“The Four Seasons” (“Le quattro stagioni”) form a group of four violin concerti by the Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi, each of which gives a musical expression to a season of the year. They were written around 1723 and published in 1725 in Amsterdam, together with eight additional violin concerti as “Il cimento dellʹarmonia e dellʹinventione” (“The Test of Harmony and Invention”). Vivaldi published the concerti with accompanying sonnets (possibly written by Vivaldi himself) as cues about what the music was supposed to evoke. The text of the sonnets is positioned in the score along the music to which it corresponds.
This transcription attempts to reproduce at the organ the original workʹs musical intentions as faithfully as possible, trying especially not to distort the acoustic effects for which Vivaldi uses very light and direct orchestral means.
For that purpose, at least two manuals and a pedal board are needed, not only to differentiate “solo” and “tutti” parts, but also to reproduce fast repeated notes in orchestral sections, which are best transcribed using two equally sounding keyboards. Hence, depending on the context, ʹIʹ and ʹIIʹ should either refer respectively to tutti and solo parts, or designate two keyboards of equal intensity. A soft accompaniment or echo keyboard named ʹIIIʹ is also sometimes suggested. Of course, these indications are only suggestions and should be adapted to the organs actually played and to the stops used.
La Primavera: Allegro [3 pages], Largo [1 page], Allegro [3 pages]
L’Estate: Allegro non molto [3 pages], Adagio [1 page], Presto [3 pages]
L’Autonno: Allegro [3 pages], Adagio molto [0.5 pages], Allegro [2.5 pages]
L’Inverno: Allegro non molto [3 pages], Largo [1 pages], Allegro [3 pages]
(3 or 4 pages = 1 page turn, 5 or 6 pages = 2 page turns)