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4 – The Soundtrack
Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
Violin Concertos Op. 8 Nos. 1-4 Four Seasons (1725)
La Primavera RV 269 [10:22]
Sayaka Shoji (violin) and the Kioi Sinfonietta Tokyo
L’Estate RV315 [19:40]
Nikki Vasilakis (violin) and Friends
L’autnno RV 293 [10:58]
Cho-Liang Lin (violin) and Sejong
L’inverno RV 297 [8:25]
Pekka Kuusisto (violin) and Friends
A Japanese Spring – spoken by Yoko Yamamoto [0:18]
My Home Waragadam performed by Gabriel Bani and Dimple Bani [2:43]
A New York Autumn spoken by Karen Lubeck and Marty Verdrager with Cho-Liang Lin, Yefim Bronfman and Arnold Steinhardt [0:39]
A Finnish Winter spoken by Pekka Kuusisto and Markus Poussa [0:37]
Ostrobothnia – Finnish Folk Song arranged by Pekka Kuusisto performed by Pekka Kuusisto and Friends [3:02]
Who’s Going to Heat Up the Sauna – Swedish Folk Song performed by Pekka Kuusisto, Sara Pulijula and Markus Poussa [3:09]
George GERSHWIN (1898-1937)
It Ain’t Necessarily So arranged by Julian Milone [3:31]
Cho-Liang Lin (violin) and Sejong
Shine on Harvest Moon [2:12]
The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn
Undated recordings recorded live on location
ABC CLASSICS 4429963 [57:08]

Experience Classicsonline

 “4” is a documentary film that marks seasonal change around the world. At its heart is Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. With speech, even voice-overs, covering the start of the music, interpolated folk and lighter music, we can infer that “4” was a kind of seasonal travelogue illuminated by the local musics of the visited countries. 

And at the centre of the soundtrack, naturally, is Vivaldi though true to the rationale of the film each of the seasons is performed by a different group. Spring is in the hands of Sayaka Shoji and the Kioi Sinfonietta Tokyo. It’s a pleasing enough reading, rather subdued and not especially pictorial – nor is it especially expressive though the solo line is romantically orientated in tone projection and ethos. Summer falls to Nikki Vasilakis and Friends – all the friends in her band are noted in the booklet by the way as are those in all the chamber orchestras. This live performance is very juicily phrased by Vasilakis. Autumn sees Cho-Liang Lin take the violinistic reins accompanied by the ensemble called Sejong. As one might anticipate this is an aristocratic reading, typically refined, and just occasionally stolid. Finally Pekka Kuusisto and Friends do the honours for Winter. This is the most visceral and interventionist of the four performances – the baroque guitar is strongly audible in the slow movement though there’s also a strange little slither along the way that attests to the liveness of these performances.

Between these four, in seasonal order, we have readings and other musical performances. Without the filmic context these are disconcertingly brief – thirty seconds or so typically. My Home Waragadam derives from Australia’s Torres Strait; indeed the Australian Vasilakis prefaces her own performance with a voice over about crops and drought. Those intrigued by the conjunction of the names Cho-Liang Lin, Yefim Bronfman and Arnold Steinhardt in the talking segment “A New York Autumn” should be advised that it’s all over inside forty seconds, though not before someone has called out cheerily “ Ah Professore!” in suitably mocking tones. There’s a jazz band performance from The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn to reinforce the NY feel. 

Kuusisto sounds in good form in his brief contributions, essaying first a folk tune, then a more Grappelli influenced one. Rightly he points to the confluence of celebration, alcohol and more alcohol in his own Winter festivities.

The soundtrack captures the four featured fiddle players and the other leading contributors - sometimes briefly, it’s true. The booklet is youthful and attractive and has full discographical information as to personnel - which not all such booklets do, by any means.

Jonathan Woolf  



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