Gerhard Stabler | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Gerhard Stabler 

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Gerhard StŠbler

A significant chapter in the history of postserialism is currently being written in Germany. Older figures such as Helmut Lachenmann and Nicholaus A. Huber have been joined by an exciting crop of composers under 50, including Mathias Spahlinger, Cornelius Schwehr, and Gerhard StŠbler. They share a genuinely anarchic sensibility--that is, an openness to different approaches rather than adherence to a single system or concept. Common avenues include sheer abstraction, use of Webernian klangfarben (tone color) techniques, obsession with textures and densities, various kinds of collage and referentiality, and a sensitivity to the micropolitics of form that betrays the influence of Mauricio Kagel. Of these composers, StŠbler is the most familiar face in Chicago, having spent 1992 in residence at Northwestern University. Coming up, he studied with Huber and took classes with Kagel, Gyorgy Ligeti, and Karlheinz Stockhausen, and his diverse catalog has been performed by the highest-caliber cast in contemporary music, including the Arditti String Quartet, who waxed his intense piece "...Strike the Ear..." for Koch (Strike the Ear, 1993). For this concert he's chosen to work with some of Chicago's most exciting new-music exponents: Gene Coleman will play StŠbler's 1995 bass clarinet solo "Winter, Blumen," viola player Shelley Weiss (heard recently in Michael Zerang's pit ensemble for Redmoon Theater's Frankenstein) will perform his 1993 piece "Schmerzprobe," and StŠbler himself will perform a new composition for voice. As the centerpiece, these players plus percussionist Steve Butters, keyboardist Jeffrey Kowalkowski, and a bassist to be named later will play a version of "Karas./KrŠhen" (1995), StŠbler's exquisite 20-minute tape piece based on the metaphorical significance of crows. Works by Coleman and Kowalkowski are also slated. Sunday, 8 PM, Lunar Cabaret and Full Moon Cafe, 2827 N. Lincoln; 773-327-6666. JOHN CORBETT

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Grudren Webel.

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