Taking a Contemporary Twist on Vivaldi, Paganini and Rachmaninoff

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Composer Max Richter 're-composed' all of Vivaldi's Four Seasons.

On the debut episode of The Furthermore at 9 pm on Saturday, host John Schaefer begins with a familiar piece of classical music, the opening of the “Spring” concerto from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, and a question: Why don’t they write music like this anymore? The answer is: they do, sort of. 

German composer Max Richter actually “re-composed” all of the Four Seasons, and this was no vanity project — he did it at the behest of the world’s most prestigious classical record label, Deutsche Grammophon and the internationally acclaimed violinist Daniel Hope.

In addition to the Vivaldi/Richter connection, Schaefer also offers a look at composers who’ve modeled their works on music by Paganini, Rachmaninoff and Bruckner The resulting works may sound contemporary, but part of the fun is in hearing the echoes of older material within them.

Program playlist:

Vivaldi: Spring from The Four Seasons
— Simon Standage, violin; The English Concert conducted by Trevor Pinnock

Richter: Spring from Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi – The Four Seasons
— Daniel Hope, violin; Konzerthaus Chamber Orchestra, Berlin conducted by André de Ridder

Richter: November from Memoryhouse
— Alexander Balanescu, violin; BBC Philharmonic conducted by Rumon Gamba

Rachmaninoff: Prelude in C-sharp minor
— Alexandre Tharaud, piano

Einaudi: Reverie from Nightbook
— Ludovico Einaud, piano and electronics

Batagov: Letter from Sergei Rachmaninoff to Ludovico Einaudi from Selected Letters of Sergei Rachmaninoff
— Anton Batagov, piano

Paganini: Caprice No. 24 in A minor
— Julia Fischer, violin

Anton Batagov: Letter from Sergei Rachmaninoff to Wim Mertens and Niccolo Paganini from Selected Letters of Sergei Rachmaninoff
— Anton Batagov, piano

Bruckner: Symphony No. 8 in C minor, III. Adagio
— Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester conducted by Franz Welser-Möst

Leach: Bruckstück from Celestial Fires
— New York Treble Singers conducted by Virginia Davidson