While orchestras are making changes to keep up with the times, composer Max Richter has revisited one of Vivaldi’s most beloved compositions, The Four Seasons. Richter re-composed the piece and tells NPR about the process:
“As a child, I fell in love with it. It’s beautiful, charming music with a great melody and wonderful colors. Then, later on, as I became more musically aware – literate, studied music and listened to a lot of music – I found it more difficult to love it. We hear it everywhere – when you’re on hold, you hear it in the shopping center, in advertising; it’s everywhere. For me, the record and the project are trying to reclaim the piece, to fall in love with it again.”
I understand Richter’s struggle to continue to enjoy the famous classical works when they are constantly overused. And this phenomenon does not just occur with classical music. Take the song “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People. When the song came out, everyone loved it. A few weeks later it was on the radio every fifth song and it was the last song we wanted to hear.
Whether it’s a dubstep remix or a classical re-composition, I always enjoy a new twist on an old theme. I particularly enjoyed Richter’s “Summer,” and even found the music more exciting than the original. Richter’s version starts with the main minor theme that Vivaldi doesn’t introduce until a minute in. Richter begins with full instrumentation and repeats the theme, which gives it a driving intensity. Even with rearranging the order of the piece and varying instrumentation, Richter never loses sight of Vivaldi’s message, which makes the piece quite fascinating.