Composer, musician, producer, remixer and collaborator extraordinaire, Max Richter defies definition. Richter has struck an exclusive new deal encompassing new works and collaborations, as well as future reissues on Deutsche Grammophon.
To celebrate the new partnership, Deutsche Grammophon/Universal Music Classics will release a new edition of Richter's highly acclaimed Vivaldi Recomposed, his unique reworking of The Four Seasons for violin, chamber orchestra and moog synthesizer. The new package, available April 29th, will include remixes, and an exclusive performance film featuring Max Richter and violinist Daniel Hope shot in East Berlin in late 2013. There will also be five newly-composed electronic soundscapes, dubbed "shadows," by Richter, which were constructed for a live performance of the work. The Remixes include Spring 1 – Max Richter Remix, Summer 3 – Robot Koch Remix, Autumn 3 – Fear of Tigers Remix and Winter 3 – NYPC Remix.
A brand-new app will go on sale simultaneously with the music, allowing users to experience Recomposed and an original version of Vivaldi's classical hit side by side, with commentary, background essays and unique user functionalities. Additionally on April 29th, Deutsche Grammophon will re-release four of Max Richter's solo albums via iTunes/all digital partners – the titles include Infra, 24 Postcards in Full Colour, Songs from Before and The Blue Notebooks.
Upon its first release in fall of 2012, Vivaldi Recomposed was met with unanimous acclaim,and named iTunes Best 2012 Contemporary Classical Album for the U.S. The Wall Street Journal stated, "Max Richter straddles the divide between classical music and modern pop in a way few others can," while The New York Times called the live performance "alluring." Emusic raved,"thoroughly enjoyable and memorable" with 4 stars, while the UK's Independent also gave it 4 stars and said it was ‘‘joyously simple & engaging.'
Some works are so familiar that it is almost impossible to hear them afresh, but that is what Max Richter has achieved with Vivaldi "Recomposed". At first Richter followed the example of other works in the "Recomposed" series, which re-mix existing recordings, but, he says, "I wanted to open up the score on a note-by-note level, and working with an existing recording was like digging a mineshaft through an incredibly rich seam, discovering diamonds and not being able to pull them out. That became frustrating. I wanted to get inside the score at the level of the notes and in essence re-write it, re-composing it in a literal way."
Clearly, Richter has brought his own frame of reference to the project. As he says, "Vivaldi's music is made of regular patterns, and that connects with post-minimalism, which is one strand in the music that I write. That felt like a natural link, but even so it was surprisingly difficult to navigate my way through it. At every point I had to work out how much is Vivaldi and how much is me. It was difficult but also rewarding because the raw material is so fascinating." Just as Richter's Seasons plays tricks with the way we hear Vivaldi's original, so it also asks questions of the soloist, Daniel Hope. "Violinists have Vivaldi's The Four Seasons hardwired in their brain. Daniel is likely to play the original I don't know how many times in a year, and for him to have my parallel text going on in another part of his brain is a challenge. I think he did a wonderful job. He brought to it a deep engagement with the original, but he was fully prepared to cut this new swathe through the text."