Concertmaster David Coucheron performs Antonio Vivaldi's 'The Four Seasons' with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
The string section of our Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is superb, thanks in no small part to Concertmaster David Coucheron. He will conduct and perform solos in the Jan. 4 Wednesday concert of the Atlanta Symphony. The audience will hear him as a featured soloist in one of the most popular works in the classical repertoire, “The Four Seasons” by Antonio Vivaldi.
David Coucheron joined “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes via Zoom for a conversation about how Vivaldi evokes the majesty of the seasons through his compositions.
A four-concerto collection accompanied by Vivaldi’s original sonnets:
“It’s actually pretty magical, and it’s pretty amazing how he managed to reflect the different bird chirps in the spring and in the summer and the chilliness of the cold and freezing of the winter, and I think it’s actually quite self-explanatory when you listen to it,” said Coucheron. “I think there’s no mistake which season that you’re currently in. It’s a monument in the violin repertoire, and I can’t wait to perform it with my Atlanta Symphony Orchestra colleagues.”
He continued, “There’s a lot of different nature sounds in all of the seasons. I think maybe winter might be the most famous because we play it a lot during the Christmas season, but all of the four seasons are fantastic.” Coucheron also added, “I wonder if [Vivaldi] had written it today with air conditioning, it would sound very different… It can be extremely hot in Italy during the summer season, and I think it was difficult back then. And they have siesta all that kind of stuff, but yeah, it was very, very hot, and he’s complaining about it a little bit, I think, from this.”
How Vivaldi’s seasons compare to Coucheron’s native Norway and Atlanta:
“There’s a lot of different nature sounds in all of the seasons. I think maybe winter might be the most famous because we play it a lot during Christmas season, but all of the four Seasons are fantastic, and I’m reminded of that sometimes. I’m originally from Norway, where there’s a lot more winter than here in Atlanta. But one of the things I do like about Atlanta is that we still have four seasons here. Some places in the world do not have the luxury of changing seasons, and seeing that, but we do have that in Atlanta,” he said.
“The fall in Norway is my least favorite season. It’s really very dark. It’s cold, but it’s not snow yet. Yeah, it’s actually quite a depressing season, and it’s long. It’s dark since September, and that ends in December when we usually get some snow,” Coucheron said. “[Vivaldi describes] beautiful colors and leaves falling and peacefulness, and I think also satisfaction, and I think maybe that’s related to harvest.”
Conjuring icy winter images with cellos and violins bowed close to the bridge:
“To me it’s obvious that this is cold and this is freezing, and people are shivering,” Coucheron mused. “Huge wind [is], I think, depicted also in my 32nd notes, very quick passages going on that’s kind of like wind just rolling in. And then we come back to the shivering again, and then we have the middle movement, which is beautiful, and it’s peaceful, and I think I picture being inside and having a hot chocolate or something. The icy wind and ice storm outside is passing by, but we’re not affected by it.”
David Coucheron performs with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra on Jan. 4, presenting Antonio Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.” Tickets and more information are available at https://www.aso.org/events/detail/vivaldis-four-seasons