It is well known that Bach was a keen recycler – always borrowing old musical ideas and refashioning them for different expressive purposes. The Oster Oratorium is no exception in that its origins can be traced back to a secular cantata written in 1725 to celebrate the birthday of Duke Christian of Saxony-Weissenfels. Little over a month later the cantata was performed again, this time with an amended text and new recitatives to suit the celebration of Easter Sunday, but it was not until 1735 that the composer, having made further alterations to the work’s structure and scoring, chose to give it the revised title ‘oratorio’.
"The music of this concert is adventurous, taking the liberty of breaking all the rules of style through playing without getting totally out of hand", writes Christian Rentsch in the liner notes. In short: This CD is a stroke of luck. For decades, the live recording of the Musical Monsters from 30 August 1980 lay carefully packed away in the archives of the Jazzfestival Willisau. When Irène Schweizer got to hear the recordings it was immediately clear to her: This recording has to be put out.
Piano-Drums Duos are the preferred playing arrangement of pianist Irène Schweizer. Her mastery of duets with important drummers of contemporary jazz are documented on numerous Intakt CDs. Han Bennink, Pierre Favre, Louis Moholo, Günter Baby Sommer, Andrew Cyrille and Joey Baron among them. The Chicago drummer Hamid Drake, born in 1955, and Irène Schweizer, born in 1941, have performed together on numerous occasions both in Europe and Chicago. Together they have appeared on the Intakt CD "Irène Schweizer-Fred Anderson-Hamid Drake". At the 40th anniversary festival "Kontrontationen in Nickelsdorf" (Austria), Schweizer and Drake were the highlight of the event. A celebration of the moment and a declaration of love to South African songs along with their thrilling energy and rhythmic lightness produced a firework of improvisation. A parade of successful interplay. The CD Celebration is released on the occasion of Irène Schweizer's 80th birthday (2. Juni), accompanied by a catalogue of the pianist's works on Intakt Records.