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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Composers Datebook for December 22, 2011


Produced in association with the American Composers Forum

Thursday, December 22

Play today's show | How to listen

Lully and Vivaldi greet winter

The arrival of the solstice means it's official: winter is here.

Now, it may not seem like winter to some of you in Southern California or Puerto Rico, but here in Minnesota, where I happen to be at the moment, the season is, how shall we put it, usually "noticeable."

Winter must have been noticeable as well for the transplanted Italian composer, Jean-Baptiste Lully, who was born in Florence, but settled in Paris and ended up as the court composer for King Louis XIV.

One of Lully's operas, "Isis" had its premiere in the winter of 1676-77, and contains a chorus of "Trembleurs," or "Trembling People from the Frozen Climes," whose teeth chatter in slurred tremolos. This chorus became particular famous for the wintry pantomime ballet that accompanied it, as well as for its evocative music.

Of course, the most famous of all Baroque "Winter" music was also served up by another Italian, Antonio Vivaldi, who was born in Venice, but traveled widely in Northern Europe as well, and died in Vienna.

Vivaldi's "Winter" Violin concerto from "The Four Seasons" includes its own musical shivers, not to mention a musical depiction of slipping and sliding on icy streets.

Music Played on Today's Program:

Jean-Baptiste Lully
(1632 - 1687):
Isis excerpt
Philippe Caillard Chorale;
Paillard Chamber Orchestra
Erato 20983
Antonio Vivaldi
(1678 - 1741):
Winter, fr The Four Seasons
Enrico Onofrio, violin;
Il Giardino Armonico
Teldec 97671

Additional Information:

On Jean-Baptiste Lully
On Antonio Vivaldi

About the Program
Composers Datebook is a daily program about composers of the past and present, hosted by John Zech.

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