Spring is right around the corner! To celebrate, here is a list of some classical works inspired by spring:
“Spring” from The Four Seasons by Vivaldi (1678-1741)
This famous work is part of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons: four violin concerti that evoke images and moods for the corresponding season in nature. “Spring” was published with a poem corresponding to each movement:
Springtime is upon us.
The birds celebrate her return with festive song,
and murmuring streams are
softly caressed by the breezes.
Thunderstorms, those heralds of Spring, roar,
casting their dark mantle over heaven,
Then they die away to silence,
and the birds take up their charming songs once more.
On the flower-strewn meadow, with leafy branches
rustling overhead, the goat-herd sleeps,
his faithful dog beside him.
Led by the festive sound of rustic bagpipes,
nymphs and shepherds lightly dance
beneath the brilliant canopy of spring.
“Spring” Sonata by Beethoven (Violin Sonata No. 5 in F major, op. 24)
While the title “Spring” was given after the composer’s death, Beethoven (1770-1827) did have a love of nature and was greatly inspired by the beauty of the earth. This sonata for violin and piano captures the joy of spring through its cheerful melodies and playful manner. The first movement (1:08) is fun and energetic – the themes develop through a conversation between the two instruments. The second movement (11:50) flows beautifully, contrasting against the playful nature of the first. The third movement (18:10) is a game of musical tag between the violin and piano, and the fourth movement (19:32) is lyrical, light, and spontaneous.
“Rustle of Spring” (Frühlingsrauschen, Op. 32, No. 3) by Christian Sinding
Norwegian composer Sinding (1856-1941) wrote “Rustle of Spring” as a piece meant to entertain, and it accomplishes just that with flashy arpeggios in the right hand placed against a melodious left hand. The constant motion symbolizes the excited restlessness of and anticipation for spring, and the listener is carried away in the imagery of the new season.
Sibelius‘s “Spring Song” (Vårsång)
Sibelius (1865-1957) originally composed this work as an orchestral improvisation in 1894. A year later he reworked it and subtitled it “The Sadness of Spring”. The piece, however, conveys more gladness than sadness; it is filled with grand optimism as it portrays the unfolding of Nordic spring. “Spring Song” opens with a chorale-like theme that is developed and expanded through all moving voices.