Executive Director
April Riddle Gow

June 17, 2020

"Summer afternoon-summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language."  Henry James

Dear American Friends,
On Saturday afternoon June 20th from 3pm, the American Friends of the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra will celebrate the Summer Solstice with the Orchestra's very special filmed performance of Vivaldi's Four Seasons!  

The Four Seasons, or 'Le Quattro Stagioni', is a group of four violin concerti by Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi, which gives musical expression to a season of the year.  

Join the Soloists of the Oxford Philharmonic: Anna-Liisa Bezrodny, Charlotte Scott, Yuri Zhislin, and Natalia Lomeiko, each playing one season:  
Spring (La Primavera), Summer (L'estate), Autumn (L'autunno), Winter (L'inverno).  
You will enjoy  t he Oxford Philharmonic's unique rendition as each solo artist has their own rousing interpretation building on one from the other, leaving us inspired and energized!  

Le Quattro Stagioni  were written around 1716-1717, and published in 1725 in Amsterdam, together with eight additional concerti, as Il cimento dell'armonia edell'inventione.  
(The   Contest Between Harmony and Invention ).  At the time t hey were a revolution in musical conception.  In them Vivaldi represented flowing creeks, singing birds of different species - each specifically characterized, buzzing flies, storms, drunken dancers, hunting parties from both the hunters' and the prey's point of view, frozen landscapes, and warm winter fires.  Listen especially to  the middle section of the first concerto, Spring, when the shepherd sleeps, his barking dog can be heard in the viola section.  The concerti stand as one of the earliest and most detailed examples of what would come to called: music with a narrative element.  Vivaldi took great pains to relate his music to the texts of the poems, translating the poetic lines themselves directly into the music.  Each concerto is divided into three movements - fast, slow, fast.   

A performance of all four concerti may take about 40-43 minutes.   The first American recording of the Four Seasons was made at Carnegie Hall in December 1947.
In preparation for this enjoyable 45 minutes of great music-making, join us with a special aperitif that we have chosen especially for this online concert.  The Americano  was  made famous at Harry's Bar in Venice and was the favorite drink in  Ian Fleming's Casino Royale before the martini became James Bond's trademark. 

The Americano:
1 ½ oz. Campari
1 ½ oz. Red Sweet Vermouth
3 oz. Soda Water
Lemon Twist or Orange Slice

  Americano  has a long history and was first served in the 1860's at Gaspare Campari's bar in Milan. It was originally named "Milano-Torino" because of the origins of its two primary ingredients: Campari calls Milan home and 'rosso' sweet vermouth is also known as 'Vermouth di Torino.  

The cocktail was later renamed because of its popularity among American tourists around the turn of the 20th century, and eventually morphed in the 1920's when gin was added to create a Negroni.   As countless Americans who have gone before us - Henry James, Isabella Stewart Gardner and John Singer Sargent, we can imagine ourselves in simpler times, enjoying sitting in the sun in Piazza San Marco sipping an Americano while we listen to Vivaldi's Four Seasons being performed by the soloists of the Oxford Phil.

Sending all best wishes for sunny times ahead,


April Riddle Gow
Executive Director
American Friends of the Oxford Philharmonic
+1 917 232 8883
+ 44 7340 589 988

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