Asya Fateyeva's artistic diversity is reflected in a wide range of programmes and ensembles. Creating and artistically exploring unusual combinations, continually rediscovering and reinventing herself across genre boundaries, is a focus of her work.
In the 12th and 13th centuries, the first major form of European secular art song developed in Occitania (in the area of today's Provence). Poets and singers, known as troubadours or trobairitz, created thousands of poems in personal union, which were recited at courts. Influenced by the Moorish culture, which dominated the Iberian Peninsula at the time, they developed intricate forms of rhyme, poetry, and song. Besides compositions glorifying crusaders, countless forms of songs emerged, celebrating courtly love (Occitan: Fin’Amour). For instance, the concept of Amor de Lonh, love from afar, established a deeply romantic motif as in the song “To the Distant Beloved”. The quartet Troubadours: to the muse! led by saxophonist Asya Fateyeva is dedicated to these melodies. The nearly thousand-year-old songs, of which about 400 are preserved in rudimentary musical notation, form the basis for arrangements, new compositions, and improvisations. Interpreted from a contemporary perspective with the unique instrumentation of saxophone, hurdy-gurdy, cello, and vibraphone, these melodies and instruments simultaneously evoke a sweet melancholy of a bygone era.
Asya Fateyeva - Saxophone
Matthias Loibner - Hurdy-gurdy
Bo Wiget - Cello
Emil Kuyumcuyan - Vibraphone, Darbuka
Johann Sebastian Bach's "Goldberg Variations" BWV 988, plus works by Astor Piazzolla, Manuel de Falla, and others.
Bach's famous "Goldberg Variations" take on an excitingly different sound when the original piano composition is arranged for saxophone, cello, and accordion. The cellist Eckart Runge made this arrangement. "For me, a dream has come true with this," says Asya Fateyeva.
The trio performed the "Goldberg Variations" at the MDR Musiksommer in 2019, combined with music by Domenico Scarlatti, Manuel de Falla, and Astor Piazzolla.
Saxophonist Asya Fateyeva, Danish accordion virtuoso Andreas Borregaard, and cellist Eckart Runge, founding member of the Artemis Quartet, who, after thirty years in the ensemble, is now pursuing his own artistic paths: These three are united by their love for classical chamber music as well as an irrepressible curiosity to look beyond the horizon of their instrumental repertoires. In doing so, they aim to continually reimagine and enliven it.
These three artistic personalities have come together to let their instruments, each with its own extraordinary history, meet and unite in a trialogue of colors, cultures, and genres.
At the musical center of this encounter, Fateyeva, Borregaard, and Runge have placed their own arrangement of Johann Sebastian Bach's famous Goldberg Variations. The work consists of 30 variations on an aria and its harmonic bass line, originally titled by the composer in an ironic understatement as a "Clavier exercise," and is an intricately crafted kaleidoscope of counterpoint, dance forms, baroque groove, and a cosmos of human emotions (affections), which, despite all complexity and transcendental depth, also maintains a connection to earthly pleasures.
The Goldberg Variations have been frequently arranged for various instrumental ensembles. Eckart Runge's arrangement for saxophone, accordion, and cello intriguingly balances the sound characteristics: The bright soprano saxophone - sonically between a Bach trumpet and jazz - the accordion as an agile instrument related to the organ and at the same time a classic folk music instrument, and the cello, capable of both human singing and providing a bass foundation. Runge's arrangement highlights the different dimensions of Bach's masterpiece in a surprisingly new sonorous way.
In the program, this trialogue is richly contrasted with works by Manuel De Falla and Astor Piazzolla, who each elevated the popular music of their cultures into their own art music, thereby also taking new, transboundary paths. Astor Piazzolla, in particular, had a special connection to Bach's music, whose deep spirituality and complex polyphony influenced his own musical language and thus the Tango Nuevo.
In this program, Asya Fateyeva and the lautten compagney embark on an exciting journey through three centuries of musical history.
Henry Purcell, the most famous English composer of the Baroque era, was already celebrated as the "Orpheus Britannicus" in the 17th century. His style, unique to English music, combines catchy melodies with groovy rhythms, making his music the pop of London around 1690.
In 1962, the Beatles released their first single. With their fresh sound, blending Rock'n'Roll and Liverpool's Beat music, they quickly gained fame and creatively shaped the modern pop culture of the 20th century.
Adolphe Sax patented his new instrument in 1846 in Paris. The saxophone, emerging from this, took a leading role in Jazz and Pop but is also capable of creating wonderful effects in Early Music.
With their typical sound of historical instruments, the lautten compagney creates a new auditory experience, making the borders between styles and eras permeable. For the first time, the lautten compagney collaborates with the young saxophonist Asya Fateyeva, considered a rising star of the classical scene. In this context, traditional classifications like serious music or pop music become irrelevant. Thus, Asya Fateyeva and the lautten compagney together rock the works of Henry Purcell and the Beatles.
During the period between the two World Wars, and shortly before the catastrophe of the Second World War forever altered the course of history, many composers dedicated their works to the relatively new saxophone, which had emerged from France. Invented by the Belgian Antoine Joseph Sax, also known as Adolphe Sax, in the mid-19th century, the saxophone is featured in this program in various chamber music settings.
"Adolf Busch's work, in particular, is a discovery for me. On the one hand, Adolf Busch connects to the sound worlds of a Johannes Brahms, and on the other, he uses the saxophone in its purest form, as if it were another string instrument," says Asya Fateyeva with enthusiasm. "Anton Webern and Paul Hindemith approach it in a similar manner – these original works for tenor saxophone are something special."
Erwin Schulhoff: Hot Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano, arranged for strings, i.e., Alto Saxophone and String Quartet (composed in 1928 – Duration: 15’)
Adolf Busch: Quintet Op. 34 (Alto Saxophone, String Quartet) (composed in 1925 – Duration: 20’)
Ernst Krenek: Jonny’s Suite (Alto Saxophone, String Quartet, Piano) (composed in 1927 – Duration: 7’)
Anton Webern: Quartet Op. 22 (Violin, Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone, Piano) (composed between 1928-1930 – Duration: 7’)
Paul Hindemith: Trio Op. 47 (Tenor Saxophone, Viola, Piano) (composed in 1928 – Duration: 14’30’’)
Kurt Weill: Threepenny Suite (Alto Saxophone, String Quartet, Piano) (composed in 1928 – Duration: 11’)
Recorded in February 2019 at the Bremen Broadcasting Hall, the CD of this program was released by Berlin Classics in February 2020. The lineup for this recording is as follows:
Asya Fateyeva – Saxophone
Shirley Brill – Clarinet
Stepan Simonian – Piano
Florian Donderer / Emma Yoon – Violins
Yuko Hara – Viola
Tanja Tetzlaff – Cello
This beautiful program invites us to reflect on the fascinating power of hope. It brings light and gives strength, but can it be dangerous to hope too much? How fragile can it become when we lose it?
Composers have continuously sought to translate the vivid emotional world into music. While feelings remain the same throughout the centuries, the musical instruments have evolved. The combination of saxophone, baroque harp, and lute gives the program a new sound, hoping to awaken the same emotions we have carried through the ages.
The early music of the 17th century, including sonatas by Giovanni Antonio Pandolfi and arias by the renowned female composer Barbara Strozzi, guides us through different emotional states. Orazio Michi dell’Arpa’s “Spera mi disse amore” and Giovanni Felice Sances’ “Accenti queruli” interpret this question in distinct ways, and the bass ostinato of the passacaglia, along with improvisations on it, allows us to connect across time.
In today’s world, we need hope more than ever. So let us hope that beauty can save the world!
Johann Paul von Westhoff: Imitazione delle Campane
Giovanni Antonio Pandolfi Mealli: Sonata Quarta « la Biancuccia »
Christophe Ballard: J’avois crû qu’en vous aimant
Giulio Caccini: Non ha’l ciel contanti lumi
Barbara Strozzi: Que si può fare
Lana del Rey: Hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have
Thor-Harald Johnsen: Soundscapes
Giovanni Antonio Pandolfi Mealli: Sonata Seconda « la Cesta»
Orazio Michi dell’Arpa: Spera mi disse amore
Johann Philipp Krieger
Giovanni Felice Sances: Accenti queruli
Thomas Campion: never weather beaten sail
John Dowland: Come, heavy sleep
"The organ is truly the queen of instruments for me," enthuses Asya Fateyeva. "There's so much you can do – this whole palette of timbres and how Sebastian Küchler-Blessing mixes the stops: That's very inspiring for me as a saxophonist! And the sounds of both instruments blend very well." Especially when an experienced and virtuoso organist like Sebastian Küchler-Blessing, the Essen Cathedral organist, is playing.
Johann Sebastian Bach: From concerto in g-minor BWV 1056:
1. no movement name
Double improvisation La Follia for the saxophone and organ
Sergej Rachmaninov: from 14 romances op. 34: Vocalise
Nikolaj Rimskij-Korsakov: From the opera “The Tale of Zaren Saltan”: Flight of the Bumblebee
Charles Marie Widor: From the 5th organ symphony in f-minor op. 42, no. 1: 5th toccata
Paul Bonneau: Caprice en Forme de Valse
Denis Bédard: Sonatina I for the altosaxophone and organ:
William Albright: Sonata for the saxophone and organ:
2. La Follia nuova: a lament for George Cacioppo Largo (Chaconne)
3. Scherzo “Will o’ the wisp”
4. Recitative and Dance