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Nature’s evocations PDF Print E-mail

.di Luigi Di Fronzo

Many composers have attempted to clone of one of the most popular scores (Vivaldi’s Le quattro stagioni) of music’s Baroque descriptivism: with electronic music (Wilbrandt), in tango-fusion style (Piazzolla) and with jazz. Indeed, it could be also called the concert of the Eight seasons, as the cover title of one of the last Cds of violinist Gidon Kremer. But despite numbers, the juxtaposition does not change. The idea is always to put together in a same playbill two different pages inspired to the cyclical breakdowns of the calendar: on the first page the very popular Quattro stagioni by Antonio Vivaldi, one of the most performed (and mostly loved among all) of all of the Baroque Venetian period. On the other page, there is the Cuatro estaciones porteñas by Argentinean Astor Piazzolla, meaning the Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, composed during the end of the Sixties, by the now legendary poet of tango and milonga. But if in that Cd Kremer divides the bond that keeps these two scores together, alternating Mozart to each season by Piazzola, here the unity is maintained intact. In this way public will taste the game of imitating nature, in the Eighteenth century style of program music: to make an example, it will be possible to identify the bird’s singing or the howling of dogs in Spring, the sound of thunder (Summer), the cracking of ice that melts and the blowing of wind in Winter. And then, in the end, we shall meet the Seasons by Piazzolla, less descriptive, but undoubtedly not lacking in charm, being one of the testimonies of a musical crossover that filters folk rhythms of Argentinean provenance and elements of classical tradition. Naturally, a little bit of music history will not harm. Since from their lucky editorial baptism, in the late Baroque Amsterdam of 1725, the Quattro stagioni by Vivaldi have charmed generations of performers and amateurs, being a marvellous example of program music. To be enjoyed again and again with happiness… In the background of its formal architecture in three movements, grows the concept of extravagance. A spirit of fantastic expressive liberty, an eccentric and paradoxical art of surprise, that well conceals with the will for pleasure, for sensory appeasement, for hedonism. Extravagance as art of dissimulation, as the disturbing propensity for deformity, vaguely dreamy fantasy common to many illusionist painters: contemporary or antecedent by many years. Our thought goes to artworks as the musical instruments by Baschenis, the still natures by Poussin, the Flemish fantasies by Bosch, reaching even certain inventions by Tiepolo or Guardi. Or we can imagine paintings of exquisite musical dedication, where we can see curious amateurs, spectators of a sonorous events: a doggy with his muzzle turned towards chamber musicians in the popular painting by Pietro Longhi (Concert), or groups of children that play on the front of an anonymous painting of the XVIII century, in which the musicians painted in the background are richly dressed in ceremony clothing. Piazzolla’s case is different. Here comes out the sign of an emotion without time. Languor, infinite desperation, interior constriction and bitter solitude; but also poetic tenderness, blinding rage, sick sensibility and overwhelming vitality... Impressions that bring us to the world of South American literature of Neruda, Garcìa Màrquez, Vargas Llosa and Borges, as to explore the musical casket of Ginastera, of Gardel, of Troilo or the film treasure of Solanas. All similar artists: some with verses, others with rhythmic gestures, living in the universe of passion and of sensuality, sometimes brutal, of the spell of tango.