November 03, 2021

Letter from the Director November 2021

I am overjoyed that after a year's absence, we at UCCD will host the Vivaldi by Candlelight concert, our signature fundraising event, and present you with the glorious music of Antonio Vivaldi.

This year's concert will be held on Saturday, December 4, 8:00 P.M., at the First Presbyterian Church in Salt Lake City.  We understand if you are hesitant to sit in a concert hall because of Covid-19, so to put you at ease, we require full vaccinations or a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of the event.  Please review our Covid-19 policy

Now to give you a beautiful description for what many consider to be a favorite holiday tradition, I asked Gerald Elias, Vivaldi by Candlelight music director, who is also an author - check out his website - to share his thoughts about the Vivaldi's Four Seasons program he created for this year's concert. 

"Composed in Venice precisely three hundred years ago, Vivaldi's The Four Seasons is arguably the most popular classical music ever written. The vivid musical imagery that Vivaldi paints with a master's brush is mind-boggling, especially considering that the instrumentation is limited to a small ensemble of string instruments. 

What is your favorite season? Many would say summer. But for Antonio Vivaldi, if you were to take the sonnets and music of his Four Seasons at face value, summer was his least favorite: "Beneath the blazing sun's relentless heat, men and flocks are sweltering, pines are scorched." "The shepherd trembles, fearful of violent storms and what may lie ahead." 

Winter, too, was not to be taken lightly: "Shivering and frozen mid the frosty snow, in biting, stinging winds, running to and fro, stamping icy feet, teeth chattering in the bitter chill."

The seasons Vivaldi reveled in were spring– "Stirred by the festive tones of rustic pipes, nymphs and shepherds lightly dance beneath the verdant canopy of spring"–and autumn– "The peasant celebrates with song and dance the harvest safely gathered in." Those were the times of year when the countryside was kinder and gentler, and the peasants could celebrate their good fortune with wine (plenty of it) and the land's abundant bounty. Yes, spring and autumn are seasons we still have cause to celebrate.

If Vivaldi were alive today, what would his twenty-first-century Four Seasons sound like? What would his musical imagery be for drought, floods, and wildfires? How could he make a violin sound like a cracking ice sheet or a pine bark beetle munching away at its vulnerable host? 

Tonight's concert begins with a buoyant sinfonia by Vivaldi, "La Senna Festeggiante," ("Festivities on the Seine") which he composed for the ascension of Louis XV to the French throne, and will conclude with Bach's beloved "Air" from his third orchestral suite. 

For the Four Seasons, each of our ensemble's four violinists—Leslie Henrie, Krista Utrilla, Jakob Hofer, and Dallin Hansen—will take turns as soloists, showing off their dazzling musical talents. In addition, we are thrilled and honored to have Doug Fabrizio, who for decades has been one of the most familiar and popular voices in Utah, to be our guest narrator. 

 And as you listen, you may wonder, what would the world be like without the Four Seasons or the four seasons?"

I hope this description entices you to attend this year's concert!  Visit our Vivaldi by Candlelight page for further details about the concert, our Covid-19 policy, and to purchase tickets. I hope to see you there. 

Globally,
Felecia Maxfield-Barrett
Executive Director