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Violinist guests with Philharmonic on ‘Four Seasons’

Violinist Rachel Barton Pine will perform with the New Mexico Philharmonic.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” amounts to a baroque legend.

A series of four concerti grossi written in 1716 and 1717, it remains the best-known of the composer’s works.

They represented a revolution in musical conception; listeners heard flowing streams, singing birds of various species, a shepherd and his barking dog, buzzing flies, storms, drunken dancers, hunting parties, frozen landscapes and hot fires.

The New Mexico Philharmonic will perform the piece with violinist Rachel Barton Pine at 6 p.m. Saturday, April 13, in Popejoy Hall.

“It’s really a great masterpiece,” New Mexico Philharmonic music director Roberto Minczuk said in a telephone interview from Sao Paulo, Brazil, where he was conducting a ballet for Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring.”

“It’s been a top five for 300 years,” Minczuk said. “It’s beautifully written for the violin. The piece is virtuosic and exciting.”

Born in Venice, Vivaldi was also a virtuoso violinist.

Unusually for the time, the composer published the concerti with accompanying poems (possibly written by Vivaldi himself) elucidating what he intended to evoke. It provides one of the earliest and most-detailed examples of what was later called program music – music that tells a story.

Internationally recognized violinist Barton Pine is the soloist.

“We have worked many times together in the U.S. and Canada, New Zealand and Brazil,” Minczuk said. “She’s one of the best violinists of her generation.”

The orchestra also will perform Austrian composer Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7, written between 1881 and 1883.

Deeply religious, the composer was a cathedral organist.

“His symphonies have been very impacted by the sound of the organ,” Minczuk said.

“He was a revolutionary composer; he was a big fan of Richard Wagner, although he didn’t write opera,” Minczuk continued. “His 10 symphonies were his main work. He really explores harmonic modulation and the textures of sound. It’s very opulent and grand; he made way for the romantic composers who followed him, like Mahler and Richard Strauss.”

Bruckner also provided inspiration for much later followers – sci-fi soundtrack composers for movies and series such as “Star Trek,” “Star Wars” and “Battlestar Galactica,” Minczuk said.

“It’s an heroic expression that takes you out there,” he said.

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