Nicola Benedetti plays music of Vivaldi and his contemporaries with the Venice Baroque Orchestra next Friday and Saturday at Cal Performances and the Mondavi Center. The Scottish violinist says her repertoire of Vivaldi concerti has been constantly growing each time she returns to the music of the Italian Baroque.
The centerpiece of the program is Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, which Benedetti thinks is too often dismissed as overplayed. “It’s part of our duty to remember that everybody coming to the concert is not sitting, playing or listening to Vivaldi Four Seasons all day every day. They’re coming to hear something that, yes, they’re most likely familiar with, at least some themes, but there’s a great majority of the music within those four concertos that people don’t know all that well. I also didn’t play the Four Seasons until I was probably in my 20s, so that was a blessing, because I didn’t have the chance to get sick of it before I was even 20 years old!” She says in particular that new discoveries are in store at a VBO performance. “A lot of people reference Vivaldi violin concertos as sounding quite similar to each other, but the deeper you go into discovering his voice, that becomes kind of disproved more and more. And being surrounded by the members of the Venice Baroque Orchestra, and having any exposure to Andrea Marcon as a person, as a musician, as a harpsichordist, it’s impossible not to be pushed and pulled in an unexpected direction.”