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CRUK shortens Vivaldi’s Spring to highlight charitable gifts in Wills

CRUK shortens Vivaldi’s Spring to highlight charitable gifts in Wills

Cancer Research UK has partnered with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to release an unusual version of Antonio Vivaldi’s Spring (from ‘The Four Seasons’). The performance is missing a third of the original notes.

The recording is designed to highlight how vital gifts left in Wills are to Cancer Research UK. One-third of the charity’s research is funded in this way. 

The piece’s opening will sound the same, but then notes will be withdrawn, resulting in the familiar melodies developing in an unexpected way. While still recognisable, the new arrangement clearly shows the impact that taking away a third of the notes has on the tune.

The new arrangement of Vivaldi’s Spring was created by London based composer Chris Roe, who has previously been nominated for a British Composer Award for his orchestral work, ‘In Search of Strategy’.


Roe said:

“Vivaldi’s original Spring is one of the most celebrated and famous pieces of music – everyone knows it in one way or another. It is an uplifting and jovial piece of music and, as a composer, it went against my natural instincts to take away a third of the notes. We wanted to make the biggest impression as musically possible, and now the piece has been transformed to be tentative and uneasy. The impact is immediate and is a powerful illustration of the effect that a missing third of something can have.” 

How the music was changed

The re-imagining of Vivaldi’s Spring was recorded at Angel Studios with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, featuring violinist Clio Gould.

Chris Roe created the work by dividing the music into sections, and counting how many notes each instrument played in each section. He decided that taking out small groups of notes from different instruments at different times still allowed the music to flow, but with the sense that something was not quite right. He then cut down the length of the piece, removing a third of the number of bars, and muting the strings to dampen the sound, and plucking the strings in places instead of bowing.

Sarah Squire, senior legacy manager, Cancer Research UK, commented:

“Many people don’t realise that gifts left in Wills fund a third of Cancer Research UK’s life-saving work, making legacy giving vital for us… We hope our new arrangement of Vivaldi’s Spring will inspire supporters to continue funding that third of our work to enable us to keep up the pace of our research in the future.”


Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp.

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