Today The Four Seasons from Vivaldi may be the most widely heard piece of classical music ever composed. Affection is an integral part of Max Richters Vivaldi Recomposed. He has approached the project as an admirer of Vivaldi, but no less importantly, as a composer.
After finishing his studies at Edinburgh University, the Royal Academy of Music in London and with Luciano Berio, Richter co-founded Piano Circus in 1989, specifically to perform Steve Reichs Six Pianos. Since then he has continued to write in what he calls a post-classical idiom, which embraces many of the possibilities of contemporary composition, notably minimalism, but also draws inspiration from other influences: electronic music, punk, club music, psychedelic rock.
All of this can be heard in Vivaldi Recomposed, to which Richter has brought his own frame of reference: Vivaldis music is made of regular patterns, and that connects with post-minimalism, which is one strand in the music that I write. That felt like a natural link, but even so it was surprisingly difficult to navigate my way through it. At every point I had to work out how much is Vivaldi and how much is me. My score contains passages that are 90 per cent my own material, and others where I have changed only the odd note of the original, slightly shortening individual bars, lengthening others, moving others still.
Max Richters co-conspirators on Vivaldi Recomposed are Daniel Hope, the British violinist; the German conductor André de Ridder; and the Konzerthaus Kammerorchester Berlin.