About the album
“I consider myself an ambassador between classical and jazz musicians, between composed and improvised music” says Austrian composer Johannes Berauer. Growing up with both Keith Jarrett and Chopin, it came naturally for Berauer to fuse the genres into a very unique and personal style, which became the trademark of his Vienna Chamber Diaries ensemble.
The group’s 10th anniversary and a commission from Vienna Konzerthaus pushed Berauer to re-invent his project and to think big. “I wanted to create music that can morph between intimate and fragile chamber music and the driving force of a jazz combo to the rich timbre of orchestral music within a moment. Improvisation is always integral, woven into the composed textures in such a way that it is not immediately apparent which is which.” The sequence of the album features large scale orchestral works and small ensemble pieces, alternated with each other to create contrasts in texture, density and mood.
Such a challenging concept needs excellent musicians. Wolfgang Muthspiel, Klaus Gesing, Gwilym Simcock and Yuri Goloubev are not only leading figures in jazz but also bring a special understanding of playing in composed settings to the ensemble. They are joined by some of Austria’s finest hybrid players, including Johannes Dickbauer (who recently won the Seifert Violin Competition), Florian Eggner, Christian Bakanic and percussionist Bernhard Schimpelsberger. The string section is drawn from the Viennese orchestra scene.
Berauer describes Wolfgang Muthspiel as the ‘patron’ of the Vienna Chamber Diaries project. Muthspiel played on the first album as well as launching it on his record label. He now returned to the studio to join this special constellation with the following statement:
“Johannes Berauer operates at the exciting junction between classical compositional forms and jazz-influenced improvisational music. A string quartet is just as familiar and second-nature to him as a pulsating band with jazz soloists. Berauer has somehow effortlessly succeeded in building this bridge by immersing himself in both genres early on and internalizing them. Using the highest level of craftsmanship, he creates music that is honest through and through, that is unpretentious and direct with complete originality… I hope his latest recording, in which I had the pleasure of participating, will be received with huge respect and acclaim. Not only because I believe that this music simply deserves to be widely heard, but also because it takes us further along the continually fascinating artistic path that Johannes Berauer has been on for quite some time now.”
The album is framed with hopeful anticipation for the future (New Horizons) and memories of the past (Indian Summer). Berauer draws inspiration from classical composers like Bartok (Divertimento Part 2) or Ravel (Valse Bleue). The birth of Berauer’s son Florentin also had an impact on his writing, and the album includes a piece written in dedication to him (Florentin).
Jazzwise - John Fordham
Jazz - classical crossovers as shapely and mellifluous as this aren't for everyone but Johannes Berauer understands the needs of both persuasions more musically and sensitively than most who explore it
'Berauer is a modern thinking, cross-over, chamber jazz Jedi'