Few pieces of music are more iconic than Vivaldi’s “Spring” concerto. From the first few notes, the listener is transported to another time and place, where one lounges on a chaise with a cup of tea in a manicured garden. It’s the most well-known of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” and a favorite at any time of the year.
To bring the joy of spring into your home, we’ve created a video tutorial and piano arrangements of Vivaldi’s Spring. You can watch the Easy piano tutorial below, and keep reading to download the sheet music for Vivaldi’s Spring, and to learn more about the composer and where this piece came from.
Who was Antonio Vivaldi?
Antonio Lucio Vivaldi was a Venetian violinist, composer, and Catholic priest. He was born on March 4, 1678 and died in 1741 at the age of 63. Today, he’s considered one of the greatest composers of the Baroque era (1600-1750), influencing even the great Johann Sebastian Bach.
When Vivaldi was 25, he started working at an orphanage in Venice, the Ospedale della Pietà, or Hospital of Mercy. It was while he was working here that he wrote “The Four Seasons”. In fact, much of Vivaldi’s music was written for the orphanage’s all-girl ensemble, which gained accolades from all over Europe for its brilliant playing. An excellent teacher as well as a composer, Vivaldi excelled at the violin. Most of his pieces feature the violin or orchestral players or singers. For Vivaldi, the keyboard’s main job was to provide a continuo (or steady supporting line) for the virtuosic string players he trained! His most famous compositions were likely written for this all-girls orchestra, including “The Four Seasons.”
Side note: Want a fun story set in Venice, featuring the girls of this orphanage, Vivaldi’s beautiful music, and the composer himself? We recommend “Vivaldi’s Ring of Mystery,” the compelling tale of a young orphan girl who joins Vivaldi’s school at the Pietà. A fully acted audio drama, “Vivaldi’s Ring of Mystery” uses more than 24 excerpts from Vivaldi’s most popular and important works. A great way to learn about the music by entering the world it came from!
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La Primavera and The Four Seasons
From its composition during the Baroque period in 1725, “The Four Seasons” has delighted audiences with its varied moods. Each season itself is divided into three sections, with a slow – fast – slow structure for each season. Characterized by ornate orchestral textures between the violin and the orchestra, Vivaldi uses the orchestra to tell the story of each season.
Vivaldi published sonnets (a type of poem) to go along with each season, describing images and scenes that he orchestrated and wrote into the music! In Spring, listen for the sounds of bird calls and a barking dog. Summer starts slow and heavy, weighed down by humidity before breaking into a raging storm. In Fall, we hear hunting parties and harvest dances, and Winter brings freezing winds and warm, cozy fires. You can read the original sonnets on Wikipedia.
La Primavera, or Spring, is one of a set of four concertos (or concerti, to be proper) for violin and string ensemble. A concerto is a piece for a solo instrument accompanied by a large ensemble, often divided into three sections or “movements.” Each concerto represents a different season: Spring (La Primavera), Summer (L’estate), Fall (L’autunno), and Winter (L’inverno).
Play La Primavera on the Piano!
One of the great things about learning piano? You can play almost any music on the piano – even pieces that weren’t originally written for it! We’ve taken parts of the first movement of “La Primavera” and arranged it for piano, with 5 different levels: Early Elementary (Units 1-4), Elementary (Units 5-8), Early Intermediate (Units 9-14), Intermediate (Units 15+), and Advanced.
With our version of La Primavera, you’ll be playing the violin melody and the orchestra continuo – the melody is in your right hand, and the continuo is in your left hand. To play our Early Elementary version of La Primavera, you’ll need to know D Major position. Although Vivaldi’s original piece is in E major, we transposed it to an easier key to play for those who are just starting out. It will also help to have a familiarity with the D major pentascale and to review your tonic or I chord in D major. You can refer to the video at the top of this article for more great tips on how to play La Primavera on piano!
Choose your level and get your free sheet music: