New York Philharmonic: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons

09ORCHESTRA-blog427Going to this concert I knew a few things for certain: Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” would be performed masterfully, I would very much enjoy it and by the end of the night my hands would sting a bit from all the clapping. Such is going to see a “bread and butter” piece done by one of the most acclaimed orchestras in the world.

What I did not expect was that prior to the intermission the audience would be treated with another seasonally inspired quartet of pieces, Astor Piazzolla’s “Four Seasons of Buenos Aires.” I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it on the VDP before, but I come from a family of Argentine immigrants – complete with a childhood of forced tango lessons, watching my father cry at lost soccer games, and almost complete exile during my rebellious teenage attempt to become a dreaded vegetarian. So Piazzolla’s work is not only very familiar, but the kind of music that no matter where I am, puts me right down in my father’s childhood home in Buenos Aires, eating some of the best ice cream in the world while my grandmother and her sisters sing old tango songs at the table after dinner. However, hearing it in David Geffen Hall with a full string orchestra was so wonderful; I think it’s an all-time cultural highlight of mine. (Sadly, the string orchestra leave out Piazzolla’s specialty, the bandoneón, but in the clip below its included.)

After the intermission, just as expected, the orchestra returned and delivered a delightful rendition of “The Four Seasons.” The new concertmaster Frank Huang led the group of musicians through the entire piece – conducting, playing and delivering the soloist verve like it were a walk in the park.

Shannon Thomas


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