Dal niente

Eduard Brunner

CD18,90 out of print

An invigorating journey over the landscape of modern music, Swiss clarinettist Eduard Brunner’s solo recital is a tour-de-force of extended technique and high musicality applied to intensely-demanding composition. Brunner’s album is titled after Helmut Lachenmann’s Dal niente (out of nothing) whose sounds bleed into and out of the resonant silence of the church of St. Gerold. Where Lachenmann’s concluding piece calls for nothing less than a new way of hearing, the Isang Yun composition that opens the programme is a deeply moving assertion of the inviolability of the human spirit which has its genesis in the two years that Yun spent in a South Korean prison under sentence of death. The recital also includes a hitherto unpublished Stravinsky miniature alongside the well-known Three Pieces for clarinet, Boulez’s daunting Domaines, some brightly optimistic Stockhausen, and Scelsi’s shadowy Preghiera per un’ombra. BBC Music Magazine: "Although a disc comprising 70 minutes of 20th century music for clarinet might be thought to appeal to enthusiasts only, there is such an enormous range of sounds contained within these pieces that one’s attention is held throughout."

Featured Artists Recorded

October 1995, Propstei St. Gerold

Original Release Date


  • 1Piri
    (Isang Yun)
  • Three Pieces for Clarinet Solo
    (Igor Stravinsky)
  • 2I01:30
  • 3II01:08
  • 4III01:19
  • 5Piece for Clarinet Solo (dedicated to Pablo Picasso)
    (Igor Stravinsky)
  • Domaines pour clarinette seule
    (Pierre Boulez)
  • 6Cahier A Original00:42
  • 7Cahier D Original00:59
  • 8Cahier F Original02:28
  • 9Cahier E Original00:57
  • 10Cahier B Original01:37
  • 11Cahier C Original00:53
  • 12Cahier C Miroir00:57
  • 13Cahier D Miroir01:04
  • 14Cahier E Miroir01:02
  • 15Cahier A Miroir00:54
  • 16Cahier B Miroir01:21
  • 17Cahier F Miroir02:27
  • 18In Freundschaft
    (Karlheinz Stockhausen)
  • 19Preghiera per un' ombra
    (Giacinto Scelsi)
  • 20Dal niente (Intérieur III)
    (Helmut Lachenmann)
Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik (Kammermusik) Vierteljahresliste III/1997
"'Dal niente': So lautet ­ in Anlehnung an Helmut Lachenmanns gleichnamige Komposition aus dem Jahr 1972 ­ eine atemberaubende CD des Schweizer Klarinettisten Eduard Brunner, die sich der zeitgenössischen Sololiteratur widmet. Ihr Titel ist nichts weniger als ihr Programm: Das Auftauchen und Verschwinden der Klänge aus dem und in das Nichts wurde hier in unnachahmlicher Weise eingefangen. Der Raumklang der Propstei St. Gerold wird dabei auf eindrucksvolle Weise von Instrumentalist wie Tonmeister zu einem lebendigen Bestandteil der Aufnahme gemacht. In einem wahren interpretatorischen Kraftakt breitet Brunner das gesamte Spektrum dessen, was musikalisch und technisch auf seinem Instrument möglich ist, vor dem Hörer aus. Er führt den Hörer durch die Klarinettenmusik des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts, wobei ihm eine überzeugende und höchst abwechslungsreiche Gestaltung der individuellen Ausdrucksnuancen jeder einzelnen dieser Kompositionen gelingt. Dabei lassen nicht nur seine phänomenalen technischen Fähigkeiten, sein Einfühlungsvermögen und die halsbrecherische Virtuosität seines Vortrags das Niveau anderer Aufnahmen solcher Musik weit hinter sich zurück."
Stefan Drees, Musiktexte
L'enchantement de la découverte amorcé avec le souffle frémissant de la pièce d'Isang Yun dure jusqu'aux éclats de silence qui ponctuent le rituel bruitiste de Helmut Lachenmann. L'intelligence du parcours n'a d'égale que la plénitude renouvelée du jeu. En passant du hautbois à la clarinette, Piri s'est enrichi de nuances infinitésimales qui lui confèrent l'impact d'une expression intemporelle. Rapportées par Eduard Brunner avec beaucoup d'à propos ludique, les 3 Pièces de Stravinsky témoignent d'une enviable indépendance d'esprit que les cinq mesures écrites en 1917 à l'intention de Picasso ne suggèrent qu'à travers l'originalité de leur support, un télégramme. Après la dimension prismatique (constuction à long terme, irisations de timbre) des Domaines de Boulez, Brunner transcende les replis intimistes d'In Freundschaft où Stockhausen se plaît à jongler avec les registres autour d'un trille ayant valeur de fil rouge. De plage en plage ce CD a semblé s'ouvrir à la sensualité avec pour aboutissement attendu Sclesi et pour échappée insolite le radical Dal Niente de Lachenmann, moins contrasté et oppressant que lors de la première version gravée par Brunner pour CPO.
Pierre Gervasoni, Diapason (Diapason d'or)
A bracing and invigorating journey over the landscape of modern music, Swiss clarinettistEduard Brunner's solo recital is a tour-de-force of extended technique and high musicalityin the service of intensely-demanding composition. Brunner's album is titled after Helmut Lachenmann's Dal niente(out of nothing) whose sounds at the threshold of audibility bleed into and out ofthe resonant silence of the church of St Gerold. This is one reading of "out of nothing",then, pursuing Lachenmann's pursuit of nothing less than a new way of hearing, alert to the way in which sounds are produced in rarefied atmospheres.
A recital that ends with a delineation of Lachenmann's intellectual and artistic agoniesbegins with music of completely different character, Isang Yun's moving assertionof the sovereign inviolability of the human spirit. Piriis an important piece by the late South Korean composer (1917-1995) that has beenpart of Brunner's solo repertoire for many years; the clarinettist has twice previouslyrecorded it (for Col Legno and Camerata) each version bringing forth new subtletiesof meaning. Yun made clear the autobiographical content of the piece in an early programmenote: "The theme of the piece represents a convict confined in a prison and suggeststhat although he is pysically held captive, his spirit and thoughts are free to wander far and wide. The last part consists solely of multiple tones, which signifyhis earnest prayer." Isang Yun spoke from experience: on trumped-up political chargeshe had spent two years in a Seoul cell under sentence of death.
The title Pirialludes to the Korean double-reed bamboo oboe which is a vital lead voice both incourt music and shamanistic folk music. Yun wrote the piece however for the westernoboist Georg Meerwein, with Brunner giving the first performance on clarinet. Thisinitiated a long musical association and friendship with Yun who subsequently wrote theConcerto for Clarinet and Orchestra(1981) for him.
Igor Stravinsky's Three Pieces for Clarinet Solowere developed with and for Brunner's teacher Louis Cahuzac. They remain delightfulminiatures, photographs from another time. To the three short pieces, Brunner addsan even shorter one, and five bars (and less than half a minute) of hitherto-unpublished Stravinsky are recorded here. Dedicated to Picasso and jotted down on the edge oftelegram in Rome, the tiny piece is dated April 1917 - it thus predates the Three Piecesby a couple of years.
The "unfinished" sketchbook character of Boulez's Domaineshas long made it an attractive piece for virtuoso clarinettists both in its originalsolo version and in the revised version for clarinet and ensemble. Written, on andoff, over five years from 1961, the solo version was premiered in 1968. (There is,incidentally, a Swiss connection, Boulez having completed it for his composition classat Basel). The soloist is effectively invited to construct his own domain from the"free succession of formal components" available in the score; in other words, itsbuilding blocks can be adjusted to suit personal taste. Though it explores the extreme capabilitiesof the clarinet - and also the acoustics of the spatial setting - this is one ofthe more accommodating pieces in Boulez's austere canon. The same can be said ofIn Freundschaftby that other great architect of modern music, Karlheinz Stockhausen.
Stockhausen wrote In Freundschaftin 1977 as a birthday present for his companion and musical associate Suzanne Stephens.It was conceived from the outset to be played by different solo instruments. Thefirst public performance was given by a flutist, Lucilles Goeres; there are alsoversions for basset-horn, oboe, bassoon, recorder, saxophone, violin, cello, french hornand trombone. In 1978, Stockhausen expanded the work and Suzanne Stephens gave thepremiere of the version for clarinet at a concert in tribute to Olivier Messiaenin Paris. Stockhausen writes: "Those who listen closely will discover that the high and lowlayers are reflections of each other in time and space." This "answering" qualityhas affinities with bird song, which can also be related back to Messiaen.
From the bright and sunlit world of In FreundschaftBrunner enters the shadowy labyrinths of the music of Giacinto Scelsi (1905-1988)on Preghiera per un'ombra. All but comprehensively ignored and unheard until the last years of his life (althoughthe championing of Ligeti, Feldman and Klaus Huber help to keep at least his namein circulation), the Italian mystic-recluse has become the focus of a burgeoningcult since his death and performances are multiplying in proportion to the legends ofhis eccentricities. Brunner keeps his attention on the musical essentials which,as Ligeti once explained it, are concerned with the inner structure of the texture.The private life of the sound, as it were, or its "anima" to use Scelsi's term. Which, in turn,brings us to Lachenmann... Beyond the sounds of breath and the pattering of keys- murmurings from the margins of music - we catch, at the end of the performance,the cheery tintinabulation of cowbells in the Austrian mountainside, and are returned fromthe furthest outpost of the avant-garde to the practicalities of the world outside.