Ernstalbrecht Stiebler – Minimalism Maximised

Ernstalbrecht Stiebler

Ernstalbrecht Stiebler is the first German composer that based his compositions on minimal techniques. This record is the first part of an edition of his works on the label m=minimal. Due for release April 9, this is first vinyl edition of works of this minimal music pioneer.

According to the m=minimal notes, Stiebler, whose first reductionist work Extension I“ was first performed in 1963 clearly showed an opposite position to the serial composers of that time. As a composer Stiebler is unfortunately still very unknown, but he has a great reputation as a producer for the German radio. Some of the recordings were released on the prestigious “hat ART” label. Among other things, he supervised recordings of Morton Feldman, John Cage, Alvin Lucier, Giacinto Scelsi, Earle Brown and Christian Wolff.

The work “sequence II” for cello and tape from 1984, is available as a new recording with cellist Agnieszka Dziubak. The organ work “Mitteltöne” (1997) was performed by the 77 year old Stiebler himself and is the first available recording. The recordings were produced by borngräber&strüver. Trio 89 -a key work Stieblers was released in 1996 on hat ART” and is now finally made available again. The recording licensed for this record was produced by German radio RBB in 1994 and was performed by Frances-Marie Uitti (cello), Robyn Schulkowsky (percussion) and Marianne Schroeder (piano). All three of them are well known for excellent performances of new music.

The above is a you tube version of Trio 89 that appears in this beatiful new release.

So, what of the listening expereince?

For me, Ernstalbrecht Stiebler is an excursion into the new, guided by the memory of what has been before. These memories, of what the music was before this piece – the memory of what has been played before on these instruments feeds and informs the work. These pieces are not what was/ and what was is carried inside and beneath the ongoing calculations of the music with it’s own force. Here we have a composer invoking his experience as a master builder – we are by implication on a sequential temporal axis whose points on and off prior and future , exist in the listening experience. That is, they are calculable. This is the intensity of listening to these three major works. I pivot on the slightest of axis between flashbacks and a vast future. Just as narrative can be a continuous loop, so music lives in its parallel experience of interpretation layered upon the past and dipping into a future it formulates for itself. Coupled is the always already present anxiety of the countless enemies, internal and external, that spring from an implicative foray into the past and away from the concurrent discursive amplification and effective intensification.

Due for release from m=minimal 9 April.