The Baltic Sea Philharmonic will make its label debut for Deutsche Grammophon with the new Max Richter album EXILES. Set for release on 6 August 2021, EXILES features the orchestra and its Music Director and Founding Conductor Kristjan Järvi in new recordings of pieces from previous Max Richter albums, as well as pieces originally composed for ballet scores. The album comprises seven tracks but especially the mainwork ’Exiles’ dealing with the humanitarian disaster of the migrant crisis resonates the country-bonding mission of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic. ’It has this “peacemaking” function, people being able to talk to each other in a creative way. It struck me that it would be nice to have that orchestra play music that matched that theme’, said Max Richter. Besides ‘Exiles’ in two parts the album also contains ‘The Haunted Ocean’ from Waltz with Bashir; ‘Infra 5’ from Infra; ‘Flowers of Herself’ from Woolf Works; ‘On the Nature of Daylight’ from The Blue Notebooks; and ‘Sunlight’ from Songs from Before.
EXILES was recorded in September 2019 at the studio of Estonian Public Broadcasting in Järvi’s home city of Tallinn, Estonia, in the presence of the composer. The album represents the orchestra’s first major collaboration with Max Richter, although his compositions have previously featured on the programmes of Baltic Sea Philharmonic concerts. Richter and Järvi have worked together on various other projects, including with the MDR Symphony Orchestra in Leipzig, when Järvi was the orchestra’s chief conductor and Richter was artist in residence for its 2016/17 season.
Lights of openness and unity
Max Richter composed the main work on the album, the 33-minute ‘Exiles’, for the Nederlands Dans Theater, and the music had its premiere in 2017 as the score for a dance work called Singulière Odyssée. Like some other Richter works, ‘Exiles’ has a socio-political dimension, in that it is a personal response to the humanitarian disaster of the migrant crisis and the plight of Syrian refugees. In this light, the choice of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic – with its open, borderless and unifying nature – as collaborators for the album was therefore an important one for the composer. ‘They are engaged with music and society, connecting people who live around the Baltic Sea so that obviously includes former Western European countries, former Eastern European countries,’ he said. ‘The orchestra has an explicit social dimension, which really struck me as important.’
For Kristjan Järvi, the openness and fearlessness he has encouraged in the Baltic Sea Philharmonic musicians are essential qualities for playing Max Richter’s emotionally direct works, with their exposed musical lines. ‘This music is so personal that if the lines are not played with personal commitment and dedication, then they don’t work,’ he said. ‘It means on an emotional level it’s scary for the musicians to go out on stage and commit themselves, because then they’re showing the audience exactly who they are. But that’s why I love doing these pieces with the Baltic Sea Philharmonic.’
Find out more about how we made the album EXILES in our storyboard.
Max Richter: EXILES
Recorded at Eesti Rahvusringhääling (Estonian Public Broadcasting), Tallinn, Estonia, September 2019
Music Composed by Max Richter
Orchestra Baltic Sea Philharmonic
Conductor Kristjan Järvi
Exiles Pt. 1
Exiles Pt. 2
The Haunted Ocean (from Waltz with Bashir)
Infra 5 (from Infra)
Flowers of Herself (from Woolf Works)
On the Nature of Daylight (from The Blue Notebooks)
Sunlight (from Songs from Before)