Antonio Vivaldi – The Four Seasons – Le quattro stagioni

 A Transcription Arranged Solo Piano by Justin Bird

Includes a preface, English translations of sonnets originally published with the Four Seasons, the Four Violin Concerti; Op. 8, RV 269, “La primavera” (Spring), RV 315, “L’estate” (Summer), RV 293, “L’autunno” (Autumn) in F minor, RV 297, “L’inverno” (Winter). Also includes additional captions included in the score by Vivaldi.

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Apart from some incomplete arrangements of select movements, and many recorded versions, there are two complete piano versions printed prior to this one. A recent one by Roberto Novegno, and an older one by Guido Farina published by Ricordi in 1956. Pierre Gouin’s organ arrangement also deserves acknowledgement for being a wonderful arrangement accurately representing Vivaldi’s work. Farina’s version is also a worthy attempt, but rewrites passages too often, often under-representing or over-shooting the pianists ability. Other solutions to logistical problems result in distasteful octave displacements and un-pianistic writing. This edition does not take such liberties nor makes such detrimental sacrifices.

The Four Seasons have a lot of opportunity for failure as an arrangement. The autograph does not exist, and the two copies that do have some differences. The current full scores disagree on what one should play, and even my survey of around 50 of the major recordings are still divided, with up to five different versions for one passage. Most solutions have been settled with a majority ruling from the vast discography for this work, and often are not what our modern ears are used to tonally. This may be reason why there is such disparity in the first place. Overlapping string parts, with second violins sometimes higher than firsts, ornaments, stringed instrument articulation, are all traps other arrangers fall in, but in the present arrangement, much has been done to achieve the important balance between representing the original version, and still being a convincing and playable solo piano work.

Prior arrangements are sometimes tempted with filling out empty textures, but this version holds dearly the sparse and stark fragility of the soloist’s texture, enabling the full contrast of the concertare. Some markings are intended more for strings or winds rather than piano, and have been adapted accordingly. Some examples are portarto – a slur with staccato notes – repeated notes without changing the bow direction resulting in a gentle, lightly detached, semi-legato. Long sustained notes played by strings are replayed on the piano because of their decay. Fast repeated notes are easy for a stringed instrument, and playing alternative octaves in a tremolo style on the piano is the best way to imitate the sound.

In the original edition published in 1725, Vivaldi’s score follows four sonnetto dimostrativo, illustrative poems written possibly by Vivaldi himself. As well as accurate letter references to these sonnets, there are also additional captions Vivaldi provided in the scores, both of which you will find in the present edition. The cycle is concerned with humankind’s relationship with nature. United in celebration is the nature-centered idealism in Spring and Autumn, and danger dominates the people-centered Summer and Winter. I hope you enjoy getting to know this exciting marriage of music and text on the piano as much as I have.


Après un rêve Gabriel Fauré

Transcribed by Justin Bird

Solo Piano Sheet Music for Advanced Level

In Après un rêve (published in 1878), a dream of romantic flight with a lover, away from the earth, and “towards the light” is described. However, on waking to the truth the dreamer longs to return to the “mysterious night” and the ecstatic falsehood of his dream. The text of the poem is an anonymous Italian poem freely adapted into French by Romain Bussine, and is included in English with the score.

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Apres un reve - Faure - Transcribed for Solo Piano_Page_1



Heart and Soul – Hoagy Carmichael

Arranged by Justin Bird

Solo Piano Sheet Music for Intermediate Level

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Pokémon GO – Main Theme (Professor Theme)

and Walking Theme (Overworld Map)

Arranged by Justin Bird

Solo Piano Sheet Music for Intermediate Level

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