4 Pieces Of Similar Tracks to Vivaldi’s Spring

Similar Tracks to Vivaldi's Spring
Similar Tracks to Vivaldi’s Spring

One of the most popular pieces of Baroque music ever written has to be Antonio Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ (1718-1720). This collection of pieces is essentially a set of concerto grossi that feature the solo violin.

As you would expect, each of the concertos depicts the characteristics and emotions that surround the seasons. They are remarkable works full of electric energy and passion that still resonate with us today.

Additionally, it is worth mentioning that for every concerto there exists a sonnet. These are thought to have been written by Vivaldi possibly but there is little known about them other than that they link to the compositions.

‘Spring’(RV. 269), is the first concerto in the set and is composed in the warm key of E major. Just as the other concertos are formed, ‘Spring’ falls into three movements whose tempi are fast, slow and fast.

Similar Tracks to Vivaldi’s Spring

1. Concerto in D Major: Op.6; No.4 by Arcangelo Corelli

Our first stop takes us to another celebrated Baroque composer, Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713). Like Vivaldi, Corelli composed a wealth of chamber music including Concerto Grossi.

The opus six set Corelli never saw published in his lifetime, but their enduring popularity he could never have predicted. They are considered by many to be amongst the finest examples of this genre of music.

There are twelve concertos in this group all composed somewhere around 1680. Unlike the Vivaldi works, these concertos often contain five contrasting movements.

The fourth concerto contains only four movements, each based on Italian dance forms. Interestingly, the opening movement begins with a thoughtful Adagio that moves quickly into a lively Allegro.

Corelli is experimenting with structures in this concerto and allowing himself far greater freedom that perhaps is shown in the other concertos.

Similar to the other concertos Corelli scores this for a Ripieno (tutti) containing violins 1, 2, violas and basso continuo. The Concertino (soloists), consists of two violins and a cello. The concerto is full of rich expression, and joyful exuberance and is quietly reminiscent of Vivaldi’s work.

2. Concerto Grosso Op.6;No.1 in G major G.F Handel

Handel made a huge success writing Italian opera, but his fortunes were not guaranteed. The fashion, as shown by the Corelli concertos, was for the Concerto Grosso.

Handel’s publisher, (John Walsh), ever on the lookout for some additional funds, cleverly published a set of Handel’s earlier concertos under opus number three.

These Handel had composed as pieces often performed during the intervals that occurred of the performances of his oratorios.

These proved to be a success and soon after Handel was encouraged to compose a new set of pieces that became the opus six set. They were written quickly and completed by 1739.

In a similar fashion to opus three, Handel did not entirely compose these works from scratch. Handel was a consummate recycler and parts of older concertos appear in these compositions, reworked to dramatic effect.

He may even have borrowed parts of other composers’ works, including Scarlatti, that were not viewed in the territorial way things are today.

Handel’s choice of scoring is very close to that of Corelli reflecting Handel’s firm grasp of the trending styles of the day. There are five movements in this concerto including a mixture of slow and fast-paced sections.

Handel includes a beautiful and complex interplay between soloists and ripieno that mirrors Vivaldi but remains uniquely Handel. Of the complete set of concertos, this one remains a firm favourite for its sheer ingenuity and style.

3. Concerto Grosso Op.8; No.5 in G major – Giuseppe Torelli

Torelli might not be a familiar composer to you but he is vitally important having been credited as pioneering the concerto grosso.

Detailed information about Torelli’s life is not in abundance. We do however know he lived, mostly in Bologna, Italy, between 1658 and 1709. The church of San Petronio was where Torelli spent most of his working life.

Fortunately for him, the quality of musicians available to him was quite high. This enabled him to exploit the concerto grosso to his advantage as well as that of the local musicians through the small group of consummate soloists and the larger accompanying orchestra.

Torelli was a prolific composer whose output includes concertos, oratorios, sonatas and sinfonias. A considerable quantity of his work is missing but thankfully this group of concerti remains in the public domain.

What links Torelli to composers like Corelli and Vivaldi is not only the concerto grosso but that in these mature compositions Torelli writes exclusively for a pair of violinists (nos. 1 – 6), or a solo violinist (7 – 12).

This was the road Vivaldi would successfully travel in later years. Another parallel is that Torelli, like Vivaldi, was a virtuoso violinist. He knew precisely how to compose for string players and draw from them the most enticingly beautiful music.

What you will hear in this concerto is dramatic, brilliant string writing propelled by a total command of the form.

4. Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major, BWV 1048

It would be impossible not to include JS Bach in this selection of works. Whilst JS Bach has similarities to Vivaldi, he is undoubtedly a unique voice in his own right.

The third concerto employs strings just as in Vivaldi’s ‘Spring’ but the scoring is quite different. Bach chooses to use three violins, three violas and three celli plus continuo.

Interestingly, Bach also decided to give the performers equal rights when it comes to solo and tutti passages, bringing a closer homogeneity to the instrumental group and a rich sonorous timbre.

The writing is invitingly clever with interwoven polyphony in a way that only Bach can achieve with such effortless fluency. In Brandenburg Concerto number three, the mood is light helped by the openly bright key of G major.

Structurally there are definite echoes of Vivaldi but the work remains securely in the Bach camp.

Of the three movements, the outer ones have the pace and driven quality of ‘Spring’, with the central short Adagio serving as a cadenza for violin, or segue into the finale.

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