Project information

OAE’s first recording of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons

Top period-instrument ensemble the OAE has yet to record Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. Kati Debretzeni directed a performance of the piece with the OAE recently, which we aim to capture for posterity on CD:

“Debretzeni may rival Nigel Kennedy in both showmanship and virtuosity” The Independent

February 2013 - February 2013

Charity information: Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment logo
  • Need


    A leading force in the early music world, the OAE performs on authentic instruments, attempting to recreate the sound world of each composer & taking this approach to new heights in live performance. Yet the OAE has never recorded The Four Seasons, a key piece of baroque repertoire. Kati Debretzeni, one of the OAE’s leaders, recently directed the piece from the violin to critical acclaim. We want to record that interpretation so that future audiences & generations of musicians can learn from it.


    A recording would ensure that this interpretation was captured for future generations. Kati Debretzeni describes the score as “groundbreakingly descriptive”: Vivaldi’s innovation is often overlooked because the piece is so well known.
    Kati adds “My aim is to highlight the descriptive aspect of the music by finding many more colours and contrasts in the orchestral texture than are usually heard. Committing the outcome to CD would result in a novel and compelling approach to this classic work.”

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Record for posterity a groundbreaking approach to a much-loved & well-known piece of music


    » 4 studio recording sessions in February 2013 following on from a UK tour of live performances
    » CD Release on the OAE’s own label: OAE Released
    » Distribution through the Orchestra’s partners for OAE Released: Signum Records

    Success will be determined by the quality of the recording, as evidenced by critical reviews, audience and musician feedback

    Aim 2

    Raise the profile of the OAE and its approach through this important recording of well-known work


    » Marketing of the CD by the Orchestra’s experienced Communications (Marketing) Team
    » Tapping into the record industry knowledge and expertise offered through the OAE’s partnership with Signum Records

    The success in distributing, as evidenced by sales through Signum and through the OAE’s website and at OAE concerts.

  • Impact


    Launched in 2010 with a recording for the Monteverdi Vespers of 1610, the OAE Released label is still in its infancy. To date we have 3 releases on sale, with a few others at the production stage. The Four Seasons will be one of the most popular works on the label and will help the OAE to further promote the OAE Released brand in these early stages. Its success will be demonstrated by increased sales of both the Four Seasons and other OAE released titles over the next few years.


    The main risk to the project not going ahead would be not managing to raise the funds needed for the studio recording. This is why the Big Give appeal is so important to the strategic success of this recording.


    We involve our donors in the life of the Orchestra, often providing opportunities to attend rehearsals & meet musicians. All donors who allow the Orchestra direct access to their data will receive a letter and project updates, as soon as we receive information by the Big Give.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £20,298

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      Amount Heading Description
      £11,298 Artist Fees for Orchestra &soloist/direction: 4 recording sessions
      £1,500 Instrument/Music Harpsichord hire and music costs
      £2,000 Venue Venue Hire costs for recording
      £4,000 Signum Recs fee recording costs, master CD, CD production, printing & distrib costs
      £1,500 Misc OAE project mgt/marketing costs, misc, contingency
  • Background


    The recording will take place in a church in London. The OAE’s offices are based in London but as the project is a recording, the location of the beneficiaries is not geographically bound and comprises those who love classical music and early music and who, in particular, are aware of the Orchestra’s dynamic approach to this repertoire.


    The recording will benefit those who love classical music and early music and who, in particular, are aware of the Orchestra’s dynamic approach to this repertoire. In addition, it will be an important recording for future musicians and performers who specialise in historical performance practice.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    These reviews say it all:

    “Debretzeni and the OAE played with such vim and character that it was as if we heard the concertos in 3-D. Among the vast range of Four Seasons interpretations, the OAE’s belonged in the light, tight division, with phrasing individual but never eccentric, the tone colours and degrees of attack wide-ranging, the rhythms crisp and forceful... A real breath of fresh air.” The Times

    "Britain’s indisputably best period-instrument ensemble" The Independent

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Kati Debretzeni

    One of the OAE’s four leaders, Kati has also worked regularly with leading early music ensembles including English Baroque Soloists and Florilegium.