Sunday with Max Richter: ‘I treasure the time for recuperation’

The composer spends a restful day cooking, walking the dogs and playing Bach on the piano

How does Sunday start? With the alarm clock not going off, which is spectacular. I’ve had a lifelong obsession with sleep: I love how ideas are clarified overnight, that fresh start in the morning. On Sundays I can indulge myself completely. Breakfast consists of fresh eggs from our chickens cooked a variety of ways. It’s my favourite meal of the day, without question.

Do you have a busy schedule? With a bit of luck there’s nothing in the diary. Dogs need walking, chickens need attention, and there’s food to pick in the garden. But in lockdown, with more time, I’m finding myself at the piano. After wading through the piles of Bach sheet music (the best ever written), I sit and play. Connecting to a younger version of myself, who did this all the time, has become a medicinal experience.

Do you work? Throughout my 20s and 30s I worked constantly. Weekends were nonexistent; I worked on multiple paid jobs to support my own creative projects. Now I have the luxury of taking this time off, I’m religious about protecting my weekends. Our lives are data-saturated. It’s psychologically demanding to live on screens 24/7. Sundays are for switching off. I treasure the time for recuperation.

Sunday lunch? Pre-pandemic we might have eaten out, but I’ve loved spending more time at home with the children, cooking. It’s always a complex affair: our mutually exclusive, conflicting dietary requirements range from quasi-vegan to near carnivore with a smattering of gluten-free. The goal is to pull off a number of dishes that interlock.

A favourite spot? Café Einstein, in Berlin’s Schöeneberg. We lived in the city a long time ago. It’s a time warp of a Viennese café from a century ago. The walls are slightly crumbling.

If you had the day to yourself, what would you be doing? Reading. I’ve always loved literature. Right now It’s Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann, an extraordinary feat. Reading it is such an immersive experience, full of ideas. Its pages are the last thing I see before a blissful return to sleeping.

Max Richter’s album, Voices, is out now on Decca Records

Contributor

Michael Segalov

The GuardianTramp

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