Four Seasons, The: A Novel of Vivaldi's Venice

by Laurel Corona | Literature & Fiction | This book has not been rated.
ISBN: 9781401309268 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingResQgeekwing of Alexandria, Virginia USA on 12/1/2008
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3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingResQgeekwing from Alexandria, Virginia USA on Monday, December 01, 2008
Recently acquired from the Amazon.com vine program, to read and review.

Journal Entry 2 by wingResQgeekwing from Alexandria, Virginia USA on Wednesday, December 10, 2008
A vivid journey back to the Venice of the early 18th century, with its lavish festivals, rich musical traditions and powerful families, this book starts much more humbly, with two sisters abandoned at Ospedale della Pietà. The story of their lives, as they grow up inside the cloistered confines of La Pietà and find different paths in adulthood provide an increasingly details glimpse of life in this vibrant period of Venice's history. The relationship between the sisters is the foundation of the story, providing two contrasting points of view that enrich the story.

Among the other important characters is violinist and composer Antonio Vivaldi, Venice's "red priest" and his innovative music, which almost takes on a life of its own here. While rumors of scandal surround him, here he is portrayed with a great deal of sympathy, as a man driven by his love of music and the struggle to be successful in his chosen field. While he isn't without his faults, he is compelling enough to be interesting.

At times, the story becomes almost lyrical, providing powerful imagery of the customs and culture of this place and time. As the story unfolds, we learn about the complex social dynamics of the Ventian aristocracy, the spectacle that was the opera, and a multitude of other details that paint a vibrant portrait. These threads are woven together into a beautiful tapestry that provides a wonderfully diverting read.

Journal Entry 3 by wingResQgeekwing at Alexandria, Virginia USA on Thursday, December 11, 2008

Released 10 yrs ago (12/11/2008 UTC) at Alexandria, Virginia USA

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I'll be mailing this later today. Enjoy! :o)

Journal Entry 4 by wingbookczukwing from Charleston, South Carolina USA on Saturday, December 13, 2008
A certain Geek knows my fondness for Italy, historical, works and music. Thank you so much!

Journal Entry 5 by wingbookczukwing from Charleston, South Carolina USA on Monday, January 12, 2009
Sacred music is a huge part of my life-- I sing in a church choir that is becoming very well known for our renditions of some of the motets of the masters. It was interesting for me to hear the works of Vivaldi that are mentioned in this book-- they became the musical accompaniment to the prose I was reading and the images being painted by the words.

Though the story intrigued me, and the lives the two sisters each led, together and separately, I found the pace of this book somewhat uneven. And because of that, I felt that too much had been jammed together towards the end-- as if the author tired of the tale, or perhaps the editor hacked out a huge hunk of writing to keep production costs down. However, I did, overall, like the book, and like the little side journey it enabled me to take to Venice of Vivialdi's day. (I have to say that whenever I read about the intricacies of Venetian society, I thank my lucky stars I am a 20th/21st century girl. I wouldn't have done well, I think, with all the rules and norms and restrictions of the time. But then again, I probably would have been confined to the ghetto, or condemned as a witch, because of my love of herb lore, so who knows. Maybe I would have done just fine!

I am going to pass this on to someone who has indicated an interest in it. Prolly will mail tomorrow. :) Thanks again RQG!

Journal Entry 6 by wingbookczukwing from Charleston, South Carolina USA on Monday, January 12, 2009
PS What is the Amazon vine program?

Journal Entry 7 by wingbookczukwing at Lakewood, Colorado USA on Monday, January 12, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (1/12/2009 UTC) at Lakewood, Colorado USA

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Mailing tomorrow, I hope!

Journal Entry 8 by wingResQgeekwing from Alexandria, Virginia USA on Tuesday, January 13, 2009
The Amazon.com Vine program was started in 2007 when Amazon.com invited its "top" reviewers (however they defined that term) to participate in a new program to review Amazon products, many of them before they were publicly available. Each month or so, they send out a newsletter of products available for review. Participants can select the items they'd like to review and Amazon provides them, free of charge. I have received a number of books, music CDs and other products through the program. Its been fun, though I have picked up a few duds along the way. Unfortunately, it appears that the only way to participate is to write enough reviews for Amazon to somehow count you among their "top" reviewers.

And now you have the rest of the story (sorry Mr. Harvey), and you know that I really *do* read the journal entries for my books!

Journal Entry 9 by Antof9 from Lakewood, Colorado USA on Thursday, January 22, 2009
I saw bookczuk's notes on this one over at Goodreads, and I couldn't keep myself from responding. I, too, love Venice and Vivaldi!

I'd forgotten this was previously a Geek book! That makes it even more fun :)

Journal Entry 10 by Antof9 from Lakewood, Colorado USA on Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Finished this one tonight at my mom's, in Arab, Alabama, so I'll be leaving this for my grandmother to read. She said she likes Venice, too :)

It was fascinating and confusing, both. Confusing in the same way books like The Other Boleyn Sister confuse me. Basically, I don't know which is fact and which is fiction, and it bugs me! It makes me fear for historical accuracy in the reading public. Or maybe the non-reading public. On the other hand, they don't care ...

There were some things so specific and clearly described that I felt like I was there. When the girls first came to the Pieta, some of the diseases, and some of the music, especially. But then other parts were broadly glossed over and made me lose a little bit of interest. I suppose part of that is based on the things the author can and can't actually research.

I loved the relationship between the sisters. I didn't so much like the age jumps. Just when I was getting into an era, there would be a leap in time that bothered me enough that I would go back and read the end of the previous era slower. hmmm ...

Having been to Venice, I thought this would feel more Venice-like, to me. But other than the gondoliers and using gondolas as taxis (which wasn't much), I felt like this could have taken place really in any city in Italy. Well, any culture center, I suppose.

As much as I love Vivaldi's work, I was a bit disappointed in him as a man. Perhaps I shouldn't have read this ... but that's often the way with great artists. It seems as if one can't be a truly great artist without being just a little nutty. We call that The Val Kilmer Effect in our house. The guy is truly a gifted actor (not so much in this decade, but...), and he's also a bit off his rocker. Really.

Anyway, I'm glad to have read this, and glad I can leave it out of my suitcase for the trip home, as my mom is trying to overload me already. Thanks for passing this on, friends!

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