There is no shortage of recordings of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, but this one really is different. First of all, it is played on the viola, not on the violin – by David Aaron Carpenter.
There is no shortage of recordings of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, but this one really is different. First of all, it is played on the viola, not on the violin – by David Aaron Carpenter. He has been described by the German newspaper Die Welt as “a new star at the forefront of violists”, by the Helsinki Times as playing “like a young god” and by Gramophone as a player of “superlative assurance and magnetic conviction". When he made his debut at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in in 2007, the New York Times praised his “seductively rich sound … forceful interpretive personality and remarkable control of his instrument,” and his mentors have included such distinguished musical figures as Pinchas Zukerman, Yuri Bashmet and Christoph Eschenbach. Secondly, Vivaldi’s Baroque concertos are placed in a new light, since they are programmed alongside far more recent works inspired by the cycle of spring, summer, autumn and winter: Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas (Four Seasons of Buenos Aires), written between 1965 and 1970 by Argentina’s King of Tango, Astor Piazzolla, and A Manhattan Four Seasons by the Ukrainian-American composer Alexey Shor, premiered in 2013. This CD represents the first time that the works by Vivaldi and Piazzolla have been recorded in a version for viola.
Alexey Shor wrote his work – moody, mellow and immediately appealing – in his capacity as composer-in-residence with the Manhattan-based Salomé Chamber Orchestra, which David Aaron Carpenter founded with his violin-playing sister and brother, Lauren and Sean. The orchestra generally plays without a conductor and is therefore headless… hence its striking name, inspired by the biblical princess who demanded the decapitation of John the Baptist. It was founded by the Carpenter siblings in 2009 with the declared aim of achieving “a dynamic balance of novelty, tradition and hard work”. As Lauren Carpenter told the New York Times, “It’s great to try and change the face of what classical music concerts can be.”