Max Richter – The Blue Notebooks (2004) 130701

Conceptually, Max Richter’s The Blue Notebooks, German-born composer mixes contemporary classical compositions with electronic elements in a dreamscapy journalogue featuring excerpts from Kafka’s The Blue Octavo Notebooks as narrated by Tilda Swinton reads like a relentlessly precious endeavor, as new age music for grad students, the sort of record that sagely pats you on the back for being smart enough to seek it out. And yet in practice, despite the fact that it is exactly as outlined above, Kafka quotes and all, there is absolutely nothing exclusive or contrived-feeling about it. In fact, not only is Richter’s second album one of the finest of the last six months, it is also one of the most affecting and universal contemporary classical records in recent memory.
Richter composed The Blue Notebooks in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He has described it as ‘a protest album about Iraq.

01. The Blue Notebooks
02. On The Nature Of Daylight
03. Horizon Variations
04. Shadow Journal
05. Iconography
06. Vladimir’s Blues
07. Arboretum
08. Old Song
09. Organum
10. The Trees
11. Written On The Sky

Cello – Chris Worsey, Philip Sheppard
Piano – Max Richter
Viola – John Metcalfe
Violin – Louisa Fuller, Natalia Bonner
Text By – Czesław Miłosz, Franz Kafka

Track 1 reading from “The First Notebook” in Franz Kafka’s The Blue Octavo Notebooks
Track 4 reading from “At Dawn” in Czesław Miłosz’s Unattainable Earth
Track 7 reading from “The Third Notebook” in Franz Kafka’s The Blue Octavo Notebooks
Track 8 reading from “The Fourth Notebook” in Franz Kafka’s The Blue Octavo Notebooks
Track 10 reading from “The Wormwood Star” movement of “The Separate Notebooks” in Czesław Miłosz’s Hymn Of The Pearl



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