Spanish Composer Imagines Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ with Climate Change

    29 October 2023

    Antonio Vivaldi's famous musical work, The Four Seasons, was first performed in the 1700s.

    Many music historians call it a "masterpiece," the musical composer's greatest work.

    The composition includes four parts for the four seasons: "Spring," "Summer," "Autumn," and "Winter."

    Violinist Simon Garcia plays an adaptation of Antonio Vivaldi's famous
    Violinist Simon Garcia plays an adaptation of Antonio Vivaldi's famous "The Four Seasons" concertos as a screen shows an image of a wildfire on International Day against Climate Change in Madrid, Spain, October 24, 2023. REUTERS/Susana Vera

    Each part recalls the season it is aiming to describe. For example, the website Galaxy Music Notes says "Summer" has a "slow start, portraying the weather as too hot for any movement."

    "Autumn" is a "celebration of the harvest."

    One music director in Spain decided to interpret the 300-year-old work for modern times. The composer and producer Hache Costa told the Reuters news agency that Vivaldi's work would have been "a lot more aggressive and dirty" if it was written today.

    Costa said the weather is so different now that "if today someone were to compose the Four Seasons from a...realistic perspective, it would be...daring."

    So, he updated Vivaldi's piece to reflect the real world. The work is now being performed in Madrid at the EDP Gran Via concert hall. Reuters said he added "prominence and drama" to the summer portion and shortened the other seasons because of global warming.

    The musical group, or orchestra, performs the music in front of a video screen showing the effects of climate change – such as wildfires and dry weather. One part shows the clouds involved in a hurricane.

    Costa created the adaptation of The Four Seasons to go along with the recent Global Climate Action Day.

    He said he wants people listening to "feel really becoming truly aware of what is happening."

    He said the sheet music is freely available for anyone to play.

    Ernesto Rodriguez Camino is president of the Spanish Meteorological Society. He said the effects of climate change in Spain could be "catastrophic."

    He said periods of high heat will last longer and bring wildfires and the chance of strong rainfall.

    When asked, Costa, the composer, said he did not think Vivaldi would have a problem with his changes.

    I'm Dan Friedell.

    Dan Friedell adapted this story for Learning English based on a report by Reuters.


    Words in This Story

    composition –n. a piece of writing or a musical work

    interpret – v. to perform an artistic work that shows your own thoughts and feelings

    portray – v. to describe or show something in a particular way

    bother – v. to cause someone to feel troubled or annoyed

    catastrophic – adj. disastrous, very bad