K. Stockhausen, Mantra, X. Pestova, P. Meyer, J. Panis
(released on September 28, 2010)
Naxos 8.572398 | 67'33"
Stylistically, Stockhausen's earlier works have the greatest appeal to my ear, where there is still rhythmic pulse and harmonic variety, and not too much outright weirdness: put Mantra into the same category as pleasing works like Tierkreis (1974/75) and the vocal piece Stimmung (1968). Dutch sound technician/projectionist Jan Panis, former assistant to Stockhausen, created the first digital arrangements to create the electronic component of this piece, with the composer's approval. The sound effects, created by the piano sound being routed through microphones and digital processing before reaching the ears, include echos, distortions, buzzing, ringing, and manipulation that creates something akin to the percussive sounds of a prepared piano or of the gamelan. The result produced by the adventurous Pestova/Meyer Piano Duo, while not recommended for people who get a rash at dissonant or off-putting music, is hypnotic. A fine introduction to Stockhausen and experimental music for anyone interested in such a thing.