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Customer Review

23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classy but pricey box set reissue of Richter albums 2-5 on Deutsche Grammophon, with bonus tracks, 10 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Max Richter / Retrospective (Audio CD)
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).
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 8 Sep 2014, 08:22:15 BST
Last edited by the author on 10 Sep 2014, 14:28:44 BST
neoguri says:
I am going to respectfully disagree with this review on two critical points made above.

Firstly this release is very affordable. The original release of `The Blue Notebook', one of the discs included here, is not available second-hand for less that twice the price of this compilation.

Secondly suggesting that this would have fit on two, maybe three discs, is ludicrous. Each disc is a self-contained release or composition. Cramming it into two of three would mean cutting them up, a nauseating idea.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Sep 2014, 14:26:16 BST
Absolutely. You can't get Blue Notebook now except at absurd prices, and anyone with even a passing interest in Richter would have known this.

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Dec 2015, 14:25:57 GMT
The impression I took from Mister McCartney's informative and interesting review was of someone who had a lot more than a passing interest in Max Richter's music. Anyway, his points continue to be valid. Yours are now somewhat out of date: "Blue Notebook" is currently available on Amazon for £9.80.
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Review Details



Colin McCartney

Location: United Kingdom

Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,276