Top 10 Best Max Richter Songs
10 “Elena & Lila” From My Brilliant Friend
I decided to bring this collection to a close with another sad masterpiece from My Brilliant Friend. The pendulous aspect of “Your Reflection” is continued in “Elena & Lila,” named for the two major heroines of this Italian HBO series. It’s even more simple, dreamier, and melancholy, building to a ferocious yet restrained conclusion that recalls Richter’s famed strings, which always signal drama and demand emotion.
9 “Your Reflection” From My Brilliant Friend
“Your Reflection” requires no accompaniment; it is a solo piano composition that is visceral and honest in its appeal. The entire soundtrack is amazing in how it depicts the show’s two main characters’ oscillating relationship, which can be heard in the arpeggiating ebb and flow of the piano’s notes. It is both hopeful and melancholy, straightforward and spiritual, without being happy or vibrant. The rest of the score is well worth hearing.
8 “Never Goodbye” From Hostiles
The familiar, gentle sounds of a piano open “Never Goodbye,” which develops to one of Richter’s most sorrowful and poignant climaxes. The fortissimo strings sink deep into our hearts, pulling on our heartstrings once more. The passion of the piece contrasted with the weird, introspective ending brilliantly depicts the raw emotion of this superbly shot and acted revisionist Western film.
7 “The Journey, Not the Destination” From Black Mirror (Season 3)
This composition differs from the others on this list because it creates a different emotion—wistful, thoughtful hope. The piece’s technological aspects are a hint to Black Mirror’s themes, and the dizzying, repeating electronic tones aren’t precisely cheerful, but possibly optimistic and idealistic in a way that Richter’s repetitive, minimalist music isn’t known for.
6 “On Reflection” From Black Mirror (Season 3)
One of Richter’s Black Mirror compositions, “On Reflection,” opens with a simple, lovely piano tune. It’s a simple, lovely, and (as always) emotive plea to the listener when the strings join. The piano takes centre stage in this tune, with the strings just serving to tug at the emotions, which they do far too well.
5 “The Quality of Mercy” From The Leftovers
Richter’s music for HBO’s The Leftovers is an important aspect of the tale; its melancholy motifs resonate and evoke a wide spectrum of emotions. A simple piano introduces the theme, which is then repeated in string quartet form. Richter’s minimalist, ambient style is perfectly suited to the show’s themes of mortality and the purpose of life. Like many of Richter’s compositions, “The Quality of Mercy” begins simple enough: a stringed instrument asks a question, which is subsequently answered by the rest of the quartet chiming in. These strings eventually fade away, making place for a booming piano that repeats the theme and gives the score a raw, naked emotional aspect.
4 “The Trees” From The Blue Notebooks
The album’s penultimate track, “The Trees,” opens with the sound of a typing machine and a brief narration by actress Tilda Swinton from Miosz’s Hymn Of The Pearl. A sad piano is introduced, followed by sombre violins. The composition becomes more intense as it progresses, culminating in a rich, beautiful, and dramatic conclusion. It’s a daring and emotional track from one of postminimalism’s seminal albums.
3 “On the Nature of Daylight” From The Blue Notebooks
The Blue Notebooks was Richter’s second solo album, and it was written as a protest against the 2003 war of Iraq. It gained even greater critical acclaim than its predecessor. The album’s most well-known track, “On the Nature of Daylight,” has been utilised in a number of films, notably Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island. “On the Nature of Daylight” is a work of astonishing polyphony and counterpoint. It draws the listener into a world that is both beautiful and painful, full of hope and despair. Richter’s music is profoundly cinematic, allowing each listener to enter their own head and extract their own sensations and memories. “On the Nature of Daylight” is a musical manifestation of sheer emotional intensity.
2 “November” From Memoryhouse
The song “November,” which is on the same album as “Europe, After the Rain,” begins with the sound of rain. Instead of a calm piano, a small chorus of eerie violins enters first, followed by a solitary violin playing majestic arpeggios that get progressively frenzied. The music continues to grow as more strings are added, eventually crescendoing to a breathtaking peak that doesn’t let go until the very end.
1 “Europe, After the Rain” From Memoryhouse
Richter’s debut album Memoryhouse, released in 2002, contains the song “Europe, After the Rain.” The song opens with a soft raindrop, followed by a poetic, whispered voice saying, “Colors fade away at night. It allows the soul’s colour to shine.” The sound of rain ceases halfway down the line, and is replaced by a pained, melancholy, crooning stringed instrument, which joins the piano with a haunting and dark yet fascinating tune. There are no other instruments in the composition, and the sound of rain pattering reappears at the conclusion as the piano fades away slowly—beautiful.