Stockhausen’s early percussion music is among the most visionary of the percussion repertoire. This unique collection features some works which are almost impossible to find elsewhere. Zyklus was not only a novel composition in terms of its treatment of time and structure, it was also the first percussion solo ever performed. Kontakte, a masterpiece for piano and percussion with 4-channel tape, challenges to performers to play together and to make the maximum number of “contacts” with the tape. Schick and Avery have performed this work together for decades, and this recording shows that experience to full effect. Mode’s new transfers from the analog tapes for this recording reveal greater detail and low end frequency response.
Mikrophonie calls for six percussionists playing a single instrument – a giant 60" tam-tam. Three musicians activate the instrument from either side. One player performs on the tam-tam using a large array of mallets and small objects, a second holds a highly directional microphone and also plays the tam-tam, and the third is a sound designer who sits in the hall and regulates settings for volume, filtration and spatial diffusion of the sounds. The result is an extraordinary and theatrical sound world. In Refrain, the three performers produce an array of pure tones from their primary instruments to noisy shouted syllables and tongue clicks. In the most complex passages, the sounds merge nearly completely. Schlagtrio is one of Stockhausen’s earliest published pieces. Rather than articulating the differences between piano and percussion, he is interested in creating a continuum between the two.