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Baroque - Vivaldi: The Four Seasons; Pachelbel: Canon in D

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1 review about Baroque - Vivaldi: The Four Seasons; Pachelbel:...

Two of my Favorite Classical Pieces Together on One CD

  • Sep 2, 2006
Pros: Seriously good, listenable music; nothing beats the classics...

Cons: None what so ever!

The Bottom Line: Baroque - Vivaldi: The Four Seasons; Pachelbel: Canon in D is a grand CD with two of the most beautiful works in classical music.

Release Date: September 17, 1996
Label: Intersound Records
Genre: Classical
Number of Discs: (1)

I racked my brains trying to come up with a review idea for Bryan Carey’s New Millennium Write-Off: 2000 Years, 2000 Reviews. What was I doing in the Year 2000, where was I living, what was I listening to, where was I working? But then I remembered on momentous even that took place in the Year 2000: I go married to my wonderful wife, and the music we played at the ceremony was Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major, which in my opinion is the most rapturous piece of music in the whole of the classical genre.

But I also enjoy Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, and it just so happens that I have an album, Baroque - Vivaldi: The Four Seasons; Pachelbel: Canon in D, that contains both pieces of music; so I decide to write my review on this splendid piece of human aural beauty.

The Album

Baroque - Vivaldi: The Four Seasons; Pachelbel: Canon in D contains more than just The Four Seasons performed by the Salzburg Camerata Academica, and Canon in D Major, performed by the English Philharmonic Orchestra; the album also contains Fanfare (the theme from Masterpiece Theater) for brass, strings & timpani, performed by the English Philharmonic Orchestra, and composed by Jean-Joseph Mouret. There are also the Concerto for oboe, strings & continuo in D minor composed by Allessandro Marcello, and performed by Aureum Collegium. And finally there is Overture, suite for two flutes, string & continuo in E minor, composed by Georg Philipp Telemann, and performed by the Wurzburg Camerata Academica.

Fanfare opens the CD followed by Canon in D Major, The Four Seasons, Concerto for oboe, strings & continuo in D minor and finally, Overture, suite for two flutes, string & continuo in E minor. I do not consider either Canon in D Major, or The Four Seasons Baroque music, but who am I, a mere amateur admirer of the genre and in not an expert, to say for sure. I generally do not enjoy the music from the Baroque period of the genre that is sharply characterized by the flute and harpsichord, but I have to say I enjoy this CD immensely.
The Four Seasons

Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons (Le quattro stagioni in the original Italian) is a set of four violin concertos by Vivaldi, penned in 1723, and represent Vivaldi's best-known and most widely performed and recorded work. Its popularity has made it among the most popular pieces in all of classical music.

First published in 1725, the concertos were part of a set of 12, Vivaldi's Opus. 8, entitled The Contest of Harmony and Invention. The first four concertos, each with three movements, no longer than five minutes in length, with a slow movement between two faster ones—were named after a season: Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. Little known is the fact that Vivaldi wrote four sonnets, to be accompany and complement each of the four concertos. The concertos and their movements are detailed below:

Concerto in E major, Op. 8 No. 1, RV 269, Spring ("La Primavera")
1. Allegro
2. Largo
3. Allegro

• Concerto in G minor, Op. 8 No. 2, RV 315, Summer ("L'Estate")
1. Allegro non molto - Allegro
2. Adagio - Presto - Adagio
3. Presto

• Concerto in F major, Op. 8 No. 3, RV 293, Autumn ("L'Autunno")
1. Allegro
2. Adagio molto
3. Allegro

• Concerto in F minor, Op. 8 No. 4, RV 297, Winter ("L'Inverno")
1. Allegro non molto
2. Largo
3. Allegro

The tenor and texture of each concerto is varied to emulated—insofar as possible–its respective season. Spring is light and cheerful for example, while Winter—my favorite passage especially the first movement—is rather dark and somber. In between Summer builds upon Spring’s cheerful nature, but the last movement invokes images of thunderstorms and dark clouds, while Fall is lazy and luxurious in it tone. The piece is brought wonderfully to life by the Salzburg Camerata Academica, this version is not the best I have heard; the orchestra plays the passages a little too quickly for my tastes.

Pachelbel Canon in D

The sun rises into a light gray sky covered over from with low-lying fluffy clouds. From hilly stands of pine and evergreen trees that set tall and proud against the landscape, to the gently lapping light blue lake in the distance, the land is bathed in a bright gray light as the sun chases away the night. I open the French doors that lead to the veranda and the cold air gently caresses my face and gives new life to my parched lungs and wanting soul. In the distance dotting the hillocks and glades lie brick houses some with windows aglow, white smoke ascending through the chimneys of most, silent bulwarks against the harness of Mother Nature.

A gentle quietness has fallen across the land as snow in big white flakes falls from a seemingly solemn sky, coating the ground of my garden below me and the green, green leaves of the evergreen and pines white and the color of German Christmas. Slowly the snowflakes fall; no two the same, tumbling, rolling, and twirling in the cold air, touching but untouched, pure in their virgin majesty. The beauty they create is breath taking and yet oh so simple. Its beauty that touches the human heart and taps into its deep well of emotions, and can cleanse the soul of demons, if only for a moment...this is Canon in D.

Two lovers stand, eyes locked, hands intertwined, hearts beating wildly, each searching, each wanting to touch the other at a level far deeper than mere physicality will allow. Gently he caresses her face, his hand tracing every curve, every rise; the softness of her lips, the silkiness of her hair. The quiet dignified beauty of her makes him weak and his soul reaches out to hers, and hers to his, and they dance to music only they can hear. Their lips touch lightly at first feeling the light brush of electricity between them, but then passion overtakes them and their lips press together with purpose and meaning and the force of his allure for her leaves a weakness in her knees and she clings to him for support...this is Canon in D.

Slowly he lowers her to the bed festooned in scented rose pedals of white, yellow and red, and in slow motion one undresses the other until their naked bodies lay upon the satin sheet bathed in silvery white light of the three quarters moon. Their lips meet once more and they explore each other’s bodies with fingertip that trace lines of passion across skin; with and lips adorned with moister and softness; with palms that sooth tired muscles with their warming touch; with legs and feet that explore zones heretofore unknown. And as the moon reaches its zenith and the liquid light from its sun trenched reflection casts long shadows upon the lovers, their passion tenderly reaches its peak and in a defining moment only known to them, their love and longing for one another is cemented as only the Lord could have foretold...this is Canon in D.

There is perhaps no other passage in all of classical music with the ability to so encase the human soul in beauty as Pachelbel’s Canon in D. We have probably all heard it, the violins softly, lyrically dancing upon our ears inviting us, no imploring us to listen to its simplistic beauty with reference. But how many of us have let the passage immerse us in the pure majesty of its image inducing music? This is a passage that begs to be listened to with your eyes shut and nothing else but the strings of the violins on our minds.

I cannot tell you where I was, or what I was doing when I first heard Canon in D, but I can tell you that it is a passage I will never forget so lasting is it effect on my soul. If romantic poetry could have a musical voice Canon in D would give rise to all the Sonnets of Shakespeare ever penned and accompany every verse of Emily Dickinson.

Canon in D Major begins very quietly, so quite in some retentions that you have to strain to hear it. The violins, many but speaking with one joyously exquisite voice, rise in crescendo as the piece progresses and then take off in so many directions at once that the ear strains to keep up, but the effect is far from disconcerting, it is welcome.

Canon in D Major was written for the violin and rightfully so, because not other instrument could do justice to its hauntingly exquisite notes. As I write this review, I am listening to Canon in D Major as performed by to English Philharmonic Orchestra; their rendition of the song is how it was meant to be played; slowly, quietly, with the note drawn out so that the caress and wrap themselves around the eardrum, making it beg for more! I can picture the violin plays as they play, eyes closed pouring themselves in to the piece, not a few with tears in tier eyes from the playing such a unity of beauty and the human heart at it best.

Final Thoughts: Baroque - Vivaldi: The Four Seasons; Pachelbel: Canon in D is a grand CD with two of the most beautiful works in classical music. In a world filed with noise masquerading as music this CD is a welcome, welcome respite.

Track Listing

1. Fanfare (Masterpiece Theater Theme)
2. Canon in D Major
3. The Spring: Allegro
4. The Spring: Largo e pianissimo sempre
5. The Spring: Allegro; Rustic Dance
6. The Summer: Allegro non molto
7. The Summer: Adagio; Presto
8. The Summer: Presto; Impetuous summer storm
9. The Fall: Dancing and Singing of the Peasants; Allegro
10. The Fall: The Sleeping Drunkards; Adagio
11. The Fall: The Hunt; Allegro
12. The Winter: Allgro non molto
13. The Winter: Largo
14. The Winter: Allegro
15. Oboe Concerto In D Minor: Andante e spiccato
16. Oboe Concerto In D Minor: Adagio
17. Oboe Concerto In D Minor: Presto
18. Table Music Overture

This review is part of the Bryan Carey 2,000 Years, 2,000 Reviews (Write- Off)


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Baroque - Vivaldi: The Four Seasons; Pachelbel:
Label: Intersound
Release Date: August 26, 1997

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