DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON ANNOUNCE THE RELEASE OF VOYAGER: ESSENTIAL MAX RICHTER

On October 04, 2019, Deutsche Grammophon will release VOYAGER: ESSENTIAL MAX RICHTER, the first ever collection of the acclaimed British composer’s work. The 33-track collection will be available as a double CD and e-album and contains work from across his vast catalogue, including studio albums such as 2004’s acclaimed The Blue NotebooksRichter; reviewed by Pitchfork as one of the most affecting and universal contemporary classical records in recent memory’, 2012’s Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi - The Four Seasons, performed by award-winning British violinist Daniel Hope and Berlin’s renowned Konzerthaus Kammerorchester; and 2015’s ground-breaking, eight-and-a-half-hour magnum opus, Sleep. Two previously unreleased bonus tracks from Sleep are also included in this release.

Additionally, the anthology offers a selection from Richter’s numerous film and TV scores, among them 2014’s The Leftovers, which garnered the International Film Music Critics Award for Best Original Score For A Television Series; 2017’s Taboo, awarded an Emmy for Outstanding Music Composition For A Series; and last year’s Mary Queen Of Scots, which earned him the Hollywood Music in Media Award for Best Original Score - Feature Film.

VOYAGER contains music from 2010’s Infra, which originated as the celebrated score for Wayne McGregor’s ballet of the same name, performed at London’s Royal Opera House, as well as a version of In The Garden – originally featured on 2017’s Three Worlds: Music from Woolf Works, another ballet collaboration with McGregor – recorded at Spotify Studios in New York in 2017. Also included are Mercy, which was recorded live at Berlin’s Meistersaal by renowned American violinist Hilary Hahn, who first commissioned it for 2010’s Encores Project, and – an interpretation by Mari Samuelsen of November from Richter’s 2002 debut, Memoryhouse -  taken from her Mari album which was released earlier this year.  The collection contains liner notes by writer and critic Wyndham Wallace.

Richter, a graduate of London’s Royal Academy of Music and a former pupil of Luciano Berio, first earned a reputation during the 1990s, initially establishing himself with contemporary classical ensemble Piano Circus, which he co-founded, then broadening his horizons by performing with and writing for the genre-resisting Future Sound Of London and Roni Size’s Mercury Prize winning drum and bass collective Reprazent. His debut album, Memoryhouse, was recorded with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, but its impact was at first so limited that, famously, the record was out of print by the time he released its follow-up, 2004’s The Blue Notebooks. It wasn’t until its re-release in 2014 that critics like The Independent’s Andy Gill declared it “a landmark work of contemporary classical music”.

With his early recordings, Richter opened a path, albeit inadvertently, that was swiftly followed by others, persuaded that there was no longer a need to maintain a separation between what had previously been considered either exclusively traditional or singularly modern. He’s since gone on to release a further six studio albums, as well as recording multiple soundtracks for film and TV, with his compositions not only enhancing films by directors including Martin Scorsese, Denis Villenueve and Michael Winterbottom, but also TV shows as varied as the BBC’s lauded 2005 documentary, Auschwitz: The Nazis And The Final Solution, and Nosedive, a 2016 episode of Charlie Brooker’s dystopian Black Mirror, directed by Joe Wright. Moreover, Richter has collaborated in other fields, notably installation art, theatre and dance, working alongside Turner Prize nominee Darren Almond, the National Theatre of Scotland and – repeatedly – choreographer Wayne McGregor, currently Resident Choreographer of The Royal Ballet in London.

Having bridged the divide between electronic and classical music, Richter has achieved something that has altogether altered the musical landscape. VOYAGER: ESSENTIAL MAX RICHTER provides a vital, career-spanning summary of this innovative, inventive composer’s hugely influential work.



Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to Mary Queen of Scots – Featuring Prize-Winning Composer Max Richter’s Moving, Atmospheric Score – out today on Deutsche Grammophon

Mary Queen of Scots, a Focus Features presentation directed by Josie Rourke and starring Saoirse Ronan (as Mary Stuart) and Margot Robbie (as Elizabeth I), also opens in cinemas in the U.S. today

“No contemporary composer expresses the same complexity of emotion on screen as Max Richter, whose work pervades modern culture, from film to television to dance to theater.” — The Atlantic


December 7, 2018 (New York, NY) – Throughout Mary Queen of Scots, composer Max Richter’s score helps establish not only the rich, historically redolent atmosphere of the film but also its profound emotional resonance. Martial drums set against female voices, ambient lyricism and stately dances, stirring melody borne along strings and winds – Richter’s music colors, and deepens, virtually every scene, making the period political drama feel timeless and personal. The original motion picture soundtrack album to Mary Queen of Scots is released today by Deutsche Grammophon. The film, a Focus Features presentation directed by Josie Rourke and starring Saoirse Ronan in the title role and Margot Robbie as Elizabeth I, opens in theaters in the U.S. on December 7. The official trailer for Mary Queen of Scots can be seen here.

Mary Queen of Scots – based on Dr. John Guy’s book Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart – breaks the title figure free from misconceptions of her as a weak or sexually promiscuous monarch. The film depicts the betrayal and rebellion within Mary’s turbulent court, where the men around the queen unceasingly plotted her downfall. The story unfolds against the backdrop of Mary’s relationship with her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I of England. Two women who uniquely understood, captivated and challenged each other, they were both forced to make sacrifices in a male-dominated world – and each experienced the bitter price of power.

Richter produced the Mary Queen of Scots soundtrack, which features his score along with the period vocal motet “If Ye Love Me” by the great English composer Thomas Tallis (1505-85). About composing music for the film, Richter says: “One of the nice things about this project is that it gave me the opportunity to return to Renaissance music, which I love. Although the film is a historical piece, it has modernity within it, in the way the themes of the story are engaged. This dialogue between historical material and contemporary technique is an important part of my compositional practice.”

About the striking elements of his score, and how they illustrate the dramatic tension between potential understanding and tragic reality, Richter explains: “I wanted the film to have a very strong sense of these women’s voices, which are the first and last sounds we hear in the score. I’ve used the voices as a framing device, a kind of acoustic and psychological landscape within which the story unfolds. The other elements in the score populate this landscape like foreground figures, chief among these being the drums, which signify war, the triumph of time over human intentions, and the world of male brutality. Inevitably, given the story, the image of the executioner’s drum and funeral drums is also evoked, and it is the tension between those drums and the women’s voices which powers much of the score.”

Richter was inspired by the techniques of Elizabethan music when composing the score, even if he employed modern means. “It was wonderful pulling those two worlds together, the period and the contemporary,” he says. “I used compositional techniques from the 16th Century, for example ground bass variation technique, and polyphonic choral writing, but employed these in a 21st Century manner, so that, while the score strongly reminds us of the music of Mary’s time, it is not faux period music, but embodies the modernity of Josie’s narrative approach.”

Expanding on the thematic aspects of the score, Richter explains: “Mary and Elizabeth share a theme, which illustrates the fact that, while they were adversaries, they also shared a unique and isolated position in the world of men. This music incorporates a fragment of harmony that reminds us of Handel’s coronation ode from 1727, so it evokes the image of “regality” in a broader sense. Mary’s own voice within this theme is portrayed by the solo Cor Anglais, which I chose for it’s melancholic tone colour, but also because the instrument’s name rather neatly encapsulates Mary’s biography, that is of a french protagonist in England. Aside from the theme of the queens, the world which they inhabit, namely the world of men, has a theme. Both the music of the queens and the music of the men are played by a large orchestra, and again, reflecting Elizabethan practice, both are structured upon a ground bass. These two musics have structural similarities, but the music of the women has more sophistication in it’s harmonic language, and greater scope for development. The music for the world of men, which I think of as a kind of orchestral death-metal, is a blunt instrument by comparison.”

Summing up his vision for the score, Richter explains: “By making careful use of historical techniques within an essentially contemporary language, I’m hoping to create for listeners a sort of dialogue between separate historical moments, and this sets up a conversation in our brains that pulls us into a great, and very moving, story.”

The Mary Queen of Scots soundtrack album was recorded at Air Studios in London, with Richter producing. The performers include London Voices and the Air Lyndhurst Orchestra, with the instrumental soloists including Jane Marshall (cor anglais), Hugh Webb (harp) and Jean Kelly (Celtic harp). Richter’s score is published by Focus-Gramercy Film Music (BMI).



Max Richter - The Blue Notebooks (15 Years Edition)

The Blue Notebooks is an attempt for music to comment on society and specifically it’s an anti-violence record. It’s a subtle and peaceful protest against political, social, and personal brutality. Sadly it’s still very current today” - Max Richter

Deutsche Grammophon presents expanded new editions of ‘The Blue Notebooks’ by Max Richter, which are released in celebration of its 15th anniversary and will be available in multiple formats, including Super Deluxe.

Originally written in 2003 and remarkably recorded in just three hours ‘The Blue Notebooks’ was released in 2004 to minimal fanfare. Since then the world has caught up, with the album steadily growing from cult classic, to trend-setting influencer, to cannon-defining masterpiece that’s paved the way for a generation of successful young composers.

What this deeply rewarding album has to offer has steadily spread to the consciousness and hearts of many, having gained millions of plays on Spotify plus inclusion in multiple adverts, TV programmes and films.

Although commonplace now, when Richter made ‘The Blue Notebooks’, he was one of the first to combine classical and electronic elements with a post rock sensibility – something which was radical at the time.

These new editions include remixes from Konx-Om-Pax and Jlin – both of which offer a fascinating cultural exchange, showing how Max’s music and mindset crosses boundaries, making cohesive connections that might not initially be apparent.

Other new features include brand new artwork, a previously unreleased track and new arrangements of compositions written at the same time as the album, but debuting on tape earlier this year at Air studios. The Super Deluxe Edition also features a brand new track called ‘Cypher’.

On recording and re-arranging the previously unreleased material, Max explains “we’ve revisited a kind of hinterland to that record; these pieces form the background, almost like a reservoir that fed into the making of the record, but which didn’t actually make the finished article.

The bonus material matches the main album in quality and ability to evoke, and whether heard in its original or expanded incarnations, it makes for a record of simple, plaintive beauty, where rich organic strings meet gauzy, low fi electronics. Sense-stimulating textures, foley-style found sounds and the ASMR-like detailed capture of actress Tilda Swinton’s renditions create a deeply effective ambience.

Conceptually ‘The Blue Notebooks’ was carefully conceived as “a meditation on violence and its repercussions, inspired both by the Iraq war – which was looming – and my own experiences”, recalls Max. But although inspired by Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie and the original punk movement, his was a different kind of dissent.

“I wanted to invite the listener in, allowing them space to reflect, rather than be beaten into submission. The world is tough enough, and I don’t want to add to the brutality. Over the years, I’ve realised that there’s a balance to strike, and that actually, as our world spins into something quite threatening that’s increasingly based on loud and vicious rhetoric, I want to talk about quiet protest.”

The album is also intimately personal and Richter recalls that, “as a very sensitive child, I reacted to the violence around me by internalizing everything. My only refuge was music, and I totally disappeared into the internal landscapes it opened up to me.”

Indeed, an air of nostalgia permeates The Blue Notebooks, something acknowledged in the texts Richter selected for Swinton’s crucial monologues. “Everyone carries a room about inside him”, she begins, the words taken from Franz Kafka’s ‘Blue Octavo Notebooks’ – whose title Richter adapted for his suite – and later she recites Polish poet Czesław Miłosz’s ‘Hymn of the Pearl‘ and ‘Unattainable Earth‘, blurring past and present in vivid fashion: “I was here when she, with whom I walk, wasn’t born yet.”

“I chose the texts”, Richter says, “to reflect on my sense of the politics of the time. Facts were beginning to be replaced by subjective assertions in the build-up to the war, which seemed to be viewed as inevitable and justified in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. Kafka’s use of the absurd to investigate power structures struck me as highly relevant. He is, of course, the patron saint of doubt, and doubt – about politics, and the way society was heading – was what I was looking to express. The texts were specifically picked because they refer to childhood, or the passing of time, when everything around is failing.”

As he points out, this is something buried in The Blue Notebooks’ very architecture. “‘On The Nature Of Daylight’ uses a palindromic structure, so the present and the past coexist.” This track has since become the album’s most prominent and best-known, most notably due to its pivotal inclusion in Denis Villeneuve’s award-winning film ‘Arrival’, whose palindromic narrative, ideas on non-linear time and blurred visions of experiences, matched Max’s music perfectly.

The appeal and wide-reaching influence of ‘On The Nature Of Daylight’ is evident in the high number of films and TV programmes it has featured in, which includes Martin Scorsese’s ‘Shutter Island’, Anne Fontaine’s ‘The Innocents’, Michael Winterbottom’s ‘The Face of an Angel’, Henry Alex Rubin's ‘Disconnect’ and Marc Forster’s ‘Stranger Than Fiction’.

And so here we are, rightfully revisiting this classic album’s past and its rightful place in the present. Politically things are not only similar, but worse. Musically some of it’s the same but now experienced in a different light, judged under different critical circumstances, while other parts are new or have been changed. ‘The Blue Notebooks’ embodies a morphing cycle of observation and experience – and is the true definition of timeless.



Max Richter's Sleep to be released for streaming in its eight-hour entirety on March 16th for the first time


On 16 March 2018, which is ‘World Sleep Day’, Max Richter’s eight-hour opus, in its true and original form, will be made available for streaming for the first time, allowing it to be experienced without interruption, to accompany the listener’s sleeping hours, as the composer intended.

His works tend to be derived from concepts he feels warrant wider attention, described by Richter as a “definite social purpose” for his creativity, aiming “to tell stories that ‘speak’ and pose questions, and take the listener on a journey”, said the 51-year old.

“I’m aiming to explore how the brain can be a space for music to inhabit when our consciousness is on holiday”. Composing Sleep involved Richter working closely with the American neuroscientist David Eagleman.

Sleep avoids the 'high notes', nothing above a couple of hundred hertz. This reflects the acoustic environment of a foetus in the uterus”, explained Richter to the editor of ZEIT magazine: “There are about 40 beats per minute, which is a very gentle resting pulse.” The reverberations in the recording are reminiscent of how music sounds when we are falling asleep. "Slow descending diatonic scales gently carry us into the realm of alpha, delta and theta waves. The work, which contains over 30 different variations, is a bed of sound into which the stressed can sink without hesitation. Richter follows in the footsteps of Johann Sebastian Bach, who in 1741 wrote his Goldberg Variations for a sleepless Count.

The availability of this quite unique stream of a singular work is not intended to be consumed as a ’sleep aid‘ but as an accompaniment to the whole ritual of the preparation and awakening and what lies between. The music is "so gentle and trance-inspiring that you cannot prevent yourself from falling into a state of relaxation", commented the generally prosaic Wall Street Journal.

The international success of the work shows just how right Richter was with Sleep. Along with The Blue Notebooks (the ground-breaking album which itself will be released in May 2018 in an expanded reissue), his adaptation of Vivaldi's ‘Four Seasons’ and his recent ballet work Three Worlds – Music from Woolf Works, Sleep is the British composer’s most famous opus.

This spring, Richter will also enthral the American public with his eight-hour lullaby for piano, string quintet, electronics and vocals. Following concerts in Berlin, London, Sydney, Amsterdam, Zurich, Madrid and Paris, Sleep will be performed overnight on March 12th at the legendary South by Southwest Festival (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, followed by an overnight performance on March 16th at Auckland Festival.

As with all ‘Sleep’ live performances, the audience experience the music in beds rather than concert seats. Expect pyjamas, sleeping bags, and an experience that both audience and media alike have found incredibly moving. Max, soprano (Grace Davidson) and small band (ACME Ensemble) take on the challenge of this 8-hour performance, knowing that "It's all long, sustained notes, and there's no room to hide, it has to be perfect” (violinist Brian Snow of the American Contemporary Music Ensemble, who originally made the Deutsche Grammophon recording of Sleep at New York's Avatar Studios.)

With his magnum opus, Max Richter has realised mankind’s most modern dream: to find a place away from the noise and enjoy some simple tranquillity.



Max Richter’s Hostiles soundtrack conveys the power of the human spirit to overcome hatred and division


The latest film score by award-winning composer Max Richter, for director Scott Cooper's Hostiles, evokes with beauty and restraint the wild landscapes of a world in which individuals collide with forces beyond their control. The film is hitting theatres from January 2018, while Deutsche Grammophon will release the OST digitally on 5 January and physically on 9 February.

Hostiles is set in the American West of the early 1890s, when the Second Industrial Revolution was fast changing society and the native population had finally been defeated after decades of war with the US Army. Based on an original story by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Donald E. Stewart, the film follows the relationship between a cavalry captain and war hero turned jailer, Joseph Blocker (Christian Bale), and Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi), a Northern Cheyenne chief held prisoner by Blocker at Fort Berringer, a dismal, dust-blown outpost in New Mexico. Blocker accompanies the dying Yellow Hawk and his family back to their tribal home in Montana, a journey that takes them through the striking scenery of America’s heartlands. Along the way they are joined by Rosalee Quaid (Rosamund Pike), traumatised survivor of a bloody Comanche massacre. As these three characters, whose lives have been shattered by violence, bloodshed and loss, fight to survive in the hostile landscape of the American frontier, they grow ever closer – mutual suspicion is replaced by tolerance, aversion by empathy.

Grammy and Emmy nominated Max Richter has been widely acclaimed for his work in film and television. Recent awards include The European Film Academy Award for Waltz with Bashir, , the International Film Music Critics Award for The Leftovers, and a German Film Award and Australian Film Critics Award for Lore.

Echoing the compelling human drama of Hostiles, the score for this period Western, performed by the Air Lyndhurst Orchestra, combines the haunting stillness and elegiac beauty of Richter’s Waltz with Bashir music with the noir-like intensity of his recent soundtrack for the hit BBC TV series Taboo. Tracks such as the plaintive “A Woman Alone”, recalled and varied throughout, mirror the film’s hard psychological edges and the transformation of conflict and ill-will into compassion and love.

The soundtrack also includes the heartbreaking “How Shall a Sparrow Fly”, written and performed by star Americana singer-songwriter Ryan Bingham and released by DG as an eSingle on 5 January 2018.