Max performs two special shows exploring ambient music through the orchestra, including pieces never performed before in the UK.
Exploring the idea of the orchestra as a medium for ambient music, rather than electronic instruments, Max has selected pieces that create space to reflect on ideas and feelings. It’s this intersection between the music and the listeners’ biographies that Max is interested in – the way a musical performance becomes conversational.
The repertoire features six pieces of live music, three being UK premieres – Exiles, Opus 2020, and Testament. Max Richter will be joined by a specially expanded line-up of 12 Ensemble – who’ve previously performed with him at 2018’s Sounds and Visions weekend, alongside Soprano Grace Davidson.
A decade on from the release of his mesmerising Recomposed album, Max has returned to the sound world of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in The New Four Seasons.
Recorded with violinist Elena Urioste and the musicians of Chineke! Orchestra, this new recording sees Max create a reworked version of his Recomposed score for period instruments –using gut strings and vintage synthesisers to create a “grittier, more punk rock sound”.
Max will perform Recomposed with Chineke! Orchestra at Chelsea Hospital as part of Live at Chelsea on 16th June 2022. This is the only chance to see Max performing the work in the UK this year. Buy tickets here.
Having performed Recomposed live many times in the last decade, Max was inspired to create a special rendition of the work on period instruments to take “a new trip through the text using Vivaldi’s own colours”. The New Four Seasons applies a Baroque palette to the score in which he transforms or subverts fragments from the original four violin concertos; spinning them into different shapes and colours and placing them in different orchestral settings. He has revisited the electronics too – opting for Moog synths from the 70s –“the equivalent of the Stradivarius”. Asked about the difference in sound between modern and period strings, he laughs: “I heard someone say it’s the difference between smooth peanut butter and crunchy peanut butter, which encapsulates it really well!”
At this concert, Max will also perform VOICES. Created in collaboration with artist Yulia Mahr and narrated by Imtiaz Dharker, the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights in dozens of languages is read over a radically reimagined “negative orchestra” heavy on basses and cellos, a musical metaphor of the world turning upside down.
Performers Max Richter Matthew Lynch, conductor, VOICES Laura Ayoub, violin Imtiaz Dharker, narrator Grace Davidson, soprano Chineke! Voices Chineke! Orchestra
Welsh & German premiere of VOICES: a soundtrack to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Following Max Richter’s return to the stage in London for a sold out performance of VOICES at Crystal Palace Bowl, comes a festival co-curation and a series of performances featuring a range of projects from his pioneering catalogue.
These live dates follow a busy Spring/Summer, which has already included releasing the albums VOICES 2 and EXILES… with more projects to follow before the end of the year.
REFLEKTOR 2021 Max Richter and Yulia Mahr are thrilled to announce the programme for their latest festival bill. Following in the footsteps of previous curators such as The National’s Bryce Dessner and Nils Frahm, the musician and multidisciplinary artist have selected a range of acts from around the world to join them in Hamburg from October 6th-10th.
The event takes place in the glorious Elbphilharmonie concert halls, and will feature performances from Max, a new installation by Yulia Mahr, plus Jlin, Portico Quartet, Sarah Davachi, Shida Shahabi, Daniel Brandt, Starry Sky Cycle, Julius Eastman, Kali Malone, Pamela Z, Jason Moran & Christian McBride, and the American Contemporary Music Ensemble. https://www.elbphilharmonie.de/en/festivals/reflektor-max-richter/692
WELSH VOICES PREMIERE WITH BRIAN ENO AND KELSEY LU VOICES will be part of the aptly-named Voices Festival in Cardiff on November 4th. The event takes place at the Wales Millennium Centre, and alongside the first UK performance outside of London, will be a special reading from Brian Eno and a performance by the mesmeric singer & cellist Kelsey Lu. Sinfonia Cymru, the UK’s leading under-30s orchestra, will perform VOICES with a special narrator to be announced. https://www.wmc.org.uk/en/festival-of-voice
FULL LIST OF LIVE DATES September 20th – Roma Europa Festival – Blue Notebooks & Recomposed (Tickets)
October 3rd – Berlin Konzerthaus – Infra & The Leftovers (Tickets) 6th – Hamburg Elbphilharmonie – Sleep (Tickets) 8th – Hamburg Elbphilharmonie – Recomposed (Tickets) 9th – Hamburg Elbphilharmonie – Infra for Strings (Tickets) 10th – Hamburg Elbphilharmonie – Infra & Voices (Tickets)
November 4th – Cardiff Festival of Voices, Wales Millennium Centre – Infra & Voices (Tickets)
Studio Richter Mahr is thrilled to reveal the new video for ‘Flowers of Herself’ from Max’s new album EXILES.
To mark the release of Max Richter’s latest album EXILES, the celebrated composer and “musician of the moment” (Financial Times) is releasing a new music video for the opening track ‘Flowers of Herself’. Originally written for the critically-acclaimed Virginia Woolf-inspired ballet Woolf Works (Wayne McGregor’s ballet triptych created for The Royal Ballet in 2015),this rhythmically complex piece was heard earlier this year soundtracking Fendi’s spring/summer 2021 fashion show in Paris, with Kate Moss, Demi Moore, Naomi Campbell and Cara Delevingne among the supermodels on the runway – watch HERE.
‘Flowers of Herself’ soundtracks the opening 5 pages from Virginia Woolf’s 1925 opus Mrs Dalloway. Max Richter said, “‘Flowers of Herself’ is about the energy of going through a bustling city. The piece has this perpetual motion a little bit like if you’re walking down the street, you’ll see a bus then you’ll see another bus in a different space so there’s a shifting of perspective. ‘Flowers for Herself’ is a celebration of London, the orchestra emulates a busy, vibrant city, fuelled by excitement and pace.”
Watch Max talk about the track
For the video, Studio Richter Mahr challenged three young filmmakers to follow in Mrs Dalloway’s footsteps across London to ‘buy the flowers herself’ from Westminster across St James’s Park and onto Bond Street. Samuel Recko shot London streets in Super-8 on a skateboard, Annick Wolfers paints the city as colourful and ethereal and Sebastien Rabas takes a documentary style approach in black and white. Illustrator Sabina Dallu contributed additional animations.
Flowers of Herself, composed for large orchestra with electronics, is featured alongside expanded versions of other beloved Richter tracks: ‘The Haunted Ocean’ from Waltz with Bashir; ‘Infra 5’ from Infra; ‘On the Nature of Daylight’ from The Blue Notebooks; and ‘Sunlight’ from Songs from Before – an album which David Bowie described as having “the power to produce tears when listened to in the right setting”.
Central to the new album is the title track, Exiles – a world premiere recording of Richter’s 33-minute work composed for Nederlands Dans Theater and choreographers Sol León and Paul Lightfoot. Profoundly moved by the tragedy of the migrant crisis, Richter explains the inspiration for the piece: “Reflecting on contemporary society, I decided to make a work on the universal subject of journeys. Many of us are lucky enough to be able to influence where we are going, but for an increasing number there are very few choices: the physical journey is a necessity in order for the journey forward through time to continue at all.”
The album was recorded in Tallinn with conductor Kristjan Järvi and the Baltic Sea Philharmonic – an orchestra that prides itself on fostering cross-border unity and artistic innovation.
EXILES is out now on Deutsche Grammophon – listen HERE
Directed by Studio Richter Mahr Edited by Matthias Maercks Produced by Sean Adams Animated text by Sabina Dallu https://www.sabinadallu.com
EXILES features orchestral versions of songs from stage and screen, performed by the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, conducted by Kristjan Järvi.
The 33-minute title track from Sol León & Paul Lightfoot’s ballet Singulière Odyssée, was recorded in Tallinn in 2019 and features alongside new versions of tracks from Max’s catalogue.
These recordings are new trips through existing material – mostly – and they are large orchestral versions of chamber music or smaller formation recordings
For instance, ‘On the Nature of Daylight’ is normally 5 strings so now it’s 65 – 70 strings so it has a different texture, a different energy, a different kind of sonic fingerprint. A lot of the music on the record is larger versions of these tiny pieces.
Then there’s ‘Exiles’ itself and ‘Flowers of Herself’, the two pieces which are brand new recordings. Those are both orchestral pieces so they’re written for that big canvas.
Tracklisting: EXILES (from Sol León & Paul Lightfoot’s ballet Singulière Odyssée) THE HAUNTED OCEAN (from the film WALTZ WITH BASHIR) INFRA 5 (from Wayne McGregor’s ballet INFRA) FLOWERS OF HERSELF (from WOOLF WORKS) ON THE NATURE OF DAYLIGHT (from THE BLUE NOTEBOOKS) SUNLIGHT (from SONGS FROM BEFORE)
Introducing EXILES… featuring orchestral versions of some of my early works alongside the soundtrack to Sol León & Paul Lightfoot’s ballet Singulière Odyssée, the new album was recorded in Tallinn in 2019 with conductor Kristjan Järvi and the Baltic Sea Philharmonic. Baltic Sea Philharmonic is a really interesting orchestra. It consists of young players from all the nations around the Baltic Sea so that obviously includes former Western European countries, former Eastern European countries, so it’s a little bit of a social project. It has this ‘peacemaking’ function, people being able to talk to each other in a creative way. It struck me that it would be nice to have that orchestra play music that matched that theme.” EXILES is released on August 6th 2021 and available to pre-order: https://dg.lnk.to/exiles For now, the first taste of the record, a short edit of the 33-minute title track, is now available on all digital music platforms.
Painting by Yulia Mahr
Tracklisting: EXILES THE HAUNTED OCEAN (from WALTZ WITH BASHIR) INFRA 5 FLOWERS OF HERSELF (from WOOLF WORKS) ON THE NATURE OF DAYLIGHT (from THE BLUE NOTEBOOKS) SUNLIGHT (from SONGS FROM BEFORE)
BAFTA-winning artist and filmmaker Yulia Mahr reveals her new video for Prelude 2 the third single from VOICES 2.
The ‘Prelude 2’ video is an artistic response to our turbulent times and highlights the plight of refugees. According to the United Nations, more than 20,000 migrants and refugees have drowned in the past seven years trying to cross the Mediterranean. Many people including women and children, lost their lives while trying to escape persecution and poverty. The inherent beauty in Mahr’s imagery is contrasted with harsh brutality of war and global turmoil. The film also is a metaphor for the sensation of drowning that people feel when overwhelmed. Despite its sombre mood, positivity runs throughout: a sense of potential in a future as yet unwritten, with a younger, activist generation emerging.
Yulia Mahr said “When I was a little child I almost drowned, saved at the very last moment by my mother. I still remember the sensation so vividly – it was hazy and dreamy and the seconds went by in slow motion. I wasn’t panicking but it was totally overwhelming – a feeling of the inevitable unfolding. I’ve tried to bring something of the memory of those moments to this video. And my own sense of the power of that, in juxtaposition to the amniotic fluid that gives us life.” The powerful themes of humanitarianism running through VOICES and single Prelude 2 were informed by Yulia’s own upbringing. She was born in Hungary. At the time, under communism, most women had to work and so Yulia was, in those early years, raised largely by her Grandmother. Her Grandmother had been a simultaneous translator between five languages . Herself a refugee during the Second World War, who had escaped to Chile – she had worked with and befriended Allende, Neruda and Che Guevara. She raised Yulia in Budapest and her deep humanitarianism and warmth fed the inspiration for VOICES. When Yulia was seven, she and her mother fled Budapest. They arrived in the UK. Her mother, intent on getting a university education, put herself through college in her mid thirties. They found a place to live by answering an ad in Time Out for a single mother who was either a refugee or migrant that needed a place to live. She explains, “I was born in Hungary at a time when it was a Communist country. I have such vivid memories of our street, where the buildings were still peppered with bullet holes from the revolution in 56, and where some were still in ruins from World War Two. In those days each person was allocated a certain predetermined amount of living space, so every flat would contain multiple generations or sometimes even different families. I lived with my great grandfather, my grandmother, aunts, father and mother in three rooms.
My grandmother had fled persecution by the Nazis to the safety of Chile for 20 years – and so in the confines of our flat I was raised on stories of escape, persecution, community and hope. My grandmother remained a humanitarian throughout her life – helping refugees and being part of an international movement towards peace. In the end my own convoluted story saw my mother and I replicating the large scale migrations of the 20th century and I arrived in the UK – lonely, confused and desperate for security. While I could rarely see my grandmother after that – her spirit has never left me and it is this spirit that informed the conception and writing of VOICES.”
VOICES 2 follows directly from its first part, the soundtrack to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Order your copy here.
The second album in the pioneering audio-visual Voices project, co-created by Max Richter & Yulia Mahr, arrives in record shops and onto digital music services on 9 April 2021.
VOICES was inspired by, and features text adapted from, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. VOICES 2 follows directly from the first part, embodying the Universal Declaration’s aspiration to build a better and fairer world. T
he message at the core of Max Richter’s Voices 2 is one of hope. The music, and the video for the debut single ‘Mirrors’, invites us to take a breather from the rolling news agenda and to reflect instead on the aspirations in the Universal Declaration.
Positivity and a sense of potential in a hopeful new future, runs throughout VOICES 2. Yulia Mahr, Max Richter’s filmmaker and visual-artist partner, captures the image of rejuvenation in her video for ‘Mirrors’ as flowers bloom.
Yulia Mahr on ‘Mirrors’: “For all its challenges, this moment also offers us an opportunity to build anew; rather than just restarting the old world, we can invent a new one. Therefore, I have made my first film for the second part of Voices a hopeful one. The flowers are all negative versions of themselves – out of the negative, out of the dark and disconcerting – can be born a future that is full of beauty and the positive. It’s hard to see it still, but it’s potentially there. History is not inevitable. If we come together, we can create a kinder world.”
Max Richter: “There are always opportunities for new beginnings. And that’s one of the things that’s so hopeful about that text. It lays out a very fundamental and simple set of principles, which are completely available to us at all times, but we do have to choose them. That’s the challenge, isn’t it?”
“Five years ago I wrote SLEEP as an invitation to pause our busy lives for a moment. Now we are all facing an unexpected and unwelcome pause. It is far from easy to adjust to this new normal, which daily brings fresh anxiety and suffering to our communities, to those we love, and to ourselves. At this time the magical ability of creativity to elevate our days and to connect us with one another is more valuable than ever.” – Max Richter