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Classical Album of the Week: Four Seasons of Vivaldi, Piazzolla with Violinist Arabella Steinbacher

December 7, 2020.  What do Antonio Vivaldi and Astor Piazzola have in common? The German violinist Arabella Steinbacher. Her new album Four Seasons features the seasons heard through the music of Vivaldi, with his most famous work, The Four Seasons, and Piazzola with his Four Seasons of Buenos Aires.

Arabella, who was born in 1981 to a German father and a Japanese mother, began studying the Suzuki method for violin at the age of three. She went on to the Munich College of Music and later studied with Anne-Sophie Mutter's "Circle of Friends," an organization that supports emerging string players.

Arabella was hesitant at first to add to the vast number of recordings of Vivaldi's classic, but as she put it, "This is still MY first recording of it!" As for Piazzola, Arabella says she loves "the passion, longing and melancholy" of his music.

The album is arranged to best contrast the composers' two styles. Each season alternates between Piazzola and Vivaldi. Piazzola says he didn't think of his Four Seasons as a cycle consisting of several pieces. They were written as individual works between 1964 and 1970 and premiered in Buenos Aires featuring his Quinteto Nuevo Tango in 1970. His Seasons clearly employ the feel of the tango.

Listen to Arabella play Vivaldi's "Winter" with the Munich Chamber Orchestra:

Contrast that with "Summer" by Piazzola:

Last year, Arabella played "20 Questions" with the Violin Channel:

Enjoy the contrast of the four seasons in the northern hemisphere of Vivaldi and the southern hemisphere of Piazzola in Arabella Steinbacher's Four Seasons, the WRTI Classical Album of the Week.

A veteran broadcaster, Kevin garnered a wealth of experience in radio before taking the weekday classical host position from 2 to 6 PM at WRTI, where he was on the air until his retirement in March 2023.