Max Richter – Blue Notebooks

Max Richter
Blue Notebooks

When it comes to my tastes concerning classical music, I don’t have a clue what I’m talking about half the time. Even after working at a record store where we have a huge classical section, I find just as many records that I like as I do ones that I find totally tasteless. I know what I like when I hear it, though, and I’ve got to say that I think Max Richter’s Blue Notebooks is astounding. It is very minimal music comprised mostly of piano, violin, viola, and cello with some spoken word arrangements on a few of the tracks. The booklet that comes with the CD has the actual spoken word parts printed inside. It seems they are selected texts from “Hymn of the Perl” and “Unattainable Earth” by Czeslaw Milosz and “The Blue Octavo Notebooks” by Franz Kafka.

Fans of Rachel’s, specifically Music for Egon Schiele and The Sea and the Bells will find so much to love in Max Richter. The piano unfolds slowly around layers of violin and cello, not unlike many of the works on the aforementioned records. The spoken-word sections only serve to heighten this sense of warmth by adding a lovely voice that is not intrusive to the music at all. Like the best intrumental music, it has the ability to move you without ever resorting to any cheap one liner tactics employed by some vocalists.

I find that with records like this it is best to actually enjoy the record instead of talk it to death. I highly recommend picking a copy of this up and putting it on while you are hanging out at home. It certainly isn’t driving music. Blue Notebooks is the kind of record that you can wrap up with and read a book. In the cold months until the end of March/beginning of April, keep this in mind as it might prove useful.