HBO’s The Last of Us has been making waves since its premiere last month on January 15, 2023. Critics applauded the performances, script, production design, and score, with several of those critics also deeming it the best live-action video game adaptation. The series premiere garnered 4.7 million people on the first day across linear channels and HBOMax, and more than 22 million viewers in total over the course of the following twelve days. The series premiere claimed the top TV song on Tunefind, and now episode 3 has done the same. Last week’s most popular song is a long admired instrumental track from a German-born British composer and pianist.
Bill and Frank prepare for their supper.
No spoilers! ‘On The Nature Of Daylight’ is heard towards the end of the third episode during of a very emotional exchange between characters Bill and Frank (played by Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett, respectively). It begins with the first few notes of ‘On The Nature Of Daylight’ and for the next three minutes the song continues during what can only be described as a gut-wrenching montage that had many viewers admittedly sobbing.
‘On The Nature Of Daylight’ is a song that has been placed in numerous movies and TV shows since it’s release in February 2004. On it’s own, the track is typically considered exquisitely somber however, this association is only supported by the fact that many of its sync placements are emotionally despondent. ‘On The Nature Of Daylight’ was released on Max Richter’s second album titled, The Blue Notebooks. In May 2018, Deutsche Grammophon released a two-disc fifteenth-anniversary edition of The Blue Notebooks which includes re-recordings, alternate arrangements, and remixes.
The piece is an attempt to make a kind of luminous music out of the darkest possible materials…” – Max Richter
Richter credits ‘On The Nature Of Daylight’ as being the centerpiece of the album, citing The Blue Notebooks is an album of protest against the build up of the war in Iraq that was taking place as he wrote and recorded the album in 2004. In a video featuring the story behind the song, Max explains how, “The piece is an attempt to make a kind of luminous music out of the darkest possible materials, and the piece is structured as a sort of palindrome.”
Max Richter was born in Hamelin, West Germany before his family relocated to Bedford, England, where he grew up. Richter is classically trained, having studied composition and piano at the University of Edinburgh, the Royal Academy of Music. He often works within post-minimalist and contemporary classical styles. Richter arranges, performs, and composes music for stage, opera, ballet and screen. He has collaborated with other musicians, as well as with performance, installation and media artists. He has recorded eight solo albums and as of December 2019, Richter has passed one billion streams and one million album sales.
Tunefind did confirm with The Last of Us’ music supervisors Ian Broucek and Evyen Klean that the version of ‘On The Nature Of Daylight’ that was featured in episode 3 is the Orchestral Version of the song. ‘On The Nature of Daylight – Orchestral Version’ currently boasts over 6 million streams on Spotify, on the 15th anniversary version of The Blue Notebooks. Over all, ‘On The Nature Of Daylight’ has been used most notably in films such as Shutter Island, Arrival, and Stranger Than Fiction.
A second season of The Last of Us has been ordered by HBO as of January 2023.
〉Listen now: On The Nature of Daylight (Orchestral Version)
〉More music by Max Richter
〉Full list of songs featured in The Last of Us