The Richter Scale, a new piano composition by German composer Boris Bergmann. The hour-long work was created for Steinway’s Spirio | r, respected as the world’s finest high resolution player piano and receives a stupendous performance on this premiere CD by the young Chinese Steinway Artist Ji Liu. The Richter Scale is a programmatic composition in 11 movements inspired by Charles F. Richter’s scale for measuring the magnitude of earthquakes.
The Richter Scale premiered in concert at Steinway Hall London in November in 2019 and was recorded at Steinway Shanghai in September 2021. Over the past year the young London-based Chinese pianist Ji Liu as performed the piece at major concert venues throughout China.
Throughout his life Charles Richter devoted himself to the reconciliation of science and art. Several movements of Bergmann’s cunning composition are written for four hands. Rather than using two pianists, Bergmann expertly employs the Steinway Spirio | r replacing the second pianist. Thus, the pianist programs one part of the 4-handed composition on the Spirio’s computer and then plays together with – and at times against – himself, resulting in a compelling colloquy between man and machine. The Steinway Spirio has the remarkable capability of reaching beyond the technical realm of any human pianist and these sections of the work add a thrilling dimension to this remarkable amazing composition for piano.
The Richter Scale engages with the theme of subterranean seismic eruption as a broader reflection of cultural and emotional states of trauma, upheaval and resolution. Particularly in our post-pandemic global environment, the work serves as a metaphoric meditation on the environmental, geopolitical, medical, cultural and social cataclysms gripping and transforming the world today. In terms of structure, the composition is a kind of musical episodic film describing bizarre historic events relating to earthquakes. For example, Piece Five, Recurring Dream, reflects the true story of a cook who had put himself in great danger to save others during the severe earthquake of 2008 in Pakistan / India. This event triggered a deep personal crisis in him which manifested itself in recurring dreams which haunted him for many years. Piece Seven, Dance of The Things, is inspired by a video of a mad, infernal choreography performed by furniture and objects in an abandoned office during an earthquake. The eighth piece, How to Dance Out An Earthquake, is also a dance piece inspired by video recordings. It shows the unintentional dance of an office worker while the entire building shakes and plaster crumbles from the walls. There is nothing to hold on to, yet he manages to stay on his feet with frantically fast and nimble movements – an intuitive dance for survival. The ninth piece, Reversing the Mississippi, describes an historical event, the New Madrid earthquakes at the beginning of the nineteenth century in America. According to eyewitnesses, the Mississippi River flowed backwards for a short time.
The team for Heresy Records’ release of The Richter Scale is comprised of highly respected artists in their field, including, Producer Khan of Finland, Composer Boris Bergmann, Pianist Ji Liu and Executive Producer Eric Fraad. The groundbreaking artwork was created by Frankfort based design studio, SchultzSchultz, director Ole Schulte.
The Richter Scale will be available on CD at international record stores and online shops and digitally via all major DSPs including Amazon, Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer, etc.
A Planet’s Pulse
Richter the Poet
Expecting the Big One
Dance of the Things
How to dance out an Earthquake
Reversing the Mississippi
Voyager Golden Record
Epilogue – To the Beloved Ones