Strap in for the Fun Seasons Vivaldi’s Four Seasons come raining down on a droughtparched Perth audience in May.
The weather has been a topic of conversation for millennia: a chat over the fence between neighbours, the subject of every news bulletin and even heated debate in the parliaments of the world, everyone talks about the weather. For 400 years, the ‘Red Priest’, Antonio Vivaldi’s conversation over the weather has been played in school halls, concert halls and exam halls everywhere. This genius Venetian composer and teacher at a Venetian girls’ orphanage, created four concerti representing each season in all its colour, vivacity and purpose in our lives. The Four Seasons is perhaps the most loved and most-well known classical music suite of all time. But like a message in a bottle to be read by audiences down the ages, Vivaldi inserted pieces of his poetry above each season, giving us insight into his Venice of the early 18th century. Australia’s very own baroque specialist Paul Dyer, founder and artistic director of the immensely accomplished Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, will be heading to Perth next month (May 1-2), a little like a cyclone – such is the energy and enthusiasm of the man, to lead the WASO in a full-length rendition of Vivaldi’s masterpiece. His excitement for music making never seems to dim, and as he was speaking over the phone to Medical Forum, he bubbled with anticipation. Leading the symphony orchestra, a vastly different beast to his own baroque orchestra, was something to savour. w ““A symphony orchestra comes with its own sset of parameters and dynamics but what I’ve managed to do, from my previous conducting m encounters with WASO, is to work with a core e g group of players, so they know who I am and tthey know I’ll be a bit crazy. But they also know tthey can be free with me.” “ “The string players will stand for the performance, w which is quite a different experience for them but it’s also quite liberating.” b P Paul is also keen to work with one of the country’s up-and-coming violinists, Perthc born-and-based Shaun Lee Chen, who will b sshoulder much of the ﬁery soloist load.
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“Shaun plays both modern and baroque violin, so he understands the demands of the instruments and the music. We want to bring something fresh to the Perth concert.” While the Four Seasons is perhaps one of the most recogniseable pieces of music, courtesy of its appropriation by every supermarket and lift owner in the world, Paul says because of its magnitude is not often played in its entirety. In his 25 years of immersion in baroque music, he’s only been involved in three full-length performances, including the recording on ABO’s ARIA-award winning album. “But that’s not to say I haven’t played separate seasons many times! But every time I play it, I discovers something amazing about the piece.” “When I was discussing an encore with ﬁrebrand 29-year-old Russian violinist Dimitry Sinkovsky last year, we thought of the last movement of Summer, which is notoriously fast and fun for the audience, but it was all a bit easy and predictable, so I suggested the ﬁrst movement of Winter and Dimitry leapt on the idea.” “He would turn it into a Siberian winter, he said. And that got me thinking about our individual experiences of the seasons and I rushed to talk to Shaun about this idea, sowing the seeds for him to examine his own responses to the seasons in Perth.” “Shaun is a keen cyclist, who experiences the seasons physically and intimately as he rides his bike. I want the audience to have a similar visceral experience when they listen to the music.” Also on the Perth program is Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 4 and Rameau’s glorious Les Indes Galantes Suite. “Rameau and the French baroque are light years away from WASO’s symphonic language but it’s a sublime piece and I have enlarged the orchestra for it, so they will go crazy.” Be prepared, Perth, the crazy Dyer is back in town and in his words: “Music has to be fun.”
By Ms Jan Hallam
e ha rpischord rrow Pic: Toby Bu
WA's Premier Independent Monthly Magazine for Health Professionals