Seasonal Music
Tue, 07 Nov 2017

It’s November and if you live in Cincinnati like I do, you know that this means the days are growing shorter, the air is getting cooler, and the trees are getting brighter! Autumn has always been my favorite season. Perhaps it’s the pumpkins or the falling leaves, or maybe Thanksgiving. As I reflect on what this season means to me, I can’t help but think of the many classical composers who wrote lovely music based on the changing of the seasons.

Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons is probably the most iconic “seasons” piece. Having over 500 concertos to his name, Vivaldi wrote many of his works for the young ladies at the school where he taught throughout his life. Some pieces, however, were written for his own performance purposes or for a patron. It is likely that The Four Seasons was composed for these last two reasons. They are accompanied by sonnets, likely written by the composer himself.

So you probably knew Vivaldi’s musical depiction of the seasons, but what about Glazunov’s? He wrote a magnificently orchestrated ballet in 4 scenes, one for each season.

In 1875, Tchaikovsky was asked to write his own set of character pieces for the St. Petersburg music magazine. He composed twelve short works for piano, one for each month of the year. Since their conception, there have been many different transcriptions of the various months.

Perhaps you prefer choral music? Then you likely favor Haydn’s reflections on the seasons in his oratorio, The Seasons. The libretto was adapted by Baron Gottfried van Swieten from a poem by James Thomson. The piece quickly became quite popular and was even printed in multiple translations!

What is your favorite “seasons” piece?

This month, Clef Notes will look at a few favorites for each season, including a special Thanksgiving playlist!  


More from Clef Notes:

A Mendelssohn Summer
Tue, 14 Nov 2017

Springtime with Copland
Thu, 09 Nov 2017

Seasonal Music
Tue, 07 Nov 2017

Happy Halloween!
Tue, 31 Oct 2017

Toscanini at Music Hall
Sat, 28 Oct 2017

John Adams at Music Hall
Thu, 26 Oct 2017

Saint-Saens at Music Hall
Tue, 24 Oct 2017

Stravinsky at Music Hall
Thu, 19 Oct 2017

Rachmaninoff at Music Hall
Tue, 17 Oct 2017

Leonard Bernstein at Music Hall
Thu, 12 Oct 2017

Aaron Copland and Music Hall
Tue, 10 Oct 2017

Richard Strauss at Music Hall
Thu, 05 Oct 2017

Rostropovich in Cincinnati
Tue, 03 Oct 2017

Music Hall: Welcome Home
Thu, 28 Sep 2017

Missy Mazzoli
Tue, 26 Sep 2017

Rebecca Clarke's Viola Sonata
Thu, 21 Sep 2017

Rebecca Clarke
Tue, 19 Sep 2017

The Wreckers
Thu, 14 Sep 2017

Ethel Smyth
Tue, 12 Sep 2017

Amy Beach's Gaelic Symphony
Thu, 07 Sep 2017