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Max Richter, 'Flowers Of Herself'

Max Richter's new release is anchored by his arresting 33-minute ballet Exiles, but the "filler" on the album is well worth considering. Along with older pieces Richter successfully retools for full symphony orchestra is a previously unreleased outtake from his earlier ballet, Woolf Works, inspired by the writing of Virginia Woolf. "Flowers of Herself" is a sparkling workout for orchestra, a soundtrack of sorts for the opening of Mrs. Dalloway. The day awakes to the tolling of Big Ben in tubular bells, slowly giving way to a bustling street scene with pulsating winds and intertwining rhythms, depicting Woolf's "carriages, motor cars, omnibuses, vans, sandwich men shuffling and swinging." But within this orchestral hubbub Richter weaves his signature wistful melodies, reflecting the unease of Woolf's main character. One of his most intricate and attractive orchestral pieces, "Flowers" receives an outstanding performance by the young musicians of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic led by Kristjan Järvi.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Tom Huizenga is a producer for NPR Music. He contributes a wide range of stories about classical music to NPR's news programs and is the classical music reviewer for All Things Considered. He appears regularly on NPR Music podcasts and founded NPR's classical music blog Deceptive Cadence in 2010.