Introduction by Thorstein Granly
Chief Executive at The Norwegian Wind Ensemble
Despite the fact that Antonio Vivaldi came to the end of his life a poor and outdated musician, The Four Seasons has become one of the most famous pieces in classical music, with recordings sold to the count of millions and constant performances in the world’s concert halls.
As was the case with many composers in the 17th and 18th centuries, Vivaldi was long forgotten, and most of his music was not rediscovered until a little later in the 20th century. Since then, it has since had an almost universal success, bringing Vivaldi star status. Le quattro Stagioni, as The Four Seasons was called in its original language, remains perhaps the most famous work of the Baroque.
The Four Seasons is also an early example of what is called “program music,” a form of music that was not so common before the romantic period. This meant that Vivaldi wrote four sonnets, or poetic texts, and let the music convey all the moods of the seasons on the basis of this text.
The popularity of The Four Seasons has persisted, perhaps due to the bright and energetic character of the music, which hints toward the enormous joy taken in composing it.
The Four Seasons is still very much alive, almost three hundred years after it was composed. The work has been interpreted in many ways and The Norwegian Wind Ensemble performs their version here, written by our very own Stian Aareskjold, where the woodwinds, together with violinist Atle Sponberg, make their unique mark on the piece. Atle Sponberg is soloist and musical director.
Atle Sponberg, who is especially known for his relationship with Argentinian tango, is also a very active studio musician. He has contributed to a large number of recordings with artists across a wide musical spectrum, from Kine Hellebust & Anders Rogg to Penthouse Playboys, from Bjørn Eidsvåg to Dimmu Borgir, and from deLillos to the Oslo Cathedral Choir. The Norwegian Wind Ensemble has had the pleasure of collaborating with Sponberg on a number of occasions in recent years, and of particular note the National Day Concert and Fredrikshald Festival, which in 2018 marked the fall of Charles XII of Sweden at Fredriksten fortress three hundred years ago.