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Pedro Burmester

The return

This is Pedro Burmester’s first album after a long absence from the concert platform and recording studios. As part of Porto 2001, European Capital of Culture, a project he embraced from the very beginning, Pedro was the driving force behind Casa da Música, and his work there had a profound and lasting impact in the Portuguese music scene. His dedication to Casa da Música forced him to put on hold a very successful career as a pianist, that had involved working with some legendary XXth century masters, concerts in prestigious halls and with orchestras all over the world, several international awards, multiple collaborations with musicians from diverse musical genres, acclaimed recordings and the teaching of an entire generation of promising Portuguese pianists. Pedro Burmester remained associated with the Casa da Música project until 2008, when he completed his term as Artistic Director. Many already wondered if he would ever come back as a recording and performing pianist. It was a reasonable doubt, given that his absolute dedication to Casa da Música and its programme made him realize the dangerous connections between being a musician and the task of building a season calendar. This album answers that question, but does much more. Pedro chose Schubert and Schumann, the very same composers he selected for his debut recording in 1987. For a brief moment the eternal question lingers: what if we could do it all over again... Schubert and Schumann again, indeed, but not due to his willingness to start all over again, not even to try again, but because this repertoire is very dear to Pedro. It was a sort of homecoming, a return to a place you know from youth.  It was a return, but also one that adds brand new pieces to his repertoire, a bold and challenging look into the future, one by someone who knows that nothing will ever be the same again. This time Pedro took on Schubert’s monumental A major, D.959 posthumous Sonata, facing a more complex and vast extent of feelings, one that alternates between despair and bliss, between utmost simplicity and sheer solemnity. Also, for his return to Schumann, Pedro picked a significant challenge. The Symphonic Studies occupy an eminent place in musical history, they take on the heritage of Beethoven’s writing of variations and draw a bridge to Brahms’s challenge to overcome the insurmountable. Absolute summit of scope of orchestral colors, insuperable in it’s humor alterations, on it’s virtuosistic momentum, the Symphonic Studies rank among the pieces that allow the artist a greater freedom to express his individuality. The recording took place over two sessions at Casa da Música. Sitting at the piano, Pedro Burmester was the only person inside the Suggia room, no cheering audience, just a piano and silent microphones. He played each piece three times. Then, he heard himself, soberly and intently. He smiled, like he had just recognized a familiar face. He could have kept on trying to attain the impossible perfection he always longs for, but he did not. He had found himself, again.