Reportage iwwert “De klenge Gnom” am RTL Journal, 20.01.2013
Beautiful animation with a true statement.
2012 in review
2012 has been one of my most productive years so far. Not everything worked out the way I wished, but all in all, I have many reasons to be thankful for. The last day of the year seems a good opportunity to review my musical year 2012.
- During the last week of 2011, I composed Ave Maria op. 95 (an arrangement of my first Night Prayer for four-part choir) for Tenebrae, one of my favorite choirs.
- I also wrote the music for my personal Consecration Prayer from 2005.
- The first piece I composed in 2012 was Winter, the final movement of my piano cycle Holy Lake op. 91, inspired by my friend Monika Schulz-Fieguth’s beautiful photography (I played the premiere in Potsdam one month later).
- Then came Lucis op. 96 for violin and piano (which I performed with the British violinist Damian Falkowski later in June at a private concert in Remich, Luxembourg). It was composed for the Hilary Hahn Competition.
- The next piece was Obsculta op. 97, which I wrote for my music clip project with the great film artist Vitùc (happy birthday, dear friend!).
- World premiere of Holy Lake in Potsdam, Germany.
- Recordings of Holy Lake and Obsculta at Rainer Oleak’s beautiful Tonscheune in Berlin.
- Composition of Agios o Theos op. 98 for three-part-choir and piano accompaniment (I was having a John-Tavener-phase in March).
- In April I rewrote several of my older choral works: Dorische Messe op. 45, Lydische Messe op. 53, In Nocturno op. 51 and Cantica op. 69.
- I also began to work on the four tracks for the new Chant album that I would record with the Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz in August.
- In 2011 I had set to music John Henry Newman’s A Voice from Afar. Now I would compose a song for voice, string orchestra and piano based on his beautiful poem Lead, Kindly Light (op. 99).
- In May, I travelled to Heiligenkreuz with Vitùc to film the music clip for Obsculta. Here is a slideshow with some pictures of this exceptional week that I got to spend with Vito and the monks.
- I began to work on De Klenge Gnom (The Little Gnome), my children’s opera that I had already written in my teens. Having three wonderful little children, I decided that this “little” project is worth completing, and it will be premiered in January 2013 (note: at the time of this writing, I am still not finished, and work on the Gnome has been filling nearly every single day since November).
- Vitùc and I filmed the second part of Obsculta in Ettelbruck, Luxembourg (the bits where you see me at the piano).
- Obsculta went online:
- I composed a piano version of Thanking Blessed Mary, a beautiful pop song by Paddy Kelly, a musician whom I hold in high esteem.
- I seriously started to work on my commission for the Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz: a piano/chant version of Stabat Mater, Salve Mater, Salve Regina and Ave, maris stella.
- I prepared the recording of my new solo album Prayers of Silence (to be released sometime in 2013).
- A week before the recording I composed the perfect piece to close the album: Afterthought.
- I completed the 4 pieces for the new Chant album: Chant - Stabat Mater.
- In late August, I went to Heiligenkreuz in order to record Prayers of Silence and Chant - Stabat Mater. It was a laborious but rewarding week. I enjoyed working with the monks and with Georg Burdicek, a brilliant Tonmeister from Vienna.
- Completion of the vocal score of The Little Gnome.
- Completion of two Victor Hugo songs for soprano and piano, a private commission.
- Rework of my Consecration Prayer for Platinum Consort, a stellar young vocal ensemble conducted by Scott Inglis-Kidger.
- Concert with the Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz in Austria to launch Chant - Stabat Mater.
- Rework of my Weihnachtslieder op. 43 from 2001/2001.
- Photo shooting at the Holy Lake in Potsdam.
- Interview for Fran Welsh’s Meet the Artist series.
- World premiere of my Consecration Prayer by Platinum Consort in London.
- Lots of piano practicing for Beethoven’s Chorfantasie op. 80 (concert in December).
- Continuous work (until this day) on the orchestration of The Little Gnome.
- Video of Holy Lake:
- World premiere of Weihnachtslieder op. 43 and Agios o Theos op. 98 in Düsseldorf by Justine Wanat and the Jugendchor der Clara-Schumann-Musikschule Düsseldorf.
- Interview for Pianists from the Inside.
- Currently finishing The Little Gnome (premiere on 19th January in Ettelbruck, Luxembourg).
I did not want to brag with this post. It is more about motivating myself to go on. There have been discouraging moments too, and sometimes I think that I don’t accomplish enough, or that there is too little progress in my life. But looking back on 2012 (especially through my Instagram timeline), I can say that a lot of good things have happened. I am grateful.
Thank you to:
- My family for your continuous support. I could not have done this without Martina’s and my children’s love.
- All the Facebook and Twitter and SoundCloud friends for your kind comments and thumbs up.
- My friends and colleagues involved in any of these projects.
- My colleagues and students at the Conservatoire du Nord.
- All of you who showed interest in my music.
I met Monika in 2011 and was deeply touched by her art. So I composed this cycle inspired by her photographies of the Holy Lake, a mostly quiet, but powerful piece that is very dear to my heart. It will be published on my new solo album Prayers of Silence.
Fitting the season, you can directly start listening to the last piece “Winter” by clicking here.
Dr. Monte Ladner, who helped me to quit smoking and become a runner in 2009 (I was an avid listener of his discontinued podcast Fitness Rocks at the time), posted a beautiful little video using my music. I think that the pictures and the music – a piece called Morning from my Eichendorff-Lieder op. 3 – go very well together. Thank you, Dr. Monte!
Two albums in one week
I spent an amazing week at the Abbey of Heiligenkreuz. The monks asked me to compose four piano arrangements for their new album Chant - Stabat Mater, which will be released on September 28th on the monks’ own label Obsculta Music. After our wonderful and successful collaboration for Chant - Amor et Passio last year, I was more than happy to accept the challenge and I set out to compose Stabat Mater, Salve Mater, Salve Regina and Ave Maris Stella. I posted some photos on my ➝ Facebook page.
What’s more, I also recorded 15 tracks for my new solo album Prayers of Silence. I won’t reveal too much yet, but I can say that this is the most personal project that I have ever worked on.
After these inspired and inspiring days in Heiligenkreuz I look forward to taking a week off and traveling to Italy with my family and friends.
P.S.: Here is a short teaser with material taken during the recording sessions:
You can find the English version of this text here.
Obsculta op. 97
„Obsculta, o fili, præcepta magistri, et inclina aurem cordis tui…
Höre, mein Sohn, auf die Weisung des Meisters, neige das Ohr deines Herzens…“
Der erste Satz aus der Regel des hl. Benedikt († 547) hat den luxemburgischen Komponisten und Pianisten David Ianni dazu inspiriert, ein Stück über das Wesen der Stille zu schreiben. Jede Musik entspringt der Stille und führt in die Stille zurück. Nur indem man mit dem Herzen lauscht, kann man die wahre Natur der Stille hören und verstehen. Getragen vom täglichen Ruhegebet, führte der Kompositionsprozess wie selbstverständlich zu einem Zitat des Gregorianischen Chorals „Ubi Caritas“ („Wo Güte ist und Liebe, da ist Gott“), den David bereits 2011 mit seinen Freunden, den Mönchen des Stiftes Heiligenkreuz aufgenommen hat.
Als David Ende 2011 den Filmemacher Vitùc traf, wusste er auf Anhieb, dass dieser Künstler genau die Sensibilität, die Leidenschaft und das Können mitbrachte, derer es bedarf, um seine Musik in Bilder zu transponieren. Im Mai 2012 besuchten Vitùc und David für eine Woche das Stift Heiligenkreuz. Inspiriert von der Musik, der Schönheit des Klosters und der Liebenswürdigkeit der Mönche, hat Vitùc ein Video „komponiert“, das einen Hauch der unaussprechlichen Essenz der Stille offenbart - jener Geburtsstätte aller wahren Kunst.
Eine deutsche Version dieses Textes gibt es hier.
Obsculta op. 97 (2012)
“Obsculta, o fili, præcepta magistri, et inclina aurem cordis tui…
Listen carefully, my son, to your master’s precepts, and incline the ear of your heart…”
The opening words from the rule of St. Benedict († 547) have inspired the Luxembourgish composer/pianist David Ianni to write a piece about the nature of silence. All music emerges from silence and leads back into silence. Only by listening with our hearts, can the essence of silence be heard and understood. The composing process naturally led to a quotation of the ancient Gregorian Chant “Ubi Caritas” (“where charity and love are, God is there”), a Chant that David already recorded with his friends, the Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz (Austria) in 2011.
When David met the filmmaker Vitùc in late 2011, he knew that Vitùc had exactly the sensitivity, the passion and the skills to transpose the message of his music into visuals. In May of 2012, Vitùc and David visited the Abbey of Heiligenkreuz for a week. Inspired by the music, the beauty of the monastery and the friendliness of the monks, Vitùc composed a wonderful music clip that reveals some of the unutterable nature of silence and listening - the genesis of all true art.
Vitùc is teasing me. Can’t wait to see the finished clip. He perfectly translates my music into visuals.
Update July 7th, 2012: The music video of “Obsculta” is now online ➝ watch and listen.
Note: you can click through the slideshow by clicking the arrows on the right/left side of the picture above.
I had the great joy to spend the last week with my friend Vitùc at the monastery of Heiligenkreuz. The Cistercians were kind enough to let me and Vitùc create a music clip for my composition Obsculta [Listen!]1 inside their beautiful rooms and sacred spaces.
My music was inspired by my many stays at the monasteries of Heiligenkreuz and Stiepel. Vitùc filmed the most beautiful pictures of Stift Heiligenkreuz that I have ever seen. But the movie is not done yet. There will be another shooting on a concert scene in Luxembourg where I will perform “Obsculta”. I can’t wait to see and show you the finished clip!
My heartfelt thanks go to the monks for their ongoing support and their prayers and to Vitùc for putting all his talent and heart into this project.
Here is one of his many clips that I love:
This little boy’s love for Christ has moved me beyond words. If you have a few minutes, do watch this.