Vivaldi - The Four Seasons

The Four Seasons, composed in 1723, is one of Baroque legend Vivaldi's most famous works for violin. Here's a very special performance of one of the movements, from one of Europe's top chamber orchestras.

We usually associate Vivaldi with Venice and the Italian sun. However, an orchestra has taken 'Winter' from The Four Seasons and turned it into something quite different.

The Arctic Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra decided to perform this masterpiece in one of the most northern places on Earth, Telegrafbukta, Tromsø, deep above the Arctic Circle in Norway. The orchestra's Artistic Director and star violinist Henning Kraggerud performs the solo passages in a separate shot, filmed in the snow, ice and magical arctic light.

There's much more from the Arctic Philharmonic on their YouTube channel (the sound engineer for this incredible video was Asle Karstad, the video creator and editor was Håvard Bilsbak).

More about these incredible concertos...

Vivaldi wrote so many concertos that, much like Haydn and his symphonies, he tended to resort to nicknames rather than numbers, for ease. Each concerto of his Four Seasons corresponds to a different season – so it's easy to guess how he nicknamed this particular work.

The music is accompanied by beautiful Italian sonnets, possibly written by Vivaldi himself after he was inspired by painter Marco Ricci's paintings of the seasons. It's even customary in some concerts that a narrator reads the poems before the performance, to bring the musical story to life.

Listen out for the texture of the music representing winter, with the high-pitched plucking from the strings sounding a bit like cold and icy rain. There are also more descriptive labels dotted throughout the movements: the second movement of Spring is part-labelled 'the barking dog', while one section of Autumn says 'the drunks have fallen asleep'. You might even hear a passionate thunderstorm in Summer, with the balmy music representing a warm August evening.