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Max Richter (live at The Barbican)

London 17 May 2016

This is the first of two sold-out shows for Max Richter at The Barbican and there is a buzz around the audience about how two beautiful and intense albums will translate live. For starters this is no rock’n’roll concert, so there is no-one viewing the entire gig down their phone, in fact no one even takes a photo, which was quite wonderful. The mood in the hall has a kind of beautiful, tranquil quality about it, as if people don’t want to make too much noise before the performance even starts.

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Max Richter – The Blue Notebooks

Label: 130701 Format: CD

The Blue Notebooks - sleeve Richter’s work follows the releases by Set Fire To Flames and Sylvian Chauveau on FatCat’s 130701 imprint. In addition to the carefully wrought instrumental arrangements, he has chosen to use words sparsely. The work of Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz is integrated, along with parts of Kafka’s text The Blue Octavo Notebooks, into the dreamlike landscapes he constructs. These words are read quietly and fairly unobtrusively by Tilda Swinton, against the sound of a typewriter, and her delivery is perfect, clearly enunciated and with just the right amount of detachment. Since the texts are short and out of context they may be read like jottings from a journal or diary and conjure their own images independent of the sources.

Kafka’s “Notebooks” provide the opening text, “Everyone carries a room about inside them” leaving the listener with

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