I Musici 70th Anniversary
It is hard to believe today that a work like Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons was ever out of performance. Although gaining immense popularity in his lifetime, following his death in 1741, the Four Seasons along with most of Vivaldi’s music became unknown to performers and survived only in libraries. Incredibly, that remained the case until the early-20th century, when figures from Alfredo Casella and Arturo Toscanini to Ezra Pound re-discovered and championed the music of the Venetian composer.
Vivaldi’s music was still largely unknown in 1955 when I Musici entered the studio to make the first stereo recording of the Four Seasons. The conductorless chamber orchestra was founded in 1951 and became world-renowned for their interpretation of Italian baroque music. No less a figure than Arturo Toscanini gave a glowing tribute to the group in 1952 and predicted a great future for them. I Musici recordings were among the first to be released on compact disc and the group made the first-ever purpose-made classical music video.
On the album, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is paired with the world premiere recording of Verdi’s Four Seasons: an arrangement of the ballet music Verdi composed for his Les Vêpres Siciliennes (I vespri siciliani) in Paris in 1855, here scored for piano and strings.