VIVALDI, A.: 4 Seasons (The) / PIAZZOLLA, A.: Las 4 Estaciones Portenas (St. John, Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra, Marturet)
So here we go again folks, yet another version of Vivaldi’s ubiquitous The Four Seasons. In the last few years the recordings of The Four Seasons that have arrived for review have tended to be period instrument performances. These interpretations by solo violinist Lara St. John presented on her own Ancalagon label are played on a Guadagnini violin with modern strings and bow.
The suite known as The Four Seasons from Vivaldi’s opus 8 set of 12 violin concerti are wonderfully inventive and melodic scores. But if any works have been overexposed these are they. I believe that there are now well over one hundred versions in the catalogue, available in arrangements that probably range from panpipes to bagpipes. I ask myself is there a need for yet another version? I suppose it all depends on the version as the competition is exceedingly intense. Cleverly Lara St. John has freshened up the appeal of this release by including Astor Piazzolla’s take on the four seasons of the year titled Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas (The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires) in Desyatnikov’s arrangement.
Lara St. John was a new name to me and the first thing I did was to browse her website www.larastjohn.com to discover that the violinist is Canadian-born; hailing from London, Ontario. My brief inspection of her biographical details reveals an impressive pedigree. St. John a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia, studied at the Moscow Conservatoire, the Guildhall School in London and the New England Conservatory, Boston. From a young age St. John appeared with several of the world’s leading orchestras. In 1999 St. John exchanged her loaned 1702 ‘Lyall’ Stradivarius violin for the permanent loan of a 1779 ‘Salabue’ Guadagnini violin. In 2007 St. John released her accounts of the J.S. Bach 6 Sonatas & Partitas for solo violin. Her recording was made at the studios at Skywalker Sound, California on Ancalagon SACD AR 123. (Read more on Music Web International)
Free track: The 4 Seasons: Violin Concerto in E major, Op. 8, No. 1, RV 269, "La primavera" (Spring) - Danza pastorale: Allegro