Max Richter’s musical world

Max Richter, one of the contemporary avant-garde circuit’s more prominent artists, will be giving his first ever performance in Greece tonight, backed by a five-member band, at the Gagarin 205 club. For years, Richter has created music that is rich in atmosphere and emotion, yet far from melodrama and unnecessary embellishment. Whether cleaner and more classical sounding, or more electronic, Richter’s material manages to create highly evocative musical worlds. Critics have often likened the German’s material to «imaginary soundtracks.» Melodic wealth Melodic yet not overly mellifluous, Richter impresses with his ability to draw from the melodic wealth of the Romantics, such as the tragic Robert Schumann, groundbreaking modernists such as John Cage or Iannis Xenakis, or minimalists like Steve Reich and Philip Glass. Born in Germany in 1966, Richter studied piano and composition at the University of Edinburgh and London’s Royal Academy of Music. For a while, he also studied in Florence under the tutelage of Luciano Berio, a noted 20th century experimentalist. These days, he is based in Edinburgh along with his team of musical associates. Hardcore modernism Richter describes his work as «hardcore modernism.» He cites Xenakis as a major influence and admits to being a big admirer of Henry Purcell, J.S. Bach’s entire catalog, especially «The Art of Fugue,» Joni Mitchell, Ennio Morricone, Nino Rota, Pink Floyd, his now-classic compatriots Kraftwerk, Andrei Tarkovsky, Francois Truffaut’s «The 400 Blows,» and James Joyce’s novels. The authentic music for Apollo 11’s landing on the moon, Richter says, ranks as one of his beloved albums. Having completed his music studies, Richter formed Piano Circus, a contemporary classical music ensemble. The act released five albums, which featured reworkings of material by Brian Eno, Glass and Reich. These releases were followed by successful collaborations with the Future Sound of London and Ronnie Size. Richter then wrote the music for Derek Jarman films shot on Super 8. To date, Richter has released three solo albums, 2002’s «Memory House,» with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, 2004’s superb «The Blue Notebooks,» as well as last year’s «Songs From Before,» another exceptional effort that features respected English veteran musician Robert Wyatt reciting excerpts from novels by celebrated Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, whose «dreamy elements» Richter says he likes. In previous projects, Richter has used readings of excerpts from the works of Franz Kafka. Tonight’s performance will feature both new and older material as part of a musical journey that promises to be fascinating.

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