Eric De Kuyper sets up a dialogue between two antipodes, Vivaldi and Cage. Both "seasoned" differently:
The concertos were first published in 1725 as part of a set of twelve concerti, Vivaldi's op. 8 entitled Il cimento dell'armonia e dell'inventione (The Contest Between Harmony and Invention). The first four concertos were designated Le quattro stagioni, each being named after a season.
As the concertos were written to accompany sonnets, Eric de Kuyper decided to accompany the sonnets during the performance.
Cage wrote his composition in 1947 as part of a dance production of Merce Cunningham. First as a piano score, later orchestrated.
The Seasons consists of nine movements:
Finale (Prelude I)
It is a sweet and lyric composition, very much unlike Cage's other works. Like in Sonatas and Interludes and String Quartet in Four Parts it is indicative of Cage's interest in Indian aesthetics. In The Seasons Cage uses the Indian signification as inspiration: Winter as quiescense, Spring as creation, Summer as preservation and Fall as destruction. It is one of the compositions where Cage tried to "imitate nature in her manner of operation", which is, according to the composer, one of the ideas from Indian philosophy.
The work's overall rhythmic strusture is 2-2-1-3-2-4-1-3-1. This structure also expresses the relative lengths of each of the nine movements.
Cage first composed the piano version. The orchestration was made with the help of Lou Harrison and Virgil Thomson.