Driving home from a long trip, I had several CDs in rotation in the car. Among the selections were an album from Dave Holland Big Band (jazz), Biber's Rosenkranz Sonatas, and some wind concertos by Vivaldi. First up was the jazz, and the following comment came forth from my traveling companion.
This music is sleepy music... (He proceeds to sing the repetitive "lick" on the current track.) You see, this is music isn't good for keeping you awake. It was true, we were both tired and in need of an afternoon nap. But this, to my ears, was hardly "sleepy music." Next up, the Vivaldi. I think the disc was played by Zefiro, which means passages normally embellished by the violinist (director), or harpsicordist (director) were gone, and instead, liberties were taken with the woodwind lines (say, I don't know, the oboe). Their fast movements are full of energy and drive, yet, their slow movements are pastoral, for sure. It's Vivaldi's fault, but some of those are sleepy. Somehow in comparison, Biber wasn't sleepy. I'd lend it to the fact his repetitive chunks are smaller and "all over the place," to quote my companion. Historically, Biber's "Fantastic" style gave way to the structure we see in ripieno-formatted concertos. It's just that the little motivic ideas in Biber get expanded to be whole phrases that repeat in Vivaldi. It's amazing what lessons are learned when trying to fight-off sleeping at the wheel.