Reto Bieri is a Swiss clarinettist, and this collection of contemporary solo works reveals him as a wonderfully controlled and subtle interpreter. As one might expect, none of the pieces is very long – most last about five minutes. Only Heinz Holliger's Contrechant, from 2007, whose six movements spun from a musical spelling of Baudelaire's name take just over 14 minutes, and Salvatore Sciarrino's Let Me Die Before I Awake, a 10-minute exploration of a whisper-quiet sound world of harmonics, multiphonics and tremolandos, become anything more substantial. Holliger contributes a second piece, Rechant, written a year later than Contrechant, which is more linear and melodic than its companion, though the virtuoso demands it makes are just as severe. The nearest to repertory works are Luciano Berio's beautifully shaped and coloured Lied, from 1983, and Elliott Carter's Gra, a gruff 80th-birthday tribute to Witold Lutosławski; Peter Eötvös's Derwischtanz and Gergely Vajda's Lightshadow Trembling are less striking, though Bieri's performances of them are equally fastidious.
Andrew Clements, The Guardian
Swiss clarinettist Reto Bieri features solo here on pieces by challenging composers such as Luciano Berio, Heinz Holliger and Elliott Carter - an austere prospect, but one which reveals an engaging aspect, from the moment Berio´s `Lied´ (as in `song´, rather than untruth) opens with little fluting gulps as Bieri elides between notes. Carter´s´ `Gra´ (Polish for `play´) has a darting character, while the hypnotic ululations of Salvatore Sciarrino´s `Let me die before I wake´ operate at the lower limits of audibility. Elsewhere Holliger´s six-part `Contrechant´ plunges over three octaves in its first few notes, going on to incorporate tongue-slapped single notes and longer, gurgling tremors among the general flow.
Andy Gill, The Independent
Reto Bieri’s unaccompanied programme gets to the essence of each composer and actually feels the better fort he lack of busy counterpoint (e.g. in the case of Elliott Carter). And there is no risk of solo clarinet becoming insufficient; Bieri holds attention throughout with his beauty of tone and uncommon expressiveness with multiphonics, which can often feel gimmicky. A marvellous disc which takes clarinet playing to a new level. Highly recommended to explorer listeners who don’t seek just facile excitement.
Peter Grahame Woolf, Musikal Pointers