The last piano noises you’ll hear before….zzz…
Dreaded insomnia. We’ve all had it. Laying there waiting for slumber to come and getting increasingly annoyed when it fails to arrive. Henning Schmiedt is here to help. The German composer and pianists new album ‘Schlafen’ is designed to help combat insomnia and send you to sleep.
Why would falling asleep to Henning Schmeidt’s music be a compliment? Henning has taken Bach’s Goldberg and created variations on the theme. That aria was all to do with trying to get a good nights rest and so ‘Schlafen’ goes for the same vibe. Across its 42 minutes and 12 tracks, Schmeidt records the piano up close and personal. I love this style of piano recording because it feels intimate and warm. You can hear the felt of the hammers and the fingers touching the keys.
As for the variations themselves, I must admit I’m no Bach scholar so I cannot comment on how the variations themselves sound compared to the originals. All I know is that I didn’t make it to the end the first night I went to bed with earbuds in… nor the second! In the end, I had to take the album on a work commute to be able to hear it in its entirety. The slow and methodical playing quietens the mind. Whilst I do prefer modern classical music, its often because I find Bach’s music wooden. The first half of the album is more flowing and instantly melodic. There is a meandering almost improvisational feel to some of the later tracks on ‘Schlafen’ which helps your mind tune out of catchy motifs and patterns.
I enjoyed ‘Schlafen’ but it worked for me best in the sleep setting. Outside of trying to quieten the mind, I didn’t find enough of a hook to really sink my musical teeth into. When on my third listen I couldn’t remember a single track, I had to question just how much I had enjoyed listening to it. I did enjoy it but I simply had to be in the right mood to take it in. Henning Schmeidt is a talented musician and this album will absolutely work in very subdued, peaceful settings. Classical traditionalists will also enjoy it from a technical perspective. For me, as a listener who doesn’t really gel with traditional classics like Goldberg, it is more a fleeting intrigue piece.
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