There isn’t a music-lover alive who hasn’t heard of Vivaldi’s most iconic composition, The Four Seasons. For nearly three centuries, this dynamic and expressive work has captivated audiences and inspired artists worldwide. Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992), one of Argentina’s most beloved composers, reinterpreted Vivaldi in The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires (Las cuatro estaciones porteñas), and it is a daring work replete with elements of tango, jazz, and modern classical harmonies.
Arguably one of the most recognizable classical works of all time, Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons is a set of four violin concerti, each comprised of three movements. Tempos follow a fast-slow-fast pattern in exploration of each season’s unique characteristics, creating a series of contrasting declarations and responses. Published in 1725 with a set of 12 sonnets, one per movement, The Four Seasons is an example of program music (a composition accompanied by written text that complements the musical narrative). Program music had not been popularized during the baroque period, making Vivaldi’s work innovative for its time.
The Four Seasons begins with Spring and follows a chronological progression towards Winter, contrasting with Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires. While Vivaldi composed each “season” sequentially with the preconceived intent to present it as part of a whole, Piazzolla did not unite his four seasons until after composing them separately. Presentation of his Cuatro estaciones often reflects this fact. Piazzolla’s variation also reduces the number of movements per season from three to one, skillfully incorporating Vivaldi’s motifs into each season with a lively mix of dissonances, rhythm changes, and distinctive Latin flair.
Sarah Chang’s performance of Vivaldi’s famed work and its tango-infused response reflects her travels to Buenos Aires to learn about the culture, music, and dance. She performed with a local tango group, Orquesta Tipica Andariega. There, her classical precision met with the rawness, romance, and spontaneity of the tango. The result was an intimate connection with the audience that transcended boundaries between it and the performer, both bonded by the emotion of the moment that characterizes the genre.
The Artist Series is proud to present virtuoso violinist Sarah Chang and her performance of "Viva Piazzolla" with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic at the Ent Center for the Arts on March 15. The program will celebrate Vivaldi’s emblematic composition and Piazzolla’s response. Sarah Chang is internationally acclaimed, both for her technical skill and emotional expressiveness. Her performance is sure to inspire and invigorate audiences as we eagerly anticipate the coming of spring. Get your tickets, and ensure you have a seat for this special performance in the Shockley-Zalabak Theater.