“Tribute to Gulda” is a fascinating new project to be released on Warner Classics by an exceptionally talented young Polish pianist, Adam Kosmieja. “Tribute to Gulda” features five pieces written by the legendary Austrian pianist and composer, Friedrich Gulda as well as Beethoven’s last Piano Son
“Tribute to Gulda” is a fascinating new project to be released on Warner Classics by an exceptionally talented young Polish pianist, Adam Kosmieja. “Tribute to Gulda” features five pieces written by the legendary Austrian pianist and composer, Friedrich Gulda as well as Beethoven’s last Piano Sonata Op. 111. The compositions, with elements of jazz improvisations and classical virtuosity, are haunting and beautiful. They will appeal to the widest audience – from classical aficionados to casual music listeners alike.
“I love the energy of Gulda's compositions!” – says Kośmieja. “One can immediately hear his creative personality in his music. The driving swing and vast world of harmony brings both joy and challenge to the performer, especially with the improvised sections. We all know Friedrich Gulda as one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century, but not everyone knows that he composed. I wanted to share these fantastic pieces with the audiences and show them how a bridge between classical and jazz music is being created here with the greatest taste. Everything about Gulda is like fire for me.... I feel the passion, emotions, joy and energy in his music. I love it!”
Friedrich Guldaʼs son, Paul Gulda - who is also a concert pianist himself - wrote in the liner notes to the album:
“I find it deeply touching that Adam Kośmieja has undertaken a long and painstaking journey to be able to master the demanding piano works on this disc. His experience with modern classical music, Polish and international, all the way into avantgarde electronic experiments, gives his approach a distinct and different outlook. Yet, his driving swing in the virtuosic ‘Prelude & Fugue’ leaves nothing to be missed, his improvisation and timing are truly striking in the 1st movement of ‘Sonatine’. He even tackles and masters ‘Variations’, the work that my father considered to be the most demanding – and I quote from his notes in the printed edition: ‘Whoever succeeds at Variations is a first-rate pianist and musician. Not that it stopped at this point: to the contrary this is where it really begins. But that is a new chapter’.”
The album concludes with Adam’s stunning performance of Beethoven’s Sonata No. 32, op. 111, a piece which was very important for Friedrich Gulda. Pairing Beethoven's 32nd Sonata with Gulda’s music shows that despite jazz harmonies and swinging rhythms, there is a deep connection between Gulda's own compositions and classical masterpieces, which he performed with such great skills and deep understanding. The symbolism of the two starkly contrasting movements in Op. 111 seems to again point at the polarity in Friedrich Gulda’s music career and personal life. What makes this pairing even more fascinating is the fact that a number of musicians and music writers hear in the third variation of the second movement totally surprising syncopation with similarities to ragtime and jazz. No wonder Gulda loved this Sonata. No wonder it is featured on this “Tribute to Gulda” project.
When asked to describe the creative process behind "Tribute to Gulda" Adam Kośmieja used this quote from Jack Kerouac: "[...]The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn [...]"