COMPOSERS: Aldo Clementi & Boulez,Evangelisti,Messiaen,Stockhausen
LABELS: Dabringhaus und Grimm Scene
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Piano Music of the Darmstadt School, Vol. 1
PERFORMER: Steffen Schleiermacher (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: MDG 613 1004-2
With his CD journey of discovery through the piano music of John Cage well advanced, Steffen Schleiermacher has turned his attention to the music that defined the avant-garde in Europe at the very time that Cage was turning things upside down across the Atlantic. This is the first disc in a series to be devoted to the piano works that came out of the Darmstadt summer schools in the Fifties, when total serialism and high-octane polemics were the daily diet; the sheer energy and commitment of Schleiermacherperformances certainly augur well for what is to come.
He begins at the beginning, with a breathtaking performance of the most extraordinary of all Messiaen’s piano works, the volcanic, single-movement Cantéyodjayâ, which paved the way for the keyboard writing of the younger, more radical generation. By juxtaposing it with the first group of Stockhausen’s piano pieces the parallels are obvious, and the shapeliness and clarity that Schleiermacher brings to these high-density essays are hugely impressive. He gives the same coherence to Boulez’s still unfinished Third Sonata as well, including the tiny ‘Sigle’ movement as well as the familiar ‘Trope’ and ‘Constellation-Miroir’, but even he struggles to make much of Franco Evangelisti’s studies in keyboard resonance, or Aldo Clementi’s rather dry miniatures. Both are totally overshadowed by the works of their greater contemporaries here. Andrew Clements