Asked by the director of a conservatory who was familiar with the instrumental draft of his “Dream within a Dream,“ where he had studied theory of composition, Andreas Boeck replied,...nowhere...themes just seem to pour out of me as soon as I sit down at the piano, though it does require quite some composure and inner poise; depending on the mood, melodies turn out to be either outgoing and joyful or melancholic and somber. This pouring-out-of-me is the easier part, which at times surprises me as well, but honing the raw material to give it the right form of a harmonious piece of music is truly hard work. Instrumentalizing and arranging are highly complex processes that may easily lead into different and even contrary directions. Taking advantage of today´s technical opportunities, it is possible to achieve totally different results from one single tonal sequence, a fact which may be quite disconcerting. It is therefore imperative that the composer has a clear-cut idea what kind of mood or “message“ should reach the listener. This was quite a challenge with the debut album “Dream within a Dream“, which consists of the one basic theme “et in Arcadia ego“ and a total of fourteen titles, but bonding it with poetry eventually resulted in a homogeneous version.
Andreas Boeck´s basic framework is ten years of learning how to play the piano: “It was then that I enjoyed and followed the change of harmonies and rhythms, bravely fighting my way through classical scores. Eventually a guiding hand might have saved me from succumbing to ever more improvising as I was growing older. It was then entirely possible for a Beethoven sonata to develop its own dynamics, otherwise the next logical step would have been a conservatory“ he sees himself as intuitive and self-taught.
His grandfather, a recognized choirmaster and organist, exerted great influence on the boy sitting next to him at the piano during choir rehearsals or at the organ, occasionally even blowing the bellows. Watching grandpa conduct or pull the stops was certainly part of his subconscious learning process.
Although musical themes may be intellectual, music must be born of gut instinct in the last analysis. Realizing this, Boeck does not stick to one and the same type of music, for “good music is what will touch a chord with the listener, touch his heart.“
His profession as a physician took Andeas Boeck to the United States, where he encountered an unforgettable musical experience. An absolute No Name, he was invited to play the piano in a black Blues band in New Orleans, an experience followed up by musical evenings with several of his medical crew members at home. R&B in all its varieties became his personal favorite, “When I´m down and out I just play the Blues—or when I feel on the top of the world“ -- even though the compositional aspects of classical music have left their indelible traces.
A two-year stint in the Middle East, a completely contrary world, brought him closer to Arabic Muslim culture and customs, a subject matter he will approach in a future project. “Perhaps music can somehow merge with the different religions that have confronted each other with distrust, even animosity, for so long – too long – and, emphasizing what they have in common, bring about a bit more tolerance...“
Models of how to attain this are numerous because there were, and are, so many magnificent composers in all cultures and epochs that it´s impossible to extol a single one. When it comes to free interpretation, Keith Jarrett has probably been his guidepost all along. One of his dreams would be to set a specific film to music—whether it will ever come true?
Andreas Boeck lives and works in Vienna, Austria.