Classic Cocktails and Classical Music: Vivaldi

The Man Who Defies Seasons

It's hard to imagine that when Antonio Vivaldi died in 1741, he took his exquisite music with him. Apart from the influence he passed on through contemporary admirers, such as J. S. Bach, his compositions lost favor and vansished during the classical and romantic periods. It wasn't until the 20th century that Vivaldi rose from the dead to treat us to one of the most popular works in the modern repertoire: a set of violin concertos with accompanying sonnets, known as "The Four Seasons."

Vivaldi Rising from the lost manuscripts, drawing by David Borden, (c) 2015. All Rights Reserved.
"Vivaldi Rises" (c) 2015 by David Borden
How his resurrection occurred is a fascinating story. In the 1920s, a boarding school in Piedmont needed money. They contacted the Museum in Turin after finding some old manuscripts in their archive in order to evaluate them for sale to antique dealers. The evaluator, Dr. Alberto Gentili, was astounded at what he found. Fearing that the school would liquidate the incomplete collection, he kept the discovery quiet while he searched out the missing pieces from long lost heirs. Once the scores were reassembled he raised the funds for the Museum in Turin to purchase the entire archive for study and safe keeping.

Dr. Gentili is one of the world's great unsung heroes.

In 1939 a Vivaldi renaissance was planned with the republication of the scores and a festival. However, World War II put a damper on any momentum. After the war, recordings began to circulate and famous artists, such as Fritz Kreisler, spearheaded a revival.

The Four Seasons are a wonderful introduction to Antonio Vivaldi, and Classical Music, in general. The music unfurls a clear narrative that sweeps you through a year of changing weather and human activities. It pulls you in with affectionately balanced themes that rollick and collide and that charm with an hypnotic elegance. This music never veers into cloying romanticism, yet transports you through a well-controlled mathematical exploration of the senses. The Four Seasons are unabashedly life affirming, which has contributed to their popularity. But don't let the overplay of the Four Seasons desensitize you to it subtlety and profound message. So, just remember, next time you groan at yet another playing of a snippet in a film or wedding, there was a time when this music was novel and new, then there were 140 hears of hibernation, in which no one had the pleasure of hearing it. Be glad Dr. Gentili recognized these manuscripts and saved them from obscurity and possible dissection and destruction for quick cash. Be grateful that this music is in the world and not rotting in some basement.

Now go play it really loud. This is NOT background music. Revel in its power and beauty.

Cat and Cocktails: Vivaldi LP playing with Charlie the cat guarding my Creme de Framboise and vodka cocktail.
Charlie likes Vivaldi and Cocktails, too.
A great cocktail to accompany your listening of the Four Seasons is a drink I call a Framboise cocktail.

2 oz. citrus vodka
.5 oz. Creme de Framboise
half a lemon

Shake the ingredients with ample ice. Strain into martini glasses.

(For a drier drink, substitute Chambord for the Creme de Framboise.)

Salud!

#Vivaldi #FourSeasons #Gentili #classicalmusic #Baroque #joy #happiness 

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