Spotify Playlist of the Week

Michael Quick

 “The Sounds of Spring”
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Despite that snow storm that we just had, spring is in fact here and the changing of the seasons is something that has inspired many an artist, the most being musicians. They have been singing about the flowers blooming and the sun warming the earth just about as long as there have been songs to sing along to. This week I’ve put together songs that, either directly or indirectly, embody springtime.

The first piece that jumps to mind when discussing the change of seasons is Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons.” This is four violin concerti, each representing one of the seasons.    This collection of music was also one of the first documented examples of program music, where the work is accompanied by some narrative element. In this case, each season was paired with a sonnet. Every season is broken down into three movements, two faster movements bookending one with a slower tempo. And similarly, each sonnet is broken up into three sections to align with the movements of the piece. In the spring concerto, in particular, its sonnet references barking dogs during the second movement. Vivaldi goes as far as adding performance instructions to the violas to play their parts like the aforementioned “barking dogs.” Most baroque music comes off as stuffy and tired because of the almost formulaic way the music is traditionally composed however I feel as though Vivaldi does a wonderful job creating music that not only defies this notion but also well-represents the general views of the seasons themselves and has the potential to arouse similar emotions that one would experience during those very seasons. Vivaldi, being a virtuosic violinist himself, composes the string parts for these concerti like no one else and listening to this piece is equal parts beautiful and impressive.

Hopefully, the remainder of the playlist will also get you in the spring mood and help you through the final stretch of the semester. You’re almost there.