8/10 Mike Staff review, 25 April 2014
I've got another of those self-reviewing records this week. This one is Vivaldi's 'The Four Seasons' recomposed by Max Richter, and it's not just a clever name. It's an ambitious work, though, with Richter reworking the piece on a fundamental level, changing the music itself in such dramatic fashion that he calculates that he discarded around three-quarters of Vivaldi's original score in the process.
As a result, this isn't nearly as familiar-sounding as the more reverent interpretation I was expecting, much of the time capturing the spirit rather than the letter of the source material through shimmering drones and dizzylingly layered flurries of notes, while every now and again there's a passage which is instantly familiar and reminds you what you're listening to. 'Autumn 1' for example discards the shimmering modernity of the end of Spring for a kind of punchy neo-Baroque interpretation of familiar melodies.
It's a playful and likeable reinvention that's so far removed from Vivaldi's work that at times it seems like a whole new composition in its own right, and of course it's gorgeously executed throughout. You probably already have a good idea if you like Richter's work or not, this record won't change your opinion.
6/10 Marek M. Customer review, 13th December 2016
As a fan of both classical works and musical experiments, I got swept by the wave of hype surrounding this recording and placed my order. In the end, my feelings about it are mixed - it is definitely not quite as adventurous as I expected it to be. While I admire the production quality and the scope of Max Richter's ambitions, the end result is a tad too polished, too saccharine and too outdated for my liking. In the end, it is more than an OK ambient album, but I do not see myself returning to it over and over again.
9/10 Lesley Smith Customer review, 27th September 2015
I first listened to this on Radio 3 (my discovery station of choice). Wow I was blown away by the contrast between the familiar (come on Vivaldi is like listening to classical lift music at times) and the dramatically compelling. Vivaldi meets Philip Glass (but in a good way).
From the almost breathless beginning all the way through I was entranced. Made me listen to my other versions of this work in a totally different light and stands up well to Nigel Kennedy's recent wonderful prom version.
Well I don't usually write reviews (maybe you can tell) but this recording is just something to totally engage with and enjoy.
10/10 Richard Customer review, 24th March 2015
I first heard a snippet if this album on a Sky Arts feature, just catching the end when waiting for the next program, but the snippet was all I needed.
Its a stunning re-work, which I feel, captures the spirit of the original. The recording is excellent as is the production on to the heavier weight vinyl and the digital code coming with, is much appreciated.
On a Normans note; the packaging and delivery is top form. Extra padding options and speedy shipping puts rivals to shame. Thanks guys and girls.
9/10 Tony W Customer review, 10th June 2014
If you know the Four Seasons then this a great series of variations. Discovered Max Richter after "accidentally" hearing Memoryhouse on Radio 3 a few weeks back and he's definitely our flavour of the month. Physically relaxing but mentally stimulating!
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