To mark the release of Max Richter’s latest album, Exiles, the celebrated composer and musician of the moment is releasing a new music video for the opening track Flowers of Herself. Originally written for the critically-acclaimed Virginia Woolf-inspired ballet Woolf Works (Wayne McGregor’s ballet triptych created for The Royal Ballet in 2015), this rhythmically complex piece was heard earlier this year soundtracking Fendi’s spring and summer 2021 fashion show in Paris, with Kate Moss, Demi Moore, Naomi Campbell and Cara Delevingne among the supermodels on the runway.
Flowers of Herself soundtrack the opening five pages from Virginia Woolf’s 1925 opus Mrs Dalloway. Max Richter said: ‘Flowers of Herself is about the energy of going through a bustling city. The piece has this perpetual motion a little bit like if you’re walking down the street, you’ll see a bus, then you’ll see another bus in a different space, so there’s a shifting of perspective. Flowers for Herself is a celebration of London, and the orchestra emulates a busy, vibrant city, fuelled by excitement and pace.’
For the video, Studio Richter Mahr challenged three young filmmakers to follow in Mrs Dalloway’s footsteps across London to buy the flowers herself from Westminster across St James’s Park and onto Bond Street. Samuel Recko shot London streets in Super-8 on a skateboard, Annick Wolfers paints the city as colourful and ethereal, and Sebastien Rabas takes a documentary-style approach in black and white.
Flowers of Herself, composed for a large orchestra with electronics, is featured alongside expanded versions of other beloved Richter tracks: The Haunted Ocean from Waltz with Bashir; Infra 5 from Infra; On the Nature of Daylight from The Blue Notebooks and Sunlight from Songs from Before – an album which David Bowie described as having the power to produce tears when listened to in the right setting.
Central to the new album is the title track, Exiles – a world premiere recording of Richter’s 33-minute work composed for Nederlands Dans Theater and choreographers Sol León and Paul Lightfoot. Profoundly moved by the tragedy of the migrant crisis, Richter explains the inspiration for the piece: ‘Reflecting on contemporary society, I decided to make a work on the universal subject of journeys. Many of us are lucky enough to be able to influence where we are going. Still, there are very few choices for an increasing number: the physical journey is a necessity for the journey forward through time to continue at all.’
The album was recorded in Tallinn with conductor Kristjan Järvi and the Baltic Sea Philharmonic – an orchestra that prides itself on fostering cross-border unity and artistic innovation.