I love Vivaldi’s music. His lesser-known sacred works had a big influence on Bach, too. What I hate, however, is calling somebody up and getting the v/m greeting, “Please enjoy the music while your party is being reached”. Then it’s “Spring” from the Four Seasons. I won’t enjoy the music, I’ll hate it! It’s already irritating enough that your call is being screened and maybe its recipient will decide it’s not important enough to answer, but having to listen to this well-worn classic on hold just brings on Clockwork Orange moments for me. (for those who don’t remember, it’s the 1971 Kubrick film where the lead character–Malcolm McDowell– is brainwashed to the point where his beloved Ode to Joy, the great choral passage from Beethoven’s 9th, makes him retch and vomit.
Can’t we at least get some remixes?
Such tokenism is done with other music too: Miles’ Kind of Blue, Brubeck’s Take Five, and others. Why must we always listen to the same top 40 fluff in the elevator, waiting on the phone, at the gas station, shopping mall, or even online? Is Muzak to blame? Can’t other songs be substituted? Why can’t we hear Cecil Taylor or Edgar Varèse for a change (just kidding). On the other hand, John Cage might be a good idea. But seriously, a great disservice is done to these great compositions by trivializing them.
Which brings me to my subject: Here is a version of Vivaldi’s war horse, but it’s “recomposed” by Max Richter. It’s a new Deutsche Grammophon cd, and the results are really good, even for people like me who suffer from the aforementioned Clockwork Orange syndrome. I suggest you check it out.