He was in town as part of the Toronto Symphony's "Exposed" series. The piece of music in question: Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, "Autumn" and "Winter". Apparently several seasons ago he covered "Spring" and "Summer". Unfortunately I missed that concert. Chee-Yun was the guest violinist and is a beautiful player. In the Q&A after the concert she told us she had started learning the piece in middle school, a "long, long time ago". My understanding of her story, which I hope I heard correctly, was that the violin she was playing was from 1669 and was actually buried with a guy for a while. Obviously it has been well looked after since then as it still has the original varnish. She's decorated it a bit by adding a glittering fine tuning post and mute, which was a gift from a student. They matched her shimmering dress and shoes. She doesn't practice in the heels though :)
While we're on the subject of violins, someone asked about the one played by concertmaster Mark Skazinetsky. His was made in 2008 by a friend in Salt Lake City. Talk about old meeting new.
But let's get to Vivaldi. I had no idea The Four Seasons had accompanying poetry! Granted, it's not great poetry which has led some to believe Vivaldi wrote it himself. Given how well it fits the music, that makes sense to me. I also never thought about "Autumn" and "Winter" each having three movements. I generally classified The Four Seasons itself as a piece with 4 movements, never thinking they were further divided.
Vivaldi has always been one of my favourite composers, but this work is even more enjoyable now that I know more about the music, and all you have to do is listen.