Inspiration Through Music: Max Richter

Sometimes, I’m glad that I don’t have an infinite amount of money. There are so many brilliantly scored soundtracks out there by composers that should be given more credit than they receive. And I want to own most all of them. There are at the moment over ten that I have listed on my cork board over my desk that are “must haves”. Having been introduced to Spotify over a year ago, I’ve discovered more wonderful composers that I’d never heard of before because of their “related artists” box. One of these is Max Richter.

I don’t remember what I was listening to at the time, but it suddenly didn’t matter anymore when compared to Richter’s minimalist and yet startlingly emotive compositions. The first soundtrack I listened to by him? One for a masterfully created animated film called “Waltz with Bashir”. Since discovering Richter, I’ve listened to him for nearly every project I’ve worked on, the latest being my apocalyptic work-in-progress, Cold Walls, and the upcoming Memento Mori: Book 3 of The Monstrum Chronicles. I find that I’m inspired to write about characters who are forced to do something because of a particularly strong motivation. It pushes them to do things that they normally wouldn’t do but suddenly find an inner courage or impulse that pushes them in a different direction. I’m excited today to share five of his pieces with you and describe to you what I see when I listen to them.

On the Nature of Daylight: Running. His lungs threatening to burst. His legs threatening to crash down against the earth. He had been going so long and so hard that he wondered where he was getting his strength from. By now, he should have collapsed, should have run out of air, out of energy, and time. But something drove him on, a small ember burning beneath the husks of charred wood. The cold stung his skin and he focused on the forest ahead, the approaching gloom just beyond its edge. Somewhere in there, he’d find her. He didn’t know why she’d run off there, but he knew he only had seconds to get her back or she’d be lost inside for good. She was his everything, this tiny thing that had grown into something more beautiful than he could have ever imagined. He couldn’t let that be taken away from him.

All Your Joys, All Your Pain: Wind tossed at the chimes on his porch and the sky grew darker as the storm clouds moved in. Still, he sat, leaning forward with his elbow propped on the chair arm, staring across the yard. It was never going to stop. She was never going to leave him alone. This quiet life he’d hollowed out for himself here was going to be ruined. He’d thought he’d found someplace safe, somewhere where his past wouldn’t follow him into the new life he’d tried to create. He should have figured it wouldn’t be that simple. Stupid, he thought, shaking his head. Rain began to speckle at the edges of the deck. Soon enough, it doused the lawn and drummed on the balloons left tied up on the mailbox. He knew he should bow and give in. Only then will it stop for good. I can stop running. The feeling of weight lifting from his shoulders was only momentary. It was too easy, throwing in the towel like that. He couldn’t just give up. There had to be some other way.

The Haunted Ocean 5: His hand slipped from hers as the last of his life left it. She couldn’t remove her eyes from his, couldn’t stop herself from imagining the long life he’d lived, the happiness, triumphs, tears, and pain that had spotted every moment in his life. She’d only known of his later years and had been nothing but an afterfeather on the vane of his life. Was this all that she was ever going to know? The end of all of these remarkable lives? And what of her own? She’d tried to find a place where she could lay low and be out of the way. She didn’t want to interfere with anyone, so much as just eek out some kind of meager existence. All she’d had to say were two words to ruin things for some of the people she loved the most. She didn’t want to harm anymore. But looking now, she realized that the life of an observer could be just as saddening as the other. And she didn’t want that.

Organum: Bills. They sifted in like grains of sand, creating their own desert on her kitchen table. Medical expenses. Mortgages. Loans. Credit card payments. She clenched her teeth. Her husband’s mysterious expenditures. What had he kept from her on that last vacation? She took a sip from her gin and tonic, swished it around in her mouth. She knew there was something. And whatever it was, he’d gone out of his way to try and cover it up. But now, the truth lay before her, the envelope wrinkled at the edges from the rain. All she needed to do was put it into the freezer for an hour and it would pop right open without any trouble… She could know. Then reseal the envelope. He’d be none the wiser. And it would put her one step closer to figuring her way out of this mess. She’d have the upper hand.

Everything is Burning: The walk had been good, just what she’d needed in fact. A breath of fresh air, a way to think from a different angle about everything. Janie wouldn’t say anything. They’d been friends since they were ten. Even if she felt an obligation to be morally responsible. This wasn’t her business. Her husband wouldn’t need to know. And she could keep living this quiet little lie. At least until the summer ended. Autumn had a way of yanking one back into reality with a crisp blast of chilly air. But as she rounded the corner, the air no longer smelled sweet or tasted fresh. Smoke rolled over her and she coughed, nearly doubling over with the purge against her system. When she looked up, everything that had seemed alright just seconds ago, faded into chaos. The house was on fire. Everything was burning.

Intrigued by Max Richter’s work? Here is his official website. Go check it out!

Next week on Inspiration Through Music, I’ll be exploring the work of Akira Yamaoka, best known for composing the soundtracks for the Silent Hill video game series. Stay tuned!

~KSilva

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