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Autumn is a Fancy Word for Fall
That’s what I tell my children when I am teaching this piece. We make funny faces and speak in British accents and say, “aren’t you simply delighted that Autumn has arrived?” Then when they are in a really good mood and relaxed and joyful, I teach my lesson. I find that helps so much! If you set children up to think something is going to be serious and OH SO IMPORTANT, then they naturally clam up and their brains shut down to all the childlike joy that will make the experience delightful. Keep it light, joyful, and whimsical and they will be IN.
This post wraps up the last of Tony V.’s incredible The Four Seasons. We have talked about these pieces all year long: Winter, Spring, and Summer. I just love teaching this music because the pieces are so incredibly tangible. The connections are easy, and children feel so empowered when they actually HEAR exactly what you are talking about…whether it is the violins sounding like birds in spring or the plucking strings sounding like raindrops on a cold roof in winter. Kids really get these pieces.
I have mentioned in previous posts that these pieces are based on sonnets. Some people think Vivaldi wrote them himself, but no one knows for sure. The good news for us is it keeps his point from being vague and obtuse. He is telling us exactly what he wants us to hear.
Each season has it’s own sonnet, and here’s the one for Autumn:
The peasant celebrates with song and dance the harvest safely gathered in.
The cup of Bacchus flows freely, and many find their relief in deep slumber.
The singing and the dancing die away
as cooling breezes fan the pleasant air,
inviting all to sleep
without a care.
The hunters emerge at dawn,
ready for the chase,
with horns and dogs and cries.
Their quarry flees while they give chase.
Terrified and wounded, the prey struggles on,
but, harried, dies.
You might have to do a little googlin’ to figure out what the “cup of Bacchus” is.
Ok, fine. I did it for you.
The 2nd movement reflects the winding down of fall into winter…that slightly melancholy feeling some people have when sunny days fade into winter’s chill. (Not me, I am part bear and love winter hibernation.)
The 3rd movement of Autumn brings to mind a traditional hunting scene. Picture Mary Crawley on horseback, dashing through the countryside. That’s the feel.
Ok, give it a listen! I think you will be able to note the change in movements on your own (give it a try!), but I put the breakdown below in case you need a little help.
- 1st Movement: Beginning-3:07
- 2nd Movement: 3:07-7:10
- 3rd Movement: 7:10-end