Spring is a time for everything to begin to grow again after waiting for the winter to end. Flowers are blooming. Tulips, hyacinths, daffodils and crocuses have raised their little heads to the sun above the ground and welcome us to smile at first glance. Trees are beginning to spread their seeds and sprout leaves that will shade us this summer.
With all the sun, we need the rain to bring the earth back to life. Sometimes those showers turn to thunderstorms with plenty of thunder and lightning!
With this year's very early spring, the birds have flown back from the south and have already begun their nesting songs in the morning and evening. Antonio Vivaldi experienced the same things almost 300 years ago; and, not only did he enjoy spring, but he also wrote music to remind him of the happiness it brings. Actually, he must have enjoyed all the seasons, because he wrote a larger work about winter, summer, fall and spring and named it "The Four Seasons" - a perfect title!
Vivaldi lived in Venice, Italy, and wrote lots of music. He especially liked to write music for violins. "The Four Seasons" is one of his best known works. Spring, Movement I: Allegro is performed frequently and is a very short but delightful work. Maybe you have heard it already.
Find Spring, Movement I from "The Four Seasons" using your computer or a CD. What kind of instruments are playing? Do you hear violins, violas, cellos and bass? These are all instruments from the string family. Vivaldi decided to write music only for the string family for Spring.
If you listen carefully, you can hear birds chirping on the violins. From last month's Musical Chairs story about "Peter and the Wolf," what instrument did Prokofiev use for the bird?
Vivaldi decided that he preferred the high sounds of the violin for his bird rather than the flute that composers often use for bird songs. Spring also brings showers, and Vivaldi wrote the sounds of a storm in this music. See if you can hear the thunder and lightning as the storm approaches in Vivaldi's Spring. If the violin plays the high sounds of the birds, what instruments do you think play the low sounds of thunder? If you guessed cello and bass, you are exactly right! And before the thunder, the violins also make great lightning sounds. If you close your eyes and use your imagination, you can hear the birds, the storm, the thunder and the lightning.
Just for fun, see if you can answer these questions by listening to Vivaldi: Spring, Movement I: Allegro from "The Four Seasons" and looking back in this story.
- What family of instruments plays Vivaldi's Spring?
- What instruments play bird songs in Vivaldi's Spring?
- What instruments play thunder and lightning in Vivaldi's Spring?
- How did you like the music?