Which Piece Sounds Like a Winter Wonderland to You?

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Central Park blanketed with snow. (Caitlyn Kim/WNYC)

Friday is the first day of winter and for today's Showdown, we asked you to choose your favorite musical depiction of winter.

By a very close margin, you said it is Vivaldi’s “Winter” Concerto from the Four Seasons, that makes you want to bundle up. At noon we played the piece performed by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra with violinist Gil Shaham.


Comments [21]

Peter O'Malley

Re: Kenneth's comment on the programming. I've been kvetching about this forever. Right now they are playing, yet again, Mendelssohn's "Fingal's Cave (the Hebrides overture)", a piece that I actually like, but it seems to be played on a weekly top 40 cycle. Last week, on WKCR (89.9) they did a whol afternoon of Villa-Lobos: songs and instrumental works, none of which are ever likely to be heard here.

Too bad.

Dec. 19 2012 02:09 PM
Kenneth from Brooklyn

Really? These were the choices? How about Glazunov's The Seasons (which opens with winter)?? Or Debussy's Children's Corner Suite (with the Snowflakes are Dancing)??? Or some selections from Schubert's Winterreise?
Anyway, your contest was which sounds like winter, so it could have been something that just abstractly reminds one of winter. Say, Sibelius' Tapiola, Mozart's Symphony No. 25 in G Minor or Vaughan Williams' Sinfonia Antarctica? Really, some bad choices here. This does not surprise me though, coming from QXR these days. I wish you could do much better programing.

Dec. 19 2012 12:53 PM
Joseph from New Jersey

If it works it works, Vivaldi and the four seasons.

Dec. 19 2012 11:55 AM
Miles from Montclair, NJ

I'm voting for Tchaikovsky. His winter picture in this first of his symphonies is not the more typical "storm and fury" of winter, but rather the peaceful aspect of winter --- perhaps a quiet snow-covered meadow seen through the window of warm and cozy room, accompanied by silence and the viewer's dreams.

Dec. 19 2012 11:54 AM
Vovik from New Barad-Dur on East River

With all due respect to Gus and Petya, it ain't even a contest. Vivaldi all the way.

Dec. 19 2012 11:52 AM
Anne from Bronx, NY

I voted for Gil Shaham, although I agree the work has been overplayed. None of these selections particularly depicts winter for me. And I DEFINITELY agree with the listener who commented about the lack of vocal music on WQXR. Where are the great choral works on your playlist? (and don't tell me 7:00 am or 11:00 pm on Sundays)

Dec. 19 2012 11:49 AM
Victor from Brooklyn

Vivaldi, of course!

Dec. 19 2012 11:49 AM
Peter O'Malley from Oakland, New Jersey

I'm voting for Mahler, because (a) this piece is rarely played; and (b) it has singing, often banned (unofficially) from "primetime" broadcasting. I like the Tchaikovsky, but he is played a lot (though not this piece). I agree that it is not particularly a winter piece, and I agree with Carol Luparella that QXR does not play many longer selections (we need more time to announce the smartphone app, I guess).

As to winter, it's been here since the last leaves fell and the northern migrant birds have moved in to fill the places of the locals who have gone south. The solstice thing is a fiction, just as it is in the spring, which gets here before March 21 or 22.

Dec. 19 2012 11:31 AM
Karen from NYC

None, really. Wagner's Overture to Parsifal sounds like the first snowfall. It almost sounds like silence.

Dec. 19 2012 11:31 AM

I too chose the Mahler for many of the reasons listed. The Vivaldi is just too obvious and overplayed, while the Tchaikovsky doesn't really remind me of winter, particularly living here in Florida. I think you could have come up with some better choices, but, as they say in latin, "De gustibus."

Dec. 19 2012 11:23 AM
Raymond Banacki from Brooklyn, New York

Well, I am going to be "cliche" and vote for "Winter" from Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons". But, truthfully, accompanied by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and Gil Shaham on the violin, how can the Vivaldi piece not be "the sound" of winter.

Dec. 19 2012 11:04 AM

I don't consider Mahler to be particularly 'wintry' despite the sleigh-bells(?) used. Tchaikovsky and Vivaldi get played enough perhaps too much during the rest of the year so I don't think I can vote for them either. Why not offer us a different selection. I do agree with Bernie's comments on this. My nomination: something lighter, Waldteufel's Skater's Waltz.

Dec. 19 2012 10:59 AM
concetta nardone from Nassau

I voted for the Vivaldi which actually sounds very bleak to me. Really like the Lt.Kije Suite that was commented on. It is a happy winter sound if winter can sound happy.

Dec. 19 2012 10:51 AM
Carol Luparella from Elmwood Park, NJ

I was thinking the same thing as Bernie - this Showdown is a repeat from last year, and WQXR plays far too little Mahler. This is why I voted for the Mahler 4th (even though I also like the Tchaikovsky 1st), since it is the longest of the three works on this list, and that is another gripe of mine - that WQXR doesn't play enough longer pieces, especially in the afternoon.

Dec. 19 2012 10:47 AM
Francisca Sabadie from Scarsdale

i agree - too much Vivaldi - not enough Mahler - and i do love them both

Dec. 19 2012 10:35 AM
FluteLady from Manhattan

Please, not Vivaldi! We get enough of him all year round.

Dec. 19 2012 10:27 AM
Karen Langro

I just love, love love Vivaldi! His Four Seasons "Winter" is so full of fire, passon and fury! So it's no surprise that he is one of my favourte composers.

Dec. 19 2012 10:06 AM
Arthur Black from Manhattan

I've never thought of Mahler's Fourth as particularly wintry.
To me, it transcends all seasons. However, it warms my heart
whenever I hear it, so I guess it serves a special cold weather

Dec. 19 2012 10:01 AM
Chris in Tally

For a short piece, I always think of 'Troika' from Prokofiev's "Lieutenant Kije Suite" as the sound of winter.

Dec. 19 2012 09:31 AM
idney Goldman from Baldwin, Ne York 11510

Tchaikovsky, in composing his first symphony called it "Winter Reveries". I have it in my CD library. And I have listened to tht CD during the wintry days, as I did his ballets.

Dec. 19 2012 07:19 AM
Bernie from UWS

I believe we saw this exact same showdown last year. In any case, my vote goes to Mahler 4, since WQXR plays way too little Mahler considering how popular his music is.

Dec. 19 2012 06:59 AM

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