This recording was completed in Villingen in western Germany in the home of Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer, the owner and recording engineer of MPS Records. In his living room he had a Steinway grand; a piano over nine feet long that has become legend on the western side of the Atlantic. “It is,” said Clare, “the most magnificent instrument I ever touched in my life. You couldn’t bang it. The harder you hit it, the more it produced. It was impossible to overplay it. I had a chance to play that instrument for six days. Hearing German spoken around me made me think of my father, who died in 1960, and whom I hadn’t thought much about in recent years. And I remembered what he meant to me. I played 'Du, Du, liegst mir im Herzen,' because my father used to sing it to me. So I sat there, playing that magnificent instrument, thinking of my father and weeping.”
Clare was particularly emphatic about the importance of the emotional environment in which this album was made. He said, “Because I require love to do my absolute best, and because I had it there – the people were simply wonderful, lovely people – this album has something that no other album I’ve done has.
“Performance level is always subconscious. In normal recording conditions, that red light, when it goes on, causes the conscious to intrude. But that did not happen in this album. Hans Georg wasn’t even in the room. The equipment was actually three floors above. That’s why this album has what the others do not; a totally unselfconscious performance.”
The result of those serene six days that Clare spent in Germany in the autumn of 1975, is an album that shows off the range, the beauty, and the versatility of this brilliant musician. Clare has the profound respect of fellow musicians, but this album, recorded under ideal conditions, should help him reach the wider audience so many of us in the profession think he deserves.
Taken from the original liner notes by Gene Lees