David Grimal / Les Dissonances

Les Quatre Saisons: Piazzolla, Vivaldi

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This recording by French violinist David Grimal and the chamber orchestra Les Dissonances has a specific goal in mind: proceeds from its sale benefit the homeless through microcredit projects, and the group has performed live concerts for homeless audiences on the street. This unique enterprise should give buyers a strong incentive to purchase the album on its own, but what of the musical content in itself? There are lots of recordings of the Vivaldi Four Seasons violin concertos paired with the Cuatro estaciónes porteñas, or Four Seasons of the Port City (Buenos Aires), tangos by Astor Piazzolla, but this one is unusual in several respects. One is that the Piazzolla works are presented in the "arrangements" by Russian composer Leonid Desyatnikov, which are really closer to recompositions than arrangements. Desyatnikov transforms the works into violin-and-orchestra pieces, which is really foreign to their essence. On top of that, he adds quotations from the Vivaldi concertos; his versions are specifically designed for performance in this combination. Grimal and Les Dissonances add a new wrinkle of their own: instead of having the Piazzolla/Desyatnikov seasons follow the Vivaldi concertos, they put the Piazzolla first. This actually works pretty well; the Piazzolla/Desyatnikov pieces, with their suggestions of motives from the Vivaldi, work well as introductions. The group doesn't quite have the nerve to lead with Piazzolla/Desyatnikov, though, so there's one tango (Primavera porteña) left over at the end. That disturbs the symmetry of the whole, and the Vivaldi performances, with their mushy sense of tempo, are no great shakes. None of this detracts from the originality of the whole project, in both social and musical terms.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
The Four Seasons
1 3:27 Amazon
2 2:29 Amazon
3 3:48 Amazon
Cuatro estaciónes porteñas
4 6:33 Amazon
The Four Seasons
5 5:36 Amazon
6 1:55 Amazon
7 2:46 Amazon
Cuatro estaciónes porteñas
8 7:34 Amazon
The Four Seasons
9 5:08 Amazon
10 2:25 Amazon
11 3:23 Amazon
Cuatro estaciónes porteñas
12 7:12 Amazon
The Four Seasons
13 3:25 Amazon
14 1:38 Amazon
15 3:11 Amazon
Cuatro estaciónes porteñas
16 6:26 Amazon
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