Hot-ish on the heels of Recomposed By Max Richter: Vivaldi, The Four Seasons
, modern classical composer Max Richter cements his relationship with the world's oldest classical music label (a label that has become something of a taste-maker in the 21st century) by putting out four, of the five, LPs he recorded originally for the indie label, Fatcat. Why this collection doesn't include all five (the omission is Memoryhouse
) is anyone's guess. Also, I suspect you can buy the original four CDs - albeit sans bonus tracks - for cheaper than the price of this set. And that's not the only reason it's overpriced - each disc is a 40 minute, or thereabouts, runtime and the whole thing could have fitted onto two, maybe three at most, discs. But hey, this edition is on Deutsche Grammophon - which means you can impress just about everyone as THE most serious of music fans. Music even your grandfather will approve of.
Like very many people, I first came to Max Richter through his piece "On the Nature of Daylight" (on the soundtrack of Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island [DVD] (2010)
) which appears on disc one in two, very similar (good) versions. Sadly, the most arresting version of all - the one with Dinah Washington's "This Bitter Earth" overlaid, doesn't feature, which is a shame perhaps - but only if you don't already own it. If you are coming to this via OTNoD, then you won't be disappointed, although in all honesty (or maybe it's just because of familiarity on my part?) that is the best thing on here. Disc 2 "Songs from Before" kind of puts me in mind of Paddy McAloon's I Trawl The Megahertz
but with Robert Wyatt and Tilda Swinton, instead of that American woman on vocals. It's very good, though not as good as "Megahertz" (what is? Hint: DG if you're looking for another contemporary artist to re-issue then look no further than Paddy). Overall Richter's music is very listenable for a modern composer - he counts Kraftwerk as an influence and that shows. Also, Durutti Column regular (as well as Goldfrapp and Coldplay collaborator) John Metcalfe is a major presence across the first three CDs. I would wager that Basic Channel and even Boards of Canada were also influences on his sound - particularly on discs three and four.
The box set is (and so it should be) well presented in a hardback book format with an "essay" (I call it blurb) by Paul Morley (making more sense than he normally does) and is protected by an outer, hard card slip case. The whole package is about the size of a large paperback and should sit nicely on your bookshelf, though maybe not your CD rack (should also fit through a letterbox, for those ordering over the internet, by the way).
All in all, for anyone looking for a stylish way to catch up with Richter, and not overly bothered about the price, this is a very nice edition (or would make a great present). Otherwise, I suspect this will come out in a budget/standard edition at some point (or, just buy the original CDs).