Max Richter has come a long way.
The Royal Academy graduate who developed his “chops” performing pieces by Brian Eno, Philip Glass, Arvo Part, and Steve Reich. Who split his “apprenticeship” between Italian composer Luciano Berio, The Future Sound Of London and Roni Size. Who so successfully mixed electronics, Post-Rock aesthetics, and orchestral Minimalism that he signed to the bastion of Classic that is Deutsche Grammophon in 2015.
It`s been sixteen years since Richter recorded his solo debut, Memoryhouse, with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. Since then he`s released a further twenty-nine albums. Written scores for ballet, film, theatre and TV. Had his music licensed so many times, that something like his On The Nature Of Daylight might be tagged “ubiquitous”. A classical composition that`s likely recognised by everyone. That, if nothing else, is amazing.
With a body of work so concerned with memory, and time – his writing often split in inspiration between childhood events and current global news – this Friday sees Richter moving both backwards and forwards.
On May 11th, Deutsche Grammophon will reissue an expanded edition of Richter`s sophomore LP, The Blue Notebooks. Originally released on Fatcat`s 130701 in 2004.
The day will also see the start of Sounds And Visions. A weekend of concert and cinema held at London`s Barbican, curated by Max and long-standing collaborator, artist Yulia Mahr. Nine films on subjects such as Meredith Monk, Modular Synths, Ornette Coleman, and The Age Of Anthropocene. Nine performances featuring the music of over fifteen composers – ranging from Bach to Mica Levi and Sigur Ros – and including premieres of work by Richter himself. Bringing together musicians from Germany, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Syria, the UK, and US. Including AGF, Caterina Barbieri, Clark, Jlin, Claire M Singer, and Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith.
Richter composed The Blue Notebooks in 2003. In what he describes as a “quiet protest” against the Iraq War. Not as a shouting voice of dissent, released into a world already shouting, but as an invitation to listeners to retreat and reflect. His feelings on the hypocrisy and absurdity of government illustrated by extracts from Franz Kafka`s titular Blue Octavo Notebooks. Read by Tilda Swinton. Accompanied by field recordings. The tap of a typewriter. A murder of crows. The piano sometimes distant. The mic picking up the hum of the room. Rain at an open window. Strings in mourning. Sub-bass stirrings. Arpeggios and angels suggesting a dream state. Church organ keys high-pitched and whistling hymns of holy places. Sanctuary. Offering solace in nostalgia and reverie. Sad refuge. Remembering loss. Struggling with change.
The expanded edition of Max Richter`s The Blue Notebooks features unreleased versions, arrangements and remixes. If you go for the “Super Deluxe” you also get a new track called Cypher.