Personnel: Klaus Obermaier (electric guitar); Mathias Tacke (violin); Michael Klier (viola); Eva Böcker (cello); Dietmar Wiesner (flute); Wolfgang Stryi (bass clarinet, saxophone); Bruce Nockles, Bill Forman (trumpet); Franck Ollu (French horn); Uwe Dierksen (trombone); Ueli Wiget (piano, sampler); Rainer Römer (percussion).
Recording information: Performance Studios, Frankfurt, Germany (05/1992).
Heiner Goebbels likens his work as a composer to that of a theater director (and he's a notable one) and vice versa. Consciously abandoning the traditionally German notion of "absolute music," his extensive and accomplished use of sampling keyboards introduces sounds as diverse as croaking frogs, car engines, crickets, and footsteps into the fabric of the musical discourse. His long-standing collaboration with German playwright Heiner Müller (also documented on the ECM triple-CD set Hörstücke) is once more to the fore in "Herakles 2," which sets a prose fragment from Müller's "Zement." "Befreiung" ("Liberation") sets texts by another German playwright, Rainald Goetz, while "La Jalousie," as its title indicates, references Alain Robbe Grillet's groundbreaking nouveau roman of the same name, deftly conjuring up its paranoid world with refracted detuned keyboards and ominous samples. "Red Run," though not sourced in any specific text, also refers to the wider art world, being originally a ballet score for the William Forsythe Company in Goebbels' hometown of Frankfurt. Goebbels' background in free improvisation and progressive rock, notably in the group Cassiber (with Chris Cutler, Alfred Harth, and Christoph Anders) is also a rich source of inspiration, and Frankfurt's exemplary Ensemble Modern handles his intricate scores with customary aplomb. ~ Dan Warburton