Welcome to Vivaldi’s Spring, although you’ll not hear that particular piece here, apart from where it’s been remixed. Did you know that the piece was so successful when it was first heard that its themes soon found their way into religious music? Michel Corrette – that resourceful rascal – plays with it in his astonishing montage. Three centuries later Max Richter took a turn, deconstructing the famous Four Seasons concerto.
Natural cycles inspired Joseph Haydn, but also the lesser-known Carl Loewe, whose picturesque piano work moves from ballroom dances to more naturalistic motifs. Rameau describes the return of the birds, Debussy the coming of the rains, and Ravel the play of light on water. The green season of Spring often inspired the French composer, notably in the sumptuous Daphnis and Chloé. Stravinsky’s brutal Rite of Spring could have been added, but his Firebird, with its sunny ending, suits our playlist better. Alfred Deller echoed back with Eternal Source of Light.
Mel Bonis and Nadia Boulanger were seduced by the laziness of spring days, something that also inspired Francis Poulenc from the window of his Hôtel in Montparnasse. ‘Spring, the season that favours lovers’, sang Jacques Brel and Véronique Samson, illicing amused winks from the happy freaks of Saint Étienne. Thanks to her name, I’ve also summoned the brilliant Yvonne Printemps (‘spring’ in French) and her irresistible Art Deco waltz. The cooling breath of Aphex Twin will soothe your passions before Fila Brazilia’s Fila Funk and the luxuriance of Choros No. 11 by Heitor Villa-Lobos, singing of eternal Amazonian spring.