Everyone loves spring. The season of daffodils, blue skies and warm weather is inspiring to most of us – including some of the world’s greatest classical composers. So in honor of a season that just can’t come soon enough this year, here are some wonderful odes to spring.
Concerto No.1 in E Major, RV 269, "SPRING", The Four Seasons (Vivaldi)
Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is one of the most well known and loved pieces in the baroque music repertoire. Published in 1725, the Spring concerto was favorite of King Louis XV, and its popularity continues unabated today. The graceful notes perfectly captures the light, energy and optimism of the season.
The Rite of Spring (Stravinsky)
Now considered a modern classic, Stravinsky’s composition shocked its audience when it debuted in 1913. Pagan mysteries and rituals are alluded to in the atonal, dissonant melodies. Still strikingly modern sounding over 100 years later, it is widely admired as one of the most important works of the last century.
Appalachian Spring (Copeland)
If Stravinsky’s idea of spring isn’t your cup of tea, you may appreciate the more melodious themes of Aaron Copeland’s masterwork, Appalachian Spring. Although now intimately associated with the season of rebirth, Copeland composed the music without the benefit of knowing what the title would be. Originally titled simply “Ballet for Martha” (referring to the famous choreographer Martha Graham), the storyline of the ballet depicts a spring celebration among 19th century American pioneers.
The Lark Ascending (Ralph Vaughn Williams)
Another beautifully lyrical piece evoking spring was inspired by a poem of the same name by English poet George Meredith. First composed in 1914 for violin and piano, it was rescored for a solo violin and full orchestra and premiered in 1921. While perhaps not pushing any musical barriers, it is an undeniably beautiful piece, conjuring up pastoral images of the English countryside.