A Portrait of Magic in Sound
“Claude Debussy is often labelled as a musical Impressionist. It is misleading to do so, however, since Debussy was not truly associated with the visual artists who belonged to that current. Instead, he viewed himself as an adept of Symbolism, as one can tell from his choice of texts for
musical settings and from his opera Pelléas et Mélisande; he eventually turned against the association of music with imagery. In his two volumes of Préludes, the subjects or poetic descriptions were not featured as titles, but appeared in brackets at the end of each piece – more like subtitles than titles. Thus, the Préludes hark back to previous milestones in the genre: in the preludes of Bach and Chopin, the center of attention had not been musical illustration, but the keyboard per se…….……
The aspect of magic in sound is not only prominent in Debussy’s cycle of préludes, but also in another cycle: Makrokosmos, which American composer George Crumb started to write in 1972. Makrokosmos eventually grew to four volumes and acquired legendary status. The first two
volumes are for solo piano; Vols. 3 and 4 are for two pianos and percussion, viz. for piano four hands, respectively. Contemporary modes of execution are prominent in all four volumes, including tapping and knocking on the piano frame, or scraping the strings.
Transformation of timbre is an essential element for Crumb, who had alchemy in mind. Aspects of the occult are prominent in the first volume, which is devoted to the signs of the zodiac – not in terms of astronomy, but of astrology, i.e. the influence of zodiac signs on a person’s development and character. Crumb’s Makrokosmos is thus likewise a collection of character pieces such as the more Romantic ones Schumann wrote for piano in the 19th century.
Like Schumann, Crumb dedicated his pieces to concrete people: he encrypted their identity in abbreviations, and the puzzles are easy to solve.
The fifth piece, “The Phantom Gondolier”, is in the sign of Scorpio, which exerts its influence on the lives of those born from 24 October on – exactly the day George Crumb was born in 1929. This piece is thus a stunning self-portrait. We hear howling and moaning through the vastness of space;
everything else remains a mystery…. ..“ (Excerpts from the booklet notes by Bernd Künzig)
The pianist Martin Klett transcends borders with his effortless musicianship. With equal commitment
and refinement, he performs classical piano concertos and jazzy recitals with duo partner
Sebastian Manz. The press lauds the “cultivated, spirited touch” (Crescendo) and “suave technique”
(Piano News) of his Rachmaninoff album and his “passion, ease and precision” (Rheinpfalz) in tango
programmes with the Cuarteto SolTango.
This diversity is not only apparent on stage but also in his discography. With the release of Lamento in 2019, this comprises ten CDs – two solo albums, five chamber music recordings and three releases with the Cuarteto SolTango. Regular live recordings and interviews attest to a vivid interest from broadcasters in Martin Klett’s artistic oeuvre.
2008 was an important year for Martin Klett, when he won both the Johannes Brahms International Competition as a soloist and the German Music Competition as a duo partner. Since then he has made a name for himself as a concert pianist at international festivals in Europe and beyond. He plays regularly with ARD and ECHO award winners, concert masters from renowned orchestras and university professors.
The 32-year-old Hamburg native hails from musical family that supported his curiosity for various forms of expression in young years – for composing and arranging in addition to piano.
He was able to further develop his artistic personality with his long-time mentor Prof. Konrad Elser at the Lübeck Conservatory of Music and later at the University of the Arts in Berlin. He now teaches at the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Conservatory in Leipzig and at the Detmold Conservatory of Music.
His passion for tango dancing has given Martin Klett deep insight into the music of this intangible world cultural heritage. He often incorporates tango music into his concert programmes today.
With his Cuarteto SolTango, founded in 2008, he brings fresh new impulses to chamber music platforms
and radio channels.
For his Rachmaninoff album the press appricated the cultivated playing with temperament (Crescendo) and his supple technique, with his SolTango albums his emphassis, freedom and precision. In the field of chamber music Martin will concentrate on the 200th anniverary of César Franck’s birtday together with the Armida Quartet and increases empahsis on his solo career.
Claude Debussy was a French composer. He and Maurice Ravel were the most prominent figures associated with impressionist music, though Debussy disliked the term when applied to his compositions. He was made Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1903. He was among the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and his use of non-traditional scales and chromaticism influenced many composers who followed.
Debussy's music is noted for its sensory content and frequent usage of non-traditional tonalities. The prominent French literary style of his period was known as Symbolism, and this movement directly inspired Debussy both as a composer and as an active cultural participant Among his most famous works are his Clair de Lune, his Three Nocturnes and his orchestral piece La Mer.