Lara St. John – Vivaldi: Four Seasons / Piazzolla: Four Seasons Of Buenos Aires (2009)
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 64:18 mins | Scans included | 3,23 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 1,27 GB
Features 2.0 Stereo and 5.0 multichannel surround sound | Label: Ancalagon # ANC 134
Drawing from two sides of the musical spectrum–Tango and Baroque–comes Lara St. John’s newest recording, featuring the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela and Eduardo Marturet. The disc features Vivaldi’s seminal work, the Four Seasons, which is the top-selling classical work of all time, paired with The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, Astor Piazzola’s tribute to Vivaldi. There is tremendous interest in this orchestra, and this is the first time it has recorded with the Ancalagon label following successful recordings with the Deutsche Grammophon label.
Lara St. John is a dynamic violinist, performing music of several genres and eras, and founder of the Ancalagon label.
Joining together Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Piazzolla’s The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires on a single disc was an excellent idea. Providing the musicians with lush sound and beautiful productions values was likewise an excellent idea. Unfortunately, the actual performances are less than excellent. Indeed, they might be most positively characterized as superficial and mediocre. Lara St. John, the charismatic Canadian violinist, has the technique to play Vivaldi’s four violin concertos — not much of an achievement since these are not particularly challenging works — but despite her hyper-expressive phrasing, St. John’s interpretations are nothing special. Her “Spring” is more dutiful than joyful, her “Summer” more soporific than sultry, her “Autumn” tart more than sweet, and her
“Winter” chilly to the point of coldness. Worse yet, St. John does not quite have the technique to play Piazzolla’s much more demanding music, and her accounts are scrappy and sloppy. What’s more, she seems to have less feel for Piazzolla than for Vivaldi, and her interpretations lack understanding of the Argentine composer’s feel for rhythm or melody. Accompanied with much spirit but less polish by the Youth Orchestra of Venezuela under the direction of Eduardo Marturet, St. John’s performances here will mostly likely be of interest only to her fans.