Press Quotes
"not only is Richter's second album one of the finest of the last six months, it is also one of the most affecting and universal contemporary classical records in recent memory.... a gigantic beacon for composers searching for useful ways to introduce dance music's visceral, body-jarring qualities into the classical sphere."
Pitchfork
"If ever we New Europeans needed a little help in redefining ourselves, now's the time. The Blue Notebooks provides it with a sort of merciless sublimity, and, thanks to those fiercely independent genius-hunters at Fat Cat, those of us who grew up thinking Weltschmerz was just a Yiddish delicacy now, at least, know better."
No Ripcord
"It is the ability of Richter to compose pieces that are subtle, yet at times, swell to grandiose levels that make this release such a beautiful example of modern classical music. "
Tiny MixTapes
The Blue Notebooks
LP13-04X / CD13-04 / DA13-04 / 23rd Feb 2004
Tracklist
01
The Blue Notebooks
02
On The Nature Of Daylight
03
Horizon Variations
04
Shadow Journal
05
Iconography
06
Vladimir's Blues
07
Arboretum
08
Old Song
09
Organum
10
The Trees
11
Written On The Sky

Following releases by Set Fire To Flames and Sylvain Chauveau, Max Richter’s ‘The Blue Notebooks’ was the fourth release on 130701, established as an outlet for more more orchestrated, instrumental material.

Richter is a British-based, German-born pianist and composer. Following 2002’s highly-acclaimed ‘Memoryhouse’ – performed by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and released on the BBC’s classical label, Late Junction – ‘The Blue Notebooks’ is his second solo album, a distinctive and adventurous work that is beautifully recorded and cinematic in scope.

Opening with a text from Franz Kafka read by Tilda Swinton over a sparse piano melody, the album moves through gorgeous, heart-wrenching string swells of ‘On The Nature Of Daylight’ (which quotes a tune from ‘Memoryhouse’); through to sparse but lyrical piano pieces; hazy, swirling atmospherics, avalanche pulse-beats and partially occluded melodies that recall Aphex twin’s ‘Ambient Works’ albums; and to reverberant organ / choir recordings.

Utilising piano, cello, violin and viola, alongside electronic beats (made using a variety of antique electronics and Reaktor), spoken word passages and the occasional field recording, other sounds were generated via old guitar pedals and vocoders. The organ music was made for a chapel near Tourtres in South-West France, whilst the environmental sounds were mainly recorded around London. The tone of the album is generally domnbeat – a series of bittersweet articulations that seem suspended somewhere between a certain dreamy sense of wonder / awe and a heavy melancholia.

Peppered across Richter’s music like diary entries (and backed with attendant typewriter clatter) are a number of literary texts or ‘shadow journals’ (lifted from Kafka’s ‘the Blue Octavo notebooks’, and from Polish author Czseslaw Milosz’s ‘Hymn Of The Pearl’ and ‘Unattainable Earth’). Apparently chosen by Richter on instinct, they were recorded by acclaimed British actress, Tilda Swinton. These brief passages muse over time, memory, and the impermanent nature of things.

With Richter playing piano, the other featured players here are his regular collaborators, Louisa Fuller (violin), Natalia Bonner (violin), John Metcalfe (viola), Philip Sheppard (cello), and Chris Worsey (cello).

 

Following releases by Set Fire To Flames and Sylvain Chauveau, Max Richter’s ‘The Blue Notebooks’ was the fourth release on 130701, established as an outlet for more more orchestrated, instrumental material.

Richter is a British-based, German-born pianist and composer. Following 2002’s highly-acclaimed ‘Memoryhouse’ – performed by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and released on the BBC’s classical label, Late Junction – ‘The Blue Notebooks’ is his second solo album, a distinctive and adventurous work that is beautifully recorded and cinematic in scope.

Opening with a text from Franz Kafka read by Tilda Swinton over a sparse piano melody, the album moves through gorgeous, heart-wrenching string swells of ‘On The Nature Of Daylight’ (which quotes a tune from ‘Memoryhouse’); through to sparse but lyrical piano pieces; hazy, swirling atmospherics, avalanche pulse-beats and partially occluded melodies that recall Aphex twin’s ‘Ambient Works’ albums; and to reverberant organ / choir recordings.

Utilising piano, cello, violin and viola, alongside electronic beats (made using a variety of antique electronics and Reaktor), spoken word passages and the occasional field recording, other sounds were generated via old guitar pedals and vocoders. The organ music was made for a chapel near Tourtres in South-West France, whilst the environmental sounds were mainly recorded around London. The tone of the album is generally domnbeat – a series of bittersweet articulations that seem suspended somewhere between a certain dreamy sense of wonder / awe and a heavy melancholia.

Peppered across Richter’s music like diary entries (and backed with attendant typewriter clatter) are a number of literary texts or ‘shadow journals’ (lifted from Kafka’s ‘the Blue Octavo notebooks’, and from Polish author Czseslaw Milosz’s ‘Hymn Of The Pearl’ and ‘Unattainable Earth’). Apparently chosen by Richter on instinct, they were recorded by acclaimed British actress, Tilda Swinton. These brief passages muse over time, memory, and the impermanent nature of things.

With Richter playing piano, the other featured players here are his regular collaborators, Louisa Fuller (violin), Natalia Bonner (violin), John Metcalfe (viola), Philip Sheppard (cello), and Chris Worsey (cello).

 

Press Quotes
"not only is Richter's second album one of the finest of the last six months, it is also one of the most affecting and universal contemporary classical records in recent memory.... a gigantic beacon for composers searching for useful ways to introduce dance music's visceral, body-jarring qualities into the classical sphere."
Pitchfork
"If ever we New Europeans needed a little help in redefining ourselves, now's the time. The Blue Notebooks provides it with a sort of merciless sublimity, and, thanks to those fiercely independent genius-hunters at Fat Cat, those of us who grew up thinking Weltschmerz was just a Yiddish delicacy now, at least, know better."
No Ripcord
"It is the ability of Richter to compose pieces that are subtle, yet at times, swell to grandiose levels that make this release such a beautiful example of modern classical music. "
Tiny MixTapes