Vivaldi Four Seasons - Barenreiter Edition

Edited: October 3, 2019, 2:16 PM · Recently I watched PBS Great Performances' "Now Hear This" show. I watched both the Vivaldi and the Bach episodes of the show.

In watching the Vivaldi episode, I was inspired to learn Vivalid's Four Seasons (lol).

Although I love the music, I never learned, nor had the inclination to learn this piece until now.

I was introduced to the violin when I was 7yrs old, and was taught in the Suzuki method. I played until I was in high school, then stopped when I went to college.

Ten yrs after college, I decided to take up the violin again and studied under a violin performance professor/conductor from a local university.

I had to re-learn (so to speak), playing again. My new violin teacher taught me in the traditional method. And in the 3 years that I studied with him, he improved my bowing, my vibrato, my scales, and whatever he thought/perceived was wrong with my playing skills.

Under his tutelage, I was able to improve my then "audition" piece for him (Vivaldi in A minor - nachez version). I can play both Nachez and non-Nachez versions of the Vivald A minor much better now than I ever had (lol). Among the pieces I learned to play while under him were some romantic short pieces, Bach Double, Accolay, Beethoven violin sonata - opus 24 to be exact, Bruch Concerto in G Minor, and Bach's Sonatas and Partitas.

After 3 yrs, I had to give it up, because I started to have a family, and family matters took precedence. Now with kids in private school, and themselves taking violin, piano, ballet, and karate lessons, among other things, I don't have the time, nor the financial wherewithal to take up violin lessons for myself again.

I've been practicing at least 30 minutes a day, and sometimes more on weekends. I know this is probably not enough, but this is all I have time for now.

With all that being said, I want to tackle Vivaldi's Four Seasons on my own, and perhaps with the help of some youtube videos. Is the Barenreiter edition good? Or does anyone have other recommendations?

As you would have guessed, I am an amatuer violin player. I occasionally play in church, but I do have realistic expectations of what I am skilled at (lol).

Thank you for reading my post.

Replies (11)

October 3, 2019, 3:26 PM · I am pretty sure I used the Bareneiter edition as a teenager. My biggest tip is to do lots and lots of slow practice! Good luck and enjoy it!
Edited: October 3, 2019, 3:44 PM · I love the "Now Hear This" series too.
My support of Barenreiter is endorsed by William Pleeth, who has written that much Baroque music has come to us corrupted by later editors. After fighting with Carl Herrmann's edition of Telemann (Peters, International), I resorted to Barenreiter's, and wholeheartedly recommend their editions.
October 3, 2019, 3:56 PM · @M Zilpah and @Erin Sabrini, thank you both for your inputs. I really appreciate it. I will go with Barenreiter's edition then. My Bach S&P is also a Barenreiter edition. I look forward to enjoying learning 4 seasons.
October 3, 2019, 4:40 PM · I use Barenreiter Urtext for my keyboard music. Excellent, I especially like that they leave out the fingering.
October 3, 2019, 4:44 PM · Start with Summer.
October 3, 2019, 4:55 PM · My choice of publisher for this is CARISCH S.n.A. MILANO: https://www.violinist.com/discussion/thread.cfm?page=3225
October 3, 2019, 4:56 PM · @Lyndon, thanks for your thoughts about Barenreiter. It gives me confidence that I'm on the right track.

@Paul, thank you for the tip. I'll start with Summer :)

October 3, 2019, 5:04 PM · @Andrew, thanks. I'll check that version too.
October 4, 2019, 2:00 AM · Dear Ben, have fun with it, and the unspoken thought here is that it is not going to be the particular choice of edition that will make or break your endeavour :-)
October 4, 2019, 11:21 AM · @Jean, thank you for your thoughts. Last night, I went ahead and bought the Barenreiter edition. I really don't have any pressure to learn this beautiful piece in the fastest time possible. My intention is just to enjoy it, play it slow (for now), and just listen to the music :).
Edited: October 5, 2019, 3:40 AM · @Lyndon "I use Barenreiter Urtext for my keyboard music. Excellent, I especially like that they leave out the fingering."

Interesting thought. I'm getting used to the fact that violin fingering can become old-fashioned (we are currently rehearsing Vaughan Williams' Charterhouse Suite edited by a guy who thought string-crossing was illegal). Keyboard fingering? I'd like to think there's only one best way, but I haven't thought about that for 40 years.

In the case of Corelli's Follia, I'd quite appreciate fingering suggestions, so the lack of them in my Baerereiter is a little irksome, but I realise there are many possibilities, and they are a matter of taste.

So you are probably right.

The question of excellence in texts is very interesting. I made the mistake of studying CG instead of violin 7 years ago, and the quality of a lot of guitar music is so poor you wouldn't want to use it as toilet paper (I don't remember ever seeing a typo in piano music as a kid). Piano and violin music does seem to be in a higher league, probably because there's a lot more money in it.


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