|Stockhausen: Klavierstücke nos 1-11 / Herbert Henck
2-Disc Set containing 11 pieces for piano.
Stockhausen's various "klavierstuck" have entered piano repertoire not physically but from a distance Since Stockhausen thinks he communes with extraterrestrial spirits this is a complement. It seems every great pianist from Rubenstein to Argerich to Pollini to Van Cliburn Finalists all know these piano pieces but never play them. Stockhausen wrote these pieces throughout the Fifties a time of the soaringly high avant-garde and envisioned them as extensions and sketch-ideas for his larger works.The first four are collected under one-leaf and exhibit miniature structures,pointillistic,searing contrasts of dynamics and tones magnetized and collected into regions or fields. These first four are still my favorites as if a good idea has not gone bad yet. With #5 and especially #6 we have a breakthrough of concept with new graphic notation to extend the compositional idea of gradations of tempi slowly accelerating. A graph above the music helps the performer to track these tempi microscopic changes and Stockhausen here ups the length.#7 is evocative with the first extended use of pure piano harmonics,that's where you silently depress a key and play another that rings tones in fundamental overtone congruence. Henck throughout this piano encyclopedia brings a gentleness to what is primarily coldly conceive music. #9 is the one most play and utilizes incessant repetitive tones in strident atonal intervals. Today all this sounds quite tame despite the fact that this music literally scared to death the likes of Philip Glass, these pieces have lost their ability to shock, well that's what postmodernity has done, and is why we like more tunefull,goal-directed music these days. A tour de force is still #10, a Listzian extravaganza with silences(not Cage) utilized as afterthoughts to mirror the piano's reverberations with as-fast-as-possible filigree lines and armfulls of clusters. And #11 is the indeterminate labyrinth, where the pianist is confronted with a map-like page, three-feet by three- feet, and the performer slowly works their way through the fragments. Henck is a devoted interpreter of all this, and worked directly with Stockhausen as well as concertizing throughout Europe with these pieces. A great collection.