Groundbreaking composer and activist Max Richter has been revealed as one of the artists for this summer’s South Facing Festival at Crystal Palace Bowl. Max will headline an open air concert series on 28th August 2021. Today Max also releases Follower the second single from VOICES 2 the second album in VOICES the pioneering audio visual project, co-created with artistic partner Yulia Mahr.
South Facing is a new annual event that aims to breathe new life into the Crystal Palace Bowl: a stunning outdoor amphitheatre soaked with a rich heritage of live music, untouched for the last decade. In its 60-year history, the venue has played host to some of the world’s most acclaimed artists: Bob Marley, Pink Floyd, Elton John, The Cure, Lou Reed, Vera Lynn, to name a few.
This is Richter’s only UK date for 2021. He will perform two of his works, VOICES and INFRA, at the festival. The Max Richter Ensemble will take to the stage with Max performing solo piano and electronics, Mari Samuelson – Solo Violin, Grace Davidson – Solo Soprano and Robert Ziegler – Conductor.
The first half of the concert will be a live performance of Richter’s Infra, written for choreographer Wayne McGregor’s ballet of the same name as Richter’s musical response to the London 7/7 terror attacks. The second half will be a live performance of Max’s current album VOICES.
This will be the second ever live performance of VOICES since it premiered at the Barbican last February – the cusp of the pandemic sweeping the globe – with a radically reimagined “negative orchestra” heavy on basses and cellos, a musical metaphor of the world turning upside down. Little did Richter know at that time how much more dramatically the world would soon upturn.
Max said, “It is just over a year since we premiered VOICES at The Barbican. Looking back over this strange and anxious time, what strikes me most is how the pandemic has brought into focus the things that really matter; family, community, and creativity. It is a dream to be able to think about playing again. For musicians playing live is how it all starts – we thirst for it – and I can’t wait for our Crystal Palace show.”
Described by Richter as “a place to think”, VOICES was a response to our tempestuous political climate and the enduring need for compassion. Forthcoming album VOICES 2 develops this principle, continuing and intensifying the “place to think” concept.
While the first part of the project focuses on the text of The Universal Declaration Of Human Rights and its uplifting vision – opening with the 1949 recording of Eleanor Roosevelt reading the Declaration, and including excerpts read by a global community of 70 voices – VOICES 2 opens up a meditative musical space to consider those ideas raised by the first record.
New single Follower follows debut single ‘Mirrors’ which invites us to take a breather from the rolling news agenda to reflect on the aspirations in the Universal Declaration. Despite its sombre mood, positivity runs throughout: a sense of potential in a future as yet unwritten, with a younger, activist generation emerging. A bright future is within our reach should we choose it. BAFTA winning filmmaker and visual artist Yulia Mahr captures the image of rejuvenation in her beautiful video for ‘Mirrors’ as flowers bloom.
Max said, “Follower is a track from the second part of VOICES, a kind of extended listening space where we can reflect on the themes of the universal declaration. The last year has been hard to bear – I don’t suppose any of us will ever forget it – so it is natural that FOLLOWER has a darker texture than JOURNEY PIECE, its twin from part 1 of the project. The choir and orchestra is joined by descending analogue drones and sub sonics. Let’s hope for brighter days to come!”