Pianist Kai Schumacher and singer-songwriter Gisbert zu Knyphausen breathe new life into Schubert piece


By Guest Writer

09 July 2021

The pair's new album, ‘Lass irre Hunde heulen’, will be released via Neue Meister on 10 September

Today we would describe him as a towering, canonical, figure of classical music, but underneath, Franz Schubert (1797–1828) was – what we would call today – a singer-songwriter. 

He spent much of his short, 31-year life composing songs during the day whilst singing and playing them to friends and family by night.

His music wasn’t about high-art, rather it was approachable. It was about the unadorned voice of a human being - hoarse and perhaps weary - speaking directly to us, from the heart. It’s Schubert’s lack of pretension that makes his music hit so deep, and it’s that very simplicity that attracted German pianist Kai Schumacher to the music, leading him to breathe new life into a selection of Schubert’s songs for a new album ‘Lass irre Hunde heulen’.

When choosing who would be the voice to these timeless pieces, Kai Schumacher could think of none other than German singer, Gisbert zu Knyphausen to do the honours. 

“As I see it, Schubert’s songs contain some of the loveliest music written in the 19th century. That said, I find they lose some of their immediacy when performed in the conventional setting of a song recital, which often seems rather too artificial. A classical singer embodies a role on the stage – perfect intonation and fidelity to the work are frequently valued higher than feeling and intention. I was always curious about the idea of someone singing without any affectation, without classical etiquette, and, without preconceived opinions, making these songs their own."

The second single and video from this new album, ‘Nähe des Geliebten’ is out now. You can watch the official video below.

 

 

The centuries-old piece gains a new groove and rhythm in zu Knyphausen and Schumacher’s hand.

The piece’s lyrics, written by celebrated German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, talk about relationships and compare it to nature. The lyrics remain strangely up-to-date. The accompanying video nods to that thematic, with ropes like growing branches leading both musicians to the wilderness outside and showing the inevitable emotional strings that connect two people in a relationship. 

Lass irre Hunde heulen’ will be released via Neue Meister on 10 September in digital, CD and vinyl formats. The release will be accompanied by a limited number of special edition vinyl.

Main image: Kai Schumacher (left) and Gisbert zu Knyphausen. ©JoachimGern