VIVALDI'S FOUR SEASONS WITH
THE ORPHEUS CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
Sarah Chang, whose performances send critics reaching for superlatives, has expanded her discography with a recording of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, the composer's best known work and one of the most popular pieces in the entire classical oeuvre. Sarah's partners in The Four Seasons and Vivaldi's Concerto for Violin in G minor, Op. 12, No. 1 are the Grammy Award-winning Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.
Sarah Chang and Orpheus performed The Four Seasons on a triumphant tour of South Korea in May, shortly before recording it at the State University of New York at Purchase. A month later, they reprised the work at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago. "Sarah Chang contrasted driving force in the fast movement with lyricism in the slow," wrote News Korea. "She not only expressed 'four seasons' but also the complexities of human emotion."
Sarah has described her work with Orpheus as a unique experience: "Every member of Orpheus is a fantastic soloist. I always look forward to performing [with them] because it is such a natural collaboration. Playing Vivaldi's Four Seasons together is particularly rewarding ... With Orpheus, because of the focus and thoughtfulness that goes into every rehearsal and performance, it is possible to fully convey the vivid and colourful images Vivaldi created with this piece."
Seconding Sarah's sentiments, EMI producer Stephen Johns said, "The care and attention that these performers brought to the music was astonishing and their long experience of working as a chamber ensemble of equals meant that every player was alive to the re-creation and fresh viewpoint of these popular works. The interplay and inspiration between Sarah and the orchestra was astonishing."
Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) taught for much of his life at an all-girls 'orphanage' in Venice that was home to the offspring of wealthy noblemen and their mistresses. The 'orphanage' was well endowed, thanks to financing by the anonymous fathers of its charges, and, among other things, the young girls received an excellent musical education. It was for the most talented pupils that Vivaldi composed a large number of his concertos. The so-called Four Seasons were among twelve concertos by Vivaldi that were published in 1725, although it is likely that they were composed a few years earlier, in the same period that Sarah Chang's violin, a 1717 Giuseppe Guarneri del Ges?, was created.
One of classical music's most captivating performers, with a rare ability to bring freshness and spontaneity to even the most familiar works, Sarah Chang has matured from a remarkable prodigy into an adult artist of astonishing musical insight, technical virtuosity and emotional range. An exclusive EMI Classics artist, she has produced a discography that includes the violin concertos of Mendelssohn, Bruch, Tchaikovsky, Dvoř?k, Paganini No. 1, Prokofiev No. 1, Shostakovich No. 1, Goldmark, Sibelius, Richard Strauss and Vieuxtemps No.5, as well as Lalo's Symphonie espagnole, Saint-Sa?ns's Havanaise and Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso and chamber music by Dvoř?k, Tchaikovsky, Franck, Ravel and Saint-Sa?ns.
Recognised internationally as one of the world's great orchestras, the conductor-less Orpheus has been thrilling music lovers on four continents for 35 years. The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra was founded by a group of New York-based musicians who aspired to give musician-led performances of standard and contemporary orchestral repertoire. Central to the ensemble's distinctive personality is its unique practice of sharing and rotating leadership roles; for each work, the members select the concertmaster and the principal players. Orpheus has collaborated, in concert and recordings with many of the great artists of our time and premieres a large number of new works, in keeping with its commitment to expand the chamber orchestra repertoire.
Sarah Chang performed The Four Seasons at the Verbier Festival in July. When her Vivaldi recording is released in October, she will be performing The Four Seasons on an extensive European tour taking in the U.K., Ireland, France, Holland and Spain in addition to a few North American dates performing with Orpheus.
On Sarah Chang's recording of the first violin concertos of Shostakovich and Prokofiev
with the Berlin Philharmonic and Simon Rattle: