The packed house absolutely adored this concert , the latest in the Live at Lunch series as devised, curated and performed in by internationally renowned flautist Jane Rutter.
This time Rutter wore a stunning long sleeved slinky dark blue long dress with silver beading cascading down the front. The dress had slits very high on both sides to reveal elegant black trousers .
For a charming introduction Rutter played two two Renaissance Dances – a ‘Galliard’ by Dowland arranged for solo flute by Rutter , and ‘Ballet’ by de Moy arranged for solo piccolo by Rutter , accompanied by her friends the Acacia Quartet led by soloist Lisa Stewart. The first was poignant, lilting and melancholy, the second was more dramatic and Rutter was stamping the rhythms with her feet.
After this the Quartet was properly ‘ introduced’ to the audience and we were then treated to a sumptuous , delicious version of Vivaldi’s ‘The Four Seasons ‘ – all four of them ,not just the overused ‘ Spring’ , with Rutter as featured soloist on her gold performance flute for ‘Spring’. It was a dynamic , enchanting performance. Composed in 1725 ’The Four Seasons ‘ is one of Vivaldi’s most popular works . Vivaldi’s original arrangement for solo violin with string quartet and basso continuo – similar to the Acacia’s line up – helped to establish the form of the concerto in musical terms. “Winter” is dotted with silvery pizzicato notes from the high strings, making us think perhaps of icy rain and sleet whereas “Summer” evokes a thunderstorm in its final movement, (which is why the movement is often called “Storm “ ).
Each season is developed in three movements, with a slow movement between two faster ones (and these movements likewise vary in mood and tempo among the seasons). In the ‘Summer ‘you could feel the heat and langour, in the ‘Winter’ movement the contrasts between fire and ice. The Spring movement was lyrical, one could almost say pastoral ,and you could hear the birds joyously calling. The Autumn section is meant to evoke the harvest and its celebrations. In the ’Winter’ movement there were shimmering , shivering sections for the violin .The finale was haunting and featured some ecstatic , soaring playing .
After that performance which was rapturously received, Rutter gave a short talk about the program and the narrative that Vivaldi proposed ( or , rather , ‘instructed’ ) for the work, highlighting the leitmotifs etc in each season to listen out for (eg the barking dog in the second movement of ‘Spring’ , in Summer the soporific feel , the dancing in Autumn for the harvest etc ) which was much fun.
Then came another Vivaldi piece ‘ Il Cardellino ‘ (‘The Goldfinch ‘) with Rutter on flute as the bird. It is in three movements, at first tweeting , exuberant and darting , the second was far slower and more melancholy , the violins being held rather like lutes or guitars and played pizzicato. In the third movement the flute was stronger again, shimmering.
Because of the rapturous reception, for an encore they repeated the slow movement from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons ‘Winter’, very passionately and eloquently played, this time with Rutter and Stewart sharing the melodic line.
The concert ran overtime and we adjourned for lunch, looking forward to the next in the series!
FOUR SEASONS AND A GOLDFINCH was a one off performance last Wednesday July 2 part of the Live at Lunch series at the Concourse Chatswood. Running time 90 minutes without interval.
For more about Live at Lunch : Four Seasons and a Goldfinch, visit http://www.theconcourse.com.au/event/vivaldi-four-seasons-and-goldfinch-live-lunch