Victor Alexeeff - “Summer” by Vivaldi (Cover)
Reviewed by Aaron Cloutier
Composer and multi-instrumentalist Victor Alexeeff gives Antonio Vivaldi an 80’s makeover on his eclectic and experimental rendition of “Summer.” Specifically, the violin concerto in G minor, RV 315: III Presto.
Heavy, cinematic, and all-around exciting are the first thoughts that come to mind upon the first few seconds of playback. The level of creativity and the experimental perspective that went into this interpretation is quite refreshing. According to Alexeeff, the project was based on the idea of (paraphrased) “What if Beethoven, Bach, or Vivaldi were alive today and had access to the same technology as us?” “What would their compositions sound like?”
Alexeeff answers this question and then some as he gives us a window into what might’ve been had these guys found a time machine. Listeners will immediately be greeted by atmospheric synth lines, pulsating bass, a pinch of electric guitar, and the occasional crack of a vintage 80’s style snare drum as it cuts through the air. Alexeeff blends his classical upbringing with John Carpenter-like instrumentation to create a refreshing take on a classic piece.
Entirely instrumental, “Summer” showcases Alexeeff’s capacity for pushing the creativity within the boundaries of a pre-existing composition as he decorates each passage with monolithic church bells, staccato violin melodies, and what sounds to me like a xylophone. The result is trance-inducing.
Also, I may be biased as I just finished season four. Still, adding additional spookier synths combined with the more spacious passages with less going on arrangement-wise gives me a very “Stranger Things” vibe, precisely at the 2:26 mark. As it begins to build around 2:48, things get sludgy as seismic blasts of kick drums merge with a drone of pitch-bent synth that creates a type of tormented wailing. As if something is alive in there but is trying to get out. I get this ominous feeling and a kind of impending sense of foreboding as I listen. Very gripping and equally effective! Ultimately, thoroughly enjoyable. You’ll be glad you pushed “play” as I did!
About Victor Alexeeff
Victor Alexeeff is a prodigy who began studying piano at age four and attended the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto, beginning at age seven. Although renowned for his performances of Chopin and Prokofiev, his musical interests are eclectic. Besides working as a concert pianist and session player, he composes scores for film and television, produces original albums, and performs with experimental music groups and rock bands.