Music

It Happened In June

The Seashore and Valley of Silence are meant as reverences to the entirely improvised pieces that I recorded respectively on the CD Beyond The Ocean, while Una Corda Song was an improvisation (played with the soft pedal) that I initially recorded at home on the first day of the 4th lockdown in Austria on November 22, 2021. For these Meditations I used only the first notes/initial patterns of the original pieces to start the improvisation. The theme of La Forza Del Destino was for many years only known to me as the 1980’s soundtrack of the French movie “Manon Des Sources”, until I realized while at the opera in Innsbruck where this theme actually came from…
Septembre is my first attempt to arrange a song from the French Chanson, after having heard its beautiful version on Alexandre Tharaud’s CD Barbara. My Story is my tribute to Bill Evans, a piece that I have played in some of my concerts over the last years, and for Evans’ anniversary year of 2020, I worked on a new version in which I am quoting more directly some patterns of Evans’ Your Story.
Once Upon A Summertime has a very personal meaning to me, since in my childhood I was listening repeatedly to its poignant version by Miles Davis and Gil Evans in Quiet Nights. The extension Whispering Your Name is inspired by the song Yesterday I Heard The Rain that I discovered recently in Tony Bennett’s version on his album Duets.
I am particularly grateful for the music of Yaron Herman who made me appreciate the beauty of Hatikva through his wonderful interpretations. The combined improvisation on Hatikva and Schindler’s List is dedicated to the memory of my grand father Lajzer Borek, who died in Sobibor extermination camp during the Shoah.
When I recorded the radio broadcast of Peace Piece on my cassette recorder, more than 35 years ago, it sounded like B (and not in C as the original actually is), and that’s why I have been playing it in B since then…
Olivier Messiaen had a significant influence on my musical career as classical composer and my first compositions for piano and more recent contemporary works for cello or clarinet were very much influenced by Messiaen’s harmony, in particular by his mode 2. Cloches Sur Le Lac, La Vallée Des Torrents and La Grotte De Cristal (the latter being improvised and recorded in multi track mode) are using exclusively this 2nd mode (corresponding to the tone-semitone/tone-semitone scale), allowing to evolve freely between the implicitly included minor and major tonalities, and offering in my view a fascinating harmonic environment, somewhere between classical and jazz musical languages.
Among the most moving moments of these two days of recording were definitely the acts of “instant composing” that materialized through the spontaneous Improvisations in E, G, F# and C. As I used to do in some concerts, I had asked for a tonality to start, and it became E major (thanks to Gérard!). For Tears, I had only a pattern of the first notes from Sanglots by Francis Poulenc in mind.
It Happened In June was the last completely improvised piece I played at La Buissonne (at the end of the 2nd day), and I will never forget the emotions that overwhelmed me while playing, in a feeling of perfect flow and harmony…
Eternity was the last track on my first home recordings CD in 1990 (with its final fade out on the ostinato created in the studio), and therefore the improvisation on Eternity (including this time a “natural” fade out) had to be somehow the last piece of this CD…
So that now the circle is complete…
Michael Borek, June 2022

It Happened In June

The Seashore and Valley of Silence are meant as reverences to the entirely improvised pieces that I recorded respectively on the CD Beyond The Ocean, while Una Corda Song was an improvisation (played with the soft pedal) that I initially recorded at home on the first day of the 4th lockdown in Austria on November 22, 2021. For these Meditations I used only the first notes/initial patterns of the original pieces to start the improvisation. The theme of La Forza Del Destino was for many years only known to me as the 1980’s soundtrack of the French movie “Manon Des Sources”, until I realized while at the opera in Innsbruck where this theme actually came from…
Septembre is my first attempt to arrange a song from the French Chanson, after having heard its beautiful version on Alexandre Tharaud’s CD Barbara. My Story is my tribute to Bill Evans, a piece that I have played in some of my concerts over the last years, and for Evans’ anniversary year of 2020, I worked on a new version in which I am quoting more directly some patterns of Evans’ Your Story.
Once Upon A Summertime has a very personal meaning to me, since in my childhood I was listening repeatedly to its poignant version by Miles Davis and Gil Evans in Quiet Nights. The extension Whispering Your Name is inspired by the song Yesterday I Heard The Rain that I discovered recently in Tony Bennett’s version on his album Duets.
I am particularly grateful for the music of Yaron Herman who made me appreciate the beauty of Hatikva through his wonderful interpretations. The combined improvisation on Hatikva and Schindler’s List is dedicated to the memory of my grand father Lajzer Borek, who died in Sobibor extermination camp during the Shoah.
When I recorded the radio broadcast of Peace Piece on my cassette recorder, more than 35 years ago, it sounded like B (and not in C as the original actually is), and that’s why I have been playing it in B since then…
Olivier Messiaen had a significant influence on my musical career as classical composer and my first compositions for piano and more recent contemporary works for cello or clarinet were very much influenced by Messiaen’s harmony, in particular by his mode 2. Cloches Sur Le Lac, La Vallée Des Torrents and La Grotte De Cristal (the latter being improvised and recorded in multi track mode) are using exclusively this 2nd mode (corresponding to the tone-semitone/tone-semitone scale), allowing to evolve freely between the implicitly included minor and major tonalities, and offering in my view a fascinating harmonic environment, somewhere between classical and jazz musical languages.
Among the most moving moments of these two days of recording were definitely the acts of “instant composing” that materialized through the spontaneous Improvisations in E, G, F# and C. As I used to do in some concerts, I had asked for a tonality to start, and it became E major (thanks to Gérard!). For Tears, I had only a pattern of the first notes from Sanglots by Francis Poulenc in mind.
It Happened In June was the last completely improvised piece I played at La Buissonne (at the end of the 2nd day), and I will never forget the emotions that overwhelmed me while playing, in a feeling of perfect flow and harmony…
Eternity was the last track on my first home recordings CD in 1990 (with its final fade out on the ostinato created in the studio), and therefore the improvisation on Eternity (including this time a “natural” fade out) had to be somehow the last piece of this CD…
So that now the circle is complete…
Michael Borek, June 2022

It Happened In June.
01-Meditation I (The Seashore)
02-Septembre
03-Improvisation in E
04-My Story
05-Meditation II (Una Corda Song)
06-Whispering Your Name
07-Improvisation in G
08-Meditation III (Valley of Silence)
09-Tears (Improvisation in F#)
10-Hatikva
11-Meditation IV (La Forza Del Destino)
12-Peace Piece
13-Cloches Sur Le Lac
14-La Vallée Des Torrents
15-La Grotte De Cristal
16-It Happened In June
17-Eternity

Michael Borek, piano Steinway D
All compositions by Michael Borek, except 2, 10 and 12
Recorded June 13 & 14, 2022 at Studios La Buissonne, Pernes-les-Fontaines
Recording engineer: Gérard de Haro assisted by Matteo Fontaine
Mixed and mastered at MVB Records by Michael Borek
©  2022 MVB Records – AUSTRO MECHANA

Order CD at info@michaelborek.at

LIVE AT TREIBHAUS 2014

LIVE AT TREIBHAUS 2014
1- Remembrance
2- Improvisation in Eb
3- Once Upon A Summertime - Your Mother And Mine
4- Homelands
5- Blame It On My Youth - A Song For You
6- Improvisation in Mode 2
7- Ballade in A (for Valérie)
8- Every Breath You Take
9- Over The Rainbow

Michael Borek, piano
All compositions by Michael Borek, except # 3, 5, 8, 9
Recorded live February 5, 2014 at Treibhaus, Innsbruck
Engineer: Tom Neumayr
Mixed and mastered at MVB Records
© 2014 MVB Records

My concert in February 2014 at Treibhaus, was for me the opportunity to focus again on the part which stimulates me the most in solo performances: the improvisation.

Several pieces I played on that night were indeed either entirely improvised (e.g. for Improvisation in Eb I had asked the public in which tonality to start: Eb major), or at least in great part freely conceived, like Ballade in A, which is a largely improvised piece based on the final harmonies of my composition Valse de Mai (dedicated to my wife Valérie).

Improvisation in Mode 2 refers to the second mode of Olivier Messiaen’s modes of limited transposition. This 2nd mode, which corresponds to the semitone-tone/semitone-tone scale, allows evolving freely between the implicitly included minor and major tonalities, and offers in my view a fascinating harmonic environment, somewhere between classical and jazz musical languages. The two movements are in large parts improvised, and their titles are meant as obvious allusions to Debussy and Ravel…

Live At Treibhaus

Live At Treibhaus
1- Lofty Mountains
2- February
3- Remembrance
4- Homelands
5- Valse de Mai (for Valérie)
6- Crystal Rain
7- The Journey (Remember Rio)
8- Summertime
9- Over The Rainbow

Michael Borek, piano
All compositions by Michael Borek, except # 8 and 9
Recorded live January 14, 2013 at Treibhaus, Innsbruck
Engineer: Tom Neumayr
Mixed and mastered at MVB Records
© 2013 Michael Borek AUSTRO MECHANA

My solo concert at Treibhaus was the most moving experience in my career so far. It was such an honor to play in this great location where famous artists like Carla Bley, Esbjörn Svensson, Tigran, Yaron Herman and Brad Mehldau himself performed before me!
Lofty Mountains, Remembrance and Homelands are so to say my concerts’ “classics”, insofar as they have been the cornerstone of most of my past performances. The pieces (which are improvised in some parts, especially the middle section of Remembrance), have continuously evolved over the years, and the present record documents, as a work in progress, their current status of musical development. Valse de Mai (initially an improvisation that I had recorded in May 2011), was written for my wife Valérie, for the 30th anniversary of our first encounter, someday in May…
The Journey is conceived as an open piece; after the introductory rhythmical section, it is freely improvised. Its subtitle “Remember Rio” refers to Keith Jarrett’s sublime Rio Part XV, from which the final part of the piece is inspired.

Meditations

MEDITATIONS
1- Meditation I
2- Meditation II
3- Meditation III
4- Meditation IV
5- Meditation V
6- Meditation VI
7- Meditation VII
8- Meditation VIII
9- Tristesse
10- Rain Song
11- Waltz

Michael Borek, piano
All improvisations by Michael Borek
Recorded 2001-2009 at MVB Records
© 2009 Michael Borek AUSTRO MECHANA

„In this new piano solo of Michael Borek one finds again the same qualities as in „Beyond The Ocean“, the touch of a romantic pianist, clear and soft accents, a phrasing that flows like a pure source, lyricism, reserve, everything one needs to let these “Meditations” reach the heart… Is it jazz? Why not? We are between Chopin and Keith Jarrett, and it is anyway great piano and beautiful music. A moment of beauty and serenity.“ Serge Baudot, Jazz Hot (F)

„The quiet, sublime beauty of Michael Borek’s Meditations is in its ability to reflect ripples in a pond. There is a fragile quality to Borek’s piano playing, one that conjures soothing, dreamlike melodies… Meditations exists in a special place between piano jazz and classical music, needling together the warmth of the former with the timeless majesty of the latter.“ Jazz Corner

Beyond The Ocean

BEYOND THE OCEAN
1- When You Were So Far Away
2- I Remember Keith
3- My Story
4- I'm Through With Love
5- Dancing
6- Recitative
7- You Must Believe In Spring
8- Valley Of Silence
9- Cantilena
10- Over The Rainbow
11- Homeland
12- The Seashore
13- Beyond The Ocean

Michael Borek, piano
All compositions by Michael Borek, except 4, 7 and 10
Recorded 1999-2000 at MVB Records
© 2000 Michael Borek AUSTRO MECHANA

„In our search for the ultimate expressiveness in music, we leave behind the silent shores of our homeland and find ourselves flying over the rainbow, trying to reach the impossible, somewhere beyond the ocean…“ Beyond The Ocean Several pieces of the present record are entirely improvised music which „came out“ on certain days, mostly at night, in moments of immediate inspiration. Recorded without further cuts, these acts of „instant composing“ have been kept in all their original spontaneity, as lasting testimonies to the fleeting glimpses of grace that we may experience through the magic of improvisation. Spontaneous expression of music is indeed one of our most precious gift, as it speaks from the depth of our inner personality – from our heart.
Michael Borek

Etretat

ETRETAT
1- Reflets
2- Interlude I
3- Etretat
4- Memorial Waltz
5- Interlude II
6- Le vieux port I
7- Carillons
8- Interlude III
9- Le vieux port II
10- Etoiles sur la falaise
11- Epilogue

Michael Borek, Clavinova CLP 670
All compositions by Michael Borek
Recorded 1991-1994
Digital remastering 1998 at Tonstudio Ströher, Innsbruck
© 1998 Michael Borek AUSTRO MECHANA