Vivaldi’s recomposed ‘Four Seasons’ performance at Zeitz MOCAA FOOD pairs seasonal Food, Wine, and Music at the majestic Zeitz MOCCA Museum!

In a first event of its kind, pairing food, wine, and music, the ‘Four Seasons’ by Vivaldi was recomposed by German-born UK composer Max Richter, and paired with wines and food to match the four different seasons covered in the composition, and took place in the majestic Zeitz MOCCA Museum art gallery last night. It was preceded by a ‘reimagined’ interpretation of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No 3, by Hans Roosenschoon.

In a collaboration with the Flat Mountain Project, the music was performed by solo violinists Annien Shaw and Bonolo Kgaile, together with an orchestra of violin, viola, cello, bass, and harp players led by harpsichordist Erik Dippenaar, who had just completed the one week Baroque Festival the day before, Hans Roosenschoon Jnr, conducting both works. Violin soloists were Annien Shaw for Summer and Spring, and Bonolo Kgaile for Autumn and Winter.

Chairs had been placed in a semi-circle around the railing on the ground floor as one enters the African Art Zeitz MOCAA Museum, with a description on the chair of the music programme, and listing the names of the members of the orchestra, with a pair of yellow glasses, which were not explained, but clearly led us into Summer, it being the opening movement of the recomposed ‘Four Seasons’. I like to arrive early so that I can get a front seat, as the Dine Plan reservation for the concert did not allow one to choose a seat. I was the first to enter when the doors did finally open, and I was delighted to see Aleit Swanepoel attending too, his Aleit Events company running the event, the audience moving upstairs to the 6th floor restaurant run by Aleit’s group. 

The performance started with the reimagined 3rd movement of the Bach Brandenburg Concerto, an interesting interpretation, at times losing the familiarity for me, and surprisingly modern sounding.

The programme note about this piece was as follows: ‘Also included are Hans Rosenschoon’s reimagining of the Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 by JS Bach. Whereas previous attempts at reimagining or recomposing music by well-known classical composers resulted in abstract excursions, in 3, the composer aims for straightforwardness’. 

Reimagineer Hans Roosenschoon was in the audience, and it was the second performance of his composition, it having opened the Baroque Festival at the same venue a week earlier, together with the recomposed Four Seasons, to and audience if more than 300.  The acoustics in this unusual architectural masterpiece were superb. 

What made last night’s concert unique was the added dinner, a food and wine pairing to the Four Seasons performance. Each Season was introduced visually, a projection against walls behind and above the orchestra, in different colours, and with different motifs, the Autumn projection in the photograph on the left. I found the Richter recomposition to be very subtle and romantic, that one almost felt that this is what the original Four Seasons sounds like. 

The programme notes explained as follows: ‘A classically trained German-born British composer famous for his post-minimalist styles, Max Richter’s version of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons has preserved the original, while incorporating traces of present-day musical elements, displaying the contemporary relevance of Vivaldi’s concepts.

At the end of the performance a tunnel of wind blew leaves and butterfly cut-outs into the audience, an unusual ending. 

We took the lift up to the 6th floor restaurant, and there I was seated on my own, until Linda-Louise Roosenschoon (on the left in the photograph, with her friend Mariet Smal) saw me, and invited me to join her table, with her husband and their friends. I sat next to Professor Gerhard van der Horst, a Sperminologist, a first for me. Gerhard is entertaining, an accomplished cook, and travels the world speaking about his topic. He explained that he has studied the fertilisation of not only humans but of rodents, animals, and even oysters and sea urchins! On my other side was seated the 6 foot tall Christelle VanZyl DuPlessis, an accomplished artist who travels to Paris annually.

The wine flowed, my glasses filled with Lourensford The River Garden Sauvignon Blanc 2018, and the Lourensford SMV 2016, a blend of Shiraz, Mourvèdre, and Viognier. 

Four courses were served, prepared by Chef Michael Geldenhuys and his team, and each was applauded at the table in being a good representation of the Season it represented: 


#. Spring: Lamb minestrone with spring vegetables, edible flowers, and a mixed herb foam


#. Summer:   Burrata salad, with exotic tomatoes, poached langoustine, and basil 


#. Autumn:   Pork belly, white onion, leek, pork belly, fermented apple and a cider jus.


#.  Winter: Dessert of Sago, vanilla, noisette, and yuzu. 


It was midnight by the time our party broke up, the Rosenschoons and their friends returning to Stellenbosch in a bus, and I returning to my home. 

Not only was the evening unforgettable musically in the two reworked classic Bach and Vivaldi compositions, but so was the unique pairing of the Four Seasons with four seasonal courses was very clever and well executed and the mix of company at my end of the table at the dinner. 


Zeitz MOCAA FOOD, 6th floor, Zeitz MOCAA, Silo District, V & A Waterfront, Cape Town. Tel 021 001-1022 Instagram: @zeitzmocaafood @zeitsmocaa @aleitevents


Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chrissy_Ulmenstein


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