- Title: Universal Declaration of Human Rights inspires new musical work 'Voices'
- Date: 1st July 2020
- Summary: OXFORD, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (JUNE 26, 2020) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) MUSICIAN MAX RICHTER, SAYING: ''The Declaration is a hopeful document. It's you know, we've made all these problems, we've made this world which is beset by trouble and difficulty. But there's a - we made those problems, right? But we've also got this solution, which we've made. And I think there's something incredibly hopeful about that.''
- Embargoed: 15th July 2020 10:45
- Keywords: All Human Beings Max Richter Voices
- Location: UNKNOWN LOCATION/OXFORD, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM/GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA/LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
- City: UNKNOWN LOCATION/OXFORD, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM/GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA/LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment,Music
- Reuters ID: LVA00ACKZ8KEL
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Acclaimed composer Max Richter's new album "Voices" features multiple narrators reading part of the text of the 70-year-old Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which he believes can stir hope in a world where we "lurch from crisis to crisis."
His piece starts with the voice of Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945, and who was instrumental in setting up the Declaration in 1948 after World War Two.
Roosevelt explains the Declaration is "for all peoples and all nations". Actor Kiki Layne then reads Article One, which begins "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights," to a musical accompaniment.
"I wanted a young voice to read this Declaration because for me, the Declaration is about the potential of the future, the potential of that text," Richter told Reuters.
Other voices, crowdsourced by Richter, take over the reading of the text/ read parts of the text in their native language, which asserts that every person has the right to life, liberty and security without distinction, such as by race, colour, social origin, religion or politics.
A classical pianist with a love of German electronic band Kraftwerk, Richter was born in Germany but grew up in Britain. He has sold over one million albums and is renowned for his minimalist yet melodic and emotive style.
"One of the starting points for the piece really was my sense that the promise and hopefulness of that Declaration... was evaporating before our eyes," he said.
The piece was first conceived when Richter thought about the U.S. Guantanamo Bay detention camp - opened to hold suspects captured by the United States overseas after the September 11, 2001 attacks, and his sense that "the world had gone wrong in a new kind of way.''
"The topic of human rights is relevant all the time, and as we lurch from crisis to crisis, different aspects of it are highlighted and brought into focus," he said.
The Black Lives Matter protests following the death of George Floyd in the United States are a reckoning he said, over what is fundamentally an issue of human rights.
"We've made this world which is beset by trouble and difficulty... But we've also got this solution, which we've made. And I think there's something incredibly hopeful about that," he said.
Richter has also adapted his 2015 eight-hour work "Sleep", which listeners are encouraged to follow in bed, into an app which allows people to "make a personal, curated journey" through his original album.
The process of his 2015 album has also been the subject of a film, 'Max Richter's Sleep', after premiering at the Sundance Film Festival this year, it's set for release in October.
Both pieces are rooted in creating a sense of global community.
"Voices" will be released on July 31, while the track "All Human Beings" taken from the album has just been released.
(Production: Sarah Mills)
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