Sonnet Seasoning

vivaldi sonnets (9)Activities inspired by the sonnets which in turn inspired Vivaldi when he composed “The Four Seasons”.

What’s the meaning?

  • What does the word “programme “(or program, if you prefer the American spelling) mean?vivaldi sonnets (2)


  1. To organise data and information so that problems can be solved by a computer
  2. A broadcast on radio or television
  3. A list of events at a concertvivaldi sonnets (6)
  4. A type of music which tells a story
  5. A schedule of events
  6. Computer software
  7. Any other?


  • vivaldi sonnets (8)Yes! All of them, but which one are we dealing with here?


  • Each concerto in The Four Seasons has a poem to go with it. Vivaldi clearly intended the music and the poem to go together as he placed large letters next to different lines of the poem with corresponding letters in the music score.vivaldi sonnets (5)



Winter Match-Ups

  • Here are nine musical examples (click on them to see a bigger version!) and nine images from the poems.sonnet examples 1
  1. Listen to Winter and try to decide which music goes with which image.
  2. In which order do the musical examples appear in the score?sonnet examples 2
  3. Do you think the music goes well with the poem?
  4. Why?
  5. Why not?sonnet examples 3


  • sonnet examples 4The winds rage in a battle
  • A terrible wind
  • Sitting by the fire while it rains outside
  • Frozen and trembling in the frosty snow
  • sonnet examples 5To run, stamping your feet
  • The ice cracks open
  • Teeth chattering in the cold
  • Sliding and falling
  • sonnet examples 7Walking on the ice with careful steps


Rough Springsonnet examples 9

  • Here is a rough summary of the poem which goes with Spring. sonnet examples 6sonnet examples 8

Here comes happy spring. The birds sing a joyful welcome, and the brooks flow and quietly murmur in the gentle breeze (zephyr). The sky is filled with dark clouds heralded by thunder and lightening. When they stop the birds return with their songs.

In the flowery meadow the young goat-herd sleeps with his faithful dog by his side among the gently waving leaves.

Nymphs and shepherds dance to the merry sound of the rustic bagpipes when spring’s brilliance comes along.

  • vivaldi sonnets (3)Compose your own music to go with this poem.
  • Compare your music with that of Vivaldi.
  • Were you thinking along the same lines?


Autumn Drama

  • Listen to Autumn.
  • Make up your own story or poem to go with the music.
  • You could create a series of visual images or a drama or a video if you prefer.


Little Descriptionsvivaldi sonnets (4)

  • In addition to the lines of the poems placed through the score, there are other descriptive score indications for different players.
  • One example is in the slow movement of Spring where the solo violin melody is the slumbering goat-herd, the orchestral violins are the gently rippling leaves and the viola is assigned the role of the dog barking.
  • Have a look and listen for some more of these little bonus descriptions.

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