11 evocative pieces of classical music inspired by autumn


September 14, 2021, 5:53 PM

Classical music inspired by autumn.

Image: Alamy

As the summer fades and the brown leaves draw closer to us, we’re on the hunt for some of the best pieces of music inspired by the fall months.

The changing seasons and the invigorating climate it brings have inspired many wonderful classical music pieces.

And no season evokes a sense of change, hopeful new things on the horizon, and turbulent thinking just like fall. After the summer brightness, he seems to have a feeling of being unstable before settling down and preparing to envision a hopeful future.

And many composers have been inspired by the season. From Vivaldi who brought autumn colors to a third of his Four Seasons concertos, to Imogen Holst who created a series of studies in The fall of the leaf, here are some of the most evocative pieces of classical music inspired by fall.

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  1. Antonio Vivaldi: ‘Autumn’ of the Four Seasons

    Baroque composer Vivaldi brought the seasons of a year in the northern hemisphere to life with four virtuoso violin concertos published in 1725.

    ‘Autumn’, like the other concertos, has three movements: the first is energetic and rhythmic, and depicts a harvest festival dance. The second is a slow movement that seems to usher in the fresh air and cool, reflective mornings of fall. And the third movement is a lively, casual affair, setting to music an autumnal hunt taking place atop a layer of crispy leaves. .

    Read more: How Vivaldi perfectly captured the fall season and created one of the great concertos

  2. Fanny Mendelssohn: ‘September’, ‘October’ and ‘November’ by Das Jahr

    In 1841, Fanny Mendelssohn composed a set of 12 piano pieces representing each month of the year.

    ‘September’, ‘October’ and ‘November’ of Das Jahr (“The Year”), have distinct fall moods reflecting not only the seasons, but also Mendelssohn’s life and state of mind at the time of writing.

  3. Jules Massenet: “Autumn Thought”

    Jules Massenet is well known for his operas, and especially Thai and its beautiful violin Meditation.

    He has also written songs for voice and piano. ‘Thoughts in Autumn’ sees a thoughtful singer turn his notions to the rotating year and sing, “The year flows like a flowing stream, carrying away the fleeing lights of the West. And like that of mourning birds, the flight of memories languishes in the air.

  4. Piotr Ilitch Tchaikovsky: “Autumn song” of the seasons

    For his Seasons, the Russian composer Tchaikovsky characterized the 12 months of the year in separate movements, the autumn slices of which depict a harvest, a hunt and an “Autumn Song”, sublimely lyrical and lugubrious.

  5. Scott Joplin: “Maple Leaf Rag”

    Fall is the season when maple leaves change color to the vivid browns and fiery reds for which they are famous.

    “Maple Leaf Rag” was one of the early rags of Scott Joplin’s “The King of Ragtime,” and it became the ragtime roadmap used by later composers working in the genre.

    Read more: 7 shiny Scott Joplin rags and coins you should know

  6. Astor Piazzolla: ‘Autumn’ of the Four Seasons of Buenos Aires

    About 245 years after Vivaldi captured the four seasons of music, Argentinian composer Piazzolla created a tango-infused tribute to the baroque composer’s enduring work.

    Piazzolla’s series of simple tango movements in Las Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas contain several references to Vivaldi’s famous work, and the fall is sufficiently dramatic, with raindrops and deep light and shadow cast by a low winter sun audible in the music.

  7. Imogen Holst: The Fall of the Leaf

    English composer Imogen Holst composed The fall of the leaf as a study ensemble for solo cello, originally for her friend, cellist and pianist Pamela Hind O’Malley.

    Variations on a 16th century tune, the short pieces are lyrical and thoughtful – although punctuated by a few energetic in-between movements – with deep, resonant colors that reflect the ambiance of drifting and falling leaves in autumn.

  8. Tōru Takemitsu: November stages

    The atmosphere of contemporary Japanese composer Takemitsu November stages was commissioned for the 125th anniversary of the New York Philharmonic, and he composed it in a secluded mountain retreat.

    Like much of Takemitsu’s music, it is distinguished by the combination of traditional Japanese instruments – in this case the biwa and shakuhachi – with Western orchestral forces. Takemitsu was heavily influenced by composers like Debussy and Messiaen, as well as Japanese musical traditions, and he represented autumn in several other works, including his 1973 orchestral work. Autumn, and Ceremonial, an ode of autumn.

  9. Einojuhani Rautavaara: autumn gardens

    The work of the Finnish composer Rautavaara of Autumn Gardens is a lyrical piece in three moments for symphony orchestra.

    The shimmering strings evoke the last pangs of summer in the opening movement, before the light begins to fade in the second movement, and the full chill of autumn can be felt through the final section of the room.

  10. Thea Musgrave: ‘Autumn’ from The Seasons

    Scottish composer Thea Musgrave was commissioned in 1988 by the Academy of St Martin’s in the Fields to represent the seasons of the earth in music.

    The piece was inspired by the painting by Renaissance artist Piero di Cosimo Caccia Primitiva, which depicts a bloody hunting scene, and begins with “Autumn,” which is restless and menacing.

  11. Jennifer Higdon: Fall Music

    Jennifer Higdon is an American songwriter and her inspiration for the wind quintet Autumn music, composed in 1995, is based on the work of Samuel Barber Summer music.

    “Autumn comes in many forms: incredible explosions of color; the air that suddenly breaks with sharpness and clarity; a tinge of melancholy on the eve of a change in all our lives ”, the composer written in program notes for the room. “This piece is a musical portrait of the essence and images of autumn.


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