Cover What the Fugue

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  • 1Tigran's Prelude07:43
  • 2Abde(l)07:24
  • 3Fuga in Odd04:33
  • 4Dimensions - Präludium02:54
  • 5Dimensions - Interludium01:33
  • 6Dimensions - Centrum00:59
  • 7Dimensions - Fuga04:21
  • 8Dimensions - Postludium02:21
  • 9JSB on LSD04:19
  • 10Hidden Prelude01:45
  • 11Fuge in E03:14
  • 12Sergeys Zwinkern - Präludium02:54
  • 13Sergeys Zwinkern - Fuge07:31
  • Total Runtime51:31

Info for What the Fugue

Now here’s a challenge: to take the fugue, possibly the most complex compositional procedure in Western classical music, and to transform it to reflect the modern age. The ‘New Piano Trio’ - violinist Florian Willeitner, cellist Ivan Turkalj and pianist Alexander Wienand – has taken this task to heart. Rather than being in any way daunted by the towering achievements of the baroque period, these three classically trained and extremely open-minded musicians have risen to the occasion, and achieved a fine balance between the rigour of the art of fugue and the freedom of jazz in their album ‘What the Fugue’.

Florian Willeitner, the violinist who is the principal composer and organiser behind the project, combines the streams of classical music and jazz, both of which run deep in him, in a unique way. This phenomenally talented and multifaceted musician was born in Passau – a city where major rivers converge – in 1991. He began improvising and writing his own music at an early age. Since his youth, he has been fascinated by music from all over the world. His peregrinations with a rucksack and a violin have taken him to Ireland, Spain, Bulgaria, Cuba and Brazil...where he has expanded his horizons by forging links with local musicians. He later studied classical violin at the Salzburg Mozarteum, founded the ‘New Piano Trio’ and became first violinist of the renowned ‘vision string quartet’. In 2021, his first ACT release ‘First Strings On Mars’ was released - for Jan Brachmann, one of Germany's most important classical music journalists, an ‘album to refresh both the heart and the mind.’

Florian Willeitner says of the background to his new project ‘What The Fugue’: ‘The fugue, the supreme discipline of the Baroque era, has fascinated me for decades. My studies of the counterpoint of both Bach and Shostakovich provided me with one important source, but there was another: I was equally captivated by West African groove music. It inspired my to involve its highly complex interplay of many layers and the harmonious intertwining of several equal voices.’ Developing an entire programme based on this fascination for music with multilayered interlocking rhythms and melodies was a long-cherished wish for Willeitner. However, it wasn’t until the pandemic in 2020 that he actually found the time needed to immerse himself fully and properly in it.

Drawing inspiration from diverse musical traditions, he carefully set about the task of crafting compositions based on four distinct “keys”, each representing a unique musical language. The key “Orient” is influenced by the vibrant colours and rhythmic ideas of Middle Eastern music, and in particular one of Willeitner’s greatest musical heroes, Tigran Hamasyan. In “Dimensions,” he delved into the exuberant understanding of harmony of Jacob Collier. The key “Bach,” though not an attempt to mimic Bach’s tonal language, pays tribute to his preludes from the Well-Tempered Clavier. And lastly, “The Twinkle” sought to capture the mischievous spirit of Sergei Prokofiev, a favourite composer, infusing the compositions with his playful energy and wit.

‘What The Fugue’ has captured some of the typical and exciting traits of current jazz artists and that is what makes this music both appealing and so substantial, interesting and eventful: outstanding musical skills from all the players, a spirit of inquisitiveness and openness, a broad musical horizon across styles, eras and borders. And, above all, the will and the imagination to use all of these ingredients to create new, fresh and unexpected music.

Florian Willeitner, violin
Ivan Turkalj, violoncello
Alexander Wienand, piano

Florian Willeitner
Born in Passau in 1991, he is an award-winning German violinist, composer and arranger whose work focuses on combining a wide range of musical cultures, from classical music to jazz and global folk music.

In 2019, he founded the artist platform and production company Pool of Invention with his long-time musical collaborator Ivan Turkalj. He has created works for renowned orchestras, festivals and soloists, including the Tonkünstlerorchester Niederösterreich, Musikfest Stuttgart, Benjamin Schmid, Andreas Hofmeir, Rolando Villazon and the Salzburg Mozartwoche. His music is performed at renowned venues and festivals worldwide.

He is a founding member of the New Piano Trio, with whom he won the Bavarian Art Prize in 2022, and has been first violinist of the renowned vision string quartet since November 2021. He won 2nd prize at the International Zbigniew Seifert Competition 2016. In 2017, he completed his master's degree with Benjamin Schmid at the Mozarteum University with top marks.

He created the work Mozart in the Shape of Europe for the EU summit of the 28 European heads of government in September 2018. He composed the contemporary compulsory piece for solo violin for the International Mozart Competition 2020.

He lives in Berlin and has been an exclusive recording artist with ACT Music since 2021.

Booklet for What the Fugue

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