As I spend most of my time between November and March in the Table Mountain National Park near Cape Town I decided it would be a good idea to replicate the key parts of my European recording studios here. So I arrived in South Africa in the middle of December armed with keyboards, computers and software and promptly set about getting to work on the first wholly African TRANSFORMATES 變 MUSIC PROJECT.
Well strictly speaking it was not wholly African because the music was actually written by an Italian, Antonio Vivaldi.
The work was a little more challenging than I originally anticipated because I needed to rearrange the original musical scores to suit the 14 synthesizers that I eventually ended up using. The number was so high because some of the older synthesizers were monophonic (only played one note at a time) so I needed to split the score accordingly to allow them to play chords.
Generally whenever we hear performances of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons concerto’s prominence is given, not surprisingly, to the role of the lead violin. In fact I was inspired to have a go at this work by the virtuoso performances of Julia Fischer. However as I dug into the music I realised there are some tremendous harmonies and themes played by the other instruments which sometimes get buried behind the exciting lead parts. By changing the types of instruments involved I was able to bring some of these other musical tones to the fore. I do not think this detracts from the excitement of the original piece and perhaps in some ways it might even open up new avenues for enjoying this superb composition.
See what you think. I do not deny that I have had a bit of fun in adding a few effects to the piece – OK perhaps Vivaldi may not have seriously considered incorporating the sounds of whips and space ships into his original piece. However I am sure if he had some modern electronic instruments at his disposal he would also allowed his imagination to vent itself a little.
If you are a classical purist my interpretation will probably drive you mad – but my ambition is to open up the world of classics, and especially baroque classics, to a younger audience. To a large extent I have preserved the original music – simply adapting it to a different (OK very different!) range of instruments and sounds. Here is the video: