If nothing else, Italian keyboard player Mistheria – real name Giuseppe Iampieri, who has included collaborations with the likes of Bruce Dickinson and Rob Rock in an 18-year career that has also seen him release a series of movie soundtrack-based albums – possesses a sense of the ambitious and the grandiose. For this, his Vivaldi Metal Project, he brought together more than 130 artists, from both the worlds of metal and classical music, and not one but three choirs over the course of three years to produce his interpretation of Antonio Vivaldi’s Baroque masterpiece.
And epic is a word which truly summarizes not only Iampieri’s ambition with this self-styled Vivaldi Metal Project, but also its ultimate delivery, as this is symphonic concept power metal of the most magnificent scope. The cast of musicians involved really does speak for itself: Mark Boals (Malmsteen, Royal Hunt), Fabio Lione (Rhapsody of Fire, Angra), Edu Falaschi (Almah), Rob Rock (Impellitteri), Mike Lepond (SymphonyX), Dani Löble (Helloween), Ruud Jolie (Within Temptation), Mark Cross (Firewind, Scorpions), Steve Di Giorgio (Testament), Rolf Pilve (Stratovarius), Victor Smolski (Rage, Almanac), Ruben Israel (Delain), John Macaluso (ARK), Marco Sfogli (James Labrie), Chris Caffery (Savatage), Mark Wood (Trans Siberian Orchestra), Dirk Verbeuren (Soilwork), Atma Anur (Tony MacAlpine), Vitalij Kuprij, Anna Portalupi (Tarja Turunen), Sean Tibbetts (Kamelot), Martijn Peters (Stream of Passion) and many more…
Of course, Iampieri faced one major problem in turning a piece of work dating back almost 300 years into a modern metal opera: first of all, it was written for just a handful of violins; and, then – perhaps the most important and challenging aspect for even the most adept of musician – the original work is entirely instrumental and was never designed for vocal interpretation… and this guy wanted to put not just one or two but dozens if not hundreds of voices onto an already extremely complicated and challenging piece of music which in turn probably would have its creator turning in his grave with his hands over his ears and chanting “OMFG, what is he going to do to the only thing this world remembers me for?”.
To be honest, the now decomposed Antonio need not worry. For, with the exception of a few snippets – such as during ‘The Illusion Of Eternity’, ‘The Age Of Dreams’ and its epic successor ‘Alchemy’, and the seering violin on ‘The Meaning Of Life’ – few recognisable elements of the original piece are actually extant in this radical reinvention of this 18th Century opus magnificus. Yes, the important references and source material are there, but they have been transformed into a totally new and relevant elaboration of the composer’s original intent, demonstrating how music is supposed to evolve and be an entity of itself, not restrained by the strictures of time or place but released by imagination.
‘The Four Seasons’ is a magnificent musical achievement. It mixes the overblown and the grandiose with the epic and the ambitous. It’s just that BIG. After almost two decades of lurking in the background, Mistheria may finally be a name capable of being uttered in the same sentence as Luca Turilli and Tobias Sammet as one of the masters of truly overblown yet eloquent metal.
Tracklist: Escape From Hell / The Illusion Of Eternity / Vita / Euphoria / Sun of God / Immortal Soul / Thunderstorm / The Age Of Dreams / Alchemy / Stige / The Meaning Of Life / The Final Hour / Grande Madre / Doomsday
‘The Four Seasons’ is released on 22 July via Pride & Joy Music.