The fascination with aural perception and how to expand the experience of music, while existing in different degrees throughout different eras, reached a new level of intensity in the 20th century when diverse and unconnected musicians from all around the world began exploring new approaches to sound. From this fascination emerged movements such as serialism, championed by luminaries such as Stockhausen, Reich, and Cage, but also musicians working in counter-current to dominant trends, such as Ernstalbrecth Stiebler. Little known then as now, Stiebler merits a closer appraisal for his contribution to a new understanding of time and space within sound; work that can also be credited as laying the foundation for modern-day minimalistic music.
As an homage to this discreet yet pioneering composer, a selection of Stiebler’s works will be performed by various musicians. The musical approach is best described by Stiebler himself:
“The pause, silence, or quiet chime opens our ears for the sound of the space itself, its echoes, its sounds, the very circulation of its air. Slowness allows us to hear details more clearly, for example, the play of overtones in a ‘perfect fourth’ interval played in various keys on the piano. Repetition reveals to us any changes in how we hear; a sound is never the same twice over, we hear it differently, we have changed, we hear ourselves hearing.
When music gives us enough time – for we need time in order to listen ‘in time’ – then, and only then can the greatness, depth, and diverse colours of a sonic space be truly apprehended; a sonic space that extends as far as the room that each person, as Franz Kafka wrote, carries within: the inner space that is irrevocably bound up with the space without, and that is opened by music.
If the breadth and depth of a sonic space are ever to be fathomed, we must learn to give space to bigger temporal intervals, to long notes, as music, like our consciousness, broadens and expands. That is its progression, beyond emotionality and finesse. For this, I try to compose sounds.” – Ernstalbrecth Stiebler
“Sequenz II”, 1996, violoncello solo and tape, Agnieszka Dziubak, ~14 min.
“quart solo für Klavier”, 1998, Ernstalbrecht Stiebler (piano), ~10 min.
“mit der zeit”, 2013, world premiere, contrabass Werner Dafeldecker, keyboard Ernstalbrecht Stiebler, ~16 min.
Pause (No pause between the pieces )
“Text für Bassflöte + Delay”, 1998, Astrid Schmeling (bass flute), ~16 min.
“...im Takt... für zwei kleine Bongos”, 1998, Matthias Kaul (bongos), ~10 min.
“Three in One, II”, 2010, world premiere, Ensemble L'Art pour L'Art – Astrid Schmeling (flute), Matthias Kaul (percussion), Hartmut Leistritz (piano), ~20 min.
Kompakt sublabel m-minimal sites Ernstalbrecht Stiebler (born in Berlin in 1934) as the first German composer to explore minimal techniques in his works in reaction to the serialism dominant in the mid-twentieth century. Though his compositions are relatively unknown, Stiebler has garnered enormous respect for his long career in radio production.
Founded in 1983 by prominent musicians Matthias Kaul (percussion), Astrid Schmeling (flute), and Michael Schröder (guitar), L´Art pour L´Art is a German ensemble specialising in contemporary classical music. They engage with performance in varied formats and settings.
Agnieszka Dziubak is a Berlin-based cellist who performs classical, contemporary, experimental, and improvised music. She also performs as one half of the duo DuoKaya, has played with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Callithumpian Consort, the Boston Conservatory Chamber Players, and the Ludovico Ensemble, and has appeared as a soloist in the New England String Ensemble.
Berlin-based improv musician and composer Werner Dafeldecker (guitar, contrabass, electronics) has been involved in an incredible array of projects including Polwechsel, Ton Art, Autistic Daughters, and Burkhard Stangl’s Ensemble, Maxixe.
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