Self care Saturday, Nov 5: Seeing the original metalhead live

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is probably one of the more immediately recognizable pieces he ever wrote, with the Spring almost always garnering the “hey it’s that song!” response from anyone listening. But as we’ve mentioned before on this blag, my love of Vivaldi’s work stems from his metalhead pieces. While Spring is indeed beautiful and calming, I have the utmost admiration for Summer, which at its peak is played up to a blistering ~180 beats per minute with up to 4 notes per beat.

In fact, the song is so intense that when I went to see it live a week ago, the soloist shredded their fucking bow at the end of Summer’s final movement.

Vivaldi: Trashing his instruments before it was cool.



  1. Ice Swimmer says

    Shredded their bow? As in breaking all the horsehairs or also breaking the wood? In the Sibelius Academy student matinee* i went to see on Tuesday, one of the student violinists broke one hair in her bow. It went ping but she played to the end with the broken hair hanging from the bow. The piece was the 1st part of Piano Quintet by César Franck.

    * = The student matinees are free in Helsinki Music Centre. The Sibelius Academy is the university level music school here.

  2. Ice Swimmer says

    And yes, this is kick-ass stuff, both the lyrical parts, painting with both broad and exquisite strokes and the rhythmic parts that hit hard.

    I wonder how long the bare (with no metal winding to protect them) gut strings in the old days lasted with that kind of trashing.

  3. Siobhan says

    As in breaking all the horsehairs or also breaking the wood?

    I think you’d have to swing to break the wood. It was the strings that were snapping, about half a dozen or so.

  4. Ice Swimmer says

    Now, to be pedantic, AFAIK, the violin itself has strings, made of gut, metal or synthetic materials. The violin bow has a hank of horsehair, which isn’t string.

  5. Ice Swimmer says

    Went yesterday to see some free Baroque headbang harpsichord music (this time a level A degree concert/performance). The harpsichordist played with a great drive. The final piece was La Ciaccona by Bernardo Storace, from 1664. Noboby knows much about Storace except that he was in Venice at some point, but his Ciaccona was kick-ass.

    Other composers included were Claudio Merula, Dietrich Buxtehude, John Blow, Giles Farnaby and two Bachs (J.S. and W.Fr.). Great music, performed with audible enthusiasm.