Release: 4th March 2022
On his sophomore solo release “Dedicated” (March 4th) Vienna-based jazz pianist and composer Martin Listabarth dives deep into the topic of personal inspirations, resulting in an album that combines tonal elegance and musical ingenuity with playfulness, wit and a heavy dose of storytelling.
It’s not unusual for a musician to dedicate an album or song to someone that has been influential in their life.
Austrian pianist Martin Listabarth takes this one step further, though, using the story of 10 people who’ve fascinated or inspired him as the basis of 10 highly original compositions.
Musically, it’s a treasure trove of solo piano technique, running the full spectrum from soft and melancholic to dramatic and bold. Shimmering, classical-inspired ballads give way to blues-infused vamps and high-octane swing.
The resulting collection of music is both playful and challenging, accessible yet complex – something heightened by the narrative that inspires each song.
“Hercule Poirot” dedicated to the author Agatha Christie sits alongside tributes to an eclectic cast of characters including Michael Köhlmeier („Fairy Tales and Myths“), the soccer player Diego Maradona („The Hand of God“) and magician, showman and pub owner Basilio Calafati („Calafati’s Carousel“).
This concept of storytelling is not new to Listabarth; his well-received solo debut entitled ‘Short Stories’ (2019) also contemplated the idea of narrative in music and a passion for the character arc.
“Dedicated” takes this further, though, taking the listener on a captivating journey that stimulates the imagination.
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01 Cholita Climbers
02 Hercule Poirot
03 – Turings Pattern
04 – Hope Is The Thing With Feathers
05 – Fairy Tales And Myths
06 – The Hand Of God
07 – The Red Tree
08 – Nazca Lines
09 – Calafatis Carousel
10 – Dreams Of Dreams
All songs composed by Martin Listabarth
Label: Listabarth Records
Recorded September 2021 at Wavegarden Tonstudio, Mitterretzbach, AUT
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Franz Schaden
Album Artwork / Design: Jakob Listabarth
Liner Notes (Martin Listabarth)
Each track on this album is dedicated to one specific person. I have been trying to collect stories of different women and men, whose passion for a subject I found intriguing.
I was looking for things in the life and work of these people, which were not only inspiring to me, but which could be set to music and form the basis for the respective composition.
Cholita Climbers (dedicated to Lydia Huayllas)
The Cholita climbers are a group of women around Lydia Huayllas in Bolivia, who climb some of the highest mountains in Latin America in traditional costumes.
This met with a lot of resistance but they held their ground and overcame all obstacles.
Hercule Poirot (dedicated to Agatha Christie)
Hercule Poirot is a fictional character created by the writer Agatha Christie. Poirot is a Belgian private eye who is very confident as to his skills.
His self-absorbed demeanour often turns out to be unintentionally funny.
Turing’s Pattern (dedicated to Alan Turing)
Alan Turing was a British logician, mathematician and cryptanalyst, who was instrumental in decrypting the secret Nazi code during the second world war.
Because of his homosexuality (which was then considered a criminal offence), he had to undergo chemical castration and committed suicide.
I hid musical codes in this piece of music. These are based on the motivic material of the numerical sequence 761954 (Turing’s date of death on 7 June 1954).
Hope is the Thing with Feathers (dedicated to Emily Dickinson)
This track is the musical rendering of the poem with the same title by Emily Dickinson.
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm
I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me
– Emily Dickinson
Fairy Tales and Myths (dedicated to Michael Köhlmeier)
The fairy tales and myths, which Köhlmeier narrates in his unique manner, have fascinated me since childhood.
He captures the imagination of the audience with his comfortable, yet forceful narrative style.
This composition is my musical tribute to his storytelling.
The Hand of God (dedicated to Diego Maradona)
Named after his legendary „Hand of God”-goal, this piece is my tribute to one of the best soccer players of all times.
His dribbling skills and witty playfulness inspired me to write this piece of music.
As Maradona was known for his strong left foot, it was important for me to make sure that my left hand was kept busy and looms large in this piece.
The Red Tree (dedicated to Marianne Werefkin)
Marianne Werefkin was an expressionist painter. The expressive power of her work has always been captivating for me.
In her painting “The Red Tree” the focus is on a red tree.
In the background there is a mighty blue mountain from which rivers in blue seem to flow down. To the right there is a yellow bush depicted in moving lines and vortices.
This picture is dominated by three basic colours and for each one I chose a musical equivalent. Inspired by Skrjabin’s colour symbolism in music, which matches each keynote with a colour, this piece consists of three parts: the red tree (red = keynote C), the blue mountain (blue = keynote F#) and the yellow bush (yellow = keynote D).
Nazca Lines (dedicated to Maria Reiche)
This composition is dedicated to the mathematician and archaeologist Maria Reiche who championed the exploration and preservation of the Nazca Lines in the Peruvian desert.
On account of their size the lines can only be seen from a distance.
Arranging this phenomenon (in a manner of speaking a zooming out) was the starting point for this composition.
At the beginning of the piece you are too close to get the whole picture and you are only able to connect the dots towards the end of the composition.
Calafati’s Carousel (dedicated to Basilio Calafati)
This track is dedicated to Basilio Calafati, the magician, performer and owner of a restaurant in Vienna’s “Wurstelprater”, who was also the operator of a merry-go-round in the 19th century.
Even today there are many legends surrounding this larger-than-life figure and a statue in the amusement park honours this Viennese character.
In musical terms this piece was inspired by a (too) fast ride which soon makes you dizzy.
Dreams of Dreams (dedicated to Antonio Tabucchi)
Antonia Tabucchi is one of my favourite authors.
His books and his narrative style have their own sound and make it obvious how close speech and music can be.
His book “Dreams of Dreams” is a collection of fictional dreams of famous personalities.
In my piece with the same title I try to develop those dreams and incorporate the special Tabucchi sound into this composition.
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