Eric Paetkau, music director
Véronique Mathieu, violin
From the thunderstorms of Summer to the frost bite of Winter, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is one of the most loved pieces of music ever written. The SSO is thrilled to feature violinist Véronique Mathieu, the University of Saskatchewan David Kaplan Chair in Music.
While the first half of the concert will feature Vivaldi’s timeless masterpieces, the second half of the evening is all about heading south of the equator with the tango-tinged Four Seasons of Buenos Aires by Astro Piazzolla.
The Four Seasons – Antonio Vivaldi
Concerto No. 1 in E major, Op. 8, RV 269, La Primavera
Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 8, RV 315, L’estate
Concerto No. 3 in F major, Op. 8, RV 293, L’autunno
Concerto No. 4 in F minor, Op. 8, RV 297, L‘inverno
Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas – Astro Piazzolla
Verano Porteño (Buenos Aires Summer)
Invierno Porteño (Buenos Aires Winter)
Primavera Porteña (Buenos Aires Spring)
Otoño Porteño (Buenos Aires Autumn)
Canadian violinist Véronique Mathieu has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout Asia, Europe, South Africa, South America, and the United States. She is a prizewinner of the 2012 Eckhardt-Gramatté Contemporary Music Competition, the 2010 Krakow International Contemporary Music Competition, and a three-time winner of the Canada Council Bank of Instruments Competition. As a member of Trio Micheletti, she won the Grand Prize of the 2009 Competition in the Performance of Music from Latin America and Spain. Ms. Mathieu is Assistant Professor of Violin and the director of the Strings Division at the University of Kansas and concurrently a visiting teacher at the Toronto School for Strings and artist-in-residence at the Festival International de Musica Erudita de Piracicaba in Brazil. She previously served on the faculty at State University of New York in Buffalo.
An avid contemporary music performer, Véronique commissioned and premiered many works by American and Canadian composers, and recorded for the CD series New Music at Indiana University, the label of Radio-Canada, Centrediscs, PARMA, Naxos, and Pheromone.
Véronique has performed as a soloist with orchestras such as the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Shenyang Symphony Orchestra, the Esprit Orchestra, the Oakville Symphony Orchestra, the Filarmonica de Americana, the Kokomo Symphony, the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, and the Montreal Contemporary Ensemble. Recently she has given solo performances in China, Georgia, Italy, Vietnam, as well as world premieres of works by Brian Harman and Adam Scime. Her recent CD debut of solo works by Boulez, Donatoni, and Lutoslawski was praised as a recording of “outstanding violin playing.”
Véronique won many prizes in Canada before completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Music at the Québec Conservatory. She obtained an Artist Diploma with outstanding achievement in violin performance from McGill University as a student of Denise Lupien, where was a recipient of the Ethel J. Ivey Award, and the Lloyd Carr Harris Scholarship. Mathieu completed a Performer Diploma and a Master’s Degree in music at Indiana University with professor Miriam Fried while working as an Associate Instructor in violin. She also completed a Doctor of music degree in violin performance at the same institution under the guidance of Mark Kaplan with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
The Four Seasons is the best known of Vivaldi’s works. Though three of the concerti are wholly original, the first, “Spring”, borrows motifs from a Sinfonia in the first act of Vivaldi’s contemporaneous opera Il Giustino. The inspiration for the concertos is not the countryside around Mantua, as initially supposed, where Vivaldi was living at the time, since according to Karl Heller they could have been written as early as 1716-1717, while Vivaldi was engaged with the court of Mantua only in 1718. They were a revolution in musical conception: in them Vivaldi represented flowing creeks, singing birds (of different species, each specifically characterized), a shepherd and his barking dog, buzzing flies, storms, drunken dancers, hunting parties from both the hunters’ and the prey’s point of view, frozen landscapes, and warm winter fires.
Unusually for the period, Vivaldi published the concerti with accompanying sonnets (possibly written by the composer himself) that elucidated what it was in the spirit of each season that his music was intended to evoke. The concerti therefore stand as one of the earliest and most detailed examples of what would come to be called program music—i.e., music with a narrative element. Vivaldi took great pains to relate his music to the texts of the poems, translating the poetic lines themselves directly into the music on the page. For example, in the middle section of the Spring concerto, where the goatherd sleeps, his barking dog can be heard in the viola section. The music is elsewhere similarly evocative of other natural sounds. Vivaldi separated each concerto into three movements (fast–slow–fast), and, likewise, each linked sonnet into three sections.
Estaciones Porteñas or The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, are a set of four tango compositions written by Ástor Piazzolla, which were originally conceived and treated as different compositions rather than one suite, although Piazzolla performed them together from time to time. The pieces were scored for his quintet of violin (viola), piano, electric guitar, double bass and bandoneón. By giving the adjective porteño, referring to those born in Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital city, Piazzolla gives an impression of the four seasons in Buenos Aires.