From Chris Morrison’s Program Notes

Each of The Four Seasons has a short poem, a sonnet, associated with it, possibly written by Vivaldi himself, describing the scenes and events of each movement. These examples of “program music,” music that refers outside itself to some narrative, person, place, or event, are not unique in Vivaldi’s output. In fact, there are other such works in the Il cimento collection: for instance, the Concerto No. 5 is titled “La tempesta di mare” (“Storm at Sea”), and No. 10 returns to a subject also pictured in The Four Seasons, “La caccia” (“The Hunt”).

“Spring” (“La Primavera”)
Spring has returned and with it gaiety
Is greeted by the birds in joyous song
And the fountains, caressed by young zephyrs,
Murmur sweetly as they flow.

As the sky is clouded all in black,
Lightning flashes and thunder roars
But when they are over, the little birds,
Return to sing their enchanting song.

While on the flowering meadow,
Among the murmuring of leaves and boughs,
Dozes the goatherd, watched over by his faithful dog.

To the pastoral bagpipes’ festive sounds
Dance loving nymphs and shepherds, in love,
Under brilliant springtime skies.

“Summer” (“L’Estate”)
Under the heat of the burning sun
Man droops, his herd wilts, the pine is parched
The cuckoo finds its voice, and singing with it,
The dove and the Goldfinch

Zephyr breathes gently but, countered,
The north wind appears nearby and suddenly
The shepherd cries because, uncertain,
He fears the wind squall and its effects

His tired limbs have no rest, goaded by
His fear of lightning and wild thunder
While gnats and flies in furious swarms surround him

Alas, his fears prove all too grounded
Thunder and lightning rive the heavens, and hail
Slices the tops of corn and other grain.

“Autumn” (“L’Autunno”)
The peasants celebrate with dance and song
The joy of a successful harvest.
With Bacchus’ liquor liberally drunk,
Their festivity ends in slumber

They leave behind the song and dance
To seek the pleasant mild air.
The season invites more and more
To savor the joy of sweet sleep

The hunters leave for the hunt at dawn
With horns and guns and hounds they go
The quarry flees, but they pursue

Bewildered and exhausted by the great noise
of guns and hounds, the wounded prey
Nearly escapes, but is caught and dies.

“Winter” (“L’Inverno”)
Frozen and shivering amid the chilly snow
Our breathing hampered by the horrid wind
As we run, we continually stamp our feet
Our teeth chatter with the awful cold

We move to the fire and contented peace
While the rain outside comes down in sheets.
We walk on the ice with slow steps
Careful how we walk, for fear of falling

If we move too fast, we slip and fall to the ground
Again treading heavily on the ice
Until the ice breaks up and dissolves

We hear from behind closed doors
Boreal winds and all the winds of war.
This is winter, but one that brings joy.

Read the November 17/18 2018 Program Notes by Chris Morrison

  From Chris Morrison’s Program Notes… Each of The Four Seasons has a short poem, a sonnet, associated with it, possibly written by Vivaldi himself, describing the scenes and events of each movement. These examples of “program music,” music that refers outside itself to some narrative, person, place, or event, are not unique in Vivaldi’s… Read More


Program Notes November 17 and 18, 2018 By Chris Morrison Georg Philipp Telemann Born: March 14, 1681, Magdeburg, Germany Died: June 25, 1767, Hamburg, Germany Telemann was one of the most prolific composers of all time, with over 3,000 works to his credit (many now lost), including over 1,000 church cantatas, 46 Passion settings, and… Read More


  The Reno Chamber Orchestra is pleased to welcome our new Executive Director, Thom Mayes. You may already be aware of this news if you attended our September program when he was introduced from the stage. Mr. Mayes hails from the Seattle area and is currently CEO of the Northwest Sinfonietta, a chamber orchestra performing in the Seattle-Tacoma area. … Read More


Program Notes October 13 and 14, 2018 By Chris Morrison “Black A, white E, red I, green U, blue O – vowels, Some day I will open your silent pregnancies…” – Arthur Rimbaud, Vowels Synesthesia is a phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic experiences in another. Oliver Sachs,… Read More


In early August, Chris Morrison announced his resignation as RCO Executive Director. It is with great sadness we see him go. Join us in wishing him well in his exciting future endeavors. Chris worked in many capacities during his 25-year career with the RCO, always giving his very best to the organization. Whether in his… Read More


Program Notes By Chris Morrison Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Born: January 27, 1756, Salzburg, Austria Died: December 5, 1791, Vienna, Austria No reminder is really needed of the unique stature of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in the history of Western music. His vast catalog of compositions – over 600 of them, including some 15 operas, 17 masses,… Read More


Program Notes by Chris Morrison Franz Schubert Born: January 31, 1797, Vienna, Austria Died: November 19, 1828, Vienna, Austria Franz Schubert is one of the best-loved and most important composers of the nineteenth century, his music consistently marked by a remarkable melodic gift, rich harmonies, and an expansive treatment of traditional forms. During his short… Read More


Program Notes by Chris Morrison Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber Born: Aug 12, 1644, Wartenberg, Bohemia (Czech Republic) Died: May 3, 1704, Salzburg, Austria Born in a small town in what is now the Czech Republic, Biber played in the orchestra of the Bishop of Olmütz, Prince Karl II Liechtenstein-Kastelkorn, for many years. He left that… Read More


Program Notes by Chris Morrison Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Born: January 27, 1756, Salzburg, Austria Died: December 5, 1791, Vienna, Austria No reminder is really needed of the unique stature of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in the history of Western music. His vast catalog of compositions – over 600 of them, including some 15 operas, 17 masses,… Read More


Mozart: Piano Quartet in E-flat major, K. 493 (1786, 30 minutes) Mozart wrote the first of his two Piano Quartets (in G minor, K. 478) in late 1785, part of a commission from publisher-composer Franz Anton Hoffmeister. Hoffmeister didn’t much care for the new Quartet, though, thinking it too dark and complex to sell well,… Read More