It may still be cold outside, but it’s hard not to look ahead to the arrival of spring, when the weather warms up and we anticipate seeing the leaves on the trees again, and florals sprouting from gardens. It’s a lovely time of year (when it finally happens!).
As classical music lovers, it’s natural to think about music that reflects spring as well. The most obvious choice is “Spring” from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, a group of four violin concertos written around 1721. Vivaldi’s genius was his ability to depict, when composing for stringed instruments, flowing rivers, twittering birds, and the breeze making the leaves flutter.
Mendelssohn’s “Spring Song”, otherwise known as No. 6 Allegretto grazioso in A major, is part of the Songs without Words for piano. They were written as tuneful piano pieces that are very song-like in nature, but performed by piano alone. It is a playful, lilting melody, and it shows up periodically in cartoons or on film, to depict something light and irreverent. (For some reason, images of Bugs Bunny twirling around with a basket of flowers come to mind.)
Some of our listeners may recall a famous British Airways commercial featuring two sopranos singing a lovely, gentle song. That is the “Flower Duet” by Delibes, which brought that aria into the mainstream. The duet is from the opera Lakmé, and depicts Lakmé and her servant Mallika as they discuss gathering flowers by the river.
Technically, Handel’s “Messiah” belongs here, because it was written for Easter, not Christmas. Only the first third of the work covers the birth of Christ; the rest focusses on his death and resurrection and was premiered in the spring during Lent. By the 19th century, it was programmed in the United States at Christmas time, perhaps because of an established abundance of Easter music, such JS Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. Because Easter is about the Resurrection, here is an excerpt from Handel’s Messiah, “The Resurrection” performed by the Dream Orchestra conducted by Daniel Suk.
Any other pieces of music that remind you of Spring? We’d love to hear from you. Please comment on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/thenewclassical/
May the Easter Bunny be generous. Happy Spring!