Beauty In Simplicity Kai Schumacher

Album info



Label: Neue Meister

Genre: Classical

Subgenre: Minimalism

Album including Album cover


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  • Gernot Bronsert, Sascha Ring, Sebastian Szary:
  • 1A New Error06:49
  • Wim Mertens:
  • 2Struggle for Pleasure05:26
  • Steve Reich:
  • 3Electric Counterpoint (1st Movement)06:52
  • 4Electric Counterpoint (2nd Movement)03:21
  • 5Electric Counterpoint (3rd Movement)04:31
  • Brian Eno:
  • 6Music for Airports 1/210:21
  • Erik Satie:
  • 7Gnossienne No. 303:13
  • Johannes Dybkjaer Andersson, Rebekka Maria Andersson:
  • 8The Hug07:09
  • Peter-Michael Hamel:
  • 9Let It Play (Part1)07:15
  • 10Let It Play (Pt. 2)05:28
  • Gernot Bronsert, Sascha Ring, Sebastian Szary, Simon Brambell:
  • 11The Fool03:56
  • Total Runtime01:04:21

Info for Beauty In Simplicity

In the 1950s, New Music essentially meant one thing: maximum complexity and maximum remoteness from the audience. That changed radically at the end of the 1960s, when a group of freaks completely rewrote the rules of the musical avant-garde and achieved one of the last great breakthroughs in 20th-century art music.

Composers like Steve Reich freed classical music from the dogmas of serialism and created a new sound aesthetic with psychedelic pull, shaped by the rhythms of the Indonesian gamelan, the coolness of free jazz and the energy of rock music. They challenged the excessive intellectualism of European contemporary music with a new kind of performance culture: the lofts and clubs of the New York art scene became the new hot spots of the avant-garde, making Darmstadt and Donaueschingen look like forsaken temples of a long-since-abandoned religion.

The Minimal Music of the 1960s emphasized a new simplicity of musical structure, repetitive elements, tonal harmony and uncompromising reduction of the musical material – the idea of “patterns” was born, without which the genres of ambient, techno and post-rock would never have emerged. It is an irony of fate that a form of classical music that was responsible only a few decades ago for the last great performance scandals of the 20th century should exercise unparalleled influence on mainstream culture to this day.

Taking his lead from Steve Reich’s masterwork “Electric Counterpoint” in a new arrangement for live and pre-recorded pianos, Kai Schumacher takes a musical look on his album Beauty in Simplicity at classical precursors and pop-culture inheritors of minimal music. So it is that Erik Satie’s fragile planes of sound prepare the way for the ambient music of such as Brian Eno while P.M. Hamel’s psychedelic piano works serve as inspiration for piano transcriptions by Moderat.

Rather than relying on digital sound, Kai Schumacher treats the concert grand as a fully analogue synthesizer, applying preparations and sound processing to what is surely the most classical of all instruments to generate apparently electronic sound worlds in the space between drum-machine and the Wall of Sound.

Kai Schumacher, piano & electronics

Kai Schumacher
received his first piano lessons at the age of five, his first public performance was at the age of seven, and his orchestral debut (with Shostakovich's Second Piano Concerto) took place when he was 15. At first glance, the classic story of a young prodigy. But the piano was for him in the true sense of the word a plaything and not some piece of sports equipment; music was a passion and not a discipline. After receiving his school diploma, Schumacher was accepted at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen (Germany) - even though at that point he had attended more punk rock events than symphony concerts. He was awarded the Folkwang piano prize and was given a prize by the Köhler-Osbahr Foundation; Schumacher played his concert examination in 2009, which received the citation, "outstanding". In addition to his studies with Till Engel, he worked with the American pianist Guy Livingston in Amsterdam, and studied chamber music with Andreas Reiner.

As a result, Kai Schumacher's repertory places special emphasis on contemporary American music for the piano. In addition to numerous European premiere performances, he works closely with composers of the younger generation: for example in his project "Darling, I'm indeed useless to you - 12 Variations without Amanda Palmer" (premiere January 2009) for which 12 composers, ranging from jazz to avantgarde, wrote one variation each based on a theme composed by Kai Schumacher. In cooperation with the Duisburg Philharmonic, he was developing new forms for concert presentation, mixing classic and contemporary piano music with rockmusic and electronic sounds, also using light and video installations to form a collage that attracts younger audiences and older critics as well. But Kai Schumacher is not only active as a proponent of modern music; he also concertizes regularly as a soloist and works as producer and arranger for various pop- and rockbands. Besides Germany, he played concerts in Poland, Bulgaria, Turkey, Lithuania, England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Southkorea, Israel and Palestine.

This album contains no booklet.

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