Music leads to more music. Listen to a song and you’re reminded of another. New releases refer to past ones, famous and obscure. Styles cross over, involving similar motifs, treatments, themes. Musicians lift, pay tribute, re-imagine, claim as their own and take it a step further in their effort to tell gripping, original stories. Pick up the trail and we end up making extraordinary connections.
Welcome to Connection Degree Three …
The Four Seasons by Vivaldi. The Original Four Seasons And The Devil’s Trill Sonata by Vanessa-Mae. Requiem For A Dream (OST) by Clint Mansell … Three sweeping albums/compositions by three extraordinary musicians with one epic connection.
First comes Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, a series of violin concerti that embody the seasons of the year.
One of the most famous songs is ‘Summer: Movement 1 – Allegro Non Molto’.
This is Nigel Kennedy’s version…
‘Summer’, along with the rest of Vivaldi’s Seasons – one of the most recognizable pieces of classical music – has been covered by numerous musicians including sensation Vanessa-Mae whose 1999 album The Original Four Seasons And The Devil’s Trill Sonata is full of energy and inspiration…
Here is her version of ‘Summer’…
Vanessa-Mae’s version, in turn, seems to have inspired film composer Clint Mansell to write his original score for the movie Requiem For A Dream, giving rise to ‘Lux Æterna’, one of the most recognizable tunes in recent music history…
The connection between ‘Summer’ and ‘Lux Æterna’ is subtle. Vanessa-Mae’s cover contains two very distinct and catchy notes on 0:11 and 0:56 respectively of her recording, which Mansell isolated to create his motif for Requiem For A Dream.
A few words about the film. Requiem For A Dream is not an easy watch. Based on Hubert Selby Jr.’s book by the same title, Requiem is a haunting and harrowing tale on the horrors of addiction.
Selby’s story isn’t an easy read itself. It’s a powerful stream-of-consciousness narrative that relies on untitled and unnumbered chapters to enhance the flow and cadence, the sweeping nature of addiction. Vivaldi is mentioned briefly in the story, as are the passing seasons and their effect on the main characters.
It all begins in the summer, at which time the main characters are doing well, there’s not much to worry about, life is good.
But the fall is around the corner, and when it arrives – the fall of both the temperature and quality of life – things get tough.
And then comes the harsh and punishing winter.
Director Darren Aronofsky expanded on Selby’s use of the seasons by breaking down the movie to a three-act story – Summer, Fall, Winter (no spring) – creating a effective three-part structure of degeneration and decline. One, two three, boom, just like that.
And Clint Mansell followed through with a haunting score that was influenced in part by Vivaldi’s ‘Summer’, care of Vanessa-Mae’s version of the song.
And here we are. Four Seasons, Three Acts, Two Notes, One Extraordinary Stretch of Genius from writer to filmmaker, to film composer, to music performer and original composer – an extraordinary thread of connections that span four centuries.