The Four Seasons. Even if you are not familiar with classical musics, it is likely that you've heard the tunes before from TV ads, movies, pop musics, etc. Since the 18th when Vivaldi composed the original four concertos, the world has been constantly changing—so has the music.

The Classic - 1700s

Even after hundreds of years, the Four Seasons are still relevant and fresh. There is a variety of recordings totaling over a thousand at this point—full of different improvisations, instrumentations, and interpretations.

The Four Seasons—the seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter—repeat every year, and yet every new one turns out to be different—and so do the Vivaldi's Four Seasons.

The Mystery - 2009

Philip Glass, as one of the founders of "minimalist music" and perhaps the most commercially successful contemporary classical composers alive today, began to write a companion to Vivaldi's The Four Seasons. After years of collaboration with Robert McDuffie—a friend of Glass and a violinist who plays a 1735 Guarneri del Gesu, the Violin Concerto No. 2 (Glass) was born.

The most interesting aspect of this four seasons is perhaps the fact that there is no explicit information on the movement-season correspondences. Apparently, Glass and McDuffie had differing opinions on the matter, therefore Glass decided not to name each movement after the four seasons. He left no explicit hints whatsoever, and it is left to the listeners and the performers to decide which is which.

In the background, you can easily hear the familiar signature arpeggio of Philip Glass, and this acts as a building block and a bridge that connects all the emotional melodies together for the violin. Unlike many early works of Glass, the melodies and harmonic structures are evolved and developed: a result of a more matured version of minimalism. The substances are simply repeated but complex, and the melodies are dry and yet subtly emotional. My personal favorite is the last movement.

The Recomposed - 2012

Post-modern composer Max Richter "recomposed" the original Four Seasons. Though he "recomposed" the concertos, Richter simply threw away 70~80% of the original and then draws with the extracted and concentrated substances from the rest.

Richter, influenced by the minimalism, relentlessly repeats and reuses the extracts, but he still manages to create a surprise at every turn. It is the ultimate transformation of unfamiliarity: Richter meticulously and elaborately architects the unfamiliar world using the subjects that are so familiar to us. It is a truly unique experience that mimics a déjà vu.

Max Richter In Concert: Reimagining Vivaldi