Composer: Antonio Vivaldi, Astor Piazzolla
Performer: Lara St John, Bruno Procopio, Edgar A Calderon
Orchestra: The Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela
Conductor: Eduardo Marturet
Number of Discs: 1 SACD-R
Bit Depth: 64(2.8 MHz/1 Bit)
Number of channels: 5.0, 2.0
Size: 2.93 GB
Vivaldi – Four Seasons / Piazzolla – Four Seasons of Buenos Aires
Lara St. John’s with Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela conducted by Eduardo Marturet
Antonio Vivaldi – The Four Seasons
01. Spring – Allegro – 3:18
02. Spring – Largo – 2:38
03. Spring – Allegro – 3:51
04. Summer – Allegro non molto – Allegro – 5:16
05. Summer – Adagio – Presto – 1:50
06. Summer – Presto – 2:44
07. Autumn – Allegro – Allegro Assai – 5:12
08. Autumn – Adagio molto – 1:59
09. Autumn – Allegro – 3:20
10. Winter – Allegro non molto – 3:56
11. Winter – Largo – 1:39
12. Winter – Allegro – 3:24
Astor Piazzolla – The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires
13. Buenos Aires Autumn – 7:18
14. Buenos Aires Winter – 6:38
15. Buenos Aires Spring – 5:17
16. Buenos Aires Summer – 5:58
Lara St John – violin
Bruno Procopio – harpsichord
Edgar A Calderon – cello (Otoño Porteño)
The Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela
Drawing from two sides of the musical spectrum – Tango and Baroque – comes Lara St. John’s newest recording, featuring the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela and Eduardo Marturet. The disc features Vivaldi’s seminal work, the Four Seasons, which is the top-selling classical work of all time, paired with The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, Astor Piazzola’s tribute to Vivaldi. There is tremendous interest in this orchestra, and this is the first time it has recorded with the Ancalagon label following successful recordings with the Deutsche Grammophon label.
“Something of a phenomenon.” — The Strad
Is there a more frequently recorded piece of classical music than Vivaldi’s Four Seasons? And talk about over-played – I don’t know if they still do this, but the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills used to pipe this music in to the reception area with such great commitment that I don’t recall ever not hearing it. So why should we care if someone has added yet another recording of the Vivaldi chestnut to the pile?
Because, if you’re like me, you’ve avoided this piece almost as diligently as you’ve avoided, say, the Pachelbel Canon. And if you’ve got to get reacquainted with this piece, why not hear it played by a young violinist who’s got the brash sensibility of an impatient talent with a fresh approach?
Lara St. John may be an Internet sensation – her Bach Concerto Album topped the iTunes Classical category and her recording of Bach’s Six Sonatas and Partitas for Violin Solo was the best-selling double album on iTunes in 2007 – but she eluded me until recently. That’s hard to imagine, for, if nothing else, she’s great at self-promotion. Consider:
– On her debut CD, she posed nude, holding a violin across her chest. “I see no reason to hide who I am or what I look like,” she said.
– She plays a 1779 Guadagnini violin, valued at $1 million, “on loan from an anonymous donor”.
– She doesn’t downplay the importance of emotion – well, emotion on steroids – in her playing. “What is classical music if not the epitome of sensuality, passion, and understated erotica that popular music, even with all of its energy and life, cannot even begin to touch?” she says.
All this would be off-putting if she were just a beauty with adequate technique. But the thing is, Lara St. John really is a virtuoso. Born in Canada, she began playing the violin at two years old. She first performed in concert at four and in Europe at 10. She’s ambitious and fearless.
And clever. Her recording of The Four Seasons by Vivaldi is followed by a version written by Astor Piazzolla, the great tango master. It’s a novel bookend – and musically valid.
Be warning: If you let “The Four Seasons” into your head again, it may lodge there. Especially if you listen to Lara St. John’s animated – okay: passionate – recording.