Just as each season brings its own sensations and expressions, so does composer John Mitchell’s SEASONS. Performed by the Benda Quartet, these compositions envelop the various characteristics and hallmarks of each season, capturing both their beauty and the emotions they evoke.
Autumn is met with a grandiose opening, contrasted by short bursts of pizzicato passages, exuding the subtle warmth left from summer, wrapped in the chilling autumn air. The mood shifts through each passage, signifying the visual and emotional changes of this season, and ultimately delivering a strong, punchy cadence at the ending.
Winter opens with a swift snow flurry of notes before quickly dissolving into a lush interplay of different string parts. This composition is mysterious, suspenseful, thrilling, and at times ominous, like being immersed in the calm moments of winter on the brink of a snowstorm, and long build-ups in intensity are brought to abrupt stops, like entering the eye of a storm. Its ending — with a long sustained note and short plucks — conjures the image of snowflakes trickling down and coating the Earth.
Spring opens jubilantly, exiting the cold and effusing the excitement of spring; string passages show growth, like nature’s inhabitants and flowers sprouting from the Earth.
Spring is deeply dynamic and expressive, showing the dichotomy between the season’s rainy days and its bright ones. This piece feels like the first warm day of the year, walking across puddles formed from melted snow, shedding winter coats, and moving triumphantly.
Summer is a tonally warm composition joining the carefree nature of the season with excitement and opportunity for the growth it brings. It feels regal and luxurious, eased with a relaxed opening statement before quickly introducing the thrill of summertime ambience.