Darryl Way — Vivaldi's Four Seasons in Rock
(Cherry Red , 2018, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2018-07-09
It’s been almost fifty years since Curved Air hit the music scene with their first album Airconditioning, and closing the first side of that album was the seven and a half minute classical-rock meets psychedelic violin freakout titled “Vivaldi,” composed by Darryl Way, recapped again at the end of side two with synthesizers and explosions (“Vivaldi with Cannons”), again on the band’s third album as the purely synthetic “Ultra Vivaldi,” and presented again on several live albums over all the years since. Yes, it was an original, but definitely inspired by parts of Antonio Vivaldi’s original and best known work from the 1720s. With the 50th anniverary of that interpretation fast approaching, Darryl Way has set out to set the record straight and do a rock interpretation of all four parts of Vivaldi’s influential masterpiece, attempting in his reinterpretation to maintain the original concept, tell the same story, and maintain the tone, feeling, and emotion closer to the composer’s original intent. Way’s main instrument is of course violin (which he has applied numerous overdubs here), but over the years he has mastered numerous other instruments, so a complete do-it-yorself project like this is just a matter of playing all of the different parts to make it more ‘rock’ (electric bass, electric guitar, drums, percussion, synthesizers, and so on). In preparation for this review I’ve listened to this numerous times, often playing just one section back to back with a fully orchestrated version for comparison, and it seems Way has nailed it, staying pretty much true to all the notes in the original, and the layers and layers of strings (as well as synths) applied are in fact evoking the same feeling as the orchestra would, adding the rock power only at the points where the original would have benefited from the same. There are some movements where a steady percussive beat reminds the listener that this is not the original, but it’s all done so tastefully and appropriately that one can’t fault it anywhere for the interpretation and arrangements. Indeed, you cannot improve upon perfection, but if you've ever sat in a concert hall in amazement while the piece has been performed by a full orchestra, there’s a good chance that you’re going to like this.
Related artist(s): Darryl Way / Wolf
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more