Exiles and the Music

By Bella Pallett

Strolling through the bustling city, it was easy to get lost in the crowd. Perpetually moving forward, Mrs Dalloway had one mission on her mind. She was relieved for an excuse to step out of the house, London welcomed her; the journey from her Winchester home across St James Park and onto Bond Street was full of sights and she was caught up in the whirlwind of excitement. She let go of the stress that was grasping her and for a brief moment; she was free from the crescendo of her thoughts. Find out more in Exiles and the Music  

Highly regarded contemporary composer, Max Richter, has just released his new orchestral album EXILES along with a new music video for the track, Flowers of Herself. The album, recorded in Tallinn with conductor Kristjan Järvi and the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, prides itself on its cross-border unity and artistic innovation. 

Soundtracking the opening 5 pages from Virginia Woolf’s 1925 novel Mrs Dalloway through following in the footsteps of the imagined character, Flower’s of Herself celebrates not only the city but the character of Mrs Dalloway. The orchestra emulates a busy and vibrant city, composed for a large orchestra with electronics, the track is able to echo its visuals. Through associating both music and literature, the piece is deeply enriched.

Yulia Mahr, creative director of Studio Richter Mahr, worked alongside Max Richter to successfully partner the visuals with the music. Three young filmmakers were challenged to capture not only the beauty of the orchestral piece but the energy of going through a bustling city and the perpetual motion. Through creating a shifting perspective, the visuals capture and begin to associate with the physical journey. 

The three filmmakers took vastly different approaches, but by mashing together film shot of London streets in Super-8 on a skateboard, a black and white documentary style, and through painting the city as colourful and ethereal, the film perfectly captures the excitement and pace of London as Mrs Dalloway journeys to buy flowers for herself. 

Flowers of Herself is featured alongside expanded versions of other beloved Richter tracks as well as the title track, Exiles, which is central to the new album and the composer’s heart.  

Profoundly moved by the tragedy of the migrant crisis and sparking a piece focusing on the universal concept of journeys, Richter showcases a world premiere recording of his 33-minute work composed for Nederlands Dans Theatre. It is clear that Richter has poured his heart and soul into the piece reflecting his feelings of frustration and emotion.  

Emphasising that many of us are lucky enough to be able to influence where we are going, we must not forget the increasing number for whom there are very few choices. With the underlying message that the physical journey is a necessity in order for the journey forward through time to continue at all, the track raises awareness through its deeper meaning.  

Listen to the musician whose music the likes of David Bowie claimed has the power to produce tears through his rhythmically complex pieces. Through successfully associating music and literature, Max Richter has created a deeply enriched piece that echoes its visuals, out now on Deutsche Grammophon.

If you enjoyed Exiles and the Music, why not read Collaborative Genius here.

Listen to EXILES by Max Richter here.