The Weilheim church musician Jürgen Geiger is causing more and more sensations as a pianist: His first piano solo CD is now being released by the renowned classical music label Genuin.
“A Dream” was recorded in the library hall in Pollingen.
And the title says it all.
- Well known is Jürgen Geiger, who has worked as a church musician in the Catholic parish community in Weilheim since 2009, especially as an organist.
He was honored early on in international organ competitions, played in the cathedrals of Moscow, Bordeaux and Berlin - and in 2018, on the 88th birthday of French organ legend Jean Guillou, in the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie.
Guillou, who died in 2019, praised Geiger's “great expressiveness and virtuosity”, and not only on the organ: he was “an organist and pianist of high standing”, praised the maître from Paris.
How masterfully Geiger plays the piano has already been seen several times in Weilheim.
Since 2017 he has had three major piano performances in the town hall;
Accompanied by the Symphony Prague orchestra, he played there, among other things, Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3, which is considered to be a milestone in any pianist career and is actually considered to be “unplayable”.
A work by this Russian composer now also opens the first piano solo CD that Geiger recorded after four organ CDs.
And it also gave the album the title: “A Dream” (based on a poem by Heinrich Heine) is a song from Sergei Rachmaninoff's cycle of romances, Op. 8, which Geiger arranged himself - with a lot of empathy.
“It is not enough to rewrite it on the piano,” says the 44-year-old, “it has to go deeper”.
For his transcriptions, the man from Weilheim does not only deal in detail with the work itself, but also with the composer's biography.
The cover of the piano CD "A Dream / Ein Traum" by Jürgen Geiger.
Until the 1920s, as the Munich musicologist Christina Story explains in the informative CD booklet, "a pianist was expected to compose".
Geiger takes up this seldom cultivated connection between playing and composing again, and in a virtuoso way.
The CD contains five recordings in which he “freely transcribes and reworks works by classical masters, fantasizes about them and expands them compositionally”, as the former Bavarian Minister of Culture Hans Maier explains - full of praise for the musician from Weilheim: “In these new interpretations and new creations Geiger succeeds in a synthesis between what has been handed down and a subjective-emotional reproduction. "
In addition to Rachmaninoff, the pianist has arranged works by Liszt, Mendelssohn Bartholdy and Saint-Saëns.
The romantic panorama is completed with original works by Schubert and Bizet.
And two of Geiger's own compositions can also be heard on the CD: “Variations on Themes from Weber's Freischütz” and the jazzy encore “Dance in the Great Hall”.
The impressive program was recorded on January 30th and 31st in the library hall in Pollingen, which is famous worldwide for its acoustics.
And that too was “a dream” for Geiger: he calls this “spiritual place” “incredibly inspiring”, right up to the “play of light during the day - everything is just right”.
A large Steinway grand piano was borrowed from Munich for the recording;
Incidentally, it was the same person who traveled to Polling a few weeks later for the live streaming concert by star tenor Jonas Kaufmann for the New York Metropolitan Opera.
To record the program for his piano CD in just two days, "that was a great challenge," says Geiger: "It's exhausting, but the music also gives a lot back, it carries you away." And you don't get carried away only the pianist, but also the listener.
“A Dream” will be officially released on January 8th on the Leipzig classic label Genuin.
It is already available from the Zauberberg bookstore in Weilheim.
four years of waiting for the new organ