Photo of Erin Schreiber and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra by Laura Tucker
On Saturday, November 11th, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra performed for an attentive audience at the Manchester United Methodist Church (129 Woods Mill Rd.) as part of a three-day traveling concert program while their home at Powell Hall is undergoing renovations.
They began promptly at 7:30 p.m. in the beautiful sanctuary that tonight doubled as an auditorium for the orchestra’s string musicians.
The series, Eight Seasons, is an incredible pairing of musical styles that are juxtaposed in perfect harmony, featuring composers Antonio Vivaldi, the master of Baroque, and Astor Piazzolla, known for a style described as Nuevo tango. Both have composed works titled The Four Seasons. Tonight, we will hear all eight.
Vivaldi’s “Spring” introduces us to Concertmaster David Halen on violin. He leads the ensemble on a tip-toeing journey through the first three-part season. He then makes a path for the works of “Summer” by Piazzolla and Associate Concertmaster Erin Schreiber as she guides the music on violin. Dressed in a lovely shade of red, she commanded the stage while complimenting her surroundings. Halen responds in-turn with Vivaldi’s “Summer.” And so it goes for the rest of the evening.
The sharp and sometimes stern notes of the tango contrasted with the sweet sounds of Vivaldi made for a diversely beautiful performance. The bows move in unison and bring an added layer of visual delight.
Before and after intermission, we find ourselves already in “Autumn.” The seasons are passing too quickly while the audience sits quietly in perfect orchestral etiquette. The notes are instantly recognizable to even the most novice classical enthusiast.
Each Vivaldi movement or season is played in three parts while Piazzolla’s The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires has only one.
It’s now “Winter” and Piazzolla’s version begins with a sharp and almost cold solo by Schreiber then warms up like a crackling fire. It then moves like a figure skater performing a delicate dance on the ice. Finger picking her violin, she adds another dimension of beauty to the movement.
Vivaldi’s “Winter” is equally harsh as it marches in, commanding to be felt. But as on earth, the seasons return to Piazzolla’s “Spring.” And we too move into the realm of optimism and new beginnings through the wonder of music.
The evening ends in an encore, Vivaldi’s “Concerto in A Minor for Two Violins.” Both Halen and Schreiber share the spotlight and bring the audience to their feet in rousing applause for the talented musicians that make up the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. | Laura Tucker
The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s holiday season continues with performances of Beethoven’s Second Symphony (12.01.23 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center, 1 Touhill Circle); a chamber concert featuring a string quintet performing works by Jessie Montgomery, Harry González, Christian Quiñones, and Franz Schubert (12.06.23, the Sheldon Concert Hall, 3648 Washington Ave.); “A Gospel Christmas” by the SLSO IN UNISON Chorus (12.08.23 at Stifel Theatre, 1400 Market St.); the score to the holiday classic Home Alone (12.09-10.23 at Stifel Theatre); the Mercy Holiday Celebration (12.12-13.23 at the J. Scheidegger Center for the Arts at Lindenwood University, 2300 W. Clay St. in St. Charles); the score of Back to the Future (12.28-29.23 at Stifel Theatre); and a New Year’s Eve Celebration (12.31.23 at Stifel Theatre). For additional info or to purchase tickets, visit slso.org.