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Boomkat Product Review:
Berlin's brilliant M=minimal label give credence to the largely unsung German "Grandmaster" composer, Ernstalbrecht Stiebler, with a collection of his works spanning 45 years. After studies in the late '50s at Musikhochschule Hamburg, Stiebler had more important lessons at Darmstadt between 1958 and 1961, including studies with Karlheinz Stockhausen which no doubt influenced his first reductionist work 'Extension 1', manifesting a clear departure from the Serialist trends of that era and towards a purer tonal minimalism. Two recent pieces included here, 'Ton in Ton' (2011), a 22 minute piece performed by the renowned Ensemble Modern, conducted by Franck Ollu, and the three-part 'Torsi' (2002) demonstrate an unswerving reductionist practice that has altered little from his formative years. The former is a glacially slow, organically unfolding piece of sublime suspense and solemn, calming chamber atmosphere, while the latter suite is almost unnervingly noirish and sepulchral but with a sense of sacred resolution. Compared with the album's final piece, the dissonant and ethereal 'Betonungen', they represent a maturity and refinement of an already accomplished and engaging compositional mind and warrant far wider attention from listeners worldwide.