Tasmin Little & Roxanna Panufnik – Four World Seasons

It’s an interesting program, coupling Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” with Roxanna Panufnik’s modern take on the same subject. And it’s one that works very well. The connective thread is the talent of violinist Tasmin Little.

Little’s performance of the “Four Seasons” with the BBC Symphony Orchestra is a spirited one. Her solo work is beautifully crafted as always. In the over-crowded field of “Four Season” recordings, this one definitely rises to the top. As a conductor, Little keeps things moving along without sounding rushed.

Of greater interest (for me) was Roxanna Panufnik’s “Four World Seasons.” Little and Panufnik are long-time friends as well as collaborators.

Each movement of Panufnik’s work not only represents a different season but a different part of the world. The first movement, “Autumn in Albania,” is perhaps the most personal. As she notes, her father — Polish composer Andrej Panufnik — “was born, loved, and died in autumn.” The music is infused with Slavic folk idioms, while at the same time sounding fresh and contemporary.

The other three movements were written for Tasmin Little and, as expected, showcase her strengths as a performer. There’s plenty of opportunity for technical brilliance, which Little accomplishes with ease. Of greater importance is the melodic content, which Little delivers with sensitivity and beauty.

If you like Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, you should enjoy “Four World Seasons.” Panufnik skillfully incorporates native musical languages into the work to really give the listener a strong sense of place.

“Tibetan Winter” features a Tibetian singing bowl, for example. “Indian Summer” uses the violin performance practices of Northern India. “Spring in Japan” has the strings mimic the delicacy of the koto. It’s a beautifully crafted work and one that reveals more details with each listening — especially through an SACD player.

By all means, come for the Vivaldi. But if you’re like me, you’ll stay for the Panufnik.

A Violin for All Seasons
Antonio Vivaldi: The Four Seasons
Roxanna Panufnik: The World Seasons
Tasmin Little, violin soloist, conductor
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Chandos CHSA 5175 SACD

More Recent Posts

  • Reber Piano Trios – Refined Elegance

    Napoléon-Henri Reber may be almost unknown today, but in the 1850s he was a well-respected pedagogue and composer (Jules Massenet studied with him at one time). Although he wrote four symphonies, and several comic operas, Reber had an affinity for chamber music, which constitutes the bulk of his catalog. Three of his seven piano trios […]

  • Pierre Bensusan stops by WTJU, March 31

    WTJU is pleased to join The Prism Coffeehouse in presenting world renowned guitarist Pierre Bensusan in concert this Friday evening, March 31, at C’Ville Coffee. (Details)  Pierre will actually stop by WTJU that afternoon at 4 (edt) to share a few tunes off his latest release, Encore (much of which was taken from his past […]

  • WTJU & CJS Present Restroy, Apr 12

    WTJU joins the Charlottesville Jazz Society in presenting Restroy at Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church in Charlottesville on Wednesday, April 12.  The concert will start at 8 pm. (Details)  For more information, call Gary at (434) 249-6191 or visit cvillejazz.org. Led by composer and bassist Chris Dammann, Restroy dives into the intersection of modern jazz, improvisation […]

  • New Jazz Adds – 3/27/2017

    New Jazz Adds – 3/27/2017 Billy Childs – Rebirth (Mack Avenue): Composer/pianist Billy Childs has an amazing list of accomplishments whether from composing, arranging or performing with musicians from a truly broad spectrum of styles. He looked forward to this recording as one in which he would work in a new setting, both in terms […]

  • Darol Anger Fiddles Around WTJU, March 30

    Legendary fiddler Darol Anger will stop by WTJU this Thursday afternoon, March 30, at 5 (edt) for a visit to Folk & Beyond.  In town for a series of workshops and a concert this Saturday night, April 1 (details), Darol has kindly agreed to carve time out for the WTJU listeners. Born in 1953, Darol […]

  • SPICMACAY at UVA on Lambeth Live, March 31

    Three members of SPICMACAY at UVA will put on the March 31 edition of Lambeth Live (heard each Friday night from 8-9 on WTJU), and you are invited to be part of the studio audience for this FREE concert broadcast! 350 Emmet St N, Charlottesville on ye olde GPS will get you to the large […]