Liebesträume was written for and at the request of Ralph van Raat.

Ralph’s credentials don’t need introduction and his commitment to the highest standards is well known: they unleash that special inspiration which any composer hopes to be visited upon. And being a pianist myself it was no less than an indulgence to explore a great many pianistic avenues that arise from familiarity with the vast repertoire for and a great love of the instrument. The six ‘love dreams’ each enter specific areas of exploration, both from a pianistic and musical perspective, in particular where the former contains the seeds for the germination of musical objects and the design of a musical plan. I didn’t want to write etudes but true compositions where technique is ultimately subordinate, however much it manages to flourish through the music.

Liebestraum can easily be misread as an ironic take on its famous, if not infamous prototype dreamt up by Liszt. The irony doesn’t get lost on my version of the twin concepts of love and dream. I want them to be understood in their widest possible sense. Love as a disposition, an attitude acting as a searchlight that opens the senses to the positive and creative in life, rather than mere surrender to amorous or sexual desire. And dream, not just as the sleep-induced territory of erratic imagery, but first and foremost as the domain of the artist: his workshop!

That’s where we dream up those worlds that generate their specific logic and meaning as their construction takes hold. Where we look for the unusual in the usual, the unexpected in the expected, for beauty in the calculated, mystery in the rational, shrewdness in the naïve, magic in the premeditated, truth in the lie, software in the hardware…

Liebesträume was made possible with financial support from the Performing Arts Fund in the Netherlands.

Jan Vriend

Tetbury UK, August 2011.