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Bach - Mendelssohn - Metamorphosis

Michael Gees

Bach - Mendelssohn - Metamorphosis

Price: € 19.95
Format: CD
Label: Challenge Classics
UPC: 0608917275124
Catnr: CC 72751
Release date: 08 September 2017
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Label
Challenge Classics
UPC
0608917275124
Catalogue number
CC 72751
Release date
08 September 2017

"The improvisations brought in by Gees seem partly like variations, so that they fit in well with the given work."

Piano News Magazine, 01-2-2018
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Artist(s)
Composer(s)
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About the album

Michael Gees: How can a musical idea develop over and above what has been written down? What would Bach have thought about Mendelssohn? What would have happened had they been able to encourage each other to extemporise on their compositions?
It is considerations such as these that lead me to explore the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy by way of adaptational improvisations. In this context, I want to mention the term historical performance practice. Once upon a time – long before the invention of jazz – it was desired of, and common for, performers to treat the prescribed material creatively, improvising on the works in front of them, not only playing them, but also playing with them.

Improvisaties over Bach en Mendelssohn
Wat zou Bach van Mendelssohn gevonden hebben? En wat zou er gebeuren als ze over elkaars composities zouden kunnen improviseren? Lang geleden was het gebruikelijk dat musici op een creatieve manier met de bladmuziek omgingen en op improviseren en variëren; niet alleen de muziek spelen, maar er zelf mee spelen. De vermaarde pianist Michael Gees past dit idee toe op de muziek van Johann Sebastian Bach en Felix Mendelssohn door middel van adaptieve improvisatie, zonder af te doen aan de oorspronkelijke muziek.


Michael Gees: „Wie kann sich eine musikalische Idee über schriftlich Festgehaltenes und darüber hinaus entwickeln? Was hätte Bach wohl von Mendelssohn gehalten? Was wäre wohl geschehen, wenn die beiden die Gelegenheit gehabt hätten, über die Kompositionen des anderen zu improvisieren?

Es sind diese Gedanken, die mich dazu inspirieren, die Musik von Johann Sebastian Bach und Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy in Improvisationen zu erkunden. In diesem Kontext möchte ich auch den Begriff der historisch informierten Aufführungspraxis erwähnen. Vor langer Zeit – lange vor der Erfindung des Jazz – wurde es von Musikern gewünscht und erwartet, das niedergeschriebene musikalische Material kreativ zu behandeln und über die Werke, die sie vor sich hatten, zu improvisieren, sie nicht nur zu spielen, sondern auch mit ihnen zu spielen.“

Artist(s)

Michael Gees (piano)

'Throughout the evening Gees played as if he had composed the pieces himself and was therefore extremely vigilant to make sure the performance was carried out according to his inner ear. His eyes were not those of an artist intent on reproduction, but  shone rather a lambent look of passion, just as one might imagine the composer as the creator.“ N. Campogrande 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...
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"Throughout the evening Gees played as if he had composed the pieces himself and was therefore extremely vigilant to make sure the performance was carried out according to his inner ear. His eyes were not those of an artist intent on reproduction, but shone rather a lambent look of passion, just as one might imagine the composer as the creator.“ N. Campogrande 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.
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 forum kunstvereint, CPO and EMI, showcasing Michael Gees’ range.
Since 2008 Michael Gees is associated to the Netherlands label Challenge Classics. The 2009 release of the Schöne Müllerin with Christoph Prégardien won the MIDEM Classical Award and became Recording of the Year. Michael Gees works on solo-recitals which enjoy breaking with tradition, on modernized lied-renditions, melodramas and stage music.

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Composer(s)

Felix Mendelssohn

Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy born and widely known as Felix Mendelssohn, was a German composer, pianist, organist and conductor of the early Romantic period. Mendelssohn is often compared to Mozart. Both of them were child prodigies, both had a talented sister and they both died at a young age. Mendelssohn, who as a child also painted wrote poetry, was born in small family which converted to christianity from judaism. As a composer he preferred looking back, rather than forward: his main examples were Bach, Handel and Mozart. It was Mendelssohn who retrieved Bach from oblivion and pushed for a revival of his music, which still lasts today. One century after its premier, Mendelsson performed the St Matthew Passion for the second...
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Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy born and widely known as Felix Mendelssohn, was a German composer, pianist, organist and conductor of the early Romantic period.

Mendelssohn is often compared to Mozart. Both of them were child prodigies, both had a talented sister and they both died at a young age. Mendelssohn, who as a child also painted wrote poetry, was born in small family which converted to christianity from judaism. As a composer he preferred looking back, rather than forward: his main examples were Bach, Handel and Mozart. It was Mendelssohn who retrieved Bach from oblivion and pushed for a revival of his music, which still lasts today. One century after its premier, Mendelsson performed the St Matthew Passion for the second time ever, in 1829.

Three years, earlier, on his 17th, he had already composed his masterfully overture A midsummer night's dream op. 21, based on Shakespeare's play. Today, it is still considered as one of the absolute masterpieces in all of the orchestra reperoire. His Violin Concerto op. 64 belongs to the most beautiful works of the 19th century as well. During his travels through Europe, he wrote his brilliant Italian Symphony, Scottish Symphony and the overture The Hebrides.

Although Mendelssohn had a prosperous career, his weak physique made him emotionally vulnerable. The death of his favourite sister Fanny became fatal: Mendelssohn died in the same year, at the age of 38.


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Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He enriched established German styles through his skill in counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach's compositions include the Brandenburg Concertos, the Goldberg Variations, the Mass in B minor, two Passions, and hundreds of cantatas. His music is revered for its technical command, artistic beauty, and intellectual depth.  Bach's abilities as an organist were highly respected during his lifetime, although he was not widely recognised as a great composer until a revival of interest in and performances of his music in the first half of the 19th century. He is now generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.  
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Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He enriched established German styles through his skill in counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach's compositions include the Brandenburg Concertos, the Goldberg Variations, the Mass in B minor, two Passions, and hundreds of cantatas. His music is revered for its technical command, artistic beauty, and intellectual depth.

Bach's abilities as an organist were highly respected during his lifetime, although he was not widely recognised as a great composer until a revival of interest in and performances of his music in the first half of the 19th century. He is now generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.


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Press

The improvisations brought in by Gees seem partly like variations, so that they fit in well with the given work.
Piano News Magazine, 01-2-2018

Gees, for whom free improvisation has obviously been a matter of the heart since his Wunderkind years, does all this in style, with great artistry and sensitive fantasy.
Fono Forum, 15-12-2017

Classical music as a jam session. What binds Bach and Mendelssohn even more, is above all the creativity and ingenuity of Gees himself. The effect is a beautiful and rich whole, and more than a series of beautifully played pieces.
Luister, 01-12-2017

Good music can't be placed in boxes, but deserves to be approached with imagination. And that's what Gees does with great dedication on this CD.
Kerk & Leven, 14-11-2017

Improvisations about Bach and Mendelssohn
Klassieke Zaken, 29-9-2017

He considers music as living matter, which takes on new forms at every concert.
De Standaard, 27-9-2017

Play album Play album
01.
Partita in B-flat Major, BWV 825: Introduction
02:09
(Johann Sebastian Bach) Michael Gees
02.
Partita in B-flat Major, BWV 825: Prelude
01:52
(Johann Sebastian Bach) Michael Gees
03.
Partita in B-flat Major, BWV 825: Allemande
04:07
(Johann Sebastian Bach) Michael Gees
04.
Partita in B-flat Major, BWV 825: Courante
03:10
(Johann Sebastian Bach) Michael Gees
05.
Partita in B-flat Major, BWV 825: Sarabande
03:03
(Johann Sebastian Bach) Michael Gees
06.
Partita in B-flat Major, BWV 825: Menuett I
02:02
(Johann Sebastian Bach) Michael Gees
07.
Partita in B-flat Major, BWV 825: Menuett II
00:51
(Johann Sebastian Bach) Michael Gees
08.
Partita in B-flat Major, BWV 825: Gigue
03:16
(Johann Sebastian Bach) Michael Gees
09.
Lieder ohne Worte Op. 30, No. 2 in B-flat Minor
05:26
(Felix Mendelssohn) Michael Gees
10.
Lieder ohne Worte Op. 67, No. 3 in B-flat Major
03:43
(Felix Mendelssohn) Michael Gees
11.
Lieder ohne Worte Op. 30, No. 5 in D Major
04:18
(Felix Mendelssohn) Michael Gees
12.
Notebooks for Anna Magdalena Bach: No. 5 Menuet
04:00
(Johann Sebastian Bach) Michael Gees
13.
Notebooks for Anna Magdalena Bach: No. 7 Menuet
01:44
(Johann Sebastian Bach) Michael Gees
14.
Notebooks for Anna Magdalena Bach: No. 22 Musette
02:44
(Johann Sebastian Bach) Michael Gees
15.
Notebooks for Anna Magdalena Bach: No. 18 Marche
01:38
(Johann Sebastian Bach) Michael Gees
16.
Notebooks for Anna Magdalena Bach: No. 19 Polonaise
03:42
(Johann Sebastian Bach) Michael Gees
17.
6 Gesänge, Op.19a: Neue Liebe
03:29
(Felix Mendelssohn) Michael Gees
18.
6 Lieder, Op.71: Nachtlied (Joseph von Eichendorff), 1847
05:25
(Felix Mendelssohn) Michael Gees
19.
Prelude and Fugue in C-sharp Minor, BWV 849: Prelude
04:02
(Johann Sebastian Bach) Michael Gees
20.
Prelude and Fugue in C-sharp Minor, BWV 849: Fugue
04:37
(Johann Sebastian Bach) Michael Gees
21.
Lieder ohne Worte Op. 102, No. 5 in A Major
03:48
(Felix Mendelssohn) Michael Gees
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Often bought together with..

Ghosts
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Altri canti d'amor
L'Estro d'Orfeo
Kinship
Sigrun Stephan
Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2
Rudolf Koelman / Musikkollegium Winterthur
Songs of Quest and Inspiration
Robbert Muuse & Micha van Weers

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