“This project has this quality of unfortunately being relevant all the time,” says Max Richter of Voices. A major work inspired by and featuring text adapted from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Voices was broadcast with EBU and BBC 3 to 40 radio stations worldwide on 10th December for Human Rights Day 2020 and was included in the official United Nations Human Rights (OHRC) official Human Rights Day broadcast.
Voices 2 follows directly from its first part, the unfolding groundbreaking project embodying the Universal Declaration’s aspiration to build a better and fairer world.
The profound sense of global community and responsibility at the heart of Voices originates from the Grammy-nominated composer’s commitment to music as activism. “We’re bombarded on all sides by media and culture,” he explains of his continual quest to explore socio-political questions on his records. “So, if I’m going to add to that sum total, then I’d better have a good reason. For me those reasons are broader ideas that I would like to communicate, and questions I’d like to ask about the world we are living in.”
VOICES, THE UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Described by Richter as “a place to think”, Voices was a response to our tempestuous political climate and the enduring need for compassion. Voices 2 develops this principle, continuing and intensifying the “place to think” concept. While the first part of the project focuses on the text of The Universal Declaration Of Human Rights and its uplifting vision – opening with the 1949 recording of Eleanor Roosevelt reading the Declaration, and including excerpts read by a global community of 70 voices – Voices 2 opens up a meditative musical space to consider those ideas raised by the first record.
“One of the things that was really striking, when we premiered the music, was that even though everyone knows of the Declaration, not many people have actually read it or spent time with it,” says Richter. “The overwhelming comment we had from the audience was ‘it’s amazing to hear that text’. If people can have time to experience that text, and then in the second part of the record really spend time thinking about it, that for me is a perfect outcome.”
MUSIC AND POLITICS
Because the Voices project is all about Human Rights, it will always be relevant. Since Richter began this thought-provoking opus more than a decade ago, and premiered it a year ago at the Barbican, the world has experienced the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in America, the global rise of right-wing populism, and Brexit. But we have also celebrated the inauguration of a new President.
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 bass-heavy 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.
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.
ABOUT MAX RICHTER
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 Samuelsen.
The million-album-selling, billion-streaming artist has written award-winning music for more than 50 film and TV projects including Mary Queen of Scots, Hostiles, HBO’s My Brilliant Friend and The Leftovers, Tom Hardy’s Taboo, and Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror. Richter’s recent score for James Gray’s Ad Astra, starring Brad Pitt, earned Richter his second Grammy nomination. The composer’s “On The Nature Of Daylight” was used as the theme for Dennis Villeneuve’s Arrival, while his “Recomposed, The Four Seasons” is currently featured in the major Netflix series Bridgerton. Fendi’s Spring/Summer 2021 Haute Couture fashion show, starring Demi Moore, Adwoa Aboah, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Isabella Rossellini and Gwendoline Christie featured music adapted from ‘Woolf Works’, Richter’s 2017 Royal Ballet collaboration with choreographer Wayne McGregor.
Follow Max Richter at www.maxrichtermusic.com