The writing and recording of VOICES 2 was completed post-lockdown. While for the most part, the music of VOICES 2 was recorded during the original sessions and features the same dedicated band of musicians, additional sessions took place during lockdown, Richter recording the solo piano music in the vast and eerily deserted Studio 1 at Abbey Road.
Richter’s music has the extraordinary ability to communicate and inspire deep emotion and contemplation, whether it’s through the celestial choral vocals soaring above the cello on ‘Psychogeography’ and the bassy strings and keys of the expansive ‘Follower’, the circling organs of ‘Solitaries’ or the elegiac viola of ‘Prelude 2’. Melancholy infuses the enveloping and introspective soundscapes of VOICES 2.
“A document like the Declaration is very challenging because, while it is full of potential, and an extraordinarily wise and impressive piece of writing and thinking, it’s also largely unrealised,” explains Richter. “So we mostly think about the ways in which we’ve failed to achieve what it sets out to do. There is a melancholia about it in some ways.”
Returning to familiar refrains in its second half, VOICES 2 prompts a feeling of comfort in the listener; a lot of the music that we hear in this second part is recontextualised.
“It’s like going into a familiar building,” explains Richter. “There’s something relaxing about it. In a sense, the music revisits the same space, it’s continuous. Much like walking around a sculpture, you discover new facets in the same object by spending time looking at it. That’s the process I’m trying to elicit in the music, by revisiting those structures and forms continuously in different ways to have a deeper relationship with that material and I guess, by analogy, with the text.”
VOICES 2 is the latest release from the pioneering artist behind landmark 2015-composition Sleep, which was intended as a break from the pressures of the digital age and became a classical phenomenon, streamed more than 450 million times. With pandemic-induced anxiety contributing still more to sleep problems, this album has once again moved to the fore, with World Sleep Day around the corner in March.
Max is recognised globally as one of the most important composers of the 21st Century and he has performed in many of the world’s most prestigious concert halls including: La Scala Milan, The Royal Opera House, Elbphilharmonie, Hong Kong Cultural Center, Philharmonie de Paris, The Sydney Opera House, The Royal Albert Hall, Berlin Philharmonie, The Paris Opera Ballet and The Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam. His music has been performed and recorded by pre-eminent instrumentalists of our time including Hilary Hahn, Yo-Yo Ma, Lang Lang, Daniel Hope, Rudolf Buchbinder, Vikingur Ólaffsson, Viktoria Mullova and Mari Samuelse.