new album coming - November 2016
I am very pleased to announce my new recording project, Ghosts, which delves into the space between reality and imagination. It is a soundscape of inner dialogue! Join me on this journey and help make it a reality. Scroll down for more details and learn how you can be a part of this unique project!
The centerpiece of my album is Robert Schumann’s Ghost Variations. I love this rarely heard set of pieces because of its underlying story. Robert Schumann wrote Ghost Variations as he was battling untreatable bouts of mental illness, as he was imagining voices both ‘hideous and wonderful’ – and while his home town was celebrating the Carnival Season, the festival of Mardi Gras.
As soon as I had heard about this story, I decided to create a concept album exploring those never-ending inner dialogues and stories we all hear within.
Inspired by the story of Robert Schumann's Ghost Variations, Estonian photographer Kaupo Kikkas looked for visual environments that reflected the essence of this story.
Robert Schumann GHOSTVARIATIONS WoO 24
On February 27, 1854 Robert Schumann attempted to commit suicide by jumping into the Rhine river in his hometown of Düsseldorf, Germany, following extreme attacks of mental anguish and schizophrenia that had become increasingly unbearable over the months leading up to this day. During the previous week, and on this day, a constant perception of symphonic sounds and melodies raged through the composer’s head, ‘dictating’ him to write the theme of the Ghost Variations... (read more here)
Robert Schumann CARNAVAL op. 9
Robert Schumann’s Carnaval features the seemingly limitless creativity of the composer’s early years, paying homage to the most influential and beloved persons in his life, and depicting the stock figures of the classic improvisation theater ‘Commedia dell’Arte’, the inspiration for many carnival disguises and masks... (read more here)
Frederic Chopin IMPROMPTU FANTASIE in c-sharp minor op. 66
Like so many of my listeners, I have always loved this audience favorite because of its passionate expression. The middle section reminded me of one of the movements of Carnaval called 'Chopin'.
Johannes Brahms PAGANINI VARIATIONS (book I)
Johannes Brahms was one of Robert Schumann's closest friends. I felt very strongly about including one of Brahms' works in this concept album. One of the movements of Carnaval is called 'Paganini', which made me think of this variation set immediately. It is considered one of the most demanding virtuosic works for piano solo repertoire, which might be the reason it is not heard often in concert. I love the set because of its liveliness and beauty.
All tracks will be joined by transitions composed by James Wilding.
Ghosts is a concept album connected by a unifying and underlying story. All tracks of the album should be heard, not only imagined, and itlead me to commission transitions between the different compositions. I can't wait to hear how it all comes together!
Recording classical piano music primarily relies on two factors: a good instrument and a good hall. The combination of hall and piano creates a synergistic experience. Having grown up in Germany, I feel very comfortable on Hamburg Steinways, and heard that the Reitstadel in Neumarkt, Germany features an extraordinary instrument in a particularly well suited acoustic environment. Early this year I took a morning to explore the instrument and the hall to see if I would like to record my next album there. I was very pleasantly surprised at what I found; I loved it! Take a look at the process of getting to know an instrument and its surroundings in this video.
As a side note, Mitsuko Uchida, Hélène Grimaud, Murray Perahia and Andras Schiff are just a few of the pianists who have chosen the Reitstadel and its beautiful Hamburg Steinway for their recording projects.