Schiller started life as a duo formed in 1998 by Christopher von Deylen and Mirko von Schlieffen. Their first single Das Glockenspiel met with success in the club scene. They released two albums Zeitgeist and Weltreise before von Schlieffen left the band in 2001. Since then Christopher von Deylen has carried on releasing albums under the name of Schiller and has sold over 7 million worldwide.
On his last studio album Opus, he experimented by merging elements of electronic with classical music which led to great artistic and commercial success in parts of Europe. When I first heard of this album I must admit I harboured doubts, working with an orchestra to interpret established material has been a device used by artists when running low on creative inspiration. However these fears were completely unfounded as Opus was an artistic triumph in my opinion.
This year saw the release of a live album/DVD of a concert held in Berlin with the Symphonic Pop Orchestra called Symphonia. During this concert, Schiller developed his classical muse further by preforming many of his best known original music with the orchestra to astonishing success. Live albums are usually of limited appeal as many times they only really work as souvenir for those lucky enough to attend the concert, or as a chance for record companies to release a Greatest Hits in another guise. Symphonia is a very different prospect, presenting the listener with a bold and simply breathtaking interpretation of some of the finest moments of electronic music.
I have always held a great admiration for the music of Schiller. Christopher von Deylen has the ability to add a warm life affirming character to his unique brand of electronic music. His albums have contained hypnotic, emotive and melodic soundscapes that sound as good on headphones as they do on the dance floor. With Symphonia, he has managed to maintain all the warmth and charm of the original material, but added a whole new grandiose dimension to the music.
There are so many highlights on this album, it would be hard to select individual pieces out, but I must say Sehnsucht (Instrumental), Ruhe, Das Glockenspiel and White still give me goose bumps, even after non- stopping listening to it for a week. Another wonderful highlight from the album is a completely dramatic rendition of Vienna with Ultravox’s own Midge Ure on vocals
Symphonia is quite simply a breathtaking success, pushing Schiller’s music further into bold experimentation and vibrant document of what must have been an outstanding music event.