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THE EIGHT SEASONS IN THE
FESTIVAL CULTURAL DE MAYO WITH:

LES VIOLONS DU ROY

Tuesday 15, Teatro Degollado, 20: 30 h
Wednesday 16,
Teatro Rosas Moreno - Lagos de Moreno, 20:00 h
Friday 18,
Teatro Vallarta, Puerto Vallarta, 20:00 h


©Camirand Photo

Bernard Labadie, artistic and musical director
Eric Paetkau, guest conductor

Soloists : Nicole Trotier, violin
Michelle Seto, violin
Véronique Vychytil, violin
Noëlla Bouchard, violin
Pascale Giguère, violin

In Spanish

Programme:
The four seasons by Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)

Spring
Allegro / long / Allegro
Soloist: Nicole Trotier, violin
[11 min]

Summer
Allegro non molto-Allegro / Adagio-Presto-Adagio / Presto
Soloist: Michelle Seto, violin
[10 min]

Autumn
Allegro / Adagio molto / Allegro
Soloist: Véronique Vychytil, violin
[13 min]

Winter
Allegro non molto / long / Allegro
Soloist: Noëlla Bouchard, violin
[12 min]

Intermediate

The four seasons by Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992)
Soloist: Pascale Giguère, violin

Porteño Spring
Allegro / long / Allegro
[5 min]

Porteño Summer
Allegro non molto / Adagio / Presto
[6 min]

Porteño Autumn
Allegro/Adagio molto/Allegro
[7 min]

Winter
Allegro non molto/Largo/Allegro
[6 min]

 

Les Violons Du Roy

The chamber orchestra Les Violons Du Roy borrows its name from the renowned string orchestra of the court of the French kings. The group, which has a core membership of fifteen players, was brought together in 1984 by music director Bernard Labadie and specializes in the vast repertoire of music for chamber orchestra, performed in the stylistic manner most appropriate to each era. Although the ensemble plays on modern instruments, its approach to the works of the Baroque and Classical periods has been strongly influenced by current research into performance practice in the 17th and early 18th centuries; in this repertoire Les Violons du Roy uses copies of period bows. The orchestra has been widely acclaimed for the exceptional energy, brilliance and vitality of its performances. In recent seasons, under the leadership of first guest conductor Jean-Marie Zeitouni, the orchestra has begun to explore 19th and 20th century repertoire in more depth.

Les Violons du Roy is at the heart of the music scene in Québec City, where it has been in residence at the Palais Montcalm since 2007. The orchestra is well known throughout Canada thanks to the numerous concerts and recordings broadcast by Société Radio-Canada and CBC, and its regular presence at music festivals. Les Violons du Roy first performed in Europe in 1988 and has since given dozens of concerts in France, Germany, England, Spain and the Netherlands, with internationally-renowned soloists including Magdalena Kožená, David Daniels and Vivica Genaux. The orchestra has been asked to perform twice at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. A new European with Alexandre Tahraud tour has been planned for November 2011.

Since its first performance in Washington in 1995, Les Violons du Roy has extended its performance network in the United States and now makes regular stops in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. The orchestra is heard frequently on NPR in the United States, and is now represented by the Opus 3 Artists agency. A recent high point was the performances of Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with La Chapelle de Québec and an outstanding array of soloists (Rosemary Joshua, David Daniels, Jan Kobow, Andrew Foster-Williams and Joshua Hopkins), part of a US tour that took the orchestra and choir to Carnegie Hall in New York and Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. The concerts received remarkably positive reviews, in particular from the New York Times and Los Angeles Times.

The twenty-two recordings made by Les Violons du Roy have been acclaimed by critics and earned various distinctions and awards at the national and international levels. Of twelve CDs released by DORIAN, two won Juno Awards (Apollo e Dafne (Handel) and Requiem (Mozart)). Since 2004, the association with the Québec label ATMA has led to six CDs, including Water Music, recorded in the Raoul-Jobin Hall in the new Palais Montcalm and winner of a Félix Award in 2008; Piazzolla, conducted by Jean-Marie Zeitouni and winner of a Juno Award in 2006; and Britten, Les Illuminations with soprano Karina Gauvin, also directed by Jean-Marie Zeitouni and released in summer 2010. The CD Bonbons, also on ATMA label, was released in fall 2010. The group’s first collaboration with the multinational VIRGIN CLASSICS label led to the release in fall 2006 of a CD of cantata arias by Handel and Hasse with US mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux. Two other VIRGIN CLASSICS released in 2011 feature C.P.E. Bach’s cello concertos with the Norwegian cellist Truls Mørk and J.S. Bach’s keyboard concertos with the French pianist Alexandre Tharaud. The most recent recording, presenting arias by Mozart, Haydn, Gluck and Graun with the contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux, was produced for the NAÏVE label. The orchestra Les Violons du Roy is a proud member of Orchestras Canada, the national association representing Canada’s orchestras.

 

Eric Paetkau, guest conductor

Eric Paetkau is music director and founder of the Toronto-based group of twenty-seven chamber orchestra, and is resident conductor of Les Violons du Roy. He has also held the position of assistant conductor of orchestral studies and opera at the University of Kentucky, as well as cover conductor for the Lexington Philharmonic.

Since beginning his tenure with Les Violons du Roy in fall 2009, Mr. Paetkau has been programming and conducting the romantic, 20th century, and contemporary repertoire, as well as much baroque and classical music. He has collaborated with soloists Catherine Perrin, Charlotte Corwin, Denis Plante, and Pascale Giguère, among others, and has led the orchestra on tour a number of times, most recently to Ontario, New Brunswick, and all over the province of Québec, in addition to concerts at the ensemble’s home hall, Palais Montcalm, in Québec City. He has conducted at a number of festivals, including the Elora Festival, the Ottawa Music and Beyond Festival, and the Grand River Baroque Festival.
Upcoming concerts for the 2011–2012 season include Mr. Paetkau's debut with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, a performance with world-renowned Canadian alto, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, and a series of concerts presenting Vivaldi's L'Estro Armonico with Les Violons du Roy.

Also a violist, Mr. Paetkau was a member of the Nuremburg Symphony in Germany, and has played with the Toronto Symphony, Les Violons du Roy, the Canadian Opera Company, the National Ballet, and Tafelmusik.

Mr. Paetkau received his early musical training in Canada with Lorand Fenyves and later with Steven Dann. He then continued his studies with James Dunham at the New England Conservatory and with Hariolf Schlichtig at the Hochschule für Musik in Munich, Germany.

Mr. Paetkau also studied conducting under Jac van Steen in the Netherlands and Kenneth Kiesler in North America.

Les Violons du Roy

Nicole Trotier, violon
Michelle Seto, violon
Maud Langlois, violon
Noëlla Bouchard, violon
Pascale Giguère, violon
Geneviève Beaudry, violon
Angélique Duguay, violon
Annie Morrier, alto
Jean-Louis Blouin, alto
Raphaël Dubé, aioloncelle
Raphaël McNabney, contrebasse
Richard Paré, clavecin
Michel Robitaille, directeur de production
Fanie Bourgault, adjointe à la production
Benoît Loiselle, violoncelle
Véronique Vychytil, violon
Marieve Bock, violoncelle
Annie Guénette, violon
Erik Paetkau, conductor
Karen Moffat, alto

 The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi

The four concerts that integrate The Four Seasons are, respectively, in E major (Spring, R 269); G minor (Summer, R 315); F major (Autum, R 293), and in F minor (Winter, R297). They have in common a tripartite structure vivo-lento-vivo, more clearly perceived in ‘Spring’ and ‘Autumn’ than in ‘Winter’ and ‘Summer’. Vivaldi wrote a preface in which he mentions that, long before they appeared, Count Morzin had condescended to accept hearing the interpretation of The Four Seasons.

The Spring in special became particularly popular. In 1728 The Spiritual Concert had already programmed it thrice. In 1730, at Marly, Louis XV asked it were interpreted for him.

In 1765, after Vivaldi’s death and when it had already been forgotten, Correte wrote a big chorus motet entitled “Laudate Dominum” and in1775, Jean –Jacques Rousseau made a transcript for soloists flute.

Vivaldi knew how to reconcile the descriptive data in his work with the highest demands of the musician inventor of the classical concert. In his edition, each station is preceded by an explanatory sonnet, in Italian, thus facilitating the focus on the corresponding musical parts.

Sometimes two texts are superimposed. In the slow movement of The Spring, for instance, the part of the violin at a given moment reminds you of ‘the sleeping shepherd’ and the one interpreted by the viola, ‘the barking dog’. In the lively movements, the picturesque details correspond to a succession of different episodes separated by the periodical return of a main theme entrusted to the whole orchestra and which express the dominant shade of this piece (careless happiness for Spring; overwhelming languishing of The Summer; harvest dances to celebrate The Autumn, cold shivers for The Winter), while in the slow movements these details reflect the simultaneity of the different sound events.

In order to achieve his goals, Vivaldi preferred strings for The Four Seasons, with limitless inventive and ingenuity.

The vigorous unisons transmit the lightning, while the horn -in the first movement of The Spring- (central stanza already evoked), the storm and hail of the last part of The Summer. It must be pointed out that the weightless effects obtained by the sharp notes (the birds in The Spring) or the suppression of the bass tones (the largo in the Spring) give us the waiting effects or airing obtained on reducing accompaniment to a single sustained note, or even to a simple second voice taken by the bass (when the cuckoo sings at the start of The Summer, or the walking on top of the ice in the last movement of The Winter). The subdued effects due to using mufflers (sleep after drinking in the Adagio molto in The Autumn), the effects of scratched strings (peaceful hours next to the fire in The Winter’s largo), and then the music reaches a more concrete proposal of a serene violin melody (peaceful hours close to the hearth) with the realistic pizzicato accompaniment (rain falling outside).

One must also point out research on the overtones.

In The Autumn, the adagio molto (sweetness of sleep after copious libations), is the continuo that only differentiates the chord notes held by the orchestra: there is no “melody”, and the hunting party that follows it (allegro finale) disconcerts by its chromaticity. As to the “scene of the cold” at the beginning of Winter, as well as in Purcell’s King Arthur, it is really a piece of anthology. On listening The Four Seasons, the truth of painting is imposed on us, but it is the beauty of sound that enthralls us.

Astor Piazzolla, composer

Without doubt, the music of Astor Piazzolla is one of the greatest artistic expressions that Argentina has already given to the world. By adding a bit of jazz and a touch of classical music, Piazzolla reached formidable results, while innovating at the same time, thus sophisticating that ‘porteño’ rhythm and revolutionizing its concepts.

Astor Pantaleón Piazzolla, born on March 11, 1921 at Mar del Plata, spent his childhood between Buenos Aires and New York, more in the latter that in the former. He started studying music in the United States when he was 9, continuing later at Buenos Aires and Europe. In 1935 he had an almost mystic encounter with Carlos Gardel, when he took part as an extra in the film ‘El Día que me Quieras’.

His career really starts when he plays the large concertina in Aníbal Troilo’s orchestra. In 1952 he obtained a scholarship from the French government to study with Nadia Boulanger, who motivated him to follow his own style. After returning home in 1955, Astor puts together the Octeto Buenos Aires, selecting his musicians as the North American Jerry Mulligan chose his jazz players, and he creates daring arrangements and uncommon timbres for tango, such as introducing the electric guitar.

From its first appearance, Astor’s presence generated envy, admiration and resentment among the ‘tango community; during the sixties Piazzolla had to defend his heavily attacked music with fisticuffs. The controversy was about whether his music was tango or not, to the point that Astor had to call it “Buenos Aires contemporary music.” But it was not only that: Astor provoked everybody with his informal dressing and his way of playing the accordion: he performed standing up, not following the tradition of sitting down while holding his instrument, and his defying and challenging statements.

He played in quintets during the first part of the sixties, and his audience was composed of young people, university students and intellectuals, but far from massive. Astor was already known as tough and troublemaker, but he also was living his creative period in full and surrounded himself with the best musicians.

He started forging his successful career with Adiós Nonino, Decarísimo and Muerte de un Ángel, which would reach points as when he gave a concert at the Philharmonic Hall in New York and when he wrote music for some of Jorge Luis Borges poems.

In his last years, Piazzolla preferred to act as a soloist accompanied by a symphony orchestra, occasionally with his quintet, and thus he travelled around the world, widening the number of his fans in each and every continent for the benefit and glory of Buenos Aires music.

Astor Piazzolla passed away in Buenos Aires on the 4th of July, 1992; his legacy is his invaluable work, about fifty records, and the enormous influence of his style. In real life, Piazzolla’s cultural production seems endless: it extends to cinema and theater. Recording companies continuously reprint it and it takes life again at the Fundación Piazzolla, managed by his widow, Laura Escalada.

 

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