Thursday, February 22, 2018

Hawkes Bay, Vivaldi and the Key of C

October 1, 2008 by  
Filed under Main Blog

Hawkes Bay where I now live is such a great place that it’s hard to believe that firstly other people don’t know that and secondly that people who live here appear diffident in their belief of that truth too! Take it from me, it IS! It’s a stunning region.

I was chatting to Member of Parliament Rick Barker (Associate Minister of Justice) this morning and he made a wonderfully astute statement that sort of went like this, “Vivaldi was thinking of Hawke’s Bay when he composed “The Four Seasons”(Le Quattro Stagioni). I ABSOLUTELY agree!

The Four Seasons is Vivaldi’s best-known work made up of a set of four violin concertos from the Baroque genre. Like so many of Vivaldi’s musical compositions we also conspired in our belief that Hawke’s Bay, is made in the musical key of C. Broadly speaking, the phrase ‘in the key of C’ means that C is music’s harmonic centre or tonic. It’s sometimes referred to as the “happy” sound. I like that about the note, it’s a feel-good one.

There’s a lot to feel-good about in the Bay too, like fresh fruit and vegetable products, hectares of vineyards, stunning artisans with their fingers on the creative pulse, picture-book pastoral scenes that hurt the eyes it’s that beautiful, eating Rush Munro ice-cream, Chai Latte at Bay Expresso on Omahu Road with great staff like Sasha who make that experience a great one every time, my fabulous hair-stylist Zeb Waihape at the BP Complex, Swansea Rd in Flaxmere who not only helps me scrub up okay but makes my jaw sore from laughing so much. I’m on a Bay Buzz! But I digress.

Each concerto was named after a season. Each one is in three movements, with a slow movement between two faster ones (my personal favourite is the Spring mvt 1: Allegro). The texture of each concerto is varied, resembling its respective season e.g. “Winter” is peppered with silvery staccato notes from the high strings, calling to mind icy rain, whereas “Summer” evokes a thunderstorm in its final movement.

Rick Barker is impressive in full oratorial flight and charming in his comparative dissertation of a seed growing up through the earth. He has Spring in his step! The four concertos were written to go along with four sonnets. Though it is not known who wrote these sonnets there is a theory that Vivaldi wrote them himself. I have written them here for enjoyment’s sake.

La Primavera

Giunt’ è la Primavera e festosetti l La Salutan gl’ Augei con lieto canto l E i fonti allo Spirar de’ Zeffiretti l Con dolce mormorio Scorrono intanto l Vengon’ coprendo l’ aer di nero amanto l E Lampi, e tuoni ad annuntiarla eletti Indi tacendo questi, gl’ Augelletti l Tornan’ di nuovo al lor canoro incanto

Springtime is upon us l The birds celebrate her return with festive song l and murmuring streams are softly caressed by the breezes l Thunderstorms, those heralds of Spring, roar, casting their dark mantle over heaven l Then they die away to silence, and the birds take up their charming songs once more.

E quindi sul fiorito ameno prato l Al caro mormorio di fronde e piante l Dorme ‘l Caprar col fido can’ à lato translated :: On the flower-strewn meadow, with leafy branches rustling overhead, the goat-herd sleeps, his l faithful dog beside him.

Di pastoral Zampogna al suon festante l Danzan Ninfe e Pastor nel tetto amato l Di primavera all’ apparir brillante l Led by the festive sound of rustic bagpipes, nymphs and shepherds lightly dance beneath the brilliant canopy of spring.

No-one can fault Rick Barker’s verve for Hawke’s Bay, I certainly couldn’t. By all counts Vivaldi plus the Key of C equals Hawkes Bay, there’s something astutely no nonsense about that equation. I like it alot cos I’m a no nonsense kinda gal!

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