Max Richter is described as a post-minimalist. That could mean anything, but what’s true is that he did arrive and begin to create after minimalists like Steve Reich and Terry Riley and Phillip Glass. He is a composer who has worked performing in person, writing film music under the cover of darkness, and in studios, loaded with electronics.
Richter blends classical, electronic, and rock and roll (or as modern guys simply say it now, rock) into a style he has called post-classical. All these labels aside, he’s had the training and the experience to allow us to think about him as a musician and composer in a pure and simple sense and, at the same time, as one who is aware of and operates within the infinite breath of what’s come before.
He performed for 10 years as part of a group called, Piano Circus and, though I know a little about what that group was and did, I’d rather imagine it as the many wonderful images conjured by that name. He has studied, experimented, composed, and found an audience who can now follow whatever direction he takes and listen to what he is discovering and creating. This includes music for the stage, ballet, opera, performance, installations, recordings, and whatever else seems appropriate.
In 2012, he released a recording titled, Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi – The Four Seasons. This takes The Four Seasons as its starting point and loops and builds on and subtracts from Vivaldi and leaves in its wake something else, entirely new and beautiful. This is the one I’ve been listening to for a couple of years. The music here is from that recording.
In 2015, he released Sleep, which lasts over 8 hours and whose parts sometimes match natural sleep cycles. For this piece he consulted with neuroscientist David Eagleman and, though that doesn’t make it approved by the scientific community, it does inform it. I’ve fallen asleep to both of these pieces and parts of several other compositions and this is a kind of listening that leaves me refreshed and eager for more. The music is beautiful and, like all great music, speaks to a part of myself I was unfamiliar with until hearing it.