Vivaldi, played badly, is the worst classical music on earth

I thought I hated Vivaldi, the Four Seasons especially, but then I heard an absolutely sublime recording.... sadly I don't remember who the composer or orchestra was.
That's why they call it "fine art" because it's easy to "un-fine" it.
BTW, did you mean "conductor or orchestra"?
Gaaaah!!! Yes, of course I meant conductor.

I have my headphones on listening to doctors on MSNBC discuss when to run to the hospital.  Sorry!
But what I mean is, there's a lot of other composers (checks, yes, I meant composer) whom I seem to tolerate a wide range of performances. I can't really tell what a great performance is vs. mediocre.

I can't even really tell you why Vivaldi recordings are good or bad... but man, my hears have a preference!!
I really like Max Richter, a neo-classical composer who released "Recomposed By Max Richter: Vivaldi, The Four Seasons" back in 2012.

But how someone can "hate" Vivaldi, I can't understand. Since I value your insights Eric, I will re-listen to some Vivaldi to see if there's anything to hate. ;)

You mean Baroque period of music, not "Classical"
Let's be detailed, like the audio geeks we are.

Vivaldi is NOT  from the "Classical" period, which is 2 time periods  AFTER Baroque.

Classical is Haydn, Mozart and Ludwig V.

Big Vivaldi/Bach fan here... Best part is easy,cheap finds in the bins-the good stuff

Carry on...
with Baroque some love, and some struggle with,  the different sound of original instruments and tunings vs Baroque played on modern instruments 
Love me some Vivaldi and Bach, too. And you’re so right, @tablejockey, the bargains are there. All the Trevor Pinnocks, Carmignolas and even Fabio Bondi’s, too...and more.

It used to be that you just hadn’t "arrived" as an up-and-coming violinist until you had released your own version of The Four Seasons and it did certainly make for some...uh...shall we say, ’wide ranging material’ since it was so evidently open to interpretation.
Yes, please replace "classical" with "western art music" to be more clear.
It used to be that you just hadn’t "arrived" as an up-and-coming violinist until you had released your own version of The Four Seasons and it did certainly make for some...uh...shall we say, ’wide ranging material’ since it was so evidently open to interpretation.

Often when it's baroque, you simply can't fix it.


It was pretty much the exact same story for up-and-coming conductors when it came to Stravinsky’s The Rite Of Spring. Plenty of winners and losers in that group, too!

Both titles are among the most frequently recorded ever.
I find it remarkable how much my enjoyment of "classical" music depends on the performance. Many times, I’ve listened to a new performance of a work I was indifferent to, and the work suddenly clicked. Whether it’s Vivaldi or Shostakovich, the performance makes a huge difference.
Remember listening to WFMT in Chicago one afternoon, to music I'd never heard, and thinking "Damn! That's a GREAT conductor!" Turned out to be Sir George Solti. 
Like most classical guys, I'm thoroughly sick of Vivaldi's Four Seasons.  But I gotta say that one of my favorite slabs of vinyl is the DG Archiv release Concerti da Camera, Vivaldi chamber music performed by Musica Antiqua Koln.  Great tunes.  An unmistakable sense of fun.  18th Century upper class Italian party music.  Solid if not surpassing fidelity.  It actually prompted me to see Musica Antiqua Koln when they came to L.A. in the 1980's.  It was one of those concerts where you can meet & greet the band at a reception after the performance. Shook the hand of violinist bandleader Reinhard Goebel.

Most people use the term Classical for ALL "serious" music, but it is, as has been noted, a particular style and time period in "long hair" music.

There are quite a few great recordings of Le Quattro Stagioni, as well as other Vivaldi's compositions. I like those of Trevor Pinnock directing The English Concert (his original analog recording on CRD, his second digital on Archiv), and Jaap Schroder directing Concerto Amsterdam (Harmonia Mundi).

A minor point, but I don’t see anything wrong with Erik’s use of the word "classical" in the subject line of his initial post. He referred to "classical music," not to the "Classical period" of classical music. I doubt that anyone would reasonably deny that Vivaldi, J. S. Bach, Handel, Telemann, et al., composed classical music.

Also, my understanding is that the Classical period immediately followed the Baroque period, rather than being two time periods later.

Good point by JL35, about differing preferences for Baroque performances on period vs. modern instruments. I recall that what I believe was one of the earliest recordings of "The Four Seasons" on period instruments, ca. late 1970s, was particularly controversial. That being a performance by Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the Concentus Musicus Wien. Some loved it, many hated it, my reaction was somewhere in between. In any event it was certainly different.

Best regards,
-- Al

 There was an exceptionally talented violin player in my daughters high school orchestra last year who performed a Vivaldi Concerto  solo with piano accompaniment at a concert last year. The precision but with feeling with which he played was breathtaking.  The distance between him and the average player was huge. 
Calling certain music "classical" insults all other forms of music, all periods and artist over the centuries that are just as much masters of their craft, but not from certain parts of Europe.  But I think that was the original intent.

The "Classical period" at least takes some of the insult away.

Artist always try to make a name for themselves by coming up with "their" version of certain pieces.  Hit and miss at best.

There are so many versions of Vivaldi's four seasons that I can't keep track.  Would be nice to see a "top ten list". 


Right you are, Al. Classical immediately followed Baroque (Renaissance proceeded Baroque, Romantic followed Classical).

The early practitioners of "period" Baroque performance (now referred to as historically-informed) were faulted for their lack of technique and spotty intonation (playing in tune), as well as what was considered by the old guard as the "ugly" tonality of Baroque-style instruments.

The demands of Classical music, orchestras, and concert halls, required a change in the design of orchestra instruments, to make them louder and to project more. And Classical music was performed with far more string vibrato than was Baroque, and by far more instruments (Symphony Orchestras are comprised of FAR more instruments than are Baroque). Classical was also generally written to be performed at slower tempi than was common in Baroque. Conductors and orchestras over the years started performing Baroque music in the Classical style: too slow (slower than the markings on the scores), and with too much vibrato.

No, the early period performers weren’t as precise as their major orchestra peers, but they were playing the music closer to how it had been written to be played. The movement and it’s practitioners have progressed to the point where historically-informed musicians are now amongst the best in the world. And the movement has forced the conservative, old guard conductors, orchestras and their musicians, to join in, performing the music as the composer intended.

There are still those who prefer Baroque performed as they have heard it their whole lives, by a Symphony Orchestra. Each to his own!

As a bit of levity: Both my wife and I are classical music nuts.
I really appreciate Mozart, but my wife cannot stand him: "He wrote elevator music before we had elevators!"
Both of appreciate the myriad scores written by the Red Priest.
Speaking of "as it was intended to be played" ...

Read the sections starting at "Intended Tuning"

The historically-informed movement has worked it's way forward in time, addressing both Mozart and Beethoven. For anyone who has found Classical music to be boring, listen to it in a "period" performance! In place of the slooow, lethargic, ponderous, "schmaltzy", easy listening style of Bruno Walter and Herbert von Karajan, give a listen to it done by, say, John Eliot Gardiner.

The conductors and orchestras of the early part of the 20th century were actually closer in style to period performers than were those of the mid-century. Toscanini played Beethoven fast! Too bad his recordings were made before good equipment was available: their sq is pretty bad.   

Poking fun...during  this weird time. People clearing out the toilet paper section at the local supermarkets, like it's not going to be available tomorrow.
When it comes gear, specs/rules are eventually called out in a thread.

I took an appreciation class back in the 80's, and was going by memory on what the pecking order is.
There's always wiki.
and there are the orchestras that use modern instruments and tunings, but original practices such as orchestra size and lots of variations...
Vivaldi (the red priest because of his red hair and church duties) was in charge of a church school for "wayward" teenage girls. He composed this and many pieces to keep his girls busy with " proper" instead of banal efforts
The person who is mention saying Mozart wrote elevator music has never heard the String Quintet, K 516 in G minor, written after his father’s death. And almost certainly not the Requiem that Mozart was writing at the very end of his life. To each his or her own, but there are experiences that go far, far beyond cliches.

And performance is ultimately greater than sound quality as referred to now. A well recorded perfunctory performance will
always be a perfunctory performance. Caruso recorded in 1915 and, say, Louis Armstrong and his hot five and seven recorded around 1927. Toscanini’s Beethoven 7th Symphony from
1936 (actually quite vivid sound in sensitive remastering) and Duke Ellington’s great recordings from 1940 to 1943 for starters.
The recordings cited are ones that soar. 
Having played Vivaldi violin concertos myself, I take exception to the bashing of his music.  I always loved it especially this piece.

Watch "Suzuki Violin Book 4, #4: Vivaldi Concerto in Am, 1st mvt." on YouTube
"Classical" is the generic term for the style of music we're talking about here.  Yes, it narrowly refers to the music upper class Europeans listened to from about 1750 to about 1820 but it's totally okay to call J.S. Bach, George Gershwin, Tchaikovsky or Dallapiccola classical composers, as well.  A lot of people include Duke Ellington, though there's still a smidgen of controversy over this.  Heck, Qobuz uses the term this way.  So did every record store (remember record stores?) that carried that vast amalgamation of/approach toward music.
"18th Century upper class Italian party music"....*LOL* wonder fights used to break out after some performances....

...and some things about human nature hasn't changed, either....;)

I purchased a modern Decca LP recording of Tchaikovsky "Nutcracker Suite" (side one) and Grieg "Peer Gynt" (side two) and it's the worst recording I've ever heard(esp. side one) - a waste of money...  
(Cheap shot...pardon the gist of my jest...)

@flipwils Viv. and the Dvorak that followed it (for my following the link) are lovely examples of the music of their eras.  I have a personal preference to hear such in the manner they were done intimate setting, live, unfettered by  all that existed between the players and YT.

...and YT and my ears.  The musicians themselves are interpreting well could critique, but that's not my intention, nor point..

What strikes me the parallel in the length of the selections...3 minutes, and 'X' seconds....the 'average' length of a current 'popular' song....

One could discuss the 'attention span' similarities....even the ones' invoked with the length of a symphonic concert and a modern 'rock concert' with all its' technical wizardry...which I suspect bugs people about yours truly....

I can go to a 'classical' presentation of an 'antique' form of music, and truly enjoy it.  The sweep, the subtly of soft violins, the power of brass unleashed, the grandeur of it all in crescendo...

Even in the 'cheap seats', above the 'regulars', if you're not moved, something inside is Dead.

(But I do notice that the bar is open before and during Intermission....but that's another story to be told....;).....)

Now...contrast that (and pardon the 'antique' reference....but, it is a bit long in the tooth.  There may be a soothing element within that, but I'm not a 'shrink'...and y'all are not patients....)....

...with this...

...and we can have a lively discussion....;)

Play Loud,

Bigger audience, bigger show....*S*

Turn off the monitor and Listen.

Two centuries have transpired.

Nuance still exists.

One just has to have an open mind....the hardest thing to own.
Herbert von Karajan
Now he must be the most over-rated conductor that ever existed. He invented the word tedious
If I saw the word Haitink on the box, I generally grabbed it, feeling it was safe to take home.
I have spent many hours practicing that piece! I have studied violin with the Suzuki method for ~8 years now, and have learned a few pieces past book 4 (as my username suggests). Did you study with the Suzuki method? How did you find out about the book 4 Vivaldi?  
I taught the Suzuki method for 40 years.  Its truly the best for study, but thwarts musicality. The music happens between the notes....yes the notes are the foundation, but find your own music. The best edition of the concertos is the Christopher Hogwood edition.  Its not the time you give to your instrument, but the joy you bring to your music.  The violin is just a tool as a carpenter with his hammer.  The perfectly constructed desk, or the joy you bring to Spring in Concerto 1 is the value.

Anyone who disparages  Mozart or Vivaldi is , at best., an ignorant fool .

Anyone who disparages Mozart or Vivaldi is , at best., an ignorant fool .
I'm a fan of both, but your claim reveals more about you that you might have intended. There is no accounting for taste; there is no need to account for taste; your preference is no more valid than anyone else's. That you insist otherwise does not make others a fool.
@stringreen ...yes, there's 'competent'....and then there's 'art' and 'inspiration', beyond mere talent....

Rendition....and Revealing.

Even 'so-so' equipment can render such to 'conditioned' ears...;)

One just has to be able to comprehend such....

....but I'm just a deviant dilettante....*S*
@stringreen I disagree with your statement that the Suzuki method “thwarts musicality”. 

First, a famous pianist (I think it was Rubinstein) said that “the music happens between the notes”. A piano is different than a violin. With a piano, you can only control the volume and length of a note. With a violin, there are many more variables that can be changed (such as intonation (an D# isn’t an Eb), the contact point of the bow and string, bow speed, accents, vibrato, left hand positions, and harmonics), that all can be used for the purpose of expressing a unique “musicality”.

Second, Shinichi Suzuki himself said that “a beautiful soul will create beautiful music”. It goes against some of the basic postulates of the Suzuki method to say that it “thwarts musicality”. Skills such as memorization can only help musicality. 

On a positive note, there is a limited number of Suzuki teachers in the world, and I’m curious who you have studied with. Will you be teaching at any Suzuki institutes this year?
Fabio Biondi's recording with Europa Galante is a breaktakingly exciting recording.  I love it.  You also sample Rachel Podger's recent version--she's very good too.
cleeds .

That is why I used the word DISPARAGE  which has nothing to do with
taste in English . 

As does your post .
...and, as for my consider disparagement in anything I wrote a misinterpretation of intent and my comments.

I hear 'classical' motif and signature in almost anything I listen to.

The basic elements of musical forms predates them.  Humanity has employed 'music' likely for as long as some ancestor found beating 2 rocks or sticks in a rhythm (perhaps to one's heartbeat) as 'pleasant' in some fashion....

Maybe it became something like this...?

Not to your 'taste' perhaps...but later, maybe it brought down the walls of Jericho...(...or so is said...)

Let's fast forward to something not so....'primitive'....

Perhaps more recognizable?   Good....the AON was one of the first to employ 'sample and hold'.  Although much of that 'motif' can be argued about as to its' 'relevance' and 'artistry' employed by Others...

Some is very good....and, of course, some is just derivative and 

Personally, I like Debussy...not every single thing he ever did, but more than I'm interested in sharing at the moment....

(Pardon me, but your bias is up....;)....)

Fraternally yours,

@schubert ...Hey, for a change of pace, you might try this:

432 hz is a tad different than 440, but is pleasant to my ears. *S*

My Walshs' really seem to like pianos....and I'm a sucker for one played well. ;)

Cheers, J
Can anyone tell us who the composer was?
It always makes me smile to hear a different interpretation of a well-known work.  Like a great cover (e.g., Take Me To The River, All Along The Watchtower.)  My favorite Four Seasons performance is the BSO recording on Telarc (recently repressed to vinyl), but a violinist friend of mine just recommended a live performance by Giuliano Carmignola, which could not be more different than the Silverstein BSO performance, but still just great.
If you like at least some Vivaldi, it behooves you to seek out the recordings of some of the newly rediscovered material played by the Accademia Bizantina - excellent