Explain the programmatic elements of Vivaldi's composition "The Four Seasons".



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Each concerto of "The Four Seasons" was meant to be preceded by a sonnet describing the particular season being portrayed. The music that followed gave another interpretation of the season.

The sonnet for "Spring" refers to the happy songs of the birds, the black clouds and lightning and thunder of the storm, the sleepy goatherd in the pasture, and the dance of the shepherds and nymphs to the tune of the bagpipe. The musical score uses high tones for bird calls, a note from Vivaldi identifying "the barking dog" in the second movement, and the dance music of the Allegro Pastorale third movement.

In the second concerto, "Summer" is portrayed with oppressive heat sapping the energy out of everything except "buzzing insects" and the fury of a summer storm in the third movement.

"Autumn," the third concerto, presents the excitement of the hunt and the celebration of the harvest. Vivaldi's instructions explain, at one point in the second movement, that the music represents "the drunkards (who) have fallen asleep."

The final concerto, "Winter," contrasts the dissonance of howling winds with the sounds of chattering teeth and concludes with a driving blizzard of sound and fury.


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