No festive season or year-end is complete without some emotionally evocative, timeless music.
For this year’s list I have chosen an assortment of oldies but goodies, plus a couple of surprises.
First, Winter, from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons…
(Performed by Elmar Oliveira, Gerard Schwarz & the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra)
Then, from the same set of concertos, Summer…
(Performed by the Trondheim Soloists. Artistic Director: Øyvind Gimse. Soloist Mari Silje Samuelsen)
Then, a cover of Summer by the musical sensation Vanessa Mae…
Note: this is a shorter, electronically trumped-up version.
Did you pay attention to the short, fleeting notes between 0:11 and 0:12?
Which brings us to the next piece: Requiem for a Dream…
One of the most popular tunes in recording history. From the soundtrack of the astounding Requiem for a Dream movie.
Notice the main motif, which starts on 1:36, and which is straight out of Vanessa Mae’s Summer.
The similarity is no coincidence. Requiem for a Dream is a movie broken in three acts, the first of which is called Summer, the second Fall, and the third Winter. There’s no spring.
It’s a disturbing but compelling film about the perils of addiction, with no room for a happy ending. Its utility and wisdom rely solely on addressing the audience with explicit candidness, foreboding the anguish facing all those caught up in the vicious circle of substance abuse.
Clint Mansell, the soundtrack’s composer, obviously appreciative of the general concept, sought inspiration from Vivaldi’s sweltering Four Seasons. How he isolated that soundbite, out of which he created one of the most recognizable motifs of recent times, is the work of genius.
To close, here’s an inspired remix of Requiem for a Dream by Paul Oakenfold, titled Aeterna.