Schumann / Randalu, „Dichterliebe“
The Dichterliebe song cycle, Op. 48 (1840), might be Robert Schumann’s most celebrated cycle of Lieder and constitutes part of the central core of the genre in musical literature. Based on German poet Heinrich Heine’s Lyrisches Intermezzo, a 65-poems spanning collection first published in 1823, Dichterliebe in a way even represents the epitome of romantic poetry set to music. Founded in a broad understanding for classical piano tradition, Kristjan Randalu’s variations of the song cycle provide a strictly contemporary vision that elaborates on Schumann’s romantic notions with impressionist design, vast improvisational liberties and the spontaneity and harmonic breadth of jazz.
Randalu belongs to the most sought-after pianists of his generation, carrying the torch in both the improvised world of jazz and the traditional realm of classical music. Between creating his own original blend of contemporary jazz as a leader and collaborating with several generations of respected musicians, from the likes of fellow ECM recording artist Trygve Seim to saxophonist David Liebman, Randalu has brought his music to some of the world’s most renowned jazz festivals and concert halls.
Estonian guitarist Jaak Sooäär, Armenian-Estonian double bassist Ara Yaralyan and Finnish drummer Markku Ounaskari established a trio in spring 2016. Since then they have performed in Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Estonia and Finland. With their main focus on melody, the trio’s repertoire also includes Armenian music and improvisations on themes by J.S. Bach. In a sense, they can be called a piano trio without a piano, where guitar takes the wide-ranging “orchestral” role of the piano. The trio released their debut album A Shooting Star in October 2018 and their second album Goodbye July in October 2020, both under the German label O-Tone Music.
Jaak Sooäär is one of the most active jazz musicians of the Baltic countries, who has performed with Ray Anderson, Anders Jormin, Han Bennink, Will Calhoun, Dave Liebman and Vladimir Tarasov among others. Ara Yaralyan is known as a member of the Kari Ikonen Trio and has also collaborated with Ingrid Jensen, Vardan Ovsepian and Verneri Pohjola among others. Markku Ounaskari regularly collaborates with artists such as Arve Henriksen, Anders Jormin, Nils Petter Molvaer, Trygve Seim, Markus Stockhausen, Tore Brunborg, Mats Eilertsen and Lena Willemark and also appears on several ECM albums.
At the end of 2020, Joel Remmel Trio and Aleksander Paal released their joint EP, Sügis (Autumn). Their productive collaboration has also continued on the trio’s latest full-length studio album, Kevad (Spring). Both albums mainly feature Joel Remmel’s original work, which is fresh and diverse. Both albums feature rhythmic and technically challenging material, spanning from lively improvisations and soft grooves to fresh-sounding ballads.
Joel Remmel (1989) belongs to the best of the younger generation of Estonian jazz pianists. For the past nine years he has led his instrumental ensemble, Joel Remmel Trio, with Heikko Remmel on double bass and Ramuel Tafenau on drums. Over the years, Joel has been associated with various projects in the Estonian jazz and pop music scene and in 2011 he received The Young Jazz Talent award from Jazzkaar Festival. He draws his musical inspiration from jazz legends like Herbie Hancock, Brad Mehldau and Keith Jarrett, but also from sacred music – from church corals to modern gospel music.
Aleksander Paal is a brilliant younger generation jazz saxophonist and composer in an emerging vanguard of exciting young musicians from the Baltic countries. He has participated in numerous local saxophone competitions in both classical and jazz disciplines, and won several of them. Paal studied jazz music at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre and the University of Music Franz Liszt Weimar and has become a sought-after improviser both in jazz and contemporary music circles. A versatile player, one of his strengths is his ability to comfortably accommodate different styles of music.