Saturday, May 16, 2015

Four Winters

The Seasons is not just some dead European's collection of four tired old warhorse violin concertos that everyone loves.  It's also my series of pieces that almost no one knows about.  You can find links to read about or listen to all my Seasons here.  Sometimes it seems that you can hear that other set of seasons just about anywhere.

One aspect of Vivaldi's Seasons that makes sense to most people is that there is one concerto for each season.  Old Antonio figured that's all he needed to do.  Once you hear his impressions of a particular season, say, Winter, you've heard as much Winter as you'll ever need.  The theory here, I guess, is that all winters are pretty much alike.

My Seasons are much more ambitious.  There will be a new piece called Winter every year, as long as I keep writing them.  So far I've completed four Winters.  To distinguish them from one another (and from Vivaldi) I add a year to the title.  My four completed winters are Winter 2011, Winter 2012, Winter 2013 and Winter 2014.

If you're one of Mixed Meters' three regular readers, you'll already know that these pieces contain huge amounts of pure silence - up to 80% has no sound whatsoever.   Listening to a piece like that would be madness, right?

Also, there's no intent on my part to portray Winter.  There's no tone painting here.  If you feel cold while listening to this music, I suggest it's because you forgot to turn up the heat.  My pieces are called "Winter" because they were written during the winter.  Simple, huh?

My intention, is that The Seasons are combinatorial - you play them with other music.  Yes, two or more pieces simultaneously.   Mostly I listen to my Seasons in combination with my other Seasons, although playing them with Vivaldi works pretty well too.

This process requires creativity on the part of the listener.  My sense is that listeners do not like exhibiting creativity when they listen.  Most listeners, whatever their favorite genre, don't like unexpected, unusual, abrupt cacophonous interruptions when multiple unrelated pieces of music are played at the same time.  Imagine that.

To make matters worse, most playback systems, analog or digital, do not facilitate multiple simultaneous streams of music.  To allow those few people who want to hear all four Winters simultaneously, I've mixed them together and uploaded a single easy-to-play file.  Just click and play.  No creativity is required.

Click here to hear Four Winters - by David Ocker
4384 seconds   - Copyright © 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 

If you are inspired to try combining some of my Seasons simultaneously on your own, there is a way to do that online.  First be certain you have a good Internet connection.  Then go here and in the first category, "The Seasons", click on "Listen" several times.  You can separate your clicks by a couple minutes for added variety.   Alas, these sound files won't repeat endlessly which would be a nice touch. (UPDATE: so I just tried this again and was surprised to discover that the sound files DO repeat endlessly. Oh joy. I have no idea what changed. Maybe it happened when I switched to the HTML5 player as default.)

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