Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Le otto stagioni

I am realizing in ripping my classical CDs, that I have been even more guilty with them than with my non-classical of listening to only a few, forgetting the rest.

I think this is forgivable with the pieces that we all hear too frequently. I think this is also somewhat forgivable since I have determined that I work better while listening to baroque music than to the big romantics. Must be the Bach Effect.

But there are others that I really love, and that I realize I have really missed, now that I see them again. I am not just talking about my several different Misse L'Homme Arme, that I collected in college, or the soundtrack to Henry V, but also to versions of pieces that had slipped out of mind.

When I blogged a while back about recordings of Vivaldi's music, I overlooked one of the coolest things I have come across: the record is called Eight Seasons, and the performers are the Latvian violinist Gidon Kremer and the Kremerata Baltica. The recording intersperses the four concerti of Vivaldi's famous seasons with the sections of the lesser known Cuatro estaciones porteƱas of Astor Piazzolla, the Argentinian composer and master of bandoneon and tango nuevo. Kremer explains the title of the recording this way:
The globe, being round, implies two hemispheres. This makes the seasons (except places with infinite sunshine or those with a constant shortage of light) double themselves. That is how we get 2 times 4 seasons (or simply put--8 seasons). Admitting the global irrelevance of up and down, of North and South, of day and night--in a virtual reality it all takes place simultaneously--we also have to admit the irrelevance of any classification.

By interspersing the two compositions, and the two hemispheres with their respective cycles of seasons, Kremer et al. acknowledge Piazzolla's clear playing on Vivaldi, and throw into question which piece to listen to first. Yes, the first tracks are Vivaldi's Spring concerto, but they are followed not by Piazzola's "Spring in Buenos Aires" but by his "Summer," which itself therefore precedes Vivaldi's summer. Only if the disc were played continuously could a listener hear the two springs together, and by then all the seasons are cycling eternally.

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