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L’INVERNO DI VIVALDI Posted by on Dec 30, 2014 in Literature, Music

It’s hard to find a more appropriate theme for winter than Inverno from Vivaldi’s Le Quattro Stagioni. Vivaldi took inspiration for his Four Seasons from four Sonnets, apparently written by himself. Each of the four sonnets is expressed in by a corresponding movement of the concerto: La Primavera, L’Estate, L’Autunno, and L’inverno.

Here’s the sonnet for Inverno in the original Italian followed by an anonymous translation. You can listen to a recording of L’Inverno by violinist Itzhak Perlman by clicking on the photo below.

Jan-08 029


Allegro non molto
"Aggiacciato tremar tra neri algenti
Al Severo Spirar d’orrido Vento,
Correr battendo i piedi ogni momento;
E pel Soverchio gel batter i denti;"

"Passar al foco i dì quieti e contenti
Mentre la pioggia fuor bagna ben cento"

"Caminar Sopra ‘l giaccio, e a passo lento
Per timor di cader gersene intenti;
Gir forte Sdruzziolar, cader a terra
Di nuove ir Sopra ‘l giaccio e correr forte
Sin ch’ il giaccio si rompe, e si disserra;
Sentir uscir dalle ferrate porte
Sirocco Borea, e tutti i Venti in guerra
Quest’ é ‘l verno, ma tal, che gioja apporte."

December 09 -003
La Neve. Photo by Geoff


Allegro non molto
Shivering, frozen mid the frosty snow in biting, stinging winds;
running to and fro to stamp one’s icy feet, teeth chattering in the bitter chill.

To rest contentedly beside the hearth, while those outside are drenched by pouring rain.

We tread the icy path slowly and cautiously, for fear of tripping and falling.
Then turn abruptly, slip, crash on the ground and, rising, hasten on across the ice lest it cracks up.
We feel the chill north winds coarse through the home despite the locked and bolted doors…
this is winter, which nonetheless brings its own delights.

Many musicians and composers have been influenced by Le Quattro Stagioni. Here are a few examples that are definitely worth listening to:

1. An extraordinary version of Vivaldi’s Winter played on Accordion:  Winter played by Viktor Barinov

2. Vivaldi for electric guitar by the Spanish neo-classical band Dark Moor: Winter played by Dark Moor

3. Winter in Buenos Aires by Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla from his Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas, also known as the Estaciones Porteñas or The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires: Invierno Porteño (Buenos Aires Winter)

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  1. Allan Mahnke:

    Spectacular photo! Complimenti!

    For a very interesting and most unusual take on the seasons, especially winter, listen to the Wendy Carlos recording, “Sonic Seasonings.” It may be tricky to find. For a performance of the Vivaldi, which far better than most captures the sense of the sonnet, try the recording by Fabio Biondi. You can actually hear the teeth chattering.

    • Geoff:

      @Allan Mahnke Grazie Allan, cercherò le registrazioni che hai menzionato.

      Buon Anno da Geoff e Serena 🙂

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