Concerto No. 2 for Violin and Orchestra “The American Four Seasons”

The Concerto No. 2 for Violin and Orchestra“The American Four Seasons” features a synthesizer. The work was co- commissioned by several establishments – Toronto Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Aspen Music Festival and School, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and Carlsen Center at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas. The first performance was given in Toronto on 9 December 2009 by Robert McDuffie, with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra conducted by Peter Oundjian.

Undoubtedly, the Concerto is a contemporary replica of the four violin concerts incorporated in Vivaldi‘s „tfour Seasons“ cycle. Philip Glass tells the story of the composition of the work:

„The work was preceded by several years of occasional exchanges between Bobby and myself. He was interested in music that would serve as a companion piece to the Vivaldi “Four Seasons” concertos. I agreed to the idea of a four movement work but at the outset was not sure how that correspondence would work in practice – between the Vivaldi concertos and my own music. However, Bobby encouraged me to start with my composition and we would see in due time how it would relate to the very well-known original. When the music was completed I sent it onto Bobby. Of course, Bobby’s interpretation, though similar to my own, proved to be also somewhat different This struck me as an opportunity, then, for the listener to make his/her own interpretation. Therefore, there will be no instructions for the audience, no clues as to where Spring, Summer, Winter, and Fall might appear in the new Concerto After all, if Bobby and I are not in complete agreement,  an independent interpretation can be tolerated and even welcomed. Apart from that, I would only add that, instead of the usual cadenza, I provided a number of solo pieces for Bobby – thinking that they could be played together as separate concert music when abstracted from the whole work. They appear in the concerto as a “prelude” to the first movement and three “songs” that precede each of the following three movements.“

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