Luka Faulisi’s Sophomore Album, “Vivaldi: The Four Seasons” – Available 26 April 2024

26 Apr 2024

On his second album for Sony Classical, set to be released on 26 April, violinist Luka Faulisi presents a highly individual interpretation of Vivaldi’s pioneering masterpiece, The Four Seasons. Listen to the album here.

Violinists from every generation have responded to Vivaldi’s set of four violin concertos, whose descriptions of the natural world broke new ground three centuries ago. Faulisi, who was raised in France by an Italian father, feels a ‘three way affinity’ with the Venetian priest and composer that ‘traverses the national, the instrumental and the spiritual.’

With his new recording, Faulisi was determined not to simply ‘make one more version’ of Vivaldi’s work. ‘People rarely examine the composer’s thinking or his vision of nature,’ the violinist says.

As in Faulisi’s debut album, Aria, storytelling is to the fore. The violinist’s cinematic approach to The Four Seasons involved encouraging members of the orchestra to engage with the composer’s onomatopoeic animal and nature sounds and adding percussion not found in the original scores.

An important stimulus was artistic director of {oh!} Orkiestra Historyczna, Martyna Pastuszka, who conducts the recording. ‘We hit it off intellectually from the very outset,’ Faulisi says of her. ‘We had exactly the same idea about what we wanted to do with The Four Seasons. We wanted to make a film, a kind of soundtrack that would better capture all the emotions and all of the moods.’

Faulisi has also opted to splice Vivaldi’s concertos with three complementary works inspired by the seasons: a traditional Catalan melody made famous by Pablo Casals, El cant dels ocells; the haunting Nocturne by Lili Boulanger, the first female winner of the Prix de Rome who died tragically in 1918 at the age of 24; and an excerpt from Tchaikovsky’s The Seasons, ‘October – Autumn Song’, a piece of understated romanticism inspired by Tolstoy.

Vivaldi’s concertos remain among the most popular pieces of classical music ever written. They were published in 1723, exactly three centuries before this recording was made. Not only did the composer label each concerto after a meteorological season, he added a poem to each one, suggesting a story to go with the music.

The works combine Vivaldi’s sense of virtuosity with constant outpourings of melody and orchestral colour. The most vivid episodes from within the music range from ceremonial dances, drunken parties and spirited hunts to moments of calm by the fireside. We hear musical depictions of the joys of spring, the trembling cold of winter and the oppressive heat of summer.  This venture into Baroque repertoire further proves the Italian-French-Serbian violinist’s versatility and virtuosity while underlining his key strength as a musical storyteller.

Luka Faulisi has been described by the great Pinchas Zukerman as a violinist ‘with a million dollar sound’. He has enjoyed major career escalation since signing to Sony Classical in 2022 at the age of 20, following studies at the Maastricht Conservatory with Boris Belkin and recently received a full scholarship from the Royal Academy of Music in London to study in the Performance Advanced Diploma course with Robin Wilson.