Vivaldi would be totally astonished by the fame of his Four Seasons today. As a priest working in an orphanage, the majority of his music was heard by only a relatively small circle of people in Venice, and almost all of it was forgotten, lost or disregarded for nearly two centuries after his death.
The Four Seasons is not just well-known: it’s one of the most exciting, colourful and innovative works from the Baroque era. It’s widely thought to be the first orchestral music written to evoke a scene or narrative. Each concerto is accompanied by a sonnet, and the sounds and moods of each Italian season (birdsong, pesky flies, the chill air of winter) are imagined in amazingly vivid musical form.