Last month contemporary classical composer Max Richter re-released his acclaimed sophomore album The Blue Notebooks in celebration of its 15th anniversary, and a new Super Deluxe expanded edition is out at the end of this month via Deutsche Grammophon. In its inception, the album was a protest of the Iraq War that saw Richter, like many, using music as an externalized meditation on violence. The Blue Notebooks was and still is a delicate space for reflection.
Today, Richter is debuting the George Belfield-directed video for one of the album’s most well-known and compelling songs “On The Nature Of Daylight.” Its slow-moving, cinematic nature has no doubt contributed to the track’s extensive use in films such as Shutter Island, Stranger Than Fiction, and most prominently 2016’s Arrival.
The video stars The Handmaid’s Tale and Mad Men actress Elisabeth Moss, who shared a statement explaining that she regularly listens to Richter’s music before shoots to get herself in the zone:
When I was asked to do this project it was a dream come true. My work has been inspired by his music for so many years and not a day goes by on set where I don’t have Max’s music playing in my ears before a take. His music and my acting have gone hand in hand for a long time. So for me the opportunity to act to one of his most prolific pieces was such an incredible honor. Working with George and this entire team was so artistically fulfilling and an experience I will never forget.
“On The Nature Of Daylight” feels reminiscent of Radiohead’s “Daydreaming” video. As Moss walks down street after street, her expression remains reserved, bleak, until she’s overwhelmed by tears and then anger and then a powerful determination to keep reaching slowly forward. The instrumental is more hopeful than the visuals let on, and with its palindromic structure, “On The Nature Of Daylight” proves that it can carve a space both in the past and present. Watch and listen below.
The extended version of The Blue Notebooks is out 6/29 via Deutsche Grammophon. Pre-order it here.