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Peter Cornelius

Peter Cornelius (alias Peter Korunka, born on January 29, 1951 in Vienna, Austria) is an Austrian pop-singer, guitarist and a song writer. Peter Cornelius is a good friend of Michael Cretu with whom he collaborated many times in the past (including Enigma project). Michael Cretu was a producer of Cornelius’ albums: “Zwei” (1979), “Der kaffe Ist Fertig” (1980), “Reif Fur Die Insel” (1981), “Ohne Filter” (1982), “Fata Morgana” (1983). Besides holdimg a producer’s role, he was often responsible for arranging (or co-arranging) and co-writing the songs, also being a lead keyboardist (including synthesizers), drum programmer and the backing vocals provider. In 1992 they teamed up together as solo artists to record the album titled “Cornelius+Cretu” on which they both composed, wrote and sang the songs. The album release was promoted with two songs: “Rettungsringe Sterben Aus” and “Nur Die Hoffnung Nicht”.

Below there is a press release that was issed at the time when “Cornelius+Cretu” album was being brought out.


Hamburg, July 1992 (East West press kit)

The year 1979 began with Kaffee ist fertig, a joint work between producer Michael Cretu and singer/songwriter Peter Cornelius, which was very successful. Hits like Der Kaffee ist fertig (The Coffee is ready), Du entschuldigei kenn’ di (You say you are sorry), or Reif fur die Insel (Ready for the Island) originated at that time.

1983 ended with the album Fata Morgana which was the last album of this successful co-operation between both multi-talents. Peter Cornelius went his own way and Michael Cretu produced among others his 1990 project “Enigma” and the world-wide hit Sadness part 1.

After 8 years of musical non co-operation, they started working together in the studio again. The forthcoming album Cornelius & Cretu, shows clearly the result of a symbioses between a thinker on one, and a musical talent of international format on the other side.

From the beginning it was quite clear that it would not be sure if anything they would create would be made public. “We really only wrote the first songs for ourselves,” remembers Michael Cretu. “But soon it became clear that something was being created, which did not yet exist in the German language. That was the beginning. From then on, we were obsessed with it, and we worked through the night ’til the next morning.”

The musical path the guitar crazy Cornelius and the sound designer Cretu took then, looks out of date now. These days they jump on a plane to the USA to buy the latest guitar and take it with them to Cretu’s studio in Ibiza. And also to buy new computer parts for Cornelius, to be used besides the traditional instruments. “I underestimated the technical development back then.”

The personal friendship between the two has never changed. And for the last ten years, Cretu knows without a doubt: “Peter Cornelius is the best German songwriter”. For Cretu his #1 priority is, “to give motivation and to get the best out of it.” On the other hand, Cornelius likes to go back to his roots, and play the guitar. And there is no hiding who his idols are: Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Jimi Hendrix. You’ve never heard anyone play like this!

When it comes to lyrics, it’s hard to put a label on Peter Cornelius. A whole row of different experiments came out of the strong friendship with Michael Cretu. “They are life experiences for the both of us”. And both men don’t mind holding up a mirror for mankind: “it is an eye opener to look at yourself in the mirror,” is Cornelius’ opinion. “If you hold a mirror for someone, one usually thinks of themselves as smarter, faster, more experiences and they will say with their nose up in the air: ‘look at me’. And look what happens when you take that mirror and say: ‘look at yourself’.”

Hope, illusion and dreams are part of Cornelius and Cretu albums. Says Cornelius: “We live in a time that people believe they could not afford these thoughts and feelings. People are afraid to give in to these inner feelings, but really it would make them stronger.”

This is the meaning behind the first single Rettungsringe sterben aus (Lifebuoy’s are in short supply), deprived from hope and illusion there are so many “souls who are lost at sea”. “And when it continues like this,” says Cornelius, “there will be nothing left for the few sensible ones. After that it will only get harder and harder.”

Not less intrusive, Michael Cretu describes Nur die Hoffnung nicht (Nothing but hope) as a basic quality in life: “It became clear to me, that you can take everything away from someone, but you can’t take away hope. That is the most important possession humankind has. If your clothing falls apart and the car breaks down, they are things that can be fixed or replaced. But when you have not more hope, then you are defeated.”

Without a doubt, for this album two very capable people have found each other. But even then there is always a risk involved, to use a brilliant, but very sensitive, subject through the whole work. But that’s just what kept the two men going. Michael Cretu: “I love taking risks. Without taking risks there is no challenge in life. In the beginning you could have asked, if we had nothing better to do, but we also wanted to be able to sell the album. But, I believe, that if they listen to it closely, they will realise that what we’ve created is simple and honest. That is important.”

Cornelius + Cretu (1992)