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Eichenberger, Markus: Halbzeit (Half Time) (Creative Sources)

Clarinetist Markus Eichenberger's beautiful solo work "Half Time" work is a foray into a landscape of memory using the instrument in traditional and unconventional ways.

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product information:

UPC: 5609063401714

Label: Creative Sources
Catalog ID: cs171
Squidco Product Code: 12906

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2010
Country: Portugal
Packaging: Jewel Tray
Recorded at Radio DrS, Studio 2, Zurichat the 20th and 21st June 2008 by Martin PearsonMixed at Platinum One, Zurichat the 7th January and the 6th February 2009


Markus Eichenberger-clarinet

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track listing:

1. Halbzeit Part One 4:56

2. Halbzeit Part Two 7:25

3. Halbzeit Part Three 5:00

4. Halbzeit Part Four 3:43

5. Halbzeit Part Five 6:10

6. Halbzeit Part Six 4:36

7. Halbzeit Part Seven 7:34

8. Halbzeit Part Eight 5:22

9. Halbzeit Part Nine 3:02
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"We enter an open landscape, rich in impressions, and then leave the beaten track. Here and there we notice something that merits closer inspection. After a shorter or longer pause, we venture a little in another direction. We might simply take the day as it comes and without concern let everything that has been and that we have experienced go to the winds. Or perhaps perceive the singular aspects shown by this landscape with an acute awareness. Use them to recall past events and experiences, thus enriching the feeling of simply being in the present moment.

When we listen to Markus Eichenberger’s solo improvisations Half Time, we feel that he is taking us along with him on such a journey of discovery. A journey into the day’s events, but no less a foray into a landscape of memory. The intimate wealth of sounds produced by his instrument, the clarinet, evokes the most diverse associations. For Eichenberger, it is not the instrument of a virtuoso who wends effortlessly through all the meanderings of Alpine folklore, classical music and swing. He almost has us perceive the oscillating column of air in his instrument with an astounding clarity. He gives himself time to listen precisely to every tone, as it were from various acoustic angles, in all its colour and fullness of register. He swells the spaciousness of a sound, lets acoustically complex events arise, illumines each tone in several distinct ways, at times sings softly along.

We hear melodies, with simple intervals, whereupon memories arise spontaneously: of nature or meditative experiences, or melodies engraved deeply in our collective cultural memory. Only a few sounds, and the entire tradition of the instrument resonates along: classical, jazz – but not least also Alpine folklore. Indeed, the longer that we penetrate into Eichenberger’s improvisations by listening, the more do we have the feeling of being present at a solemn act of memory. In a completely contemporary spirit, the clarinettist brings forth melodies of the most diverse origin that have so far accompanied him in his life. And they are completely integrated in today’s world, in his eminently individual, singing, corporeal tone language. Only rarely do they really feel like a citation, such as when elements of Albert Ayler’s Ghosts suddenly appear in rare dynamically highlighted moments. Or when the German folk song Thoughts are free surges boldly into the foreground.

Otherwise, Markus Eichenberger treats such «culturally-loaded» melodic material in a refined and differentiated way. He turns the idea of memory into a sensual experience. Sidney Bechet’s Petite fleur may be heard, but from a context that now has little in common with the origin of this wonderful melody. In the same way, fragments seem to emerge from their secret hiding-places, of Béla Bartók or Charlie Haden, from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s A-major clarinet concerto, the familiar Swiss nursery rhyme Chumm, mir wei ga Chrieseli gwünne, Willow Weep For Me, and Anton Webern’s Goethe songs Opus 19. They appear almost imperceptibly, blend with the present moment, and suddenly the passage of time becomes apparent to the senses, as we move into the future with alert ears and a wakeful mind."-Alfred Zimmerlin, from the liner notes

Artist Biographies:

"Markus Eichenberger (Aarau, 4 August 1957) is a Swiss clarinet player, saxophonist (bass saxophone, alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, tenor saxophone) and composer in improvised music.

Eichenberger initially planned to become a professional photographer. However, he instead took on a career in music. He became a music teacher and obtained a wind music conductor. Since 1982 he teaches saxophone and clarinet lessons. Since 1977 he has been active in improvised music, especially as a saxophonist. He played in all sorts of groups and projects, but in 1982 he also started working as a solo artist. Most of the albums he recorded in the eighties were solo albums. He worked with, among others, the Swiss drummer Jacques Widmer (recordings in 1983), the Mytha Horns, the pianist Fredi Lüscher and drummer Ivano Torre. Around 1995 he was a member of the Double You Sea Fields group, which played with Ikue Mori. In the second half of the nineties he led a project with what you could call an improvisation big band, the 'Domino' project. He gave concerts in all kinds of European countries, also in the Netherlands and Belgium, as well as America. Eichenberger has many different prizes and awards."

-UpClosed (Translated by Google) (

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