After their internationally acclaimed and multiple award-winning solo album "Dirty Minds", in which Olivia Vermeulen and her pianist Jan Philip Schulze embarking on a sensual journey through the musical centuries uncovering the erotic subtext in songs from Purcell to Billie Eilish , "Hello Darkness" is a logical continuation of this idea, moving away from the theme of love towards death and transience as a further main motif of art and music - from the "petite" to the "grande mort", so to speak!
Darkness in the outside world and the inner self has always been – alongside Love – one of the chief themes of vocal music, and compositions and songs about death are legion during every period of musical history. The music on this recording is extremely diverse, where Olivia Vermeulen and her pianist Jan Philip Schulze once again relished the idea of programming songs from different centuries in different styles and genres. They start with a collection of songs about melancholia, inner abysses, longing for death and murderous lust. But the CD is also rich in songs about comfort and hope, light instead of despair – with lashings of black humour!
Composers down the ages have used innovative approaches to render the theme of death. Chromaticism is used tellingly by Monteverdi and Schubert. Duparc’s sensuous ‘Extase’ (1878), is nothing short of a miniature Liebestod. Korngold and Wolfgang Rihm play with translucent semitone sighs, Schumann’s ‘Nachtlied’ is characterized by hovering harmonies; Strauss and Korngold use late-romantic opulence; while tonality with Charles Ives and Alban Berg begins to lose its hold, while Berg, abandons tonality entirely. John Cage goes a step further and directs the pianist to drum the notes on the lid of a completely closed piano.
Olivia Vermeulen | Jan Philip Schulze
Release date: 14 January 2022