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Hello and welcome to Sticky Notes: The Classical Music Podcast!  This podcast is for anyone who loves classical music, or is just getting ready to dive in for the very first time.  Thanks so much, and I hope you enjoy it!  

Dec 22, 2022

Ask a non-classical music fan to name a piece of classical music. If they don’t say Beethoven 5, or the Ode to Joy, they probably will say The Four Seasons. They might not know that it was written by Vivaldi, but the Four Seasons are a set of pieces that have made that leap into popular culture in a way that almost no other classical composition has. The Four Seasons have been remixed, reimagined, rearranged, and recycled so many times that most classical musicians barely suppress an eye roll when they see them programmed or hear them mentioned. For some classical musicians, especially the ones that disdain anything to do with pop culture, the Four Seasons represent kitsch in classical music, an overplayed and overrated set of violin concertos that could easily be put away forever. But that’s a huge mistake on our part. For me, the Four Seasons are a masterpiece from a criminally underrated composer. They show a remarkable level of creativity, innovation, and ingenuity, and when you strip back the layers of accumulated traditions, all the remixes and “improvements” of them, you’re left with pieces that are way way way ahead of their time, and as exciting and fresh to listen to as they must have been when Vivaldi first wrote them. So today I’m going to take you through the Four Seasons - we’ll talk about Vivaldi’s place in musical history, program music and what that meant in Vivaldi’s time, and how music can portray nature. And I’ll try to convince any skeptical listeners out there that these pieces, far from being overplayed cliches, are actually underplayed, at least in their original form. Join us!

Recording: Janine Jansen with Amsterdam Sinfonietta. Link to video here: