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Lisitsina - Antonio Vivaldi "Four Seasons" CD


Le Quattro Stagioni / The Four Seasons  (Yeugenia Lisitsina’s arrangement for organ)

Yeugenia Lisitsina plays the organ of the Riga Dome Cathedral


1. Allegro 3.43
2.  Largo 2.31
3.  Allegro  4.53

L’ESTATE g moll RV 315

4.  Allegro non molto – Allegro 5.36
5.  Adagio – Presto – Adagio 2.22
6.  Presto 3.27

L’AUTUNNO F dur RV 293

7.  Allegro 3.42
8.  Adagio molto 3.34
9.  Allegro 3.44

L’INVERNO f moll RV 297

10.  Allegro non molto 3.54
11.  Largo 2.10
12.  Allegro 3.08

The Four Seasons’ arrangement for organ reveals the truly cosmic scale of this music! 


This CD is a rarity. In 1978 the organist Yeugenia Lisitsina arranged Vivaldi’s concerts The Four Seasons for organ. In 1980 the Riga Recording Studio Melodija recorded the piece at the Riga Dome Cathedral. The record won unbelievable popularity in the USSR. At the end of the 1980s the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper organized one of the first popular classical music hit parades in the USSR and ranked the LP disc of Yeugenia Lisitsina’s arrangement side by side with the records of Yevgeny Svetlanov, Leonid Kogan, Aleksandr Sveshnikov.

In 1991 an Italian recording company recorded Yeugenia Lisitsina’s new arrangement of The Four Season on a digital CD in Riga. The organist says: “I appreciate the LP more, because of the sound engineer Karlis Pinni’s mastery. He was full of enthusiasm and he worked with great care and devotion. Perhaps the arrangement of 1991 is better, but the recording itself is quite sloppy. They recorded only once and all my errors and imperfections remained on the disc”.

Times out of number Yeugenia Lisitsina performed the arrangement of The Four Season in the Riga Dome, in the former USSR and abroad. But it took all her courage to play it in Italy. However, the organist won the hearts of Italians. She says: “The Italians were surprised at my passion for THEIR Vivaldi. But I stated: “He isn’t only yours, he is ours, too!” They were so impressed that immediately invited me to come next year and play Vivaldi again! I had a tour along the Venetian region, giving a concert in Venetia, the native town of Vivaldi, as well. My friends followed me wherever I went! After many years I went to Italy again, and what do you think I heard there? Please, play us Vivaldi!”…

Where does the secret of the arrangement’ssuccess lie? On the one hand, it may be found in its stylistic clarity. Yeugenia Lisitsina says: “It isn’t difficult to arrange the period music for organ.  There is no danger to lose the proper style.  In the 17th - 18th century all instruments had leveled and smooth sounding. The violins didn’t sob yet”. On the other hand, the organist has revealed intuitively the possibilities of the instrument. The organ’s several manuals present as if several layers, providing a possibility of using the main, the more sonorous, manual for the orchestra, leaving the side manuals for the soloist (in our case it is the violin). Thus, by juxtaposing groups of registers, Yeugenia Lisitsina emphasized the competition between the soloist and the orchestra. At the same time the rich timbre of the organ and the refined registration made it possible to beautify the sound landscapes created by Vivaldi, who was a genuine painter in music.

Yeugenia Lisitsina

Yeugenia Lisitsina was born near Moscow; her ancestry is from Tula armourers, but she grew up in the Urals. Her father was eager to see his daughter pursue a musician’s career. She herself dreamed of the organ, which seemed to her a mystical instrument for the chosen ones.

After graduation from a music school in Sverdlovsk, Yeugenia entered the piano faculty at the Rimsky-Korsakov Leningrad (St. Petersburg) Conservatoire, the class of professor Vladimir Nielsen. Then the organist Mark Shakhin invited the new student to attend his concert in Riga. There Yeugenia heard the Dome organ and was introduced to Nikolajs Vanadzins, the patriarch of Latvian organists and her future professor. She left her piano studies and entered Vanadzins’ class at the Jazeps Vitols Conservatoire of Latvia (at present the Jazeps Vitols Latvian Academy of Music). While a student, she gave more than 40 concerts, recorded a disc and won the Tchaikovsky scholarship. 

Thus, Ms Lisitsina linked her life with the mighty building of the Dome Cathedral and its organ – a majestic instrument.

“The Dome Cathedral is the face of Riga. It was built and rebuilt together with the whole town; it burnt down and rose from ashes anew. It is impossible to imagine Riga without it. The more I play here, the deeper I understand that people experience something uplifting here. How many people have been here! It is clear that the walls of the Cathedral have absorbed everything that people have said and felt during centuries. But playing its organ gives you such a delight! It is a divine instrument forming one acoustic, meaningful, emotional and philosophical integral whole with the building within which it lives”, says Ms Lisitsina.

For many years she has been cherishing the dream of playing in the Dome all Bach’s organ pieces as one cycle. Her dream came true in 1999 – 2001. She devoted the cycle to the 315th anniversary of Bach and the 800th anniversary of Riga. Moreover, she does not think she belongs to any school of organ music: “For me there exists just one school – that of Johann Sebastian Bach”.

Ms Lisitsina’s immense repertoire includes all J.S.Bach’s organ compositions and many masterpieces by M. Reger, C. Franck, F. Mendelsohn, F. Liszt, O. Messiaen and Latvian composers as well. As a rule, organists are also improvisers and composers. Ms Lisitsinadoes not compose, yet she creates wonderful organ arrangements of orchestral masterpieces. “The organ has the same possibilities as an orchestra has,” she says, “and well-known orchestral works obtain amazingly new qualities when arranged for the organ. I myself derive a great satisfaction from it”. Incidentally, her arrangement of The Four Seasons by Vivaldi played during her concert tour in Italy was a success and became a great event. She is the author of several transcriptions for organ, such as Gloria by A. Vivaldi, Pictures from Exhibition by M. Mussorgsky, The Ancient Suite by A. Schnittke, cantatas and orchestral pieces by J. S. Bach and L. van Beethoven.

The organist is a laureate of M. Ciurlionis International Competition of Organists (Lithuania, 1968).

Mrs. Lisitsina performed in many European countries (Germany, Italy, Belgium, France) and in the concert halls of the former Soviet Union as well. She has participated in many international music festivals abroad.

In 2002 she dedicated a concert cycle to the 110th anniversary of her teacher professor N.Vanadzins. The cycle embraced nine concert programs including masterpieces by Bach, Vivaldi, Reger, Franck, the works by French, Russian and Latvian composers and Bach’s Musikalisches Opfer as well.

Ms Lisitsinahas recorded more than 20 LP records and 4 CDs.


The CD is available at all concerts of the Herman Braun Foundation and at the Foundation's office (Riga, Jana street, 16), or can be booked.

Booking phone number: + 371 7205444
Fax : + 371 7205447
Mobile phone: + 371 6015035
E-mail: hbf@hbf.lv


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