Endless expanses, deep oceans, wild waters: on her new CD, pianist Lydia Maria Bader embarks on a spectacular journey of discovery into the mysterious depths of the maritime repertoire. The treasures she unearthed – among them some hitherto completely unknown works – will make you prick up your ears!
It’s a truly awesome piece, says pianist Lydia Maria Bader about “Le chant de la mer“ by Gustave Samazeuilh. It is technically extremely difficult, but also incredibly fascinating, which motivated her to work on this piece full, approaching it full of curiosity. Samazeuilh’s work is not only a true discovery, it also marks the thematic red threat of this exceptional recording: the sea, the oceans. “I want to lead my listeners into the adventurous world of the oceans and sea faring. Piano pieces which depict water musically have always fascinated me. During the pandemic, an intense wanderlust also made itself felt. That is how the idea for this CD program was born. With a lot of curiosity, I embarked on my search for traces, and was awarded with many discoveries.“
The ocean which is heard in the six pieces on this recording is shown in all its facets: From meditative stillness on the surface of the water to raging natural forces. For example in the “Poems of the Sea“ by Ernest Bloch: “The three movements transport a delicate beauty in a surprisingly straightforward tonal language. Here, too, you immediately become immersed in the ocean element,“ says Bader. “I can only marvel at the way Bloch was able to create such impressions with such minimalist means.“ Just like in Samazeuilh’s case, it is shocking how little success Bloch had in his European home – as opposed to his American home of choice. “I believe that this music should be lovingly resurrected, and I want to do my part in that.“
Bader certainly accomplishes this with the present recording, which also includes works by Chinese composer Zhu Gongyi, by Frank Bridge, Anton Rubinstein, and Edward MacDowell. The latter’s cycle “Sea Pieces“ borrows from the European-Romantic tonal language. The pieces tell of icebergs, describe the starry night sky, lead into the dark depths of the deep sea and sing of the wild ocean also as a mighty monster. This too is a veritable discovery! “I especially like the freedom and the thrill felt during the discovery of rather unknown repertoire, and I would like to share my role as musical treasure hunter through this CD,“ says Bader.
Through her storytelling-concers, pianist Lydia Maria Bader brings a sense of fresh air unto the concert stage. As a musical treasure hunter with a fascination for foreign cultures, she passionately introduces her audiences to composers and music which lay off the beaten track. Coined by the neue musikzeitung as “one of Germany’s leading pianists,“ her thematic concerts are received enthusiastically by audiences and critics alike. Her fascination for foreign cultures, which have lead her on concert tours beyond Europe and into Russia and Bangladesh, is reflected on her CD programs: After “Music of the North“ with works from Scandinavia and the Baltic states, she presented the beauty of Chinese piano music on her latest CD “Chinese Dreams.“ With this CD, which was extremely well received internationally and which was nominated in two categories for the OPUS KLASSIK prize, she established herself as the leading expert for Chinese piano music in Europe.
Ever since her debut tour in 2009, Lydia Maria Bader has had a strong connection to China. Celebrated by Chinese media as the “German Piano Princess,“ her
often weeks-long concert tours from Southern China to inner Mongolia have attracted tens of thousands of visitors. In 2016, she was named the cultural ambassador to Gansu province. Born in Chiemgau in Bavaria, she began learning how to play the piano at age four, at first receiving instruction from her father. The majority of her education she received under Prof. Michael Schäfer at the Musikhochschule Munich, where she took up her studies as a junior student at the young age of fifteen. Further stations on her educational journey were the Kunstuniversität Graz, where she learned under Markus Schirmer, and the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris with Michael Beroff. As an artist of the new generation, she uses social media channels to offer insight into her colorful everyday life as an artist, and in 2021, she started the successful online concert series “Mondschein-Musik.“
“Pianist Lydia Maria Baders shines with a clear, pearling, and harmonious sound in these Asian miniatures. Without taking too many liberties, she creates a feeling of easiness and boundless lightness, which evokes a steady pull towards stirring expansions especially in the ecstatic, Impressionistic-like pieces.“
The New Listener