ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Music for Clarinet & Piano
PERFORMER: Jean-Philippe Vivier (clarinet), Tamayo Ikeda (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: SOCD 197
The idea of framing Stockhausen’s clarinet and piano version of Tierkreis with the more familiar repertoire for the same combination is intriguing and the fact that these five works cover a span of just 35 years demonstrates the astonishing diversity of styles being explored during this period.
Tierkreis was written in 1975 with the signs of the zodiac represented by 12 very short pieces, originally conceived for mechanical keyboard but subsequently rearranged by the composer for several other instrumental combinations. It is rarely heard in any form and the 1981 version for clarinet and piano, completely reworked into a more extended work, has certainly been unjustly overlooked. The set offers
a fascinating blend of rigorous formal construction with imaginative and colourful representations of different aspects of the zodiac, further enhanced through skilful exploitation of the exceptional range and characteristics of the clarinet. The performance here is most effective and makes a convincing case for this music to enjoy a higher profile in the future.
The playing throughout the remainder of the programme is generally very good, though some
of the quieter passages suffer from the unevenness of Vivier’s tone which, though clear and bright
in the upper register, is somewhat less focused in the mid-range.