MaxInfra was originally conceived as a 25-minute score for a Royal Ballet collaboration between composer Max Richter, choreographer Wayne McGregor and visual artist Julian Opie which premiered in November 2008 and was also broadcast on BBC2. Fleshed out to just over 40 minutes through the inclusion of outtakes and extended sections, the soundtrack was recently revisited and recorded by Richter and a string quintet with a view to documenting the ballet and giving the musical accompaniment a life of its own.
Richter's music could broadly be classified as neo-classical, or
ambient, or electro-acoustic chamber music.These descriptors give you
an idea of his sound, but they don't tell you what the music feels
like.So while I can recognize those generic touchstones,i hear Richter's music first as night music, sound that makes darkness feel
alive.It's as though music allows us to see the melancholy or even futility
of activities we take for granted. The more mundane the activity and
the more achingly gorgeous the music, the more we feel the effect. And
this music is achingly gorgeous. It's also uncomplicated. If one were
to transcribe it, it would look childishly simple on the page: long,
held notes, a few repeating phrases locked together, some strings
working their way through a chord progression, note by note. But it's
not the substance of the music that matters so much as the way it's all
put together, and the way the composer understands timbre and what it
I should note that the original inspiration for the whole collaborative project was T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land.