Music Reviews

Artist: Markus Eichenberger
Title: Halbzeit - Clarinet Solo 2008
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
If I should try to explain the choice by Markus Eichenberger of putting an old black and white photo from his childhood album, the first thing coming into my mind is the way some jazz players names the clarinet, id est the liquorice stick, whose sugared version is normally considered a titbit by young children. The second possible explanation could be found in the almost dadaistic approach to the instrument as it seems suggesting some phrases not so dissimilar to some childish toys (in the initial and in the final halbzeit - half time -, some repeated sequences of tones could even remind the sound of sirens or nursery rhymes as well as some tunes could easily remind those "improvised" sets on whistles or scholar flutes by young pupils). The way Markus plays his clarinet, based on single phrases with prolonged pauses of total silence or during which he just emits air and recursive persistence on the same tone, has the advantage to highlight the peculiarity of the sound of this instrument, wrongly considered a close relative of the trumpet, as it's normally believed to be one of the most piercing woodwind instrument. There are many quotations, sounding more like musical memories resurfacing from the depths of consciousness, such as Mozart's compositions for clarinet, Bechet's Petite Fleur as well as some Swiss folk songs, but it should be listened as a sort of introspective musical journey than just a collection of sketches, which has many moments of breathtaking intimacy and poetical brilliance.

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