Martin Kohlstedt – Unitarian Church – Live Review – 27-10-19
Having a solo pianist performing on the Sunday of a bank holiday weekend, on the same night as Philip Glass was just up the road in the National Concert Hall proved a difficult sell for this concert and the crowd was small but appreciative.
Martin was born in Germany in 1988, a year before the fall of the Berlin wall. He grew up in “the forests of Thuringia” as his website describes. At the gig, he talked of his early years learning to play the piano at age 12 where he would sit hitting a single key on the piano for hours!
While his new album Ströme (Currents) which was released this year is a lavish affair which included the talents of Leipzig‘s Gewandhaus Choir, on Sunday night, it was a solo piano performance. He described it as his introduction to the Dublin audience, as he had not played here before.
A set list for a Martin Kohlstedt concert is a difficult thing to produce! As he said himself, his pieces ‘talk to each other’ and the first piece he performed was an amalgamation of two of his other tracks! You can hear familiar phrases in the music, but much of it is new and improvised. He has a freewheeling style of performing, relying on inspiration to move the work in unexpected directions. It is no simple performance of album tracks, but something much more unusual. He’s well worth checking out next time he visits Dublin.
“Definitely the most important thing for me is playing live. Usually, I play the first 30 seconds as planned and then let the audience, the space, the moment react with each other and influence the piece. I like to see the audience as a mirror or a dialogue partner, that brings up things that are on my mind — and vice versa I have a similar effect on the people in the audience.” – Martin Kohlstedt