Max Richter: Three Worlds - Music from Woolf Works (CD)

Deutsche Grammophon
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Max Richter, Louisa Fuller, Natalia Bonner, John Metcalfe

This brand new album from Max Richter features work composed for the Royal Ballet's 2015 production "Woolf Works", a critically-acclaimed ballet triptych by choreographer Wayne McGregor, inspired by the life and works of English novelist Virginia Woolf.

Like the ballet, the disc is presented in three parts, each corresponding to one of Woolf's novels - Mrs DallowayOrlando and The Waves - each with it's own unique sonic palette. Mrs. Dalloway is the most traditional of the three, featuring violin, viola and cello in a minimalist, looping vein. The music in the Orlando section recalls the time-travelling, sex-changing title character of the novel by moving from traditional instruments to modern electronic ones, while The Waves rises and falls like the ocean, drawing you in to an utterly immersive sonic world.


Woolf's writing, like the work of so many great artists, is not easy to summarise. It is profound, visionary, daring, experimental, but equally at times playful, personal, intimate and always deeply humane. Richter's compositions here recall Woolf's work in the best ways, inspired by her creativity and modernism but bursting with great emotion and depth of feeling.


The original ballet was met with outstanding critical acclaim on its premiere in 2015, winning the Critics’ Circle Award for Best Classical Choreography and the Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production. The Observer described it as ‘a compellingly moving experience’; for The Independent it ‘glows with ambition… a brave, thoughtful work’; The Guardian called it a ‘haunting meditation on memory, madness and time’ and ‘lavishly atmospheric score’. 

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