Five Minutes on Friday (5)

Hi Darrell and welcome.  This Sunday the 26th Climate Change Conference will begin in Glasgow.  Tell us a bit about how Vivaldi and the Four Seasons fits in with this event.

At the start of Youth and Public Empowerment Day at COP26 on November 5th 2021, 14 orchestras from across 6 continents will be part of a live-stream event, each performing a unique version of The [Uncertain] Four Seasons. This music is based on Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, but each ‘season’ is altered in a way the simulates the kind of changes we can expect to see in our natural seasons due to climate change. Each performance is unique because the music is altered based on geospatial climate predictions for each city. The performance by the SSO is based on the data for Saskatoon for the year 2050.

Tell us about Vivaldi’s original composition.

Vivaldi was a baroque composer and wrote his Four Seasons around 1720. The composition consists of a set of four violin concertos, each one representing a different season. The idea was to give a musical impression of the sites, sounds and feelings that are unique to each season. It was very progressive for its time, depicting the sounds of nature through music. If you listen carefully you can hear creeks and birds and lots of other nature sounds.

How does the ‘uncertain’ four seasons build on Vivaldi?

In spite of its revolutionary approach to composition, Vivaldi’s seasons still sound logical and understandable to us because music from this time period follows very strict rules about rhythm and harmony. This makes it seem somehow familiar, even if you haven’t heard it before. It feels comfortable, like you know where this music is going, and it is very pleasant to let the music take you on this journey that seems familiar and dependable. The ’uncertain’  four seasons is a re-composing of Vivaldi’s music, developed by composers, musicians, climate and computer scientists using geospatial climate predictions for 2050. Using climate change data to predict how climates will change, they then used computers to make similar changes to the notes in the music.  The resulting music is a distortion of the landscape that Vivaldi wrote about. In some variations, the birds have fallen silent. In others, storms are more intense, or rivers have stopped flowing. The music is at times uncomfortable to listen to because it is no longer predictable or dependable, and like the changing weather patterns, that can be a little difficult to get used to.

Will we be able to tune into a concert of the [Uncertain] Four Seasons during the Climate Change Conference?

Yes, the performances will be part of a live-stream presentation starting on November 5 and running for about 24 hours or so. The SSO recording will be part of that live-streaming event. The best place to find all the info for this event is to go this site:


Thank you, Darrell.  We watched the concert on the night the SSO first performed it and found it a provocative, compelling event.   Let’s hope our political leaders are also listening, and will engage in actions that will contribute to the well-being of our earth.