Michael Gees

Beyond Schumann

Price: € 14.95
Format: SACD hybrid
Label: Challenge Classics
UPC: 0608917259728
Catnr: CC 72597
Release date: 08 July 2013
2 SACD hybrid
✓ in stock
€ 14.95
Challenge Classics
Catalogue number
CC 72597
Release date
08 July 2013

""Gees wants to return to the days when music yielded a unique experience, with pleasure. Whether he succeeded? You can judge for yourself but it is certain that it is incredibly exciting and communicative, with a great pianist and improviser. The beautiful piano sound does the rest ..""

www.opusklassiek.nl, 17-10-2013

About the album

Beyond Schumann is the second solo album of Michael Gees. He thinks of a composition as a living creature. Something very unusual in classical music, where everything that is written down has become holy and sacred, not to be touched or changed at all. However, Gees does that with the utmost respect for the compositions. In his new album Beyond Schumann, Gees goes beyond the work of Schumann and gives us a new and fresh way of looking at them. This new album (SACD) will be released on May 8th during a concert in Maasmechelen (Belgium).

In Schumann's day and age improvisation on original compositions the norm. Embellishments were not always written down in detail. These days, jazz music is usually improvisational, but this is normally inappropriate in classical music. Michael Gees does not agree and does it his way, without disrespecting the original compositions. He chooses music he loves dearly, starts playing and sees what happens. The musical ideas that started with Schumann now, transform through Michael Gees' hands on the piano. They are improvised on and feel totally new and refreshed. Gees is a real pioneer in this field and he dares to take this up, this big taboo in classical music. We say praise to him for doing so. After his first solo project called 'ImproviSatie'- with improvisations on works by Satie - Gees now picks up works by Schumann and goes beyond this famous composer and gives us a new way of looking at them.

Michael Gees is a acclaimed pianist and composer/improviser. He is very well-known for his duo-partnership with Christoph Prégardien. Together they were rewarded with the MIDEM Vocal Award 2009, the MIDEM Record of the Year Award 2009, and a Supersonic Award by the Luxembourgian Pizzicato Magazine for Die Schöne Müllerin of Franz Schubert on Challenge Classics.
Improvisatie over Schumann
Beyond Schumann is het tweede soloalbum van Michael Gees. Hij ziet de compositie als een levend wezen, iets ongebruikelijks in de klassieke muziek, waarin juist de bladmuziek als vaste tekst wordt gezien. Dit was niet altijd zo: in de tijd van Schumann was improvisatie over de originele compositie de norm. Michael Gees wil de muziek weer benaderen vanuit die norm van improvisatie. De muzikale ideeën van Schumann worden zo getransformeerd door de handen van Gees op de piano, wat Schumanns bekende muziek nieuw en vers doet klinken. Gees is een pionier in deze nieuwe manier van het presenteren van Schumanns muziek en durft zo een grote taboe in de klassieke muziek te doorbreken.

Dit is het tweede grote improvisatieproject van Gees, na zijn succesvolle solodebuutalbum ImproviSatie, waarop hij improviseert over de muziek van Erik Satie. Gees is een veelgeprezen pianist die vooral bekend is van zijn duopartnerschap met tenor Christoph Prégardien.
Phantasievolle und kreative Einspielung von Schumanns Werken durch den herausragenden Pianisten Michael Gees.

Auf seinem zweiten Solo-Album spielt Michael Gees Schumanns Kreisleriana, die Kinderszenen sowie die Sinfonischen Etüden op. 13. Michael Gees ist kein Pianist für ausgetretene Pfade. Seine Beschäftigung mit Musik bringt neue Aspekte, die viele Zuhörer wach rütteln wird. Gees betrachtet eine Komposition nicht nur vom reinen Notentext aus. Er reflektiert, welche Wirkung das Stück ausübt, unter welchen Bedingungen es entstanden, gespielt und gehört wurde. Auch bezieht er in seine Überlegungen ein, dass Schubert üblicherweise keine Verzierungen notierte - Improvisation also möglich ist.

Michael Gees geht mit Schumanns Werken um, als wären sie Lebewesen, die im Wandel zu sehen sind. Der reine Notentext ist ihm zu eintönig:

"Robert Schumann und seine durch ihn hörbar gewordene Musik sind mir nah. Also habe ich es naheliegend gefunden, sie zum Ausgangspunkt kreativen Klavierspiels zu nehmen: als Anregung zum Mitdenken und als Aufforderung zur Neuerfindung dessen, was es schon gibt. In aller Ehrfurcht vor dem Werk."


Michael Gees’ biography certainly justifies the term: exceptional.
Few others can claim to have a career already behind them at the tender age of fifteen: Born in 1953 into a world of sound and music, both parents are singers, the piano is his favourite toy at age three. Formal piano lessons follow at age five, and the young musician subsequently goes on to win the Steinway Competition at age eight and receives a scholarship at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. The child prodigy is hailed as “Westphalian Mozart“, takes up studies at the conservatories in Detmold and Vienna and it seems as if he is fast on his way to become an internationally acclaimed pianist.

Were it not for the gifted child’s longing to explore the world of sound on his own terms, to playfully experience his self like the great masters’ music, to invent their music all over again, note for note instead of limiting himself to a technical practice regimen. Michael Gees flees the pressure of a predetermined competitional career at the age of fifteen, leaves school, conservatory and home behind, supports himself through odd jobs, works as archeological assistant and, in the process, for the duration of two full years, becomes a sailor.

Chance leads him back to the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hannover, where he resumes his compositional studies and eventually graduates. He now develops first rate pianistic chops on his own, composes a number of works, gains international renown as lied accompanist of extraordinary proportions with Christoph Prégardien and also appears in concerts globally; in Paris, London, New York and Tokio. All the while, he nurses and feeds his preference for combining the performance of music of past masters with living inspiration, thereby creating remarkable performances with his instrument.

Turin reviewer N. Campogrande speaks of his “ingenious passion“ and goes on to write: “Gees’ playing throughout the evening seemed as if he were the creator of these compositions and kept watch hence everything might fall into place as imagined by him before his inner ear. His eyes were not those of an artist intent on reproduction, but rather shone in the lambent look of passion, so like our idea of the composer as creator.”

In 1989, Gees founds “forum kunstvereint“ in his adopted hometown of Gelsenkirchen; the Consol Theater, also installed by him, opens its doors in 2001 on the confines of the former mining area Consolidation. There, music, dance and theatre projects take shape, where children, youths and adults alike are incited and encouraged to discover and realize their own artistic impulses. A steady number of CDs have been released from 1996 onward on Kunstvereint, CPO, EMI and Challenge Classics, showcasing Michael Gees’ range.



"Gees wants to return to the days when music yielded a unique experience, with pleasure. Whether he succeeded? You can judge for yourself but it is certain that it is incredibly exciting and communicative, with a great pianist and improviser. The beautiful piano sound does the rest .."
www.opusklassiek.nl, 17-10-2013

"A very interesting composition in its own right, in which I hear the influence of, not German heirs to Schumann, but Bax"
musicweb-international, 17-10-2013

When I went back to Schumann’s unadorned originals after a day or two of Gees, I had the distinctly heretical feeling of missing something and I wished I had Gees’ music written down to play from. That misses the point of improvisation, of the inspiration of the moment, though after reading Gees’ notes, I feel encouraged to try my own improvisations. What do other classical pianists do with their own favourites in the privacy of their practice rooms, I wonder. 
Music Web International, 15-10-2013

The result is fascinating, opens adventuresome ways of listening and is a mixture of short detours and montain hiks from the original by Schumann. 
klassik.com, 23-9-2013

4 stars review  **** "The framework of Schumann's compositions always stays maintained so that the exciting dialectic arises between the known and the unknown."  
NRC Handelsblad, 03-9-2013

The German classical pianist Michael Gees lards Robert Schumann’s work with improvisations on his album ‘Beyond Schumann‘. So he moves in a way behind the compositions of this early 19th century composer.
Music Frames, 23-7-2013

"I feel like I have discovered new compositions of Schumann. The effect is that I wonder what Michael Gees' earlier released album is like"
Hifi, 14-5-2013

Play album
Disc #1
Sinfonische Etüden Op. 13: Thème - Andante
Sinfonische Etüden Op. 13: Etude I (Variation 1) - Un poco più vivo
Sinfonische Etüden Op. 13: Etude II (Variation 2) - Andante
Sinfonische Etüden Op. 13: Etude III - Vivace
Sinfonische Etüden Op. 13: Etude IV (Variation 3) - Allegro marcato
Sinfonische Etüden Op. 13: Etude V (Variation 4) - Scherzando
Sinfonische Etüden Op. 13: Etude VI (Variation 5) - Agitato
Sinfonische Etüden Op. 13: Etude VII (Variation 6) - Allegro molto
Sinfonische Etüden Op. 13: Etude VIII (Variation 7) - Sempre marcatissimo
Sinfonische Etüden Op. 13: Etude IX - Presto possibile
Sinfonische Etüden Op. 13: Etude X (Variation 8) - Allegro con energia
Sinfonische Etüden Op. 13: Etude XI (Variation 9) - Andante espressivo
Sinfonische Etüden Op. 13: Etude XII (Finale) - Allegro brillante
Kinderszenen Op. 15: Von fremden Ländern und Menschen
Kinderszenen Op. 15: Kuriose Geschichte
Kinderszenen Op. 15: Hasche-Mann
Kinderszenen Op. 15: Bittendes Kind
Kinderszenen Op. 15: Glückes genug
Kinderszenen Op. 15: Wichtige Begebenheit
Kinderszenen Op. 15: Träumerei
Kinderszenen Op. 15: Am Kamin
Kinderszenen Op. 15: Ritter vom Steckenpferd
Kinderszenen Op. 15: Fast zu ernst
Kinderszenen Op. 15: Fürchtenmachen
Kinderszenen Op. 15: Kind im Einschlummern
Kinderszenen Op. 15: Der Dichter spricht

Disc #2
Kreisleriana Op. 16: Äußerst bewegt, D minor
Kreisleriana Op. 16: Sehr innig und nicht zu rasch, B-flat major
Kreisleriana Op. 16: Sehr aufgeregt, G minor
Kreisleriana Op. 16: Sehr langsam, B-flat major/D minor
Kreisleriana Op. 16: Sehr lebhaft, G minor
Kreisleriana Op. 16: Sehr langsam, B-flat major
Kreisleriana Op. 16: Sehr rasch, C minor/E-flat major
Kreisleriana Op. 16: Schnell und spielend, G minor
Waldszenen Op. 82: Vogel als Prophet
show all tracks


Michael Gees - 'Beyond Schumann' - trailer
Michael Gees - 'Beyond Schumann'

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