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Four Seasons learn more about the music

October heralds the start of autumn proper – a season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, but also only one of Four Seasons we have for you in this treat of a concert from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic strings.

You can learn more about it in our programme notes which this year are being presented in a new and accessible way.

Watch Stephen Johnson talking about the concert programme here:

And in addition, this companion page draws together a range of complementary content which we hope will help shine additional light on the pieces, the people who composed them and the performers bringing them to life here in Hope Street.

An interview with violinist Adi Brett

She often took on directing duties as leader of the Manchester Camerata, but this Four Seasons concert will be the first time Adi Brett has done the same thing in her 10 years at Philharmonic Hall.

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic’s associate leader will share directing duties with visiting soloist, the Ukrainian virtuoso Diana Tishchenko, in what Adi calls “a really sweet bit of programming” as part of the new season.

And she admits she’s relishing the chance to bring that programme to life with colleagues from the Orchestra’s string section.

“We’re all in it together,” she explains. “It’s collaborative, so it’s fun for the players. We’ve all got a bit more personal responsibility, a bit more input because we don’t just have to do what the conductor wants.”

While Diana Tishchenko takes the lead on the Four Seasons themselves (both Vivaldi’s and Piazzolla’s), Adi has charge of two fascinating and lesser-known pieces of music – Respighi’s Ancient Airs and Dances, from which they are performing the third suite, and Fuga con Parjarillo from Piazzolla’s Venezuelan contemporary Aldomaro Romero.

“They’re beautiful,” says Adi of the Airs and Dances. “Respighi was interested in Italian early music, and that’s where these suites have come from. He’s taken various fairly obscure pieces, lute pieces, guitar pieces, and made some rather lovely music out of it.”

Meanwhile this is the first time she has performed Romero.

“Obviously, we’ve got a new conductor, and Romero is also Venezuelan, so I looked him up – and he sounds like a real dude!” she laughs. “He was a pianist who conducted the London Symphony Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. But then he was also into jazz and Caribbean music and popular music."

“The title of this piece means fugue with little birds. And it’s got some really delicate little bird-like sequences in it, but it’s funky as well.”

Adi picked up her first violin aged four and studied on scholarships at the Purcell School of Music (where she won a host of awards) and later the Royal Northern. Her first symphony orchestra was the Hallé, and she started playing with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra a decade ago.

“And then gradually I started doing more and more and just found it to be such a friendly, welcoming orchestra,” she reveals of her time in Liverpool. “I really, really enjoy working here.”

Four Seasons is a chance to step into the spotlight, but is there anything else she is particularly looking forward to in the new season?

Sibelius Five with Andrew Manze,” she smiles. “I love Sibelius Five – who doesn’t love that symphony? It’s one of the greats and I think his kind of style will really lend itself to that.”

Diana Tishchenko

Crimean-born rising star Diana Tishchenko makes her Liverpool Philharmonic debut in this 2020/21 season concert.

The award-winning, in-demand violin virtuoso’s early roles included concertmaster in the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra where she worked in partnership with Sir Colin Davis and Antonio Pappano among others, while she is also an enthusiastic chamber musician.

In 2019 she released her debut album Strangers in Paradise which features sonatas by Ravel, Enescu, Ysaÿe and Prokofiev.

Watch an interview with Diana Tishchenko.

Antonio Vivaldi

Eight seasons in one evening

Not content with bringing you four seasons, this Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra Strings concert packs eight seasons into one evening.

That’s spring, summer, autumn and winter in Italy courtesy of Antonio Vivaldi and four from much closer to the Equator as experienced by Astor Piazzolla.

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons need little introduction. If Helen’s was the face that launched a thousand ships, this 300-year-old group of violin concertos has launched a million love affairs with classical music and has been described as a ‘pop culture powerhouse’ which has been referenced in everything from James Bond (A View to a Kill) to South Park and The Simpsons.

Did you know? Vivaldi’s fame and success during his lifetime were enhanced by his music being published and circulated across Europe. Bach was one young admirer.

Another admirer was Astor Piazzolla, and this season the Orchestra is celebrating the centenary of Piazzolla’s birth, bringing some of the best and most interesting examples of his work to our audiences.

The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires (or Estaciones Porteñas in Spanish) was originally written not as one suite, but as separate works over a five-year period starting in 1965. And rather than start in springtime, Piazzolla opens his tango-inspired, and indeed tango-infused, seasonal odyssey in autumn.

Here’s what you can expect.

Ottorino Respighi

Like a number of his fellow composers, Ottorino Respighi started life as a violinist (and viola player), juggling performance commitments while building a composition career.

It’s said this, as well as a remarkable ear, helped to make him a master orchestrator.

He was also a musicologist with an interest in early music, using his contemporary ear to bring these centuries old pieces to the attention of modern audiences.

It’s this interest which is reflected in his three sets of Ancient Airs and Dance Suites, composed between 1917 and 1931 and inspired by lute and guitar works of the late Renaissance and early Baroque periods.

Enjoy a performance of his Ancient Airs and Dances Suite III here.

Did you know? Not only did Respighi play a number of instruments including violin, piano and harp, but he also learned and spoke 11 languages.

Aldemaro Romero

Aldemaro Romero was a Venezuelan-born composer, pianist and conductor who crossed genres and created what was billed as a ‘New Wave’ mixing traditional Venezuelan joropo with Bossa Nova.

His successful series of Dinner In… albums brought new orchestral versions of traditional and popular Latin American pieces to an international audience.

He also had time to found the Caracas Philharmonic, work with people like Dean Martin and Jerry Lee Lewis, and to tour extensively across the world.

Fuga con Parjarillo is a movement from his Suite No 1 for Strings. A parjarillo is a type of Venezuelan waltz but where the accent is on the second rather than the first beat.

Here’s a chance to listen to the work conducted by Venezuelan Gustavo Dudamel.