Max Richter Returns To Vivaldi’s Masterpiece With ‘The New Four Seasons’

A decade after ‘Recomposed’ Max Richter’s ‘The New Four Seasons’ reimagines Vivaldi’s masterpiece on period instruments.

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Max Richter - Photo: Deutsche Grammophon/Jennifer McCord
Composer Max Richter. Photo: Deutsche Grammophon/Jennifer McCord

A decade after the release of Recomposed acclaimed composer Max Richter has returned to Vivaldi’s masterpiece and will release The New Four Seasons on 10 June 2022. The album features Max Richter’s new version of his Recomposed score for period instruments, using gut strings and vintage synthesisers to create a “grittier, more punk rock sound”, and was recorded with violinist Elena Urioste and the musicians of Chineke! Orchestra. Max Richter and Chineke! will also perform Recomposed live for the first time together on Thursday 16 June in an exclusive UK summer show Live at Chelsea.

Max Richter - The New Four Seasons: Vivaldi Recomposed (Trailer)

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Recomposed topped the classical charts in 22 countries

Max Richter’s genre-defying recomposition of a Baroque masterpiece, released in summer 2012, topped the classical charts in 22 countries. Although the composer fell in love with Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons when he was a child he felt it had lost its impact through overexposure, so he wove Vivaldi’s musical DNA into Recomposed, his radical reinterpretation of the work.

Recomposed continues to attract new listeners through its use in the soundtracks of hit TV series including Bridgerton and The Crown, and has also been featured in My Brilliant Friend, Chef’s Table, Orphan Black and The Current War. ‘Spring 1’ is a personal favourite of Olympic swimmer Adam Peaty, as well as Christine & The Queens who described it as “the best song ever to fall in love to” and Diddy who called it his “theme music”.

“Vivaldi’s palette applied to the new score was extraordinary”

Max Richter was inspired by a special performance of Recomposed on period instruments to take “a new trip through the text using Vivaldi’s own colours”. The New Four Seasons applies a Baroque palette to the score in which Max Richter transforms fragments from the original four violin concertos into different musical prisms and colours within completely different orchestral settings. He explained, “Vivaldi’s palette applied to the new score was extraordinary – it was like fireworks.”

When asked to describe the difference in sound between modern and period strings Max Richter explained, “I heard someone say it’s the difference between smooth peanut butter and crunchy peanut butter, which encapsulates it really well!”

Chineke! Orchestra, Europe’s first majority Black and ethnically diverse orchestra, founded by Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE in 2015, collaborated with Richter on The New Four Seasons and previously performed on his score for Waltz with Bashir in 2018. Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE, Founder and Artistic & Executive Director of Chineke! Foundation, said, “For Max to go to a modern group and ask us to play on gut strings adds an extra dimension of curiosity, of adventure, of exploration.”

Max Richter was delighted with the results of the first recording sessions in his newly-built Oxfordshire studio complex. He noted, “Chineke! is a young band and because of that you feel like you’re working with the future,” and described soloist Elena Urioste as “absolutely brilliant”.

Composer and players worked in close collaboration, without a conductor, and discussed all aspects of the music, including Baroque instrumental technique and the storytelling throughout Vivaldi’s original. Max Richter’s new version, explained Chi-chi Nwanoku, “is still the same tale – it’s just about bringing that 21st-century twist to it”.

Max Richter’s The New Four Seasons will be released on 10 June 2022 and can be pre-ordered here.

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