My favorite Vivaldi CD! (And Vanessa Mae's best ever CD!)
Julianne | New York, NY | 05/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love Vanessa Mae's music. Ever since her debut album of Violin Player, I have been a fan. She goes against the flow, is innovative and obviously puts her heart and soul into her music. At first, I thought another Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" would have been redundant and repetitve. Against my will, I bought this CD because of my loyalty to this violin player. I expected to hear another rendition of the DeBeers diamond commercials and even more airline commercial music. But Vanessa Mae's interpretation of "Four Seasons" has been refreshing and thoroughly enjoyable. Her talent as a musician shines in this CD! The Summer I, Allegro Non Molto is just amazing! I cannot even describe to you the energy and the feeling that comes across! And my absolute favorite is Winter III, Allegro. I heard it late one night in my car and I was just floored at the intensity of this piece. Her playing is so... dynamic, rapturous and dramatic, this piece took me to another place. I almost wanted to pull over to the side to enjoy the rest of the music. Her very last song on the CD, Reflection... is just so. True to to her Asian roots, she has added a touch of Asia to this piece. Perhaps it's a mini follow up to ther "China Girl" album. This piece is also remiscently cinematic, I felt that it sounded like something at the end of a movie where the heroine triumphantly overcomes all her obstacles to find (at last) happiness. Perhaps Vanessa Mae felt the same way, maybe even of her own life. This piece is truly beautiful and convicts the heart. I felt that maybe I was getting a glimpse of this artist's soul. And if so, I'm thankful that she has shared it with the rest of the world. It's just beyond words. The rest of the CD is just as enjoyable. The Devil's Trill Sonata is fun and exciting, as well as enlightening. I never thought such sounds could come out of a mere violin. Vanessa Mae is truly amazing.Julianne"
A chatty teenage girl's Vivaldi
Julianne | 08/09/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Vanessa Mae's interpretation of The Four Seasons at first seems fresh, imaginative and innovative. Then, when the same tone is carried through every movement in every season, it begins to wear on you, much like listening to a conversation between two high school sophomores. While Mae's imaginative trills add to the flavour of the opening to "Spring," she in turn rushes through the piece, possibly out of the fear of dragging into boredom. And perhaps it would become such were she to take her time, as I suspect Mae has developed a bit of a flitty style. At least with this album. (I do, however, absolutely adore her Violin Fantasy on Puccini's Turandot on the China Girl album.)Compared to other recordings of the Four Seasons, or as another reviewer referred to it, "The War-Horse," Vanessa Mae's is either a take-it-or-leave-it. There are undoubtedly some cheap recordings out there, devoid of feeling or personality, made solely to provide an affordable recording to the untrained ear. While Mae's does indeed have personality, it's the wrong one for me at least. However, this may be one of the more accessible recordings for non-classical music fans. Yet, compared to Anne-Sophie Mutter's 1999 release, it seems to be more elementary and less-explored emotionally. A monochramatic recording of four concertos bursting with colour.As for the other recordings on this CD, Tartini's "Devil's Trill" (a veritable Spencer Tracy to Vivaldi's Kate Hepburn) is a bit drier and mostly Mae's exploration of the piece. Her remix, as it were, of the piece, however makes for a somewhat interesting pop-ification of Tartini, yet, like her Four Seasons, wears on quickly. Also on the recording is the unfortunately mis-placed arrangement of "Reflection" from the Disney film Mulan. Whether or not it was a nod to her Chinese heritage, it is undoubtedly out of place on a classical album. Especially one subtitled "The Italian Album." Moreso when Mae has also released "The Chinese Album."To the general classical music fan, give it a go. You'll find some things you like, others you don't. Those with discriminating taste, however, may be better off with another Four Seasons with a fuller-bodied sound and more to offer."
A True Prodigy At Work
Julianne | 08/21/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I got this album in Hong Kong about a month ago. I did not have any "Four Seasons" album before but have definitely heard some versions of it in bookstores, shopping malls, and hotel lobbies etc. As Vanessa-Mae has written in the inlays of this album, this piece of music has been recorded and played many many times. In fact, when I searched the Emiclassics website, I even discovered that "Four Seasons" had been recorded by other famous violinists like Sophie Mutter and Nigel Kennedy. Now, having in mind that this music has so many decent recordings already, I really admire VM's intuition and courage to rearrange it. She once said to an interviewer "It's a great challenge to bring something new to music that is already firmly established in many people's heads". She also said in the inlays of this album that she wanted to make the music still exicting and interesting in a contemporary context. In a big record store here, there are currently albums of other artists which have one or two of Vavaldi's "seaons". So out of curiosity, I sampled them after listening to VM's new edition. These versions, as well as those I have heard before, were mostly played in a more soothing, tender and moderate style, with a slower tempo than VM's. To a contemporary listener like me, they really lack the excitement you find in Vanessa's edition. One of them even has tranquilizing effect on me. When I looked at the title of that album, it read "Vavaldi Adagios" (Somebody might need it, not me!). So I really think that Vanessa has done a great job in reviving this piece of music so that it does not degrade into a wallpaper or background music. Rather, she has made it more entertaining, accessible and relevant to contemporary listeners and particularly the younger generation (by the way, I am near 40). English is not my first language, so when I first read the title of Vanessa's " Original Four Seasons", I thought it was simply a recital of Vavaldi's "Four Seasons". After listening to it and the comparison afterward, I catch her meaning of the word "Original". In my American Heritage Dictionery, I can find 3 definitions of this word. It is defined as "first" which is also my usual understanding of the word. However, in the other 2 definitions, it refers to something that is "Fresh and unusual; new; inventive". Yeah, I think these are truly the right description for Vanessa's "Four Seasons". Her music is that creative and fresh. I particularly like the opening of track 1(Spring) where you can hear birds singing vigorously in the woods, wanting to proclaim to all other creatures that Spring has come. In some other versions I have listened to, the "birds" sing in a too "structured and orderly" tone, rather mechanical (it is really not the way birds do sing in nature). Vanessa's edition, however, resembles more the real thing you can hear. Similarly, I think her edition of "Summer" depicts very well the unpretability, the sudden coming and going of thunderstorms. In Hong Kong, we do not have snow or severe winter but I have spent some winters in central Canada. The mysterious mood in track 10 (Winter) reminds me of the silent arrival of snow overnight and the drifting of snowflakes in the air. Whereas the "Four Seasons" (track 1 to 12) are fresh and exciting, the "Devils Trills" (track 13 to 15) is both solemn and high-energy. This CD is definitely my favourite. It is a good demonstration of Vanessa's talent and virtuosity that has matured in time."
Refreshing and Vibrant
Jewel | Auckland, New Zealand | 05/29/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Reknown for her flair and boldness, Vaessa-Mae's new album has once again proven that Classical music can be enjoed by mainstream audiences. Choosing Vivaldi's 'the Four Seasons', Vanessa-Mae pours herself into the music and adopts the much-lover masterpiece as her own. Her interpretation is refreshing and energetic, and draws comparisons to Nigel Kennedy. Also featuring on the album is 'the Devil's Trill', which includes a vibrant techno version. It becomes apparent that Vanessa-Mae is influenced by various musical influences, and this should provide anticipation for future albums. If you've never really tried classical music before, or if you think it's boring and dull, then try this album as it may open your eyes to a whole new range of music."
A invigorating recreation of a familiar classic
Jewel | 04/17/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am a Vivaldi fan who has listened to Four seasons ever so often. I was curious after reading all the rare reviews of this CD but thought that much of it may be hype. It is not. Vanessa Mae has recreated the magic of Four Seasons by a number of new flourishes, ornamentation, reinterpretation etc. The other pieces particularly The Devill`s trill are also a treat. She is doing a great job by making classical music popular."