Sunday, September 16, 2018

Max Richter with The ACME Ensemble Performing "Infra" & "The Blue Notebooks" US Tour: Sept 28 - Oct 14

In a rare west coast series of performances this fall, including a night at Seattle's Moore Theatre, German neoclassical and soundtrack compose, Max Richter will be performing selections from his albums, "Infra" and "The Blue Notebooks", backed by the American Contemporary Music Ensemble. Over the course of over 50 recordings, spanning soundtracks for dance, theater, installation and film, alongside his own personal output beginning with 2002's "Memoryhouse", Richter has marked out a body of distinguished work in a field with such contemporaries as Jóhann Jóhannsson and Ólafur Arnalds. Many of these entries in Richter's recent and prolific catalog are commissioned works, such is the case with "Infra", a score for one of the composer's regular collaborators, Studio Wayne McGregor. Not limited simply to modern dance work with McGregor, their collaborations have also embraced cutting edge installation and transmedia works like those of Random International. Their "Future Self" for MADE, was one of the first in a series of successful installation and dance collaborations with McGregor and a score supplied by Richter. Following in rapid succession within the same year, the installation's premier at The Barbican was met with enthusiasm in the pages of the BBC and a glowing review from The Guardian. It's London run featuring a succession of live performances taking place within the installation over the course of the 2012 Frieze Art Fair. Following immediately on the success of "Future Self" the trio's "Rain Room" made it's premier at The Barbican London the following year, to then come stateside at MoMA's PS1 as part of "EXPO 1: New York", and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for an extended run. At the former, as part of a group exhibition of environmental works on ecological challenges in the context of the economic and sociopolitical instability. Generating more than a bit of a sensation, favorable press and public response, the installation's time at PS1 was covered in The New York Times' "Steamy Wait Before a Walk in a Museum’s Rain". With it's following run in Los Angeles featured by the LA Times, "Inside LACMA's Rain Room: An indoor Storm Where You Won't Get Wet".

Yet these are not the most audacious of Richter's meetings of composition, setting and performance. 2015 saw the composer realize his long developing 8 hour piece for the facilitation of "Sleep". The full night-long composition is available as a recording for home consumption both digitally, as a ultra high fidelity Blu-Ray audio release, as well as a separate edition of excerpt highlights conceived to represent the more engaged listening aspects, "From Sleep". But it is in performance that "Sleep" most explicitly realizes it's intent. Premiering in atypical venues across Europe, such as the Welcome Collection Reading Room in London this past fall, wherein the attendees nestled their campbeds between the reading room’s bookshelves and displays of alchemist flasks in anticipation of the clock striking midnight and the performance of Richter's "Eight-hour Lullaby for a Frenetic World". Most recently, and a first of its kind in North America, Los Angeles' Music Center, which also programs and manages Grand Park, hosted two nights of outdoor performance of "Sleep" under the summer skies this past July. The daring venture was met with more than a little anticipation for its experiment in duration and setting, represented by Rolling Stone's "Composer Max Richter to Perform Overnight L.A. Concerts with 560 Beds", and the Los Angeles Times' "Composer Max Richter Wants Fans to Spend the Night in Grand Park". Through its successful realization, not least of which the political undertones of sleeping out of doors, August Brown's "The All-Night, Outdoor Concert 'Sleep' Creates a Calming Reprieve with a Sense of Loss", accounts that “Sleep” was not just a beautiful, time-bending piece, but in this performance, contributed notably to re-imagining our public spaces. Recognizing the New Music and American Minimalist connections Richter in an interview for Bomb, spoke of his longstanding; "interest in extended-duration things. With music, this goes back to the ’60s, those all-night happenings, like Terry Riley and John Cage, all that. It’s certainly an idea that’s been around a long time." There have been no shortage of coverage in the pages of The Los Angeles Times, Time and NPR connecting "Sleep" and it's benefits in relation to the media abundant and time-scarce lives that many people feel they lead. More than just a layman's low-key artistic response to these concerns, Richter consulted with Baylor College neuroscientist David Eagleman in developing his composition. Assembled over the course of two years, the project's genesis was born of Richter's desire to make a “very deliberate political statement” on how daily time is spent, and nature of how the public engages with their larger sonic environment.