Vivaldi unbelievably wrote over 200 violin concertos. Four of them he grouped together into the Seasons: Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer. They are all in three movements, fast-slow-fast. They are each about 10 minutes long. They are heard mainly these days in recordings. This is old music from the first great era called the Baroque. Next was the Classical period of Mozart and then the Romantic period of Beethoven. Bach was the great man of the Baroque era but there is much of interest also from the others like Vivaldi and Vitali Baroque music sounds a little strange to our ears because modern music is so strongly influenced by the later music. For example, the hymns sung in church are most frequently based on the chord progression of tonic-fourth-dominant-tonic which we can trace back to Beethoven and Mozart. But this pattern, so familiar to modern ears, is not so common in the Baroque. Baroque music is much more varied in it's chord progressions as it is also in it's rhythmic patterns. To put it another way. Beethoven's music sounds emotionally inevitable to us - it must have been that way. While Baroque music is more varied and more suprising in it's chord progressions and rhythmic patterns. But still, it delights our musical intellect. Vivaldi's mainly string (chamber) orchestra consists of three violin voices (solo, first and second), viola and cello and basso continuo. The viola and cello are used sparingly for counterpoint. The continuo is a contra bass together with a keyboard instrument like the organ or harpsichord to provide rhythm and harmony and weight. However, the continuo players were expected to improvise their parts because the notes and chords are not written out but are merely indicated in the score. Cyberchambermusic improvises with a harp in the continuo of the slow movement of Autumn. Vivaldi achieves wonderful effects with his meager forces. A Summer afternoon outdoor siesta in the slow movement is periodically bothered by buzzing flies and leads to an awakening thunderstorm with lightening, thunder and splattering rain in the last movement. (Cyberchambermusic previously released Summer on 'cyber Beethoven Mozart and Vivaldi'. The two main changes are the use of string sections rather than solo instruments for the 1st and 2nd violins, viola and cello and bass and the placement of the solo violin not on the right channel but rather in between the left and right channels.) With so many violins playing at once, it is (in conventional recordings) often hard to tell which one is the solo. For example the second section of the first movement of Spring has a seeming cacophony of three birds calling back and fourth in the solo, first and second violins. Cyberchambermusic sorts it out by separating the three. The 1st violin is on the left channel; the 2nd violin is on the right channel while the solo violin is in between. Now it can be seen that the birds are sometimes answering each other and sometimes singing with an amazing echo effect. The chaconne is a form that was widely used in the Baroque. It is a series (seemingly endless) of variations (loosely) based on (a sometimes unrecognizable) four measure (usually) chord progression. The interest here in the chaconne attributed to Vitali is the wonderful variety of violin techniques displayed. The solo violin score is technically challenging to the violinist but is easily mastered by cyberchambermusic's computer. The instrument substituted here in accompaniment is the piano - an improved keyboard instrument unknown to the Baroque. The effect of Baroque music is one of light and air. This effect is too often weighted down by the large cumbersome heavy handed orchestra of today. The effect, however, is achieved with the easy clarity of cyberchambermusic's virtual computer orchestra.
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