I admit that so far, the “Modern Classical” genre (or music labeled with the term) only had a limited appeal to me – quite often, the connection of electronics with classical instruments feels too forced for my taste. Two notable exception that I’d like to recommend here are Jim Perkins’ “Constance” from 2015 and Max Richter’s “Recomposed: The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi” from 2014.
As usual, they’re more or less accidental discoveries: Jim Perkins provided the soundtrack to a time-lapse video of flowers that I liked; Max Richter’s “remix” of Vivaldi somehow popped up on YouTube as a recommendation.
Interestingly, Max Richter’s other works never quite resonated with me, and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is one of the most played (and abused) classical compositions: it’s lovely and a “classic” very much, but I guess most of us have heard enough of it.
How Max Richter transforms it though is absolutely fantastic: always a “bottom” of Vivaldi, but it’s not easy to grasp, and then suddenly it’s there in full force, so very recognizable, and strengthened by Richter’s more modern and timely interpretation, which takes the repetitiveness of ambient and electronic music into account. A “remix” in the best possible sense, except it’s done with classical music and instrumentation (quite honestly though, the album would be just as good or better without the five “Shadow” bonus tracks – they do nothing for me and just make me shrug: “what was that good for?”).
Both albums have been playing quite often here at home lately. “Speed & Distance” from “Constance” is a personal favorite that is very accessible at first, then intriguing (in the second part, as the main theme is being “reconstructed” in slow-motion, sort of). On “Recomposed”, I love the repetitive, wailing call of the violin in “Spring 1” – it’s full of expectation of things to come, and hauntingly beautiful…