Sunday, January 18, 2015

Video of the Week: Richter's Vivaldi

Last Wednesday, I turned on my SiriusXM radio to the classical station, and heard strains from the opening of "Summer" from Vivaldi's "Four Seasons."  I said to my kids, "Are they really playing this again?"  I turned the radio down and we went on talking about whatever.

I mostly ignored the background music until something strange happened.  The music went to a different chord.  What?  I turned the music back up.  This wasn't Vivaldi.  Rather, it was one of those creations of a living composer, Max Richter.  He had taken the "Four Seasons" and added his own touches, with interesting results.  Sometimes, it's as simple as using different chords under the same melody.  Or sometimes changing the rhythms.  And often it was getting stuck in a Hans Zimmer-like movie music loop.  (Sometimes you can hear hints of "Interstellar.")

What you are about to hear isn't really anything new compositionally, but it's a distinct sound that's worth hearing.  This reimagining is very effective in parts, and once you start listening, you may find it very difficult to stop.  It's worth making it all the way to the eeriest and coldest version of "Winter" I've ever heard.

The video is one and half hours long, but the Vivaldi piece (named "Vivaldi Recomposed") is only the first half.  After 45 minutes, you can enjoy more of Richter's music.  This is also a very exciting and well-done video.  Though the description does a terrible job of identifying the musicians.

The composer, Max Richter, is the man sitting at the electric keyboard -- the one who smiles the whole time.


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