A year in 39 minutes – Cynthia Closkey

Photo credit: “Four Seasons-Day 14/365” by Andreanna

I looked for a list of soundtracks that include Vivaldi’s most famous work and could not find one. One partial list mentions “Tin Cup, Spy Game, A View to Kill, What Lies Beneath, White Chicks, Saved!, Pacific Heights, The Other Sister….” I discovered that those Brits who watched much tellie in the 70s or 80s will always associate Vivaldi with Kingsmill Bread. But no comprehensive lists were to be found. (May I suggest that as a thesis topic for some aspiring film major?)

I needed the comprehensive list because I wanted to validate my guess that the first section, Spring, would be the most referenced. I find it the most recognizable part. To my surprise, my (highly unscientific) searching has revealed that movie trailers favor instead the opening of the “Winter” segment, for its sense of doom and foreboding. (See for example, Wall Street and The Empire Strikes Back.)

Given how often we all have heard Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons in movies and commercials, at weddings and receptions, you might wonder that we would care to hear it performed again at all.

Yet we most certainly do want to hear it, and especially to hear it performed not as the background to action, but as a work unto itself.

It’s a lovely showcase for a violin soloist, and at Heinz Hall Friday night Andrés Cárdenes was outstanding, particularly in his interplay with the lead cello. I was also struck to hear how the harpsichord complimented the strings, and how clearly the small orchestra’s playing rang in Heinz Hall. Much of the Summer section’s quieter and more delicate moments, in particular, seemed to be created specifically to be enjoyed here.

Perhaps The Four Seasons is called upon to act as soundtrack so often because it reflects a full range of emotions, settings, changes — a year’s worth, you might say.

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Oct 5