Richter set for double-album of film music

Max Richter wrote the score for the third season of the HBO series, The Leftovers, which stars (from left) Christopher Eccleston, Jovan Adepo, Kevin Carroll and Amy Brenneman.
Max Richter wrote the score for the third season of the HBO series, The Leftovers, which stars (from left) Christopher Eccleston, Jovan Adepo, Kevin Carroll and Amy Brenneman.PHOTO: HBO ASIA

PARIS • Max Richter, the British composer whose influences range from Bach to Brian Eno, will next month release a double album from his career in film music.

He wrote the electronic-infused score to the 2008 Israeli anti-war film, Waltz With Bashir, and has worked on a range of other films, from the 2012 breakthrough Saudi Arabian drama Wadjda to the 2011 documentary Jiro Dreams Of Sushi.

His music for films will appear on the album Out Of The Dark Room, set for release on May 19.

The German-born composer described music as "my natural language".

"It is what happens when I wake up in the morning. There's stuff playing in my head," he said. "It has always been like that, and actually, I think I feel very privileged to be in a position where I can do this."

He was speaking during a visit to Paris to promote the third season of the HBO series, The Leftovers, for which he also wrote the score.

He said he was drawn by the "absolutely fantastic" script of Damon Lindelof, who based the series on Tom Perrotta's novel about the mass disappearance of a large segment of the human population and the resulting effects on religion.

He said the show asked the "big questions" that have always interested him - "Why do we do stuff? Why we get through the day? What it all means?"

He said he saw a parallel to his latest album, Three Worlds, which was inspired by three novels of Virginia Woolf - Mrs Dalloway, Orlando and The Waves.

The album, composed in tandem with a ballet, touches on the novels, but it is also about Woolf herself, who struggled with mental illness before committing suicide in 1941.

"Her project is all about using creativity to go from point A to point B in your life. That's what is impressive about her," he said.

"She lived a very challenging life psychologically. She had a very hard time, very difficult childhood. But in spite of that, we have this incredible body of work."

He has also finished the soundtrack to the period Western Hostiles, starring Christian Bale and directed by Scott Cooper, which he said would come out by the end of the year.

He was influenced by a generation of musicians who dared to mix genres and who "opened up a space which wasn't really there before", including Brian Eno and minimalist composers Michael Nyman and Philip Glass. But Bach reigns supreme in the personal pantheon of Richter, who listens to the 18th- century master every day.

"It all started with Bach. Bach did more than compose, he wrote a language. That's another thing completely," he said.

His other touchstone is Henry Purcell, "the English Bach", whom he credits with "amazing techniques and lots of feelings".

Richter said he is also working on an orchestral album with the tentative title of Voices.

"I've been working on it for about 10 years. I need it to be finished," he said.


•The Leftovers Season 3 airs on HBO (StarHub TV Channel 601) on Mondays at 9am, with an encore at 9pm. It is also available on HBO On Demand (StarHub TV Channel 602) and HBO on StarHub Go.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 24, 2017, with the headline 'Richter set for double-album of film music'. Print Edition | Subscribe