The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires

Among his most frequently globally and locally performed concert works in recent times are THE FOUR SEASONS OF BUENOS AIRES (Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas) – four tango-style compositions composed on different occasions between 1965 and 1970. “Verano Porteño” (Summer in Buenos Aires,) is an episode written in 1965 originally as a musical fragment to the play Melenita de Oro by Alberto Rodríguez Muñoz. “Otoño Porteño” (Autumn in Buenos Aires,) was composed in 1969, and “Primavera Porteño” (Spring in Buenos Aires,) and “Invierno Porteño” (Winter in Buenos Aires,) were completed in 1970. Although composed as individual pieces in their own right, Piazzolla sometimes performed them together, together with the Quintet he founded, consisting of violin (viola), piano, electric guitar, double bass and solo bandoneon. By placing Buenos Aires in the title, the composer wished to underline the work’s dedication to the city’s inhabitants, to bohemian life in the poor streets where the Argentine tango was born, to the different periods in the lives of the people of the suburbs. That is why the first piece is Autumn – that is how the Argentine calendar year is supposed to begin. There is also another tradition in the sequence of movements in performance, beginning with Spring, similar to Vivaldi’s cycle.

In 1996-1998 the contemporary Ukrainian composer Leonid Desyatnikov (b. 1955, Kharkov) made a free transcription of The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires for violin and string orchestra, including quotations from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons in each movement. But taking into account the differences in the seasons in the northern and southern hemispheres, for example in ‘Verano Porteño’ (‘Summer’) he has added elements from Vivaldi’s ‘L’Inverno’ (‘Winter’).

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