Michael Gees / Frans Ehlhart / Marion von Tilzer

Secret Key Masters

Price: € 12.95
Format: SACD hybrid
Label: Challenge Classics
UPC: 0608917265620
Catnr: CC 72656
Release date: 23 January 2015
1 SACD hybrid
✓ in stock
€ 12.95
Challenge Classics
Catalogue number
CC 72656
Release date
23 January 2015

"Interview: "We were in a welcoming living room", says Gees. "That made the difference, then you are at ease and it soon becomes very personal."  And that made a remarkable honest, candid and varied piano plate which also sounds fantastic.   "

Klassieke Zaken, 01-6-2015

About the album

March 26, 2014. An extraordinary day, a day on which three pianists that had never met before gathered at Galaxy Studios, by invitation of producer Bert van der Wolf. It was Van der Wolf who instigated this project. Ever since he first experienced the magical sounds of a piano as a three year old, he had been fascinated by the instrument. Never having been able to fully master the instrument himself, he found in these three pianists the perfect tool to realise his dream of being able to return to his childhood and immerse himself in that special soundworld again. Having met each of them on separate occasions, the playing of Michael Gees, Frans Ehlhart, and Marion von Tilzer struck a chord with Van der Wolf. Their approach to music, whether meticulously composed or improvised on the spot, came so close to his own that he took it upon himself approach these three 'Secret Key Masters' to do a project together.

Michael Gees is mostly known as an accompanist of Lieder: he has worked intensively with artists such as Christoph Prégardien and Julia Kleiter. As a soloist he mostly improvises, often starting with a single chord and developing the melodies from there. In contrast, Marion von Tilzer is very much a composer, who has previously written both chamber music and orchestral works. Frans Ehlhart comes from the world of theatre, and as a composer is influenced by jazz, pop, and classical music. Together with soprano Charlotte Margiono, he recorded an album of his own compositions for Challenge Classics, based on poems by South African poet Ingrid Jonker.

After several years of cancelled appointments and lingering intentions, this year the recording sessions finally took place. Gees, Ehlhart, and Von Tilzer each sat down at the beautiful Steinway grand piano in Van der Wolf's studio, each of them playing their own compositions while the others listened.

There was no time limit for the recording sessions, and nothing parcitular had to be achieved. In two days time, over 8 hours of music was recorded. From all this material, Van der Wolf carefully distilled these 14 tracks, which together make up this 77 minutes long album. The producer is over the moon with the results, stating that 'The Secret Key Masters merge into the most wonderful piano recital I can imagine. Time and space become one and there is just music with no stylistic boundary.'
Drie pianisten ontmoeten elkaar voor het eerst: een improvisatie
Bert van der Wolf, onder andere producer en opnametechnicus, bracht voor deze opname drie pianisten in de studio samen: Michael Gees, Frans Ehlhart en Marion von Tilzer. Ze kenden elkaar niet, maar het klikte. In twee dagen tijd speelden ze om de beurt op de Steinway vleugel hun eigen composities en improvisaties. Van der Wolf selecteerde uit de 8 uur durende opname zorgvuldig 14 tracks. Zo ontstond 'Secret Key Masters'. Het mooiste pianoconcert dat hij zich maar kan voorstellen, vindt hijzelf. '77 minuten opwindende pianomuziek. Een even onconventioneel als briljant project.', zoals de Duitse krant WAZ schrijft.

In deze sessie komen de werelden van liedbegeleiding, kamermuziek en theater bijeen. Michael Gees, vooral bekend als begeleider van liederen, werkte intensief samen met artiesten als Christoph Prégardien en Julia Kleiter. Gees improviseert vooral. Vaak start hij met een enkel akkoord, om van daaruit de melodie te creëren. Anders dan Marion von Tilzer, die eerder uitgaat van de compositie en zowel kamermuziek als orkestrale werken heeft geschreven. Franz Ehlhart komt uit de theaterwereld en wordt als componist beïnvloed door jazz, pop en klassieke muziek.
Wir schreiben den 26. März 2014, es ist ein außergewöhnlicher Tag - ein Tag, an dem drei Pianisten, die sich zuvor nie begegnet sind, im Studio versammeln und zusammen dieses Album erschaffen. Die Fäden dazu zieht Produzent Bert van der Wolf, der von den musikalischen Begegnungen mit jedem einzelnen der Pianisten tief berührt war und diesen Zauber der "Geheimen Tastenmeister" festhalten wollte. So also kommen die Welt der Liedbegleitung, Kammermusik und des Theaters zusammen in einer Session, in der es keine Fristen und keine Ziele gab, die eingehalten und erreicht werden mussten. Zeit und Raum werden eins, und der Vielfalt der Musik sind keine Grenzen gesetzt.


Interview: "We were in a welcoming living room", says Gees. "That made the difference, then you are at ease and it soon becomes very personal."  And that made a remarkable honest, candid and varied piano plate which also sounds fantastic.   
Klassieke Zaken, 01-6-2015

"Gees switches in diverse styles effortlessly between minimal, new baroque, and rachmaninov."   
NRC Handelsblad, 04-5-2015

"Michael Gees has with his music as much fun as the singers. The listener has fun too. A wonderful cd!"  
Opera Magazine, 21-4-2015

Interview De Volkrant: MIchael Gees
De Volkskrant, 13-3-2015

An unconventional as well as brilliant project. The result of the recording summarized into 77 exciting minutes of music. A real personal tip.
WAZ, 08-1-2015

Play album

You might also like..

Song Cycles - Die schöne Müllerin / Schwanengesang / Winterreise
Christoph Prégardien / Andreas Staier / Michael Gees
Father & Son (re-issue)
Christoph & Julian Prégardien
Michael Gees / Bella Adamova
Dichterliebe Op. 48 / Lenau-Lieder und Requiem Op. 90 / Wesendonck Lieder
Christoph Prégardien / Michael Gees
A Matter of Heart
Olivier Darbellay / Christoph Prégardien / Michael Gees
Bach - Mendelssohn - Metamorphosis
Michael Gees
Anna Lucia Richter & Michael Gees
Father & Son
Christoph & Julian Prégardien
The Spirit Of Turtle [Longbox]
Various artists
Winterreise (BluRay)
Christoph Prégardien / Michael Gees
Beyond Schumann
Michael Gees