. . . [not only one of the finest records] of the last six months, but one of the most affecting and universal contemporary classical records in recent memory . . . Each of the piano pieces "Horizon Variations", "Vladimir's Blues" and "Written in the Sky" establish strong melodic motifs in under two minutes, all the while resisting additional orchestration. Elsewhere, Richter's string suites are similarly striking; "On the Nature of Daylight" coaxes a stunning rise out of gently provincial arrangements while the comparatively epic penultimate track "The Trees" boasts an extended introductory sequence for what is probably the album's closest brush with grandiosity . . .
The listener is enveloped in sparse, delicate piano melancholia and quietly emotive strings, all interspersed with electronic whisperings and Tilda Swinton intoning enigmatic passages from Kafka. The whole has a mesmeric, dreamlike quality, as its Anglo-German composer intended, and there's even a bonus track, "On the Nature of Daylight", a piece whose sombre atmosphere of gradually building string cadences is purely orchestral, throwing into relief the rest of this elegiacally beautiful album.
Reissues inevitably invite reappraisal, but Max Richter's understated stroke of beauty doesn't really need it. It just needs to be heard . . .
For the 15th anniversary edition of "The Blue Notebooks", the piece ["On The Nature Of Daylight"] gets a gorgeous "Orchestral Version" and an "Entropy" rearrangement . . . "The Blue Notebooks" remains a sublime piece of art that offers shelter from the world; a quiet, closed-off space where one can reflect on society's greatest afflictions, and perhaps heal a little, too.
. . . as haunting and moving as ever. A second disc includes impressive live recordings along with previously unreleased track "A Catalogue of Afternoons" . . .