Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is a masterpiece. It is the most well known classical piece of music next to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Vivaldi created a soundscape of time, literally. His real genius is that he chose a topic that we all accept and understand. No one would challenge that there are not four seasons.
But wait, are there only four seasons? Could there be a fifth season, maybe more?
Antonio Vivaldi presented his piece in 1725 after spending numerous seasons composing it. He died in poverty in 1741 soon after his benefactor died. Since then his music has come in waves. He was forgotten for a time. In the current wave, he is alive and well. His music has risen from the dead.
“No call to God can be unheard nor left Unanswered,” heard by a woman who was listening to a voice. I was listening to a live performance of the Four Seasons with a friend during a cold winter day. A 17-year-old violinist played an instrument handcrafted in 1741, the year the composer died. She had no sheet music. She heard the music, felt a connection, studied it, learned it by memory and then transmitted it to us, the audience who were deep in trance.
The singing birds, the barking dogs, the hail storm, the silent nights and the drunken dancers bounced off the walls of the concert hall. All the vibrations landed on my body and all others in the theater built in 1920. The show ended. We clapped. The violinist and conductor took a bow. And then we, the audience, faced each other.
The vibrations carried me out of my seat. I found myself standing on the sidewalk by the entrance. I was back in winter. My friend and I made a few comments about the performance and parted ways. Little did we know that we were carrying the Four Seasons, and the Fifth Season of our time.
This, I would like to propose as an amendment to our modern calendar. I would like to add the Fifth Season to the four seasons. Yes, call me crazy. This new season would be a season when all is forgotten, when all is dead and buried — and then there is a revival. This may sound like spring. It is not. This is a season when all seasons combine into one moment. It is the “plus one” season. It is the encore.
Don’t believe me. Go listen to Max Richter’s Recomposed, a beautiful interpretation of Vivaldi’s violin concerto. To the purist, this is sacrilege.
To those who are listening, Richter describes the Fifth Season of the human spirit. Are you ready?