An Italian orchestra and Canadian engineers join forces onWorld Water Day to explore the impacts of climate change on water – and our everyday lives.
Art truly imitates life in Vivaldi’s masterpiece The FourSeasons, for which musicians are challenged to create the sounds and sensibilities of nature using unconventional approaches. For Italian conductor Aram Khacheh, the piece also echoes the history of climate upheaval from the early 17th century into the early 18th century, making it the perfect conversation starter for World Water Day March 22nd.
World Water Day is an annual United Nations (UN) observance that raises awareness of the 2.2 billion people living without access to safe water and promotes action to tackle the global water crisis. A core focus ofWorld Water Day is to support the achievement of the UN’s SustainableDevelopment Goal 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.
Vivaldi wrote The Four Seasons against the backdrop of what would be a century of climate-based calamities that caused or contributed to political and social turmoil around the world,” Khacheh says. “Extreme weather anomalies in the 17th and 18th centuries brought drought to Portugal andCatalonia, rice shortages in Osaka, and crop failures in Italy, Poland andRussia, for example. In turn, there were uprisings and revolts, showing that climate had a drastic impact on how people lived then, as it does today.”
Khacheh, conductor and artistic director of the Italy-based symphony Bazzini Consort, has joined forces with Canada’s RESEAU Centre forMobilizing Innovation to create a series of short video vignettes featuring musicians playing excerpts from The Four Seasons. The excerpts are aligned with larger messages about climate, water and community health, as well as the importance of thinking outside the box for innovative approaches to ameliorating climate change and its impact on water.
“Vivaldi’s work offers an excellent example of the role of climate in the life of communities around the world, and he captures a sense of each season as well as human behaviour,” Khacheh adds. “The Four Seasons documents what happens when there is a bountiful harvest, and when there is drought, when the weather is favorable and when it’s harsh.
“He’s giving meaning and a narrative to his music, while using mood and new techniques to convey things like the buzzing of insects and barking dogs, which was very radical for his time. It struck me that there are several parallels between this piece in terms of innovation and telling a human tale about climate, and the challenges we face today.”