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The Four Seasons

Posted: Fri May 01, 2015 7:48 pm
by Mike McCarthy
I hated my father and the feeling was mutual. That said, he gave me some good advice now and then. A senior corporate staff analyst at GE in the mid-50s, one day he remarked that a large corporation is a playground for its senior executives. I remembered that when I joined Digital Equipment Corporation in 1971. He also said that if I ever was given a choice between power and influence, I should choose the latter. He was right about that, too.

When he landed the GE job it was the first time my father had ever made serious money. He used some of his new, higher income to purchase a moderately costly Grundig packaged hi-fi monaural AM/records consumer sound system. Now he finally had something that would do justice to classical music. I'd been exposed to classical music all my life through the Sunday WNYC concerts my parents liked to listen to on AM radio, but I never paid much attention. I was more interested in Frankie Laine's "Ghost Riders In The Sky" than I was in Gustav Mahler's "Seventh Symphony".

My father went on an orgy of buying classical music LPs. He started getting interested in how different versions of the same symphony sounded as a function of which orchestra it was, the concert hall or studio where they had been playing, who had been conducting, and when the recording session had taken place. This was now an easy subject to study since he had recordings in hand and could A/B compare them in detail. The combinatorix were, of course, unaffordable by us. Nelson Rockefeller could simply have had a flunky go out and buy everything available, but my father couldn't afford to do that. Even if he had been able to afford it, he simply did not have enough free time to listen to anything but a tiny fraction of the commercially available variations. Therefore he decided to specialize.

So ... My father began to collect recordings of Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons". By the time he lost interest in the subject he had bought -- and A/B/C/D.../Z compared -- more than thirty versions. The genes that caused him to do this must be the same genes that prompted me to start Golden MIDI.

[An aside ... So .. Thanks, Dad, you blankety blank. I hear music in my head 24x7, even when I'm asleep. Aren't you ever going to leave me alone? But I digress ...]

Herewith "The Four Seasons", a violin concerto that nobody doesn't like or can't understand at some level ...

00:00 -- Spring
10:32 -- Summer
21:00 -- Autumn
??:?? -- Winter (24:33?)

I'm so abysmally ignorant about classical music that I can't even be sure where Autumn leaves off and Winter begins. The short burst of Spring at 23:10 mystifies me.

What's my favorite season? I'm not sure. Spring, I suppose, mainly because that's what my father played more than any other. Its complexity is amazing but I believe I'm able to follow most of it.

What's your favorite season, and why?

Re: The Four Seasons

Posted: Sun May 03, 2015 3:46 am
by BlueStrat
I thought originally, when I first heard this music, that it was just one big, long, unending classical piece. Maybe because I was mostly ignorant to the finer notes of music and chose to collect Big Band and early Rock hot wax. Then, I saw the Allen Alda movie titled "The Four Seasons" it was sort of kinda funny, well at least in those days it was. The music took on a whole "New" meaning for me, the setting was on a college campus Dartmouth or something like that. Two couples were entering their children into their Freshman years, and throughout the entire movie, the Vivaldi masterpiece played either softly in the background or blaring and up front depending upon what was happening in the scene. I LOVE the Fall or Autumn as the elitists call it, but to us New Englanders, it is the FALL ! Those beautiful colours Reds, Oranges, Yellows, and everything in between !
I think the colors along with Vivaldi transfixed me into a whole new appreciation of just what the music really meant. Italy does have somewhat of an "Autumn" season of colour, especially around Tuscany, though not quite as bright as ours, so I can imagine Vivaldi being inspired in his writing those beautiful notes and sequences just as I had been, watching that movie revelation. I now keep that CD close at hand, to use when I am painting, and I (don't tell the label) made a copy on my computer, just to have one in the car for those long drives.