Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons is well known and loved by audiences around the world, but what classical music lovers in Manchester might not be aware of is that a rare original manuscript of the Four Seasons resides within Manchester City Library. Called The Manchester Manuscript it predates the more commonly heard Le Cene version and audiences who attend Manchester Camerata’s Four Seasons concert at the RNCM on Saturday 2 February will have the opportunity to see it up-close in a special exhibition and hear it performed by Camerata on the night.
The Manchester Manuscripts are on loan for the evening courtesy of Manchester City Library, and are part of a much larger collection called the Newman Flower Collection which contains other rare manuscripts by Handel, Vivaldi, Corelli and Albinoni amongst others. The Manchester Manuscripts were acquired by Charles Jennens, who was a benefactor of Handel and also wrote the librettos to Messiah and several other Handel oratorios. This early version offers intriguing variations notably in areas such as articulation, figuration and harmonic colouring. In some cases it is radically different, for example lightning flashes in the first and second violins in the spring movement.
The evening’s concert will be directed by Giovanni Guzzo from the orchestra’s recently acquired 1709 Stradivarius, the first opportunity Manchester audiences have had to hear this rare violin in a solo performance. The second half features Piazzolla’s The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, which combines Vivaldi with the life and colour of South America. This fiery masterpiece incorporates elements of jazz and Argentine tango into a work full of luscious harmonies and punchy, earthy folk rhythms.