trying to keep warm?” See the icy breath “as man languishes in fear of the cold.” Then we are taken inside (a warm home) and “you hear the raindrops pitter pattering away.” During the solo cello “we look outside rather smugly at the cold weather and the rain. But inside we are beginning to feel comfortable… Winter now becomes far more joyous, and we start to skate on the ice, even as it cracks.”

Time will pass. Seasons will pass… People listen to this music during very very difficult times and yet there’s always been a new season of hope and there will be for us as well.” (M. Francis)

Sources and Related Links

If you enjoyed my Vivaldi Four Seasons Music Notes you might also like this music video of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons – Winter. This post was originally published on 16-Nov-2020, and was updated on 20-Nov-2020

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