Upon watching the latest film by Denis Villeneuve, Arrival, there was something in the film, besides the wonderful storytelling, that embraced my soul and captured my heart. That something was the beautiful violin piece composed by Max Richter, “On the Nature of Daylight.” Though it sings through in the beginning of the film, it was at the end of the film when I was fully taken in by the beautiful piece. The song left me entranced as I sat listening while the credits rolled up the screen. Since then the song has been calling to me and running through an endless rotation in my music player. The violins are somber and so strikingly beautiful that I find it is the perfect bookend to this wonderful film.
While most of the film’s score was composed by Johann Johansson (who also does a remarkable job), it is this one song by Max Richter that shines through. The track originally appeared on Richter’s, The Blue Notebooks, which was released in 2004. The album was a response to both the events of the Iraq War and Richter’s own childhood. The song was also used in the Martin Scorsese’s film Shutter Island as well as Henry Alex Rubin’s Disconnect. Initially, Richter was reluctant to let Villeneuve use it on the film, Arrival as it was already used on two other powerful films. However, things changed as according to Richter (in a post on his Facebook Page), “But Denis Villeneuve called me and described the integral nature of “On the Nature of Daylight” to the architecture of Arrival – it starts and ends the film – and, as he described the film I was drawn into his powerful world. So, in the end, it was an easy decision.”
Interesting enough, Max Richter recently revealed plans for a new label called StudioRichter, and the studios’ very first release will be a 12-inch edition of “On the Nature of Daylight”, and is due out on December 16th. The edition includes the original quintet recording of Richter’s composition as well as the version recorded by a full string orchestra.
In the meantime, you can treat yourself to this beautiful song below.