Journey into the heart of sounds
About 1960, when serialism was pushed into an abundant mathematically structured
complexity by composer such as Stockhausen or Boulez, young Ernstalbrecht Stieber
choose a completely different way - a radical backlash to the successors of
Webern in Darmstadt: "No ‘mediations’, no permutations of sound material,
but a way towards a further reduction of the material instead. At that tome I had
the feeling of entering onto new ground," Stiebler recalls.
The string trio Extension I marks the beginning of a way that Stiebler continued to go until today,
and which can be followed on a CD that also contains the pieces Extension III (1979)
and the orchestral work Unisono Diviso (1999) as excellent recordings of the radio
station Hessischer Rundfunk. The title Extension points to the principle of
maintaining the sound, even when the material already can be experienced as
"mouldered". And still this "timeless Music" (Dieter Schnebel)
is only in a superficial neighbourhood to the Minimal Music of a Steve Reich with
its primitive repetitions. Stiebler’s patient, painstaking harkening to the
sounds has more in common with the music of a Giacinto Scelsi.
The title ‘unisono Diviso’ gets to the heart of it: it focuses on a con-sonance,
exploring it from different microtonal angles, casing it to whir and resonate - a music "not
for a fixed ear but for active listening", as Schnebel puts it.
(Florian Neuner, Scheinschlag 4/2004)