Much like the beautiful gamalan band Sekar Enggal that opened, you could just close your eyes and float away to the serene music. Max Richter was supported by a string quintet - 2 violins, a voila and 2 cellos - and ensemble and sound put Clint Mansells night at the Union Chapel to shame. Which is ironic, I suppose, considering he got a standing ovation, while this night the Chapel was (pleasantly) not even sold out.
The very first piece, from Memory House, encapsulated the whole night for me - layers upon layers of sublime melody, starting in the cello’s, the in each violin, and before you notice it, you hear the subtle viola singing out in reply. The last track before interval began quietly, but built up until a gutteral bassline thundered under the music, like an organ playing the low pipes with all the stops pulled out. It was startling, and quite effective, making me want to hear Max in a Church with an organ that could do him justice on that piece. The crescendo in the finale, too, was also executed with such empathy and finesse that it made the hairs on the back of you neck stand up. It was not suprising after a night of silent reverence from the audience that he received a standing ovation. I suspect this show will end up in my Top 5 shows attended in London… only time will tell!
heres the first track sample: