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Featured artist: Max Richter
Without Max Richter we'd all be way happier, and that wouldn't be any good at all.
A tearjerker of the high-brow, Max Richter's efforts in the field of neo-classical composition have affected listeners all over, whether they've sought out his work or heard it through soundtrack. Some of us know him chiefly as the writer of The Blue Notebooks, a devastating song cycle from 2004 that used ornate, fluttering orchestration to protest the Iraq war. Others may have been watching The Leftovers and noting the suitably ruinous music playing over it.
And still there's more to him. Max Richter has reworked Vivaldi, composed ballets in ode to author Virgina Woolf and put his contemporary scores to readings of the transgressive texts of Haruki Murakami. He's proved that traditional composition can now live on in new contexts, envisioning an eight-hour piece called SLEEP, made as a longform lullaby that could accompany the listener through a whole bedtime. With live shows that have included sleeping bags as part of the performance, SLEEP is an example of the unending human vision inherent to Max Richter's music. This music does not sit above the listener and look down upon them. It comes down and joins them for the joys and lows of their existence.