Zeitkratzer Karlheinz Stockhausen: Old School

One of the most influential composers of the last half-century, Stockhausen was no stranger to controversy. His meticulously structured serial pieces and painstakingly constructed electronic works have their staunch advocates and sceptical critics. But his "poetic" scores for the series "From the Seven Days" provoked howls of critical scorn for their seeming new age vagueness and use of improvisation. Improvising group Zeitkatzer have engaged five of these challenging pieces with more sound-filled interpretations than those of Stockhausen's original close-knit musicians. These pieces are music produced by a kind of meditation on sound and rhythm, which then becomes music for meditation for the listener. Players conceive of a sound/rhythm unit, then another and then metamorphose one into the other. For "Intensity," the text/score requires that they make a sound with such intensity that they literally heat themselves up (Stockhausen himself once hammered nails). Zeitkratzer consist of both classical and jazz musicians. On Old School, they do a Vulcan mind meld, fusing into a group-mind improvising organism of exquisite sensitivity and sonic awareness. These are compelling versions of some of Stockhausen's most personally demanding music. Recommended. (Zeitkratzer)