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Blooming

Michael Gees / Bella Adamova

Blooming

Price: € 19.95
Format: CD
Label: Challenge Classics
UPC: 0608917281828
Catnr: CC 72818
Release date: 04 October 2019
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Label
Challenge Classics
UPC
0608917281828
Catalogue number
CC 72818
Release date
04 October 2019

"Adamova’s mezzo-soprano possesses a reliable bel canto technique. However, one can hear more than classical opera singing on the album — the soft wordplay is supported by multifaceted declamation, melismatic ornamentation of certain vowels, or simply half-whispered words, and bending of intonation with small intervalic deviations. These are things which do come into play in classical music but, in a way, also transcend it. Bella Adamova possesses too the gift of dramatic delivery — she can develop a text to its climax and give it a certain theatrical expressivity, when it’s appropriate. The lion’s share of the overall sound is taken care of by the mysterious and introspective piano of Michael Gees, who managed to react with sensibility to the delicate nuances of the voice with a gossamer dynamic and extraordinary colourfulness across the registers."

Vltava cz, 12-3-2020
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About the album

There are some encounters in life about which one could say that they were simply destined to happen. The meeting of the two musicians in question is, without a doubt, one of them, because Michael Gees and Bella Adamova have a very rare talent: they are both exceptionally gifted improvisers. This is no quirk of a narcissistic piano virtuoso but rather the continuation of an old and venerable tradition. In the 18th and 19th centuries it was, to some measure, expected that a pianist could also perform something extemporaneously. Bella Adamova follows the same path. This is the basis from which the current CD with collaborative improvisations arose. Ten poems from different authors form the starting point for the musical expedition. The choices came completely from Bella Adamova. In their collaboration, Adamova and Gees have a vast stylistic range at their disposal which expands from folklore and classical to jazz and contemporary music. This includes a conceivably wide spectrum of musical resources, where one can find sprechgesang as well as arioso lines, and the piano can grow from a rustling cantabile to a hammered martellato.
Een opname van twee musici die wonderlijk mooie muziek maken. In muzikale zin zijn pianist Michael Gees en mezzosopraan Bella Adamova voor elkaar geboren. Een album met spontaan gecomponeerde moderne klassieke muziek, dat is Blooming. Het bevat liederen op teksten van Marie Howe, Marina Tsvetaeva, Alexander Blok, Bella Adamova, Joseph von Eichendorff, Paul Verlaine, Yakov Polonsky en ook een volksliedje uit Moravië en Spanje. Geniet van de onwerkelijke improvisaties van dit duo.

Onwaarschijnlijk duo

Op papier vormen Michael Gees en Bella Adamova een onwaarschijnlijk duo. De een geboren in de jaren vijftig in Duitsland, de ander, na de ontbinding van de USSR in de jaren negentig, in het noorden van de Kaukasus. Toch, toen ze elkaar in 2015 in Keulen ontmoetten, was het meteen duidelijk dat ze dezelfde muzikale taal spraken. Meestal richten ze zich op spontane compositie in het klassieke idioom, waarbij ze teksten van Russische, Tsjechische, Amerikaanse en Duitse dichters van muziek voorzien. Soms vermengen ze geïmproviseerde teksten met originele teksten. Boven alles streven ze ernaar eerlijke muziek te maken, zonder enige pretentie.

Voorbestemd

Er zijn gebeurtenissen in het leven die domweg voorbestemd lijken te zijn. De ontmoeting tussen Michael Gees en Bella Adamova is zonder twijfel zo'n gebeurtenis. Beide musici beschikken over een zeldzaam talent: ze zijn begenadigde improvisatoren. Zo kan Gees op zo'n manier op thema's van Robert Schumann of Erik Satie improviseren, dat je makkelijk zou kunnen denken dat het nieuw ontdekte composities zijn van deze twee componisten. Grappig genoeg is het improviseren niet typerend voor een narcistische pianovirtuoos, maar eerder de voortzetting van een aloude en eerwaardige traditie. In de 18e en 19e eeuw werd in zekere zin van een pianist verwacht dat hij kon improviseren. Bella Adamova volgt dezelfde weg. En dat ligt dan ook ten grondslag aan dit album met gezamenlijke improvisaties.

Scala aan stijlen

Tien gedichten van verschillende, door Bella Adamova uitgekozen, dichters vormen het uitgangspunt voor deze muzikale expeditie. In hun samenwerking hebben Adamova en Gees een breed scala aan stijlen tot hun beschikking variërend van folklore en klassiek tot jazz en hedendaagse muziek. Daarbij hoort een breed spectrum aan muzikale middelen en technieken, waartoe zowel sprechgesang als arioso lijnen behoren. Bovendien kan de piano van een ruisend cantabile tot een hamerend martellato aanzwellen. Michael Gees kennen we al van zijn vele opnames waarin hij tenor en bariton Christoph Prégardien begeleidt met zijn intelligente spel dat ook bijdraagt aan het resultaat van dit mooie album.

Es gibt Ereignisse im Leben, die einfach vorbestimmt zu sein scheinen. Das Zusammentreffen der beiden Musiker hier ist zweifelsohne so ein Ereignis, denn Michael Gees und Bella Adamova besitzen ein seltenes Talent: beide sind begnadete Improvisatoren. Das Improvisieren ist keine Eigenart eines verschrobenen, selbstverliebten Klaviervirtuosen, sondern die Weiterführung einer altehrwürdigen Tradition. Im 18. und 19. Jahrhundert wurde es gewissermaßen erwartet, dass ein Pianist auch aus dem Stegreif spielen konnte. Bella Adamova folgt dem gleichen Pfad, was auch den Grundstein der aktuellen CD mit gemeinsamen Improvisationen legt. Zehn Gedichte verschiedener Dichter, alle von Bella Adamova ausgewählt, bilden den Anfang dieser musikalischen Expedition. In ihrer Zusammenarbeit haben Adamova und Gees ein breites stilistisches Spektrum zur Verfügung, das von Folklore und Klassik zu Jazz und zeitgenössischer Musik reicht. Dazu zählt eine große Bandbreite musikalischer Ressourcen, in denen man Sprechgesang arioso-Passagen findet, und das Klavier kann von stehlendem cantabile zu hämmerndem martellato anschwellen.

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...
more
"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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Bella Adamova (vocals)

Born in Groznyy, Russia in the 1990’s Bella grew up in Prague, Czech Republic torn between, and surrounded by many cultures. This has translated to a versatility as a musician – always occupying the space somewhere in between genres, never quite fitting in. As a young musician her first encounters with the stage were in school choirs (where she sang mostly folk and world music, jazz, and soul), and musicals. Bella was conflicted whether to pursue jazz or classical singing, eventually completing her Bachelor’s in Vocal performance in London and her Master’s in Cologne, Germany. There she was involved in a number of Operas, notably singing Hermia in Britten’s A midsummer night’s dream and Celia in Haydn’s La fedeltá premiata...
more
Born in Groznyy, Russia in the 1990’s Bella grew up in Prague, Czech Republic torn between, and surrounded by many cultures. This has translated to a versatility as a musician – always occupying the space somewhere in between genres, never quite fitting in. As a young musician her first encounters with the stage were in school choirs (where she sang mostly folk and world music, jazz, and soul), and musicals. Bella was conflicted whether to pursue jazz or classical singing, eventually completing her Bachelor’s in Vocal performance in London and her Master’s in Cologne, Germany. There she was involved in a number of Operas, notably singing Hermia in Britten’s A midsummer night’s dream and Celia in Haydn’s La fedeltá premiata at Theater Aachen.
The art song has been a focal point for the young mezzo-soprano ever since she sang her first Debussy mélodie. Her repertoire ranges from Bellini to George Crumb, German Lied as well as Russian romances. In 2015 she won the Czech Song Prize at the Emmy Destinn Awards in London. In that year, Bella met the pianist Michael Gees with whom she sings and improvises in duo.
Her first encounters with free improvisation were with Paulo Álvares, which she continued studying at the Basel Music Academy under Fred Frith and Alfred Zimmerlin. As an improviser she loves to explore the possibilities of using the voice acoustically, often using text in various chamber ensembles, and as a soloist. Performing contemporary music has always been a part of her concert life, recently, she was the vocal soloist in the Basel version premiere of Kagel’s La Trahison Orale lead by Jean Pierre Drouet and will perform in a newly devised interdisciplinary work curated by Hannes Seidl at the ZeitRäume festival.
16 17 Music has taken the singer to concert halls in the UK, Germany, Denmark, Czech Republic, Qatar, and Russia. Bella has had the privilege of studying with many accomplished artists, amongst them with Thomas Piffka, Christoph Prégardien, Klesie Kelly, Dalia Schaechter, Sir Simon Keenlyside, Matthew Rose, Josef Protschka, and Yvonne Minton.

less

Composer(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...
more
"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.

less

Bella Adamova (vocals)

Born in Groznyy, Russia in the 1990’s Bella grew up in Prague, Czech Republic torn between, and surrounded by many cultures. This has translated to a versatility as a musician – always occupying the space somewhere in between genres, never quite fitting in. As a young musician her first encounters with the stage were in school choirs (where she sang mostly folk and world music, jazz, and soul), and musicals. Bella was conflicted whether to pursue jazz or classical singing, eventually completing her Bachelor’s in Vocal performance in London and her Master’s in Cologne, Germany. There she was involved in a number of Operas, notably singing Hermia in Britten’s A midsummer night’s dream and Celia in Haydn’s La fedeltá premiata...
more
Born in Groznyy, Russia in the 1990’s Bella grew up in Prague, Czech Republic torn between, and surrounded by many cultures. This has translated to a versatility as a musician – always occupying the space somewhere in between genres, never quite fitting in. As a young musician her first encounters with the stage were in school choirs (where she sang mostly folk and world music, jazz, and soul), and musicals. Bella was conflicted whether to pursue jazz or classical singing, eventually completing her Bachelor’s in Vocal performance in London and her Master’s in Cologne, Germany. There she was involved in a number of Operas, notably singing Hermia in Britten’s A midsummer night’s dream and Celia in Haydn’s La fedeltá premiata at Theater Aachen.
The art song has been a focal point for the young mezzo-soprano ever since she sang her first Debussy mélodie. Her repertoire ranges from Bellini to George Crumb, German Lied as well as Russian romances. In 2015 she won the Czech Song Prize at the Emmy Destinn Awards in London. In that year, Bella met the pianist Michael Gees with whom she sings and improvises in duo.
Her first encounters with free improvisation were with Paulo Álvares, which she continued studying at the Basel Music Academy under Fred Frith and Alfred Zimmerlin. As an improviser she loves to explore the possibilities of using the voice acoustically, often using text in various chamber ensembles, and as a soloist. Performing contemporary music has always been a part of her concert life, recently, she was the vocal soloist in the Basel version premiere of Kagel’s La Trahison Orale lead by Jean Pierre Drouet and will perform in a newly devised interdisciplinary work curated by Hannes Seidl at the ZeitRäume festival.
16 17 Music has taken the singer to concert halls in the UK, Germany, Denmark, Czech Republic, Qatar, and Russia. Bella has had the privilege of studying with many accomplished artists, amongst them with Thomas Piffka, Christoph Prégardien, Klesie Kelly, Dalia Schaechter, Sir Simon Keenlyside, Matthew Rose, Josef Protschka, and Yvonne Minton.

less

Press

Adamova’s mezzo-soprano possesses a reliable bel canto technique. However, one can hear more than classical opera singing on the album — the soft wordplay is supported by multifaceted declamation, melismatic ornamentation of certain vowels, or simply half-whispered words, and bending of intonation with small intervalic deviations. These are things which do come into play in classical music but, in a way, also transcend it. Bella Adamova possesses too the gift of dramatic delivery — she can develop a text to its climax and give it a certain theatrical expressivity, when it’s appropriate. The lion’s share of the overall sound is taken care of by the mysterious and introspective piano of Michael Gees, who managed to react with sensibility to the delicate nuances of the voice with a gossamer dynamic and extraordinary colourfulness across the registers.
Vltava cz, 12-3-2020

... exceptionally gifted improvisers.
BBC Musicmagazine, 02-3-2020

This will be on my Want List at the end of the year. Don’t wait until the end of the year, though—hear it now!
Fanfare, 18-2-2020

The songs are all beautiful in their delicacy and fragility.
Luister, 06-12-2019

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Videos

ella Adamova & Michael Gees - from the album 'Blooming': 'я буду петь, земная и чужая'

Often bought together with..

Love!
Huijnen & Hopman
Visions
Nino Gvetadze
Stagioni
Mayke Rademakers

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