Debussy & Crumb
Claude Debussy - George Crumb

Debussy & Crumb

Martin Klett

Label: CAvi
Format: CD
Barcode: 4260085534845
Catalog number: AVI 8553484
Releasedate: 04-12-20
- This is the second solo album of Martin after the Rachmaninoff/Gustavino Recital (CAvi8553397)
- Martin Klett is deeply searching for the aspects of sound in both cycles, Préludes I and Makrokosmos I
- Martin Klett also works closely on other areas like chamber music and mainly with his Cuarteto SolTango, a group of classical musicians focussing closely on discovering the old and original Tango

A Portrait of Magic in Sound

“Claude Debussy is often labelled as a musical Impressionist. It is misleading to do so, however, since Debussy was not truly associated with the visual artists who belonged to that current. Instead, he viewed himself as an adept of Symbolism, as one can tell from his choice of texts for
musical settings and from his opera Pelléas et Mélisande; he eventually turned against the association of music with imagery. In his two volumes of Préludes, the subjects or poetic descriptions were not featured as titles, but appeared in brackets at the end of each piece – more like subtitles than titles. Thus, the Préludes hark back to previous milestones in the genre: in the preludes of Bach and Chopin, the center of attention had not been musical illustration, but the keyboard per se…….……

The aspect of magic in sound is not only prominent in Debussy’s cycle of préludes, but also in another cycle: Makrokosmos, which American composer George Crumb started to write in 1972. Makrokosmos eventually grew to four volumes and acquired legendary status. The first two
volumes are for solo piano; Vols. 3 and 4 are for two pianos and percussion, viz. for piano four hands, respectively. Contemporary modes of execution are prominent in all four volumes, including tapping and knocking on the piano frame, or scraping the strings.

Transformation of timbre is an essential element for Crumb, who had alchemy in mind. Aspects of the occult are prominent in the first volume, which is devoted to the signs of the zodiac – not in terms of astronomy, but of astrology, i.e. the influence of zodiac signs on a person’s development and character. Crumb’s Makrokosmos is thus likewise a collection of character pieces such as the more Romantic ones Schumann wrote for piano in the 19th century.

Like Schumann, Crumb dedicated his pieces to concrete people: he encrypted their identity in abbreviations, and the puzzles are easy to solve.
The fifth piece, “The Phantom Gondolier”, is in the sign of Scorpio, which exerts its influence on the lives of those born from 24 October on – exactly the day George Crumb was born in 1929. This piece is thus a stunning self-portrait. We hear howling and moaning through the vastness of space;
everything else remains a mystery…. ..“ (Excerpts from the booklet notes by Bernd Künzig)


The pianist Martin Klett transcends borders with his effortless musicianship. With equal commitment
and refinement, he performs classical piano concertos and jazzy recitals with duo partner Sebastian
Manz. The press lauds the “cultivated, spirited touch” Crescendo and “suave technique” Piano News
of his Rachmaninoff album and his “passion, ease and precision” Rheinpfalz in tango programmes
with the Cuarteto SolTango.

This diversity is not only apparent on stage but also in his discography. With the release of Lamento
in 2019, this comprises ten CDs – two solo albums, five chamber music recordings and three releases
with the Cuarteto SolTango. Regular live recordings and interviews attest to a vivid interest from
broadcasters in Martin Klett’s artistic oeuvre.

2008 was an important year for Martin Klett, when he won both the Johannes Brahms International
Competition as a soloist and the German Music Competition as a duo partner. Since then he has
made a name for himself as a concert pianist at international festivals in Europe and beyond. He
plays regularly with ARD and ECHO award winners, concert masters from renowned orchestras and
university professors.

The 32-year-old Hamburg native hails from musical family that supported his curiosity for various
forms of expression in young years – for composing and arranging in addition to piano. He was able
to further develop his artistic personality with his long-time mentor Prof. Konrad Elser at the Lübeck
Conservatory of Music and later at the University of the Arts in Berlin. He now teaches at the Felix
Mendelssohn Bartholdy Conservatory in Leipzig and at the Detmold Conservatory of Music.

His passion for tango dancing has given Martin Klett deep insight into the music of this intangible
world cultural heritage. He often incorporates tango music into his concert programmes today. With
his Cuarteto SolTango, founded in 2008, he brings fresh new impulses to chamber music platforms
and radio channels.

Current highlights include Martin Klett’s first appearance at the Konzerthaus Vienna, and a reinvitation
to the Gasteig Munich as well as debut collaborations with Julian Steckel, Tanja Tetzlaff, Chiara
Enderle and actress Johanna Wokalek. Future plans include a recording with Cuarteto SolTango and
Argentine singer Leonel Capitano for Bavarian Radio in summer 2020.