“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
This quote from Albert Camus, the French author and philosopher reflects the love that many people have for the autumn season – the gorgeous leaves against the deep blue sky; the colorful and cheerful displays of pumpkins, gourds, scarecrows, and cornstalks; football, apple cider, festivals, and crisp clean air.
This season has also inspired generations of artists, authors, and composers. I decided to do a little exploring, and here are some of my discoveries.
Composers used the season of autumn frequently. Perhaps the best-known example is Antonio Vivaldi’s masterpiece, The Four Seasons. The autumn section known as L’autunno (autumn) violin concerto is bright and crisp, just like the season itself.
Joseph Hayden also highlighted autumn in his work, The Seasons.
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, known for his beautiful ballets including Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, also composed a piece for piano called The Seasons. The autumn section includes September’s The Hunt, October’s Autumn Song and November’s Troika.
One of my favorite composers, Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Folk Songs of the Four Seasons, of course embraces an autumn section.
In a different vein, Gustav Holst composed St. Paul’s Suite for the part of the year that some children find not so nice – going back to school! Holst was the Director of Music at St. Paul’s Girls School in the United Kingdom and this was written for his students and named after the school.
Give these pieces a listen sometime – you will be glad you did.
Of course visual artists have also long been inspired by this season. Check out the Autumn Effect Argenteuil with its beautiful colors, by Claude Monet, or some of the happy scenes of autumn in Back to School, Pumpkins on the Green, or Husking Bee by Will Moses. This last one reminds me of husking corn back in Indiana. At the time, it seemed like a chore! Grandma Moses also weighs in with Autumn in the Berkshires.
And let’s not forget about literature. Poems like Hoar Frost by Amy Lowell and Autumn Movement by Carl Sandburg reference autumn, sometimes in rather melancholy ways.
And how about this from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling: “Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple.”
Or “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers” from Anne of Green Gables.
So, autumn really is everywhere you look – on the walls of museums, on the written page, on our radio or IPod, or just out the window. Enjoy this beautiful season!
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Florence Blog Post written by Becky Stragand
Becky Stragand is a writer and retired educator who enjoys books, interior design, and tending to her cats. She lives in West Jefferson with her husband and felines.