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The Interrelationship Between Music and Program in Vivaldis Violin Concerto in F minor, Op. 8, no. 3 Autumn (The Four Seasons) (1725) - Essay Example

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Current paper is dedicated to Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in F minor, Op. 8, no. 3 “Autumn” (The Four Seasons) and how the music relates between each other, inside the composition, forming an incredible style of an author.
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The Interrelationship Between Music and Program in Vivaldis Violin Concerto in F minor, Op. 8, no. 3 Autumn (The Four Seasons) (1725)
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Download file to see previous pages .The ritornello form used in the “Autumn” concerto is clear. The tutti section in the first movement outlines the theme and is repeated numerous times in variation throughout the movement. The solo sections embellish on the main theme as well as moving into more free-flowing segments. The Italian Concerto format of three movements (fast, slow, fast) is a basic standard for the period and Vivaldi adheres to that model. Key changes in the Baroque period, from minor to major are made more rapidly than examples of concerti from the latter 18th Century where composers took more time in both tutti and solo sections before shifting to alternate keys. Phrases are often played in forte and repeated in piano; this style is a signature of Vivaldi in many of his concerti.
In the Baroque style, often the solo sections of a concerto are accompanied by a simple bass line, or ground bass, perhaps with incidental strings or other instruments and usually harpsichord. Vivaldi follows this convention. The solo violin is left with little background from the orchestra, leaving more room for free flowing play with the theme and variations upon it. The opening to Vivaldi’s concerto is lively and athletic. In four quarter time, it has a quality reminiscent of folk dance. There is a leaping feature to the subject with strongly accenting downbeats. The violin enters, strictly following the theme but turns a portion of the theme upside down. In the next solo section the violin takes a series of leaps and arpeggios as it moves toward a slightly slower and more chromatic subject. Slowing pace in the middle of an allegro movement deviates from the standard form of the day. Vivaldi’s style of composition varies from other composers in that there is less strictness in the solo sections or adherence to the original theme. Instead, the violin is left to fly through arpeggios and runs adding to the strong rhythms and rich texture of the work. The second movement is slow and simple, using the harpsichord as the main instrument accompanied by quiet strings in chromatic lines and basso continuo. “Along with the emphasis on a single melody and bass line came the practice of basso continuo, a method of musical notation in which the melody and bass line are written out and the harmonic filler indicated in a type of shorthand.”1 The third movement opens with a vigorous theme, with a strong “leaping” rhythm in triple time. In the opening solo section, the violin turns the theme upside down in contrast to the tutti and with harshly struck bow work, which adds to the rustic flavour of the music. As in the first movement, ritornello is used to bring the theme back throughout the movement, embellished by the resolute solos of the violin. Again, there is a slowing of the music before one final and triumphant recapitulation of the theme. In context of the poem, Vivaldi’s “Autumn” accurately describes the verses. From the opening dance of the peasants to the slower paced section in the first movement that describes the “full liquor of Bacchus”, the music complements the words. As well, the rich texture of the theme and harmonics in major thirds reflects the colors of the season. However, the solo sections break from strict Baroque form by allowing the solo instrument to take more liberty with variation and free form phrasing, within the work. This shift away from the theme allows Vivaldi to “play” with the images in the poem invoking dance and even the movement of wind in the trees. The second movement reflects the sleeping peasants. The slow, chromatic strings and the quiet harpsichord invoke a clear sense of a calm night. The third movement, with its rousing opening theme ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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