World Music Exploration - Vivaldi's Four Seasons

Our musical journey moves northward to Venezia (Venice) for this week's clip. While setting up the clip, I surveyed my students."Pizza" and "pasta" are the first words that came to mind when asked about their knowledge of Italy. "It's shaped like a boot," came third. However,  One of my 10 year-old students impressed me with his knowledge of Italian history, namely all about the city states and which country owned which area.

 

This week, we are listening to the music of Antonio Vivaldi (1675-1741). He was nicknamed the "red priest" because of his red hair, which was unusual at the time. He worked at Conservatorio dell'Ospedale della Pietà, which was a music school for orphaned girls.
 
Vivaldi composed cantatas, concerti, chamber music, church music, operas and an oratorio. He was one of the first Baroque composers to write for clarinet.
 
This is "Winter" from Vivaldi's Four Seasons. This work is comprised of four violin concerti:
 
 
The first thing my students have commented on are the dramatic masks, which Venice is famous for. Next, their eyes bug out when they hear the opening theme played on the solo violin.
Four Seasons is an example of programme music. Based on sonnets, this work is rich in imagery. My students and I have decided that this excerpt could be used for a snowstorm. One student imagined a couple of dogs chasing and playing in the snow.
 

(c) 2012 by Musespeak(TM), Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.