Violin Concerto No. 2, “Summer”

Antonio Vivaldi composed his best-known works, four violin concerti that form The Four Seasons, around 1716 or 1717. They were the first four concerti of 12 in his Opus number 8, Cimento dell’ Armonia e dell’ Inventione (The Contest Between Harmony and Invention). 

Each concerto of the four is written in three movements, and the sounds throughout the work are meant to represent the features of the seasons: animals, human activities, and nature sounds.

Today, in keeping with my reminiscences about summer, I’m featuring the concerto written to represent that season. And just like summer is my favourite season, “Summer” is my favourite concerto of the four. 

I have a few versions of The Four Seasons. Both of the CD versions that I own feature German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter as the soloist; one with a chamber group, and one with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Austrian conductor Herbert von Karajan (a recording released in 1984, which is probably one of the more quickly-played versions I’ve heard).

Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.

Here are three videos from Anne-Sophie Mutter’s official YouTube channel, which provide the audio from the 1984 recording for each of the three movements:

I. Allegro non molto: 

II. Adagio: 

III. Presto, which includes several terrific runs, to bring the “season” to a dramatic close:

Also, here is an unofficial copy of a video of Karajan conducting the concerto with Mutter on the violin. There isn’t any information about the orchestra or the date of the performance.

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