"Poetry has always been one of my biggest passions besides music. The two worlds are strongly connected: in many ways, poetry is music and music is poetry. Any poetry with which I connect strikes a musical chord in me, and the music I love most has a strong poetic quality about it. No wonder, then, that a lot of the music that fascinates me comes from the marriage of the two fields. Since I was a kid, I have been transfixed by the correlation between text and mu-sic. How do meaning and emotion change when the words are sung instead of spoken? What layers does a composer add to a text when setting it to music? In what way does he or she interpret the words of the poet? When I set poetry to music, I always try to find the right "voice" in which to translate the words into music. The two poets represented on this disc, Mascha Kaléko and Walt Whitman, are amongst my absolute favourites; they have been an important part of my life for many years. The juxtaposition of these two distinct artistic temperaments is fascinating to me. On the one hand, Kaléko, a virtuoso of puns, veers between sarcasm, irony, tender love, melancholy and deep despair, with verses so eminently musical that the melodies almost flow automatically when reading them. On the other hand, Whitman, with his rich and colourful language ex-pressing deep philosophical thoughts – sometimes in very long and elaborate phrases – fre-quently takes us on journeys to somewhere completely unexpected. I was critizised during my studies for my stubborn refusal to leave the tonal-modal soundworld of my music. The discussions, interesting as they were, were often ideological and rather in-timidating to me as a young student. I lost my voice for a couple of years and didn't write any-thing. My comeback came with the first two songs I ever wrote, one a Kaléko and one a Whitman setting: Gewissermassen ein Herbstgedicht and As if a Phantom Caress'd Me. I soon realised that writing music was never an ideological process for me, but an existential one – which was a true liberation. THIS is how I hear and feel my music inside me, and there-fore how it has to find its way onto the paper and from there to the listener's ear – compro-mises are not an option. These pieces are some of the most personal that I have written; almost a musical diary. They are the only pieces since I graduated that I wrote just for myself, between commissions with no specific performance in mind. They were born solely out of inner necessity and of my love for the genre and for the words I chose to set."