Although Max Richter has been scoring film for about just as long as he's been releasing LPs, it wasn't until the release of his touching musical accompaniment to the 2008 Golden Globe-winning documentary Waltz with Bashir that the German composer was fully a part of the conversation for the top working film composers today.
Although he's now worked on over 50 film and television projects (including The Leftovers, Jiro Dreams of Sushi and Arrival), Richter's recorded scores have largely remained unreleased. Now, under his own StudioRichter imprint, the 51-year-old composer has made three of his most celebrated works available digitally and on vinyl.
Originally released on compact disc in 2008, Henry May Long finds Richter still searching for his sound with a sweeping, string-rich 14-song suite that comes off just as archetypally cinematic and textural as you'd expect from a period piece. Much of the LP relies on emotional cello works and slow moving electronics, nicely accented by his minimal piano works.
Richter's 25-minute score to the first episode of season three of Black Mirror, titled "Nosedive," is incredibly intricate and cutting-edge, as the composer blends repetitious piano musings with sputtering electronics to create something extremely affecting and alien at the same time, working wonderfully in contrast to and in step with the show's tragi-comedy themes.
Richter's work from this year's BBC One program Taboo incorporates a swath of sounds and genres, but most importantly, it plays with mood, as he incorporates some of his most minimal compositions to date, working off of a single piano note before moving into full-string symphonies and scratchy violin.
With the release of Henry May Long, Black Mirror: Nosedive and Taboo, Max Richter reveals to listeners what film music supervisors have known for over a decade: this is a composer with a terrific sense of sonic style and narrative. (StudioRichter / Deutsche Grammophon)