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Max Richter announces new album based on the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights

By | Published on Friday 26 June 2020

Max Richter

Max Richter has announced his new album ‘Voices’. Ten years in the making, the record is inspired by the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights.

“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”, says Richter. “We live in a hugely challenging time and, looking around at the world we have made, it’s easy to feel hopeless or angry. But, just as the problems we face are of our own making, so their solutions are within our reach, and 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 a better and kinder world”.

The Universal Declaration Of Human Rights was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948, following the Second World War. It was drafted by a group of philosophers, artists and other thinkers brought together by Eleanor Roosevelt. Her voice can be heard in a recording made the following year at the beginning of Richter’s album.

Roosevelt’s isn’t the only voice that appears on the record. As well as drafting in actor Kiki Layne to provide narration throughout, in preparing for the recording Richter crowdsourced readings of the Declaration. He received submissions from all around the world, in more than 70 languages.

The piece received its world premiere at the Barbican in London in February this year, with twelve double basses, 24 cellos, six violas, eight violins and a harp being employed. “It came out of this idea of the world being turned upside down, our sense of what’s normal being subverted, so I have turned the orchestra upside down in terms of the proportion of instruments”, he explains.

Elsewhere in Max Richter news, he’s also announced that his very successful ‘Sleep’ album is being turned into an app, five years after its original release. It sees the eight hour piece reworked into personalised sessions for chosen periods based on different themes. Richter has also written a new alarm sound to wake you up, and it features various planetary animations in the event that you want to stay awake and look at something.

“I’m happy that the ‘Sleep’ app is finally with us”, says Richter. “It has been a labour of love for all involved and it has turned out beautifully. The way that the app allows listeners to make a unique and personal journey through the landscape of ‘Sleep’ is remarkable and conveys the spirit of the music in a completely new way”.

The app is available now. ‘Voices’ is set for release on 31 Jul. You can hear a track from it, ‘All Human Beings’, here: