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Köln (DE), Philharmonie Köln

„Die Nacht der Dichterliebe“ - The Night of Schumann’s Poet’s love“

When Julian Prégardien texted me in the beginning of August about rehearsals for this night of Schumann’s songs at the philharmony in Cologne, I couldn’t believe it - I was so surprised! I never thought due to Covid - 19 and all its challenges and changes it has brought upon the world, that this concert was going to happen. So as you can imagine I was very happy about these good news. Last year, right after our first get and play together with Julian in München at Gasteig, we talked about continuing this kind of Liederabend where the original version of Schumann meets our version. And right after these first concerts in München mathias was so inspired that he arranged almost all the songs of Dichterliebe as soon as we were back in Vienna. So now - one year later - for this night in Cologne we had 12 songs ready to go from the original 16 of „Dichterliebe“. On our Schumann Song Book we recorded four of the Dichterliebe songs, so most of these new arrangements from mathias were a premiere for both of us.

I arrived in Cologne by train from Den Haag, as for the next couple of months I’m doing my master there and it’s only a couple of hours away. We all met one day before the concert, so we could rehearse this musical combination and confrontation of our interpretations. Also part of this concert was amazing soprano Sandrine Piau and Schumann specialist and wonderful pianist Eric Le Sage.

I was very nervous to play our version embedded in this classical context, but I think in music and in life taking risks in one way or another is worth it - or at least I hope so : ). We rehearsed and decided which songs we would play and how we’d transition from one musical world into another so that in the end there would be one extended Dichterliebe. mathias had arranged many transitions so that the different keys would always lead into and out of one another. Two pianos, two pianists, two singers and one Dichterliebe by Robert Schumann. What a joy and honor it has been to perform with and next to Julian and experience his truly inspiring version linked with ours.

After the concert it was time for hugs and reunions and one, two or maybe three Kölsch with old and new friends. Friends who I haven’t seen in 15 years came to the concert and my dear Michi was with me all the way from Vienna, to Den Haag to Cologne. Oh and Anais thank you for the improvised shaker - what a special sound lentils create : ). There also was a live stream of the concert and you can watch the whole concert for 30 days right here (Dichterliebe starts at 39:00)- thank you to the amazing team and helping hands behind and on stage at the Kölner Philharmonie. I feel blessed to have been a part of a night like this and I sincerely hope that this kind of Liederabend will continue in one way or another. Thank you to everyone who came out in spite of all the circumstances and supported live music. How wonderful it is when musical worlds join as one. Thank you Julian for trusting us and our version and inviting us to this special night. I hope that this was not an experiment but the beginning of something new…

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