"Venice is eternity itself." - Joseph Brodsky, Poet Laureate
Our Pairing of the Week this week is inspired by the sounds and flavors of 18th Century Venice. Surely one of the most magical cities in the world, especially in summertime, Venice in the 1700s was at the height of its elegance and grandeur, something to which it never quite returned after the invasion by Napoleon in 1797.
This week, we're listening to just one piece: Vivaldi's Gloria. You'll have to forgive me. I'm a bit obsessed with this piece as I am lucky enough to have the chance to perform it tonight at the Hollywood Bowl with the Pacific Chorale and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Honestly, regardless of whether this weekly pairing is wholly self-indulgent (and let's face it, most of them are), this piece – which I guarantee you've heard parts of before even if you don't know it – is sublime in both subtlety and intricacy of melodic and harmonic structure and flow.
In modern speak, it's an "approachable" piece of classical music, but to leave it there would be to cheapen its value. It's so much more than that. Take the time to find those moment of utter – pardon the pun – glory. Taste the playful conversations between voices perhaps best exemplified in the 3rd movement, "Laudamus te," relish in the divine dissonances especially in the 2nd movement, "Et in terra pax" that requires epic breath control and much staggered breathing, and don't be embarrassed to shake your booty in the 6th movement, "Domine fili." Even on stage, we're all doing it just a little bit!
No, really, it's ok ... nobody's watching :)
Did you know that there is an actual Watermelon Festival? in Venice? In August? Yep, neither did I but I assure you, it's a thing. To me watermelon is one of the most playful fruits, and there is no more simple pleasure a hot summer evening than slurping on a slice of this sweet treat. It makes me think of kids grabbing a piece between cannonballs in a swimming pool or people passing slices around at a backyard BBQ. Better yet, try mixing the leftover watermelon juice into your glass of...
...what else, Prosecco! The Italian version of sparkling wine is a summer necessity but do yourself a favor and go to an actual wine store, talk to an actual person, and pick out something that isn't La Marca, ok? You can thank me later.
Now, throw open the windows or go out on the porch and enjoy this delectable summer pairing!