We are surrounded and embraced by stars peacefully circling around our world. Even to people of today, the night sky exerts a profound influence. We may even secretly believe in the music long said to emanate from this overwhelming silence. Those of us who have the fortune of knowing the stars can find answers to their innermost questions. Wilfried Hiller's BUCH DER STERNE / BOOK OF STARS is a result of such a dialogue.
Wilfried Hiller developed his own personal dialogue with the stars early in his childhood. He knew as a child how his parents had communicated over long distances by gazing at Alkor, the little rider of the second star in the handle of the Big Dipper. As a teenager he was fascinated by the world of Greek mythology, the stories of which are littered in the stars. As an adult he experienced the proximity of the stars from the coast of Turkey, later from his refuge on the Aegean island of Phournoi. Astronomical aspects are present, openly or hidden, in many of his works.
BUCH DER STERNE / BOOK OF STARS is a documentation of his personal study of the constellations and of the efforts of humans of all times and places to make sense of what is written in this vast nocturnal mirror of anthropomorphic dreams. Fantasies become sound and the kaleidoscopic poetry of masked games.
BUCH DER STERNE / BOOK OF STARS is founded on the principles of order and mass, acknowledging the power of numbers. Without sacrificing the individual characters of the sometimes quite stormy pieces, the 72 miniatures are arranged with great care. Each piece is associated with one particular musically gravitational note; fortuitously, Hiller could ascribe one of the 88 keys of the piano to each constellation of the northern and the southern hemisphere. Simultaneously, the traditional emphasis on the constellations of the Zodiac is reflected in an ascending cycle of fifths, beginning on D1.
Wilfried Hiller's own personal impulse glows through everything, whether contemplative or speculative. In many of the pieces, particularly the more formally far reaching constellations, he describes scenes from real life. A wonderful example is the drama of Perseus and Andromeda. Initially, a curtain seems to rise, into which is delicately but threateningly woven the W motif of Cassiopeia. Andromeda must suffer a horrible punishment because of her mother's arrogant speeches. But then Perseus leaps into a fierce battle with the monster Cetus, while her father Cepheus watches silently and passively. Hiller's music is a gripping description of all this, focussing on the battle with Dionysian fervour.
So rich in sonic ideas is BUCH DER STERNE / BOOK OF STARS,
and rich in secrets. The latter must never be revealed, and the
former cannot adequately be enumerated. It is safe to say, however,
that even in the smallest Bagatelle Hiller was entirely
concentrated on finding a truthful representation of the spirit
of each constellation.
The young, much-in-demand German pianist Silke Avenhaus appears as soloist and in chamber concerts. Her concerts have taken her throughout Germany as well as to the UK, France, Holland, Norway, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Hungary and the USA. She has played in venues such as the Berliner Philharmonie, the Philharmonie and Herkulessaal in Munich, the Semperoper Dresden, St. Martin-in the-Fields and the Wigmore Hall in London, the Salle Gaveau in Paris, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and various festivals througout Europe.
Silke Avenhaus was born in Karlsruhe, took her first recorder lessons in Vienna at the age of five and attended her first piano lessons at the age of six. Still young she won numerous competition and was awarded a scholarship by the Edwin Fischer Fund.
Her teachers included Anna Stadler, Klaus Schilde and Bianca Bodalia. She also benefitted from studying with György Sebök at Indiana University in Bloomington, USA.