Vivaldi’s Four Seasons rediscovered

with Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Cellos

As heard in major festivals and cities across the U.S., Apollo’s Fire and Jeannette Sorrell present Vivaldi’s beloved Four Seasons as the revolutionary acts of musical storytelling they were meant to be – bringing Vivaldi’s pictorial descriptions to life. If you thought you knew the Four Seasons, be prepared for surprises! From the bird calls and storms to a barking dog, flies and wasps, drunken peasants, an exhilarating fox hunt with “gunshots,” and more… the story that Vivaldi intended with these pieces is made clear as each concerto is preceded by a quick and polished “tour” of the sound effects to come. The virtuoso musicians of Apollo’s Fire take turns stepping into the spotlight as a different soloist leads each concerto.

Thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the program includes optional projected images from baroque paintings. Italian projection designer Camilla Tassi slightly animates some of the paintings, which highlight scenes in the story.

The program also features duelling cellists in Vivaldi’s stormy Concerto for Two Cellos, and can also include Jeannette Sorrell’s acclaimed arrangement of Vivaldi’s La Folia (“Madness”) which the orchestra has performed from memory at the BBC Proms, Tanglewood, the Boston Music Festival, and other venues around the world.

Past appearances for this program since 2017 include the Tanglewood, Ravinia, and Gretna (PA) festivals; the Music Institute of Chicago; the Green Music Center in Sonoma, CA; University of Illinois/Urbana; Penn State University, Dallas and San Antonio, TX; Walton Performing Arts Center, Fayetteville, AK.


Francisco Fullana, violin

The hunting scene from “Autumn” (3rd mvt.)
Olivier Brault, violin
Hunting horns, gun-shots, and a frantically scurrying animal…!

The drunken revelry scene from “Autumn” (1st mvt)
Olivier Brault, violin
Celebrating the harvest with a bit too much Chianti… getting tipsy and eventually falling asleep

“Summer” Concerto
Susanna Perry Gilmore, violin

Vivaldi/arr. Sorrell – La Folia (“Madness”)
The ‘folia’ was a traditional renaissance dance that always got faster and wilder toward the end…

Vivaldi Concerto for Two Cellos
René Schiffer & Mimé Brinkmann, cello

What the Critics Say

“Apollo’s Fire is known for its distinctive approach to baroque music; their earthy, physical playing smashing any stereotypes of early music being merely precious and polite. This ethos was especially evident in this concert, and Sorrell certainly achieved the goal of presenting The Four Seasons in a new light. The ensemble was buoyant and aerobic, following the shapes of the musical lines with their bodies. Their joy and physical connection to the music was infectious….

Violinist Francisco Fullana struck a perfect balance between soloistic bravado and sensitive ensemble playing. A joy to watch, he maintained an improvisatory quality, practically acting through his violin, all while maintaining technical perfection and sweetness of tone on his 1735 instrument.”

“These excellent young musicians take a highly gestural approach to phrasing and bring across their music with an exuberant musicality, like wind through a forest. Easily one of the most enjoyable concerts of the season.”

“Under the inspired leadership of Jeannette Sorrell, Apollo’s Fire has become one of the pre-eminent period-instrument ensembles, causing one to hear baroque material anew.”
– THE INDEPENDENT, London (CD review – Vivaldi concertos)

“Artistic passion, inexhaustible energy… and keen musical observations that most performers probably couldn’t imagine.”

Superbly judged – almost brought tears to the eyes.”
–DAILY TELEGRAPH, London (BBC Proms debut, 2015)

“The U.S.A.’s hottest baroque band.” –CLASSICAL MUSIC MAGAZINE (UK)

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