Venice Carnival… Valentine Day and The Four Seasons by Vivaldi.

Today was Valentine day.
But here in Venice, it is not Saint Valentine the patron saint of lovers, that was being celebrated and remembered, but Casanova, the famous handsome lover who was thrown in jail, for corrupting nuns away from the path of God, and into the path of human passion and love…

Casanova was a man after my own heart…. It is hard for me to understand how anyone could love a God that is so unforgiving, angry and judgmental as the one portrayed in the Bible based religions.

In just a few days, we will hear a concert being played in the very same old jail that Casanova was jailed at, for his love affairs with the chaste nuns…

Saint Valentine was first established by Pope Gelasius in 496 AD, and was later deleted from the General Roman Catholic Calendar of saints, in 1969 by Pope Paul VI.

It never ceases to amaze me that they could declare someone a Saint for hundreds of years, and then a later Pope simply decided that the saint of love…. Actually should NOT be adored…… And decided to delete him.

Popes during history, also rewrote the Bible and deleted whole passages from the records, to serve their political needs at the time.

Empress Theodora, Basilica from Ravenna (circa 500’s), removed from the New Testament Bible all references to reincarnation, in which Jesus said that he had worked on the earth before……. But this is another story that I wish to share in a future post.

Today I saw a green angel, a black angel, a white angel, a blue angel, and a golden angel.
I bet you did not think that angels comes in all colors….
This is because we are approaching the costume judging and awards portion of the carnival, and the costumes you see in the streets, get more elaborate and more beautiful.

You pretty much can tell by the crowds of people gathered, where are the most beautiful costumes.
Photo journalists from all over the world, roam the streets of Venice, looking for an award winning photo.
You can rest assured, that if you spotted a large group of people frantically clicking their cameras, behind them, there is somebody who is wearing an amazing costume.

The people wearing costumes, do not only stand there, they get into character and they perform a pantomime theatrical movements for the cameras.
Everyone is very obliging to pose for you.

I am pretty sure that when they rented their costumes, they were taught what gestures and movements to make, to fit and display their characters best.

We roamed the streets and enjoyed the festivities.

We ended the day in a concert that took place in the old and beautiful church of San Vidal.

We listened to a small group of musicians playing ‘The Four Seasons’ by Vivaldi.

Antonio Vivaldi was born in Venice on March 4 1678.
He was an Italian Baroque composer and a virtuoso violinist.

The Four Seasons is a wonderfully poetic piece depicting each season with three movements and with different tempos.

There is a distinct different feeling to each season.
Spring and Autumn, are composed, played and depicted with much more joy and playfulness, than Winter and Summer.

Vivaldi uses long, almost cry-like Violin strokes in the Winter and Summer pieces.

It is apparent that Vivaldi loved the Spring and the Autumn.

Perhaps because he lived before electricity was discovered, winter days were short, and the winters in Venice were harsh and cold, while the summers brought clouds of Mosquitos and droughts.

To explain it better, I will add the poems that he wrote for each season.
I copied them directly from our program:

Spring:

Springtime is upon us
The birds celebrate her return with a festive song,
And murmuring streams, are softly caressed by the breeze.

Thunderstorms, those heralds of spring,
Roar, casting their dark mantle over heaven.
Then they die away to silence,
And the birds start their charming songs once more.

On the flower-strewn meadow,
With leafy branches rustling overhead,
The goat herder sleeps,
His faithful dog beside him.

Led by the festive sound of rustic bagpipe,
Nymphs and shepherds lightly dance
Beneath the brilliant canopy of spring.

Summer:

Beneath the blazing sun’s relentless heat,
Men and flocks are sweltering, pines are scorched.
We hear the Cuckoo’s voice,
Then sweet songs of the turtle dove and finch are heard.

Soft breeze stir in the air….
But threatening north winds,
Sweeps them suddenly aside.
The shepherd trembles, fearful of the violent storm
And what may lie ahead.

His limbs are now awakened from their repose
By fear of lightning flash and thunder’s roar,
As gnats and flies buzz furiously around.

Alas his worst fears were justified,
As the heavens roar and great hailstorms beat down
Upon the proudly standing corn.

Autumn:

The peasant celebrates with song and dance
The harvest safety gather in,
The cup of Bacchus flows freely,
And many find their relief in deep slumber.

The singing and the dancing die away
As cooling breezes fan the pleasant air,
Inviting all to sleep
Without a care.

The hunters emerge at dawn,
Ready for the chase,
With horns and dogs and cries.
Their quarry flees while they give chase.
Terrified and wounded, the prey struggles on,
But, harried, dies.

Winter:

Shivering, frozen mid the frosty snow in biting,
Stinging winds,
Running to and fro to stamp one’s icy feet,
Teeth chattering in the bitter chill.

To rest contentedly beside the hearth,
While those outside are drenched by pouring rain.

We tread the icy path slowly and cautiously,
For fear of tripping and falling.
Then turn abruptly, slip, crash on the ground,
And rising, hasten on across the ice lest it cracks up.
We feel the chill north winds coarse through the home
Despite the locked and bolted doors…
This is winter, which nonetheless brings its own delights.

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