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"Four Seasons’ with a twist

Kimberly Nicoletti

BRECKENRIDGE – The Breckenridge Music Institute (BMI) Orchestra celebrates the dance of the soul tonight.

The Seasons with a Twist and a Tango features Antonio Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” and Astor Piazzallo’s “Four Seasons.” Both honor the seasons, but Piazzallo’s composition celebrates the tango, too.

“Piazzallo said the tango was the dance of the soul,” said BMI conductor Gerhardt Zimmermann. “It originated in bars and brothels. It was supposed to be the music of God and the music of the devil. It is sensuous, energetic, sultry.”

Argentine composer Piazzallo has a legacy as the “savior of the tango.”

He composed “nuevo tango,” out of extreme chromatism, dissonance and elements of jazz often wrapped in complicated fugues. Audiences initially resisted his new sound, but by the late 1980s (a decade before his death), people began to embrace his work.

His first tango in “Four Seasons” begins with the world coming alive in spring. The slow, melodic interludes alternate with lilting melodies, as if to suggest a flower about to bloom. The “Summer” tango begins slow and soft like a mid-day siesta, with a tango rhythm in the background. Both the “Autumn” and “Winter” movements represent periods of dance and rest with their rapid tango rhythms from the piano and longer melodic lines from the strings and orchestra.

Before the soul dances, the BMI Orchestra begins the evening with Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.” Vivaldi was one of the first to compose music that tells a story.

Lisa Jelle plays the solo part of the first movement, “Spring.”

“Our rendition of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons’ will be quite different from past BMI performances of this piece,” Jelle said. “Our annual rendition has featured the more conventional different violinist for each of the four sections. This year … “Spring’ (will) be played on piccolo and “Autumn’ on the guitar. “Summer’ and “Winter’ will retain the traditional violin soloists. “Spring’ is well suited to the piccolo because it uses bird calls, which the flute and piccolo can play very naturally. … If you think you know the “Seasons’ inside and out, come and hear it like you’ve never heard it before.”

Violinist Jeff Zehngut begins “Summer” slowly, as if there is reluctance for spring to turn into summer. Then a rush of rapidly repeating descending arpeggios heralds a thunderstorm.

“Autumn” begins with a lively movement, signaling the celebration of the harvest. Guest artist Nephtali Santiago plays the guitar.

Megan Julyan performs the solo part for “Winter,” perhaps the most interesting movement of the piece. The short staccato passages are reminiscent of the chattering of teeth, followed by chills and shivers depicted by running figures of the strings. As winter sets in, the plucking of notes on a harp represent the flickering of flames. The movement ends with virtuoso runs of the violin, signaling the return of spring.

Tonight’s concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge. Tickets are $17, $22 and $27 ($7 for children) and may be purchased at the Riverwalk box office or by calling (970) 547-3100.


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