october 9, 2022
7:00 PM PDT
Benaroya Hall, Seattle
Vivaldi and the (Forty) Four Seasons
Yakama elders teach that there are as many as 44 distinct seasons. We kick off 10th season anniversary celebrations with Vivaldi’s beloved “Four Seasons,” interspersed with stories from the Yakama tradition by scholar and master storyteller Dr. Michelle Jacob. Violinist David Greenberg leads our most ambitious production to date with Byron Schenkman at the harpsichord. Original prints by Karuk artist Fox Spears, will be displayed and for sale in the lobby.
“[Michelle] offers Auntie stories as tools to instruct us on ways to love harder, decolonize more fiercely and share wisdom through kindness.”
— Dr. Angie Morrill (Klamath Tribes),
Director of Indian Education, Portland Public Schools
Shelby Erin Mass
Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741):
“Spring” Concerto in E Major, op. 8, no. 1
Allegro – Largo e pianissimo sempre – Allegro pastorale
Connor Chee (b. 1987):
Navajo Prelude no. 2
Storyteller Michelle Jacob:
“I Love Pyaxí (Bitterroot)” from The Auntie Way
“44 Seasons” from Fox Doesn’t Wear a Watch
Francesca Caccini (1587-1640):
Sinfonia no. 1 from “La Liberazione di Ruggiero dall’isola d’Acina”
“Summer” Concerto in G Minor, op. 8, no. 2
Allegro non molto – Adagio e piano, Presto e forte – Presto
Élisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre (1665-1729):
Tocade in F Major
“Autumn” Concerto in F Major, op. 8, no. 3
Allegro – Adagio molto – Allegro
Storyteller Michelle Jacob:
“I Love Wíwnu (Huckleberry)” from Huckleberries & Coyotes
“Elder Birthdays” from Birthday Gifts
Luis Advis (1935-2004):
Prelude in B-flat
“Winter” Concerto in F Minor, op. 8, no. 4
Allegro non molto – Largo – Allegro
“So convincing is Greenberg’s musical authority you come away thinking you don’t want to hear Vivaldi played any other way.”
— The Halifax Herald
Notes on the Program
By Byron Schenkman
There are many things we take for granted based on our cultural upbringing. The idea of four seasons seems pretty basic to anyone raised in a European-influenced culture. Yet this is not universal. Dr. Michelle Jacob, storyteller and professor of indigenous studies, teaches that Yakama tradition recognizes as many as 44 distinct seasons. Antonio Vivaldi’s most famous work is a set of four violin concertos offering a musical depiction of the seasons from an 18th-century Venetian perspective. Our program intersperses Vivaldi’s concertos with stories of the seasons from the Yakama tradition plus various instrumental preludes offering wordless reflections on these stories.
Antonio Vivaldi was well known in his time as a virtuoso violinist, opera composer, and master teacher at the famous Ospedale della Pietà, a combination orphanage and conservatory for girls and young women. Vivaldi composed hundreds of concertos for various instruments, many of them for the students at the Ospedale.
His Four Seasons are inscribed with a sonnet with indications of which verses correspond to which musical passages. The spring concerto depicts chirping birds, murmuring streams, roaring thunder, a sleeping goatherd and his barking dog, and shepherds dancing to rustic bagpipes. The summer concerto includes languishing under the hot sun, listening to the cuckoo, the turtledove, and the finch, sweet breezes giving way to thunder, a summer nap accompanied by the buzzing of gnats and flies, and ultimately a violent storm. In the fall concerto we hear songs and dances of the harvest, a drunken slumber, and a band of hunters with their dogs and guns slaying a wild beast. Winter brings trembling from the cold with chattering teeth, relaxing by the fire while the rain pours down outside, slipping and sliding on the ice, and enjoying the delights of the season even as a cold north wind blows through the house.
Connor Chee is a Navajo composer and pianist who combines classical piano training with his Native American heritage. His preludes for piano, one of which we have adapted for harpsichord and cello, are inspired by traditional Navajo chants and songs. Francesca Caccini was a celebrated musician in Europe at the beginning of the 17th century. The short sinfonia we are playing is from an opera she was commissioned to write for the Medici court in 1625. Nearly a hundred years later Élisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre was one of the most famous composers in France. Luis Advis was a Chilean composer best known for his Cantata de Santa María de Iquique composed for the famous folk ensemble Quilapayun in 1969. Less well known are his purely instrumental works such as the short piano prelude adapted here for solo harpsichord.