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The Soraya's Onstage Chamber Music Sessions Return with Two Reimagined 'Four Seasons'

The January 21 program features the rare opportunity for audience members to experience the works of two contemporary composers — Philip Glass and Max Richter.

The Soraya's Onstage Chamber Music Sessions Return with Two Reimagined 'Four Seasons'

The Soraya's intimate Onstage Chamber Music Sessions kicks off its 2022 season on Friday, January 21 with a performance showcasing the talents of current Artist-in-Residence, violinist Etienne Gara and Delirium Musicum, an ensemble known for its fearless interpretations of classical and new music.

The January 21 program features the rare opportunity for audience members to experience the works of two contemporary composers - Philip Glass and Max Richter - each creating a musical response to Vivaldi's beloved Four Seasons: Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi-The Four Seasons and Philip Glass: Violin Concerto No. 2-American Four Seasons.

Tickets start at $76 and are available at and by calling 818-677-3000. The Soraya is located at 18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge, CA 91330.

"Vivaldi's Four Seasons continue to invite introspection of our collective human experience," said Etienne Gara. "Our concert, which combines both Glass and Richter's response to Vivaldi, is a meditation on the human condition, perhaps, and a bit of time-travelling as we explore a future rich with the timelessness of the great masters of the past."

The Jan 21 concert is the first of two much-anticipated programs that feature Gara and Delirium Musicum. On March 3, two-time Academy Award nominee and film composer Marco Beltrami reimagines and transforms Johann Sebastian Bach's preludes in an evening entitled Bach by Beltrami performed by Delirium Musicum with violinists Sandy Cameron and Lucia Micarelli, cellist Eric Byers and soprano Holly Sedillos.

About Philip Glass' Violin Concerto No. 2: The American Four Seasons
Philip Glass commented: "The Violin Concerto No.2 was composed for Robert McDuffie in the summer and autumn of 2009. The work was preceded by several years of occasional exchanges between me and Bobby. 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, who seemed to have quickly seen how the movements of my Concerto No. 2 related to the Four Seasons. 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 - an interesting, though not worrisome, problem for the listener. After all, if Bobby and I are not in complete agreement, an independent interpretation can be tolerated and even welcomed. (The mathematical possibilities, or permutations, of the puzzle are in the order of 24.)

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."

About Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi-The Four Seasons
Despite discarding three-quarters of Vivaldi's original material in his recomposition of The Four Seasons, Max Richter considered the Italian composer's musical DNA as omni-present in the reworking of the material. Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi-The Four Seasons was recorded in 2012. At the time of the release Richter told NPR that "as a child, I fell in love with it. It's beautiful, charming music with a great melody and wonderful colors. Then, later on, as I became more musically aware - literate, studied music and listened to a lot of music - I found it more difficult to love it.

We hear it everywhere - when you're on hold, you hear it in the shopping center, in advertising; it's everywhere. For me, the record and the project are trying to reclaim the piece, to fall in love with (Vivaldi's music) once again."

Etienne Gara on the Four Seasons
"Philip Glass composed The American Four Seasons to be the second half of a concert where Vivaldi's Four Seasons would be the opening half. Of course, at Delirium Musicum, we cannot help but to tweak things, so Max Richter's Recomposed came as a natural go-to.

Richter's composition is a contemporary take on the Baroque masterwork. Vivaldi's original sonnets describe the seasonal events of his musical score, and Max Richter adds to this his contemporary sense of time and space. While listening to Richter's rendition, it is easy to imagine ourselves traveling at staggering speeds in an interstellar spaceship while sensing the cosmic scenery passing by in slow motion-like a ballet of blinking lights and planets. The meter changes that Richter applies to Vivaldi's seasons helps us to recognize the relativity of time, and this encourages us to enjoy the journey of life from a different perspective.

Philip Glass' piece also reflects the passage of time, as he invites us to experience his life's journey, where Baroque composition techniques collide with the sounds of electronic and rock music. Energized by electric guitar-style power chords in the cellos, the solo violin showcases brain-melting licks inspired by the best rock band leaders while the synthesizer adds a computer music feel that invites the listener to reflect on the struggle between man and machine.

The combination of these two pieces is an invitation to reflect on our human condition, and to time-travel, exploring a future rich with the timelessness of the great masters of the past."

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