Schumann in the Here and Now

With a comprehensive discography and numerous international awards to his name, including a Grammy nomination, pianist and composer Kristjan Randalu is already well established on the music scene. Born in Estonia, he grew up in a very musical family. When he was still a child, the family moved to Karlsruhe in south-west Germany. His recordings have been released on renowned labels such as ECM and Enja. He has been presented with the Estonian Music Award twice and was on The New York City Jazz Record’s “Best of 2020” list. This present recording entitled “Dichterliebe” is the debut album of the Tallinn-born pianist on the Berlin Classics label. He has chosen to spotlight the famous Lieder cycle op. 48 by Robert Schumann, a compendium of 16 Romantic art songs based on the Lyrisches Intermezzo, a collection of 65 poems by Heinrich Heine. Normally, we would consider a singer essential to such a lyrical programme. Kristjan Randalu however made a conscious decision not to choose the obvious. He was very familiar with the autonomy of Schumann’s piano writing and has chosen to interpret “A Poet’s Love” for the first time ever only on the piano – enhanced by his own free improvisations. “The abstract element of music without words has always fascinated me and these songs have been my companions for many years now,” Randalu explains. “My aim was to interpret this song cycle in a new language, the style that I have developed to date. These versions were mostly sparked by certain melodic, harmonic and rhythmic elements that form the point of departure for completely new experiments.” Both Robert Schumann and Heinrich Heine were acknowledged as visionaries in their day, transforming genres and inventing the rules of their individual art forms anew. Kristjan Randalu is emulating them by bringing Dichterliebe up to date. He is thereby proving to be a pioneer of modern improvised music, developing established musical structures further. “The aesthetics of Classical singing have a long tradition which has developed over centuries. I see that as a marked contrast to the expressive opportunities afforded by jazz, where things are much more direct and individual, not necessarily refined to a certain norm, but reflecting instead our environment in the here and now.” Kristjan Randalu is at home both in the improvisational world of jazz and the traditional sphere of classical music. His early classical music training brings to his variations a consistently contemporary view of the Romantic foundations of Schumann’s music. He shapes the music in an impressionistic manner, enhancing it with the harmonic opulence of jazz, and allows himself the liberty to spontaneously improvise. The number of thematic threads and the profound spectrum of melodic nuances that Kristjan Randalu succeeds in conjuring out of this cornerstone of the Romantic piano repertoire is remarkable and makes this project a unique undertaking that has one foot anchored in the ever changing present day and the other securely rooted in eternal tradition.

Dichterliebe

Artist

Composer

Kristjan Randalu
Robert Schumann

Further information

Genre

Klassik
Klavier

Publication date

05.04.2024



Schumann in the Here and Now



With a comprehensive discography and numerous international awards to his name, including a Grammy nomination, pianist and composer Kristjan Randalu is already well established on the music scene. Born in Estonia, he grew up in a very musical family. When he was still a child, the family moved to Karlsruhe in south-west Germany. His recordings have been released on renowned labels such as ECM and Enja. He has been presented with the Estonian Music Award twice and was on The New York City Jazz Record’s “Best of 2020” list. This present recording entitled “Dichterliebe” is the debut album of the Tallinn-born pianist on the Berlin Classics label. He has chosen to spotlight the famous Lieder cycle op. 48 by Robert Schumann, a compendium of 16 Romantic art songs based on the Lyrisches Intermezzo, a collection of 65 poems by Heinrich Heine. Normally, we would consider a singer essential to such a lyrical programme. Kristjan Randalu however made a conscious decision not to choose the obvious. He was very familiar with the autonomy of Schumann’s piano writing and has chosen to interpret “A Poet’s Love” for the first time ever only on the piano – enhanced by his own free improvisations. “The abstract element of music without words has always fascinated me and these songs have been my companions for many years now,” Randalu explains. “My aim was to interpret this song cycle in a new language, the style that I have developed to date. These versions were mostly sparked by certain melodic, harmonic and rhythmic elements that form the point of departure for completely new experiments.” Both Robert Schumann and Heinrich Heine were acknowledged as visionaries in their day, transforming genres and inventing the rules of their individual art forms anew. Kristjan Randalu is emulating them by bringing Dichterliebe up to date. He is thereby proving to be a pioneer of modern improvised music, developing established musical structures further. “The aesthetics of Classical singing have a long tradition which has developed over centuries. I see that as a marked contrast to the expressive opportunities afforded by jazz, where things are much more direct and individual, not necessarily refined to a certain norm, but reflecting instead our environment in the here and now.” Kristjan Randalu is at home both in the improvisational world of jazz and the traditional sphere of classical music. His early classical music training brings to his variations a consistently contemporary view of the Romantic foundations of Schumann’s music. He shapes the music in an impressionistic manner, enhancing it with the harmonic opulence of jazz, and allows himself the liberty to spontaneously improvise. The number of thematic threads and the profound spectrum of melodic nuances that Kristjan Randalu succeeds in conjuring out of this cornerstone of the Romantic piano repertoire is remarkable and makes this project a unique undertaking that has one foot anchored in the ever changing present day and the other securely rooted in eternal tradition.

Tracklist - These are the tracks you will hear on the album

Dichterliebe
1
Im wunderschönen Monat Mai
2
Aus meinen Tränen sprießen
3
Die Rose, die Lilie, die Taube, die Sonne
4
Wenn ich in deine Augen seh'
5
Ich will meine Seele tauchen
6
Im Rhein, im heiligen Strome
7
Ich grolle nicht
8
Und wüssten's die Blumen
9
Das ist ein Flöten und Geigen
10
Hör' ich das Liedchen klingen
11
Ein Jüngling liebt ein Mädchen
12
Am leuchtenden Sommermorgen
13
Ich hab' im Traum geweinet
14
Allnächtlich im Traume
15
Aus alten Märchen
16
Die alten bösen Lieder

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