Edinburgh International Festival music review: Max Richter, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Kelly Apter.
It TELLS you something about Max Richter, that despite being surrounded by 22 musicians, the first “instrument” he plays is his Apple Mac.
The electronic opening notes of his Recomposed – Vivaldi: The Four Seasons climb out of the computer, before handing over to the string section of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and incredible solo violinist Daniel Hope.
Forty-five minutes later, an enormous Playhouse crowd is on its feet, and with good reason. Richter’s extraordinary, and genuinely exciting, re-working of the famous concertos gets your adrenalin pumping one minute, fills you with tender sadness the next. While Hope’s dynamic playing compels our gaze with his fast and furious bowing.
For fans of Richter’s 2002 album Memoryhouse (and indeed anyone), the second half was a rare treat. Hearing this expansive, multi-layered 18-track recording played live by more than 60 musicians brought out all kinds of nuances potentially overlooked. Switching from keyboard to Mac to two different pianos, Richter displayed his musicianship as well as his composition skills.
A reflection of 20th-century Europe, in all its tragedy and splendour, Memoryhouse is not short of emotion – but the sweeping beauty of November and power and drama of Last Days will stay with me forever.
Published in The Scotsman on 26 August 2015
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