Ernstalbrecht Stiebler Sequenz II – Mitteltöne – Trio 89

Ernstalbrecht Stiebler Sequenz II – Mitteltöne – Trio 89
This disc of German composer Ernstalbrecht Stiebler offers a rare glimpse into his particular, focussed aesthetic. His reductionist fascination with "sonority, rhythm and duration" unfolds through slowly shifting, continuously sounding pieces. Even, poised and somewhat austere, his elegant drones, though very spare, are deeply affecting and engaging. Not unlike Mark Rothko and other colour-field painters, his simplified abstractions elicit rich emotional responses. The three works here are executed gracefully, and with patience. The monochromatic "Sequenz II," for cello and tape, hovers gently, changing shades subtly and unhurriedly. "Mitteltöne" features the composer performing the work on organ, with an equal degree of restraint and delicacy. Virtuoso cellist Frances-Marie Uitti, percussionist Robyn Schulkowsky and pianist Marianne Schroeder take on "Trio 89," beautifully capturing its suspended stasis. While this album is an excellent introduction to the enigmatic composer, there are drawbacks. "Trio 89" and "Sequenz II" were already featured on disc by hat Art. Clocking in at just shy of six minutes, the remaining work hardly provides sufficient incentive for those who own the aforementioned album. Nonetheless, Stiebler's fragile, liminal musical world is very worthy of investigation, so this rare chance to snap up a recording should be seized upon by new initiates. (M=Minimal)