The Santa Barbara Symphony tackled Vivaldi’s Four Seasons last Saturday, featuring renowned soloist Philippe Quint on the violin. Playing with a reduced orchestra, the intimate concert began with the distinctive refrain of the “Spring” movement, where Quint immediately demonstrated phenomenal control over the piece, bearing a genuine smile at the music’s unfolding narrative. It was riveting to witness such extraordinary talent bring to life Vivaldi’s famed piece, and it is clear that Quint was made for playing the Four Seasons.
The concert included another season-based cycle: Astor Piazzolla’s tribute to Vivaldi, The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, a Latin American interpretation of time’s annual passage with a definite tango influence. Wildly different than Vivaldi’s work, which highlights the beauty of each season, Piazzolla’s cycle explores the year’s sensuous carnality, each movement full of chaos, with powerful solos from cellist Trevor Handy and concertmaster Ina Veli. The highlight of Pizzolla’s cycle was Quint’s high-intensity solo in the “Autumn” movement, with gasps, sighs, and whispered adulation circulating about the audience. In the most engaging Symphony concert of the season, Quint contributed his own personal flair to the demanding pieces and played with perfect hair the entire time.