Thursday , October 21 2021
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Travelling music

Summary:
The Covid situation in Australia has deteriorated in recent months after the conservative NSW government allowed it to spread (after a lax approach to quarantine – privatising the service). For the last 9 weeks or so I have been stuck in another state, away from home, and wondering when I could get back across the border again. Well yesterday I finally acquired a travel permit to cross the border between NSW and Victoria and 10 hours later (by car) I am now back at home. So I am catching up on things this afternoon (with two computer monitors – yeah) and there will be no formal blog post. But there is some music. Back tomorrow. Music – for travelling Sometimes you need to really concentrate on a new album and play it several times to appreciate the nuances and subtlety of the performance

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The Covid situation in Australia has deteriorated in recent months after the conservative NSW government allowed it to spread (after a lax approach to quarantine – privatising the service). For the last 9 weeks or so I have been stuck in another state, away from home, and wondering when I could get back across the border again. Well yesterday I finally acquired a travel permit to cross the border between NSW and Victoria and 10 hours later (by car) I am now back at home. So I am catching up on things this afternoon (with two computer monitors – yeah) and there will be no formal blog post. But there is some music. Back tomorrow.

Music – for travelling

Sometimes you need to really concentrate on a new album and play it several times to appreciate the nuances and subtlety of the performance by the artist(s) and the mastering by the producer.

So a long road trip, when no-one else is in the vehicle and volume can be adjusted to suit the single taste (loud in this case), is a pretty good platform for accomplishing that aim.

Just such an album is – Voices – by the post minimalist composer – Max Richter.

It was released last year (July 31, 2020) and was “inspired by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”.

This article (June 25, 2020) – Max Richter Announces New Album ‘Voices’ – provides some background about how the readings were organised and sourced.

The album has a voiced section (with various readings) and then the voiceless version of the music.

Here is the full album, which uses what Max Richter refers to as a “negative orchestra” (“nearly all basses and cellos”).

At some stages in the album you think you hear a deep rumbling – one of the deepest sound the human ear can hear I suspect – and it is a very stark background to the negative orchestra.

The whole album is 56 minutes then repeats in voiceless mode.

My favourite track is Mercy with the solo violin played by – Mari Samuelson.

Mercy begins at 48:51 and then at the end of the second version of the album.

A breathtaking way to spend 10 hours driving a car I can tell you.

Here is a short video from Max Richter explaining the motivation of the album and its meaning.

He always has a very sound and progressive intent behind his music.

He commented on the album:

I like the idea of a piece of music as a place to think, and it is clear we all have some thinking to do at the moment. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is something that offers us a way forward. Although it isn’t a perfect document, the declaration does represent an inspiring vision for the possibility of better and kinder world.

He goes further in this NPR interview (August 2, 2020) – Composer Max Richter On ‘Voices,’ A New Album That Envisions A Better World.

Here is a review of the album from British Gramophone – Richter Voices.

That is enough for today!

(c) Copyright 2021 William Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

Bill Mitchell
Bill Mitchell is a Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. He is also a professional musician and plays guitar with the Melbourne Reggae-Dub band – Pressure Drop. The band was popular around the live music scene in Melbourne in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The band reformed in late 2010.

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