To mark Human Rights Day on Thursday 10 December Max Richter’s groundbreaking recording project Voices, inspired by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, will be broadcast for the first time on BBC Radio 3 at 7.30pm and 40 international radio stations in collaboration with the European Broadcasting Union.
Max Richter and his creative partner Yulia Mahr will also participate in a global Q&A with the United Nations to mark Human Rights Day. A new EP featuring five new versions of ‘All Human Beings’ (the opening part of Max Richter’s Voices), performed by acclaimed global artists in French, German, Spanish, Dutch and English, will be released on the same day.
At the heart of Voices is a profound sense of global community, born out of Richter and Mahr’s career-long stance that creativity can play an activist role in our world. Voices provides a place to think about the questions facing us through the prism of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Max Richter and Yulia Mahr invited people around the world to be part of the piece and interwove hundreds of crowd-sourced readings of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights into the work. These readings form the aural landscape that the music flows through: they are the Voices of the title.
“We are thrilled to have this opportunity to present Voices once more”
Max Richter and Yulia Mahr noted, “We are thrilled to have this opportunity to present Voices once more. In these strange and challenging times it is more important than ever to keep the music playing and the message of the Universal Declaration alive. Thinking back now to the premiere of Voices in February feels like visiting another world. In these strange and anxious times it is a great privilege to be able to mark Human Rights Day by presenting the work again, in spite of the pandemic.”
Human Rights Day
Human Rights Day is an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of human rights in rebuilding the world we want, with global solidarity, interconnectedness and shared humanity.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was drafted by a group of philosophers, artists and thinkers, convened by Eleanor Roosevelt, to address the great questions of the time and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. Max Richter incorporated the 1949 recording of the preamble to the Declaration by Roosevelt at the start of Voices and was inspired by the document’s opening statement: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” These words provide the starting point for a musical reflection on the state of the world today.
‘All Human Beings’ EP
Also to mark Human Rights Day an exclusive EP of five new versions of ‘All Human Beings’, featuring multiple language narrations performed by acclaimed global artists, will be released. Actor Nina Hoss reads in German, Golshifteh Farahani in French, Marieke Lucas Rijneveld in Dutch and María Valverde in Spanish. Olivier Award-winning actor Sheila Atim MBE, who will also perform in the BBC Radio 3 broadcast, narrates the new English version.
BBC Radio 3 and global EBU broadcast
The global radio broadcast of Max Richter’s Voices will be presented in a new version for a 24-piece ensemble featuring violinist Viktoria Mullova as soloist, soprano Grace Davidson, members of London-based vocal ensemble Tenebrae, the Max Richter ensemble – with Richter himself on keyboards and electronics – and Sheila Atim as the narrator. BBC Radio 3 will be joined for the simulcast world premiere broadcast of Voices by 40 European Broadcasting Union radio stations in Europe, the US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and beyond. The broadcast will provide listeners across the globe with a renewed moment of hope and a moment of reflection in unprecedented times.
Max Richter and Yulia Mahr concluded, “We are thrilled about the partnership with the UN Human Rights Office, and the collaboration with BBC Radio 3 and the EBU which have made it possible to perform Voices once more. In this challenging time in human history, the text of the Declaration is more important than ever.”
Max Richter’s album Voices is out now and can be bought here.