Who composed the Seasons?

SeasonsNearly everyone knows that Vivaldi composed a set of violin concertos called The Four Seasons. As a matter of fact, when I looked at the various “answers” sites on line, that’s the only answer most of them gave!

Everyone with any interest in classical choral music knows that Haydn’s last oratorio is called The Seasons. Maybe you know that other composers have written pieces or sets of pieces about the four seasons, but I’ll bet you don’t know all of these. Looking for such pieces on Google is a hopeless task, so I went to companies that sell classical CDs. Ariama has a wonderful search engine. Simply entering “seasons” brought 97 pages of results, and I looked at 39 before I decided I had reached the point of diminishing returns.

Here is a list, not at all exhaustive, of nearly two dozen of these other, lesser-known works.

  • Bronner, Mikhail. The Seasons, for flute, clarinet, and chamber orchestra.
  • Bucht, Gunnar. Six Seasons’ Songs, for soprano and piano (in Swedish).
  • Cage, John. The Four Seasons. Cage’s first orchestral work (1947), a ballet choreographed by Merce Cunningham.
  • Chin, Gordon Shi-Wen. Formosa Seasons, for violin and strings.
  • Gavrilin, Valery. The Seasons, for voice and piano.
  • Glass, Philip. Violin Concerto no. 2, The American Four Seasons. The titles of the eight movements give no indication of what season they refer to, but this concerto was composed as a companion piece to Vivaldi’s set.
  • Glazunov, Alexander. The Seasons, op. 67. A ballet choreographed by Marius Petipa.
  • Kolarov, Milko. The Four Seasons, for chorus.
  • McDowall, Cecilia. Five Seasons,cantata for chorus, oboe, English horn, harp, and string orchestra.
  • Milhaud, Darius. Chamber Symphony no. 1 op. 43, “Le printemps” (spring).
  • Milhaud, Darius. Concertino d’automne, op. 309, for 2 pianos and eight instruments.
  • Milhaud, Darius. Concertino d’hiver (winter), op. 327, for trombone and strings.
  • Milhaud, Darius. Concerino de printemps (spring), op. 135, for violin.
  • Milhaud, Darius. Concertino d’été (summer), for viola and ensemble of 9 instruments. I knew about Mihaud’s “seasons” concertinos, but found only the spring and summer ones on Ariama. Checking the larger but less easily searchable catalog at Archiv Music, I found autumn, but apparently no recording of summer is currently available except vintage LPs on eBay or elsewhere, which is where I tracked down the instrumentation.
  • Musgrave, Thea. The Seasons, for orchestra.
  • O’Connor, Mark. The American Seasons, for violin and orchestra.
  • Piazzola, Astor. The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, for piano, violin, cello, and chamber ensemble. Inspired by Vivaldi, using the musical language of Argentine tango and jazz.
  • Simpson, Christopher. The Seasons, three suites for three viols and continuo.
  • Tchaikovsky, Peter. The Seasons, op. 37, for piano. A set of 12 pieces, one for each month of the year
  • Vasks, Peteris. The Seasons, a set of 4 pieces for piano.
  • Vasks, Peteris. Summer Evening Music, for piano
  • Vaughan Williams, Ralph. Folk Songs of the Four Seasons, cantata for female chorus and orchestra.

Ariama has CDs of everything on this list except for two pieces by Milhaud noted at his Concertino d’été. It also offers downloads or mp3 files for many of them. Click the banner below to buy.

Photo credit: Some rights reserved by joiseyshowaa.

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