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15 Jahre "The Blue Notebooks": Interview mit Max Richter


Von GoldenEra in 15 Jahre "The Blue Notebooks": Interview mit Max Richter

15 Jahre "The Blue Notebooks": Interview mit Max Richter Bildnachweis: © Universal

Universal hat im Ramen des 15-jährigen Jubiläums des Albums The Blue Notebooks von dem brillanten Komponisten Max Richter eine Wiederveröffentlichung und Special-Edition zum Album herausgebracht. Wir hatten im Rahmen dessen die Möglichkeit, ihn zu interviewen.  Viel Spaß damit!

Maximilian: In a report by the German TV channel Arte you describe music as an "emotional amplifier". This implies that music intensifies existing feelings. Can music also create new feelings?

Max Richter: Yes, I think music is an interesting art form, because it is very explicit und emotional. It is not like a text, where the meaning is very concrete, we can feel music in different ways. There is something intensive, specific happening to us. So, yes, it can evoke feelings and ideas.

Maximilian: Even more than other forms of art, music becomes a by-product: we listen to it while reading, doing sports or on our being on our way to work. Not many people sit down at home and listen to an album without doing anything else. How do you rate this tendency?

Max Richter: I am a special case, because I cannot do anything else. If I try to read a book while music is playing, I have a nervous breakdown on the spot, because my mind is engaged with what is happening within the music. I guess the other thing I would say is that there are a million different human beings and a million ways to encounter art. My idea of listening is sitting down and concentrating on the music. That does not mean that somebody who is running, driving a car or sitting on a train while listening to music is doing something wrong. This is something like a personal response to the work and there are no rules for listening to music.

Maximilian: You have described The Blue Notebooks as an "album against violence". To what extent does music have the analytical and subversive potential for exploring movements within a society and, if necessary, rebelling against them?

Max Richter: All creativity, all art is political, whether we want it to be or not. It is a social object: human beings talking to other human beings is a public forum in a way. So I think there is a long history of musical works being political. We can go back to Beethoven or to other examples in the past with all the political uses of social music. It seems like a very naturalistic connection in a way. I felt at the time I produced the album that music had become some kind of apolitical and I wanted to try making this switch to spaces of the political discourse.

Maximilian: In an Amazon review of 2003's The Blue Notebooks by the user "Hegel", I read the following: "A fantastic atmosphere, like sitting in a park in a big city and listening to the noise of the city." I think this description is very accurate, because the work seems calm and coherent in itself, but also seems to have an awareness of the unrestrained external violence. Does the music function here as a kind of innocent park within a hectic and guilty city?

Max Richter: Yes, in a way. Making this piece about art is also about creating and shining the light on beauty. I wanted to do more with ideas, concepts and a brutal vision of what music is. I was looking for a language which has a kind of radical simplicity and allowed to connect back to the things we discovered – the beauty of simple things. I made a musical language, which was very reduced and simplified. I think that is also a response to our society, which can be very demanding and challenging.

Maximilian: You composed the album in 2003 against the Iraq war. Now a new edition is published in May for the 15th anniversary. Does the publication has political reasons and should make a similar statement as in 2003?

Max Richter: The original impetus was my sense that politics were being beyond an engagement with facts and had more to do with stories. That was the story in 2003. Of course things got much worse since then. In a way it seems like an appropriate time to re-release the record.

Maximilian: You compose music for many films: how difficult it is to think of different concepts. For example, what is the difference between working on a movie like Hostiles and a Black Mirror episode?

Max Richter: Each film project is a work of its own. Writing music for a film is trying to discover what seems like the natural language of that film and what the big themes of the film are. For me Black Mirror was very interesting because it deals with our relationship with technologies and this sort of data-saturated universe. And it came along in a very good moment for me, because I had just completed “Sleep”, which is also a project about escaping the data-universe for a while. So Black Mirror really spoke to me for that reason. Hostiles is a film, which is against violence. It is very much in tune with the sort of subject discussed in “The Blue Notebooks”. It is a film about the fertility of violence as a solution. For that film I was very much looking for a language, which had a kind of emotional warmth, but also evoked the strangeness of that landscape and the environment. At that historical period, being out in the far West was like being on the moon. There was nothing there - besides from the people who had already lived there, the Native Americans. So I was looking for a language which could sort of convey the strangeness and the emotional dimension of the story.

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