In 2003 Max Richter wrote The Blue Notebooks in reaction to the violence he experienced as a child, and as a protest against the impending Iraq War. In all the years I’ve known him, this drive to talk about the very real and lifelong effects of violence has remained a constant in his work. We are human beings, we stand together, but our common humanity is fragile. When I was asked to make the video for “Vladimir’s Blues” – one of the pieces that make up The Blue Notebooks – I knew immediately that I wanted the very fabric of the film to reflect Max’s intentions. I have been working with infrared for ten years, and this led me to explore the thermal camera technology used by the military as a way to capture the heart of Max’s work. This is technology developed by weapons contractors to pick up on the infrared radiation emitted by people as well as objects, and commonly used in the Mediterranean and on the Mexican border, or on military aircraft and drones. It’s a technology that by its very nature dehumanises us, and renders us as little more than anonymous heat patterns. I wondered about these cameras of war and alienation, and whether I could disrupt their intention to create something positive, that speaks very much of individual experience. There is a strange beauty inherent in this imagery, a beauty that is deeply tarnished by associations with migrants hiding, and dying, in refrigerated lorries to evade detection by this very same technology. Would it be possible to claim this imagery for something hopeful, as Max’s music does? There were challenges. The cameras are unwieldy and cumbersome, often these days used in industrial applications but certainly not meant for creating narrative. They interrupt filming every fifteen seconds or so, there are only two lenses, and the depth of field is minute. One small movement pulls you out of focus. They can see through smoke, fog and haze but they can’t see through glass. They pick up radiation from objects as well as people – everything above absolute zero emits radiation. I had to invent a way to tell a story with them. Slowly a thing of beauty began to evolve. Most beautiful of all was the discovery that the heat traces we leave as we move around can tell the story of a piece of music and how it unfolds. A legacy that says, “we were here and we count”.
Music by Max Richter A film by Yulia Mahr
Conceived, Directed and Filmed by Yulia Mahr Editor: Mike Terry
Half way through this performance of Max Richter's achingly beautiful On The Nature Of Daylight, I looked around our NPR Music office and saw trembling chins and tearful eyes. Rarely have I seen so many Tiny Desk audience members moved in this way. There's something about Max Richter's music that triggers deep emotions.
In Daylight, which has been effectively used in movies such as Arrival and Shutter Island, a simple theme rolls out slowly in the low strings until a violin enters with a complimentary melody in a higher register. Richter, at the keyboard, adds a subterranean bass line for added gravitas, while high above another violin soars sweetly, mournfully. With all elements interlocked – and sensitively played by members of the American Contemporary Music Ensemble – the piece gently sways, building in intensity. It all adds up to a six-minute emotional journey that, if you open yourself to the sounds, can leave you wrung out.
"I'm very interested in the idea of a piece of music being a place to think," Richter explained, adding that he had written Daylight as a response to the 2003 Iraq War.
Richter, whose music can't be easily pigeonholed, lightened the mood with a miniature called Vladimir's Blues. Its delicately toggling chords are an homage to novelist Vladimir Nabokov who, in his spare time, was a respected lepidopterist, obsessed with a subfamily of gossamer-winged butterflies called the blues. Richter plays the piano with the practice pedal engaged for a warm, muted sound.
Again in the final piece, Richter counters violence with calming, thoughtful music. His ballet Infra is a meditation on the 2005 terrorist subway bombings in London. It's music about travel, too, Richter explains, saying that he was inspired by Schubert's melancholy song cycle Winterreise (Winter Journey).
In trying times, music by the soft-spoken Richter can feel like a safe haven, a place for personal reflection or a welcoming, utilitarian space to clear the mind.
SET LIST "On The Nature Of Daylight" "Vladimir's Blues" "Infra 5"
MUSICIANS Max Richter: piano, keyboard
American Contemporary Music Ensemble: Clarice Jensen: cello & artistic director; Ben Russell, violin; Laura Lutzke, violin; Isabel Hagen, viola; Claire Bryant, cello
CREDITS Producers: Tom Huizenga, Morgan Noelle Smith, Kara Frame; Creative director: Bob Boilen; Audio engineers: Josh Rogosin, Alex Drewenskus; Editor: Kara Frame; Videographers: Maia Stern, Kara Frame, Jack Corbett; Associate Producer: Bobby Carter; Executive producer: Lauren Onkey; VP, programming: Anya Grundmann; Photo: Mhari Shaw/NPR
On the occasion of the DG120 festivities, Max Richter plays in Hong Kong for the first time. Listen to “Winter 1 and 2” from his album ´Recomposed by Max Richter´. For this piece, he is accompanied by the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and violinist Mari Samuelsen.
Listen to “On the Nature of Daylight” from his albums The Blue Notebooks and Voyager. For this piece, he is accompanied by the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and violinist Mari Samuelsen.
Max Richter, c’est une série d’albums limpides (The Blue Notebooks, Songs From Before, Sleep…) et de BO parfaites (The Leftovers, Le Congrès, Black Mirror…). C’est aussi une collab de temps en temps, dont une nouvelle avec le chorégraphe Wayne McGregor (après Infra et Future Self) qui adapte, du 21 janvier au 14 février à Londres, un ballet basé sur trois romans de Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando, Les Vagues). Max Richter en signe donc la partition musicale, à retrouver le 27 janvier en format album et sous le titre Three Worlds : Music from Woolf Works.
L’extrait dévoilé dans lecteur ci-dessus, accompagné par une vidéo en noir et blanc, laisse deviner le genre d’ambiance à prévoir – du pur Max Richter. Lequel dit ceci dans un communiqué :
“Le travail de Virginia Woolf (…) est très difficile à résumer. Il est profond, visionnaire, audacieux, expérimental, mais parfois ludique, personnel, intime et toujours profondément humain. Son sujet est une sorte de recherche pure sur la nature du langage, de la personnalité, de la voix, et sur la question d’être soi-même. (…) C’est ce qui m’a attiré de manière obsessionnelle dans son écriture lorsque j’avais 20 ans.”
Acclaimed Britsh composer Max Richter has written a new landmark recording: SLEEP is 8 hours long – the equivalent of a night’s rest – and is actually and genuinely intended to send the listener to sleep. "It’s an eight-hour lullaby," says its composer, Max Richter. The ground-breaking new work is scored for piano, strings, electronics and vocals – but no words. "It’s my personal lullaby for a frenetic world," he says. "A manifesto for a slower pace of existence."
Acclaimed British composer Max Richter has written a new landmark recording: SLEEP is 8 hours long – the equivalent of a night’s rest – and is actually and genuinely intended to send the listener to sleep. "It’s an eight-hour lullaby," says its composer, Max Richter.
The ground-breaking new work is scored for piano, strings, electronics and vocals – but no words. "It’s my personal lullaby for a frenetic world," he says. "A manifesto for a slower pace of existence."
"The Golden Age" Video Directed by Yoann Lemoine Cinematography By Kasper Tuxen Video Commissioner Pierre Le Ny Produced By Iconoclast Producer Roman Pichon Herrera Line Producer Annabel Rosier Visual Effects Yoann Lemoine Flame Artist Hervé Thouement, Hugo Aymerich
US Team Producer Christine Miller Prod super Susan Porche Art Director Chris Clayton Stylist Mirin "midi" Soliz
Talent: Matvey Lykov Jullian Kruithof Shawnia Willson Tia Landrum Matt Page Chase Grimsley Brannon Hughes Jonathan Douglas Kerrington Hightower Scott Douglas Paisley Martin Brinon Kruithof Caleb Green Russel Hightower Nathalie Kay Dubose Travis Merindino
- TRACK - "The Golden Age" Woodkid Featuring Max Richter "Embers" (Yoann Lemoine - Dany Héricourt - Max Richter) Published by Seize Zéro Trois - Imagem Music - Moka Music
"The Golden Age" ℗ 2013 Green United Music under exclusive license to Universal Music GmbH "Embers" ℗ 2014 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH Licensing of Max Richter's "Embers" courtesy of Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft