Four Seasons & More with Musici Ireland

May 11, 2022, 10:00 pm

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Achelous Defeated by Hercules. The Origin of the Cornucopia (1649), by Jacob Jordaens

Inspired by The Nash Ensemble and Camerata Pacifica, violist Beth McNinch founded Musici Ireland in 2012. Tonight we hear the ensemble in Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Rustic Concerto, as well as in Telemann’s Viola Concerto, the first known concerto featuring the viola as solo instrument, and a suite by Pezel.

Recorded July 18, 2021 in Wells House, County Wexford, Ireland, thanks to WFMT’s association with the European Broadcasting Union, tonight’s program will be available as a stream for 30 days following the broadcast. A blue “Listen” button will appear when the stream is accessible.


Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
Concerto in G, RV 151 (‘Alla rustica’)

Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)
Concerto in G for Viola and Strings, TWV 51:G9

Johann Christoph Pezel (1639-1694)
Suite No. 5

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
The Four Seasons, op. 8

The Sonnets:

Springtime is upon us.
The birds celebrate her return with festive song,
and murmuring streams are
softly caressed by the breezes.
Thunderstorms, those heralds of Spring, roar,
casting their dark mantle over heaven,
Then they die away to silence,
and the birds take up their charming songs once more.
On the flower-strewn meadow, with leafy branches
rustling overhead, the goat-herd sleeps,
his faithful dog beside him.
Led by the festive sound of rustic bagpipes,
nymphs and shepherds lightly dance
beneath spring’s beautiful canopy.

Under a hard season, fired up by the sun
Languishes man, languishes the flock and burns the pine
We hear the cuckoo’s voice;
then sweet songs of the turtledove and finch are heard.
Soft breezes stir the air, but threatening
the North Wind sweeps them suddenly aside.
The shepherd trembles,
fearing violent storms and his fate.
The fear of lightning and fierce thunder
Robs his tired limbs of rest
As gnats and flies buzz furiously around.
Alas, his fears were justified
The Heavens thunder and roar and with hail
Cut the head off the wheat and damages the grain.

Celebrates the peasant, with songs and dances,
The pleasure of a bountiful harvest.
And fired up by Bacchus’ liquor,
many end their revelry in sleep.
Everyone is made to forget their cares and to sing and dance
By the air which is tempered with pleasure
And the season that invites so many, many
Out of their sweetest slumber to fine enjoyment.
The hunters emerge at the new dawn,
And with horns and dogs and guns depart upon their hunting
The beast flees and they follow its trail;
Terrified and tired of the great noise
Of guns and dogs, the beast, wounded, threatens
Languidly to flee, but harried, dies.

To tremble from cold in the icy snow,
In the harsh breath of a horrid wind;
To run, stamping one’s feet every moment,
Our teeth chattering in the extreme cold
Before the fire to pass peaceful,
Contented days while the rain outside pours down.
We tread the icy path slowly and cautiously,
for fear of tripping and falling.
Then turn abruptly, slip, crash on the ground and,
rising, hasten on across the ice lest it cracks up.
We feel the chill north winds course through the home
despite the locked and bolted doors…
this is winter, which nonetheless
brings its own delights.

Musici Ireland; Beth McNinch, Director