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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Thomas Heberer - Five By Five (Self Published, 2009) ****

Germany quarter-tone trumpeter Thomas Heberer is not only part of the ICP Orchestra or several other bands, he also creates his own material, although much remains unreleased. On "Five By Five", which is entirely available for download on his website, he plays five duets with Okkyung Lee on cello, with Harris Eisenstadt on percussion, Achil Kaufmann on piano, Joachim Badenhorst on clarinet, with the latter playing two compositions, which makes five pieces by five musicians.

The duo setting is ideal for intimate and intense dialogues, all quite left of center, but with sufficient discipline and maturity to make this a highly enjoyable and relatively accessible listen. Heberer's technique on the quarter-tone trumpet is nothing short of stunning. Listen for instance to his long circular breathing part on "345 Grand Street", with Okkyung Lee on cello, matching the continuous tone of the bowed instrument. The most extended techniques are used by Kaufmann on the beatiful first track. The duet with Eisenstadt is more fractured and power-driven with sudden changes of pitch, and with a clear blues-based tone, whereas his duets with the clarinet and the piano show a more lyrical side. On the last track, Heberer and Badenhorst exchange timbral explorations with playful interchange, while falling back on a quite solemn compositional backbone.

Enjoy! ... and download here.

© stef


Richard said...

I finally got around to listening to this, and it is really wonderful. The minimal instrumentation suits the styles of the players well. Sometimes in solo or duo settings, performers feel they have to fill all the space, but here they use the quiet beautifully. And, as Stef says, the playing is virtuoso.