Max Richter's a new kind of post-Modern composer.
Richter is a contemporary composer who essays a number of different styles, applied to various venues. His works range from straight concert pieces, to movie scores, stage, ballet, and even pop collaborations with small groups. I've listened to a number of his works on YouTube, and though I can't say I like them all, they display a facility which is impressive. Making a living as a composer has never been easy, so musicians like Richter are forced to live by their wits.
All that aside, here's beautiful piece of his, considered "minimal" as a result of its modest lyrical range and brevity, entitled Mercy. It could be something that Schumann might have composed, or Fauré, or even Delius, yet it's somehow too "clean" for them. I think of it simply as pure music. It could be the middle section of a sonata for violin and piano, or the lyric for the slow section of a symphony. I'm not sure why, but it suggests to me a kind of elegy, say, for the dead of the Holocaust. A piece as beautiful as this comes directly from the heart.
Violin: Hilary Hahn
Piano: Cory Smythe