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Beyond the Score

Vivaldi The Four Seasons

Release May 5, 2010

© Chicago Symphony Orchestra 2010
All rights reserved

Length: 01:01:21



In early 18th-century Venice, one of the most beautiful and civilized cities in Europe, there were a number of celebrated boarding schools in which young girls were trained in singing and playing instruments to spectacular virtuosity. Antonio Vivaldi—composer, violinist and Catholic priest—was the musical director of the most famous of these schools, the Pietà. For the girls of the Pietà’s orchestra he poured out a torrent of glittering music that astonished Europe. The immensely popular sequence of four concertos called The Seasons was published in a book called The Argument of Harmony and Invention. Each is preceded by a poem by Vivaldi himself, in which he describes the actions and delights of each season as depicted in his music with all the vividness of one of the great Italian paintings from the same period.

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Additional Details

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Gerard McBurney creative director

Additional Information

More about Beyond the Score

Written and created by the CSO's creative director, Gerard McBurney, live musical examples are called upon to illustrate the structure of each composition. After an intermission, concertgoers return to the hall with newly discovered knowledge to hear a performance of the work played in its entirety.

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