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Siegfried Palm: Intercomunicazione [Original recording remastered]

Alfons Kontarsky Audio CD

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Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Anton Webern: Cello Sonata (1914) 2:01£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Iannis Xenakis: Nomos alpha (1965)14:30Album Only
Listen  3. Anton Webern: Three Little Pieces for Cello and Piano, op.11 (1914) 2:45£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Mauricio Kagel: Uguis incarnatus est (1972) 5:34£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Bernd Alois Zimmermann: Vier kurze Studien (Four short Studies) for Violoncello solo (1970) 2:21£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Krzysztof Penderecki: Capriccio per Siegfried Palm (1968) 6:51£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Earle Brown: Music for Cello and Piano (1955) 8:11£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Isang Yun: Glissées (1970)14:03Album Only
Listen  9. Bernd Alois Zimmermann: Intercomunicazione (1967) per violoncello e pianoforte21:08Album Only


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The King of the Avant-Garde Cello 10 Jan 2003
By Christopher Forbes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
During the heady early days of the avant-garde in Europe, the performing artist gained an unprecedented influence on the language and development of composition. Certainly works had been created for individual artists in other periods, but never was there such a deep relationship between the personality and techniques of a performer and the language of a composer. You can't contemplate the work of John Cage without noting the influence of David Tudor (who was often more of a collaborator, rather than an interpreter). And of course, Berio's vocal music is inconcievable without the influence of his wife, Cathy Berberian. (She became so well known she even got a line in a Steely Dan song.) Less well known, but no less influential is the cellist Siegfried Palm. He is the dedicatee or the commissioning party for many of the late 20th century masterworks for cello, including the Ligeti Cello Concerto and Feldman's Cello and Orchestra. This CD gives a marvelous introduction to this amazing performer and some of the composers with whom he worked.
Palm includes two works by Webern on the disc, the posthumously published Sonata for Cello and Piano and the Three Short Pieces for Cello and Piano. Both are from Webern's early atonal aphoristic period. The real surprise of this album is the Sonata, of who's existance I was unaware. It's a lovely little work, not particularly important in the composer's output, but welcome nonetheless.
Perhaps in terms of sheer sound, the Xenakis piece Nophos alpha is the tour de force of the recording. I am not generally a big fan of music for solo instruments outside of the piano or organ, as I find the tonal range fairly limited, or else the extended techniques employed self consciously. But this work floored me. Xenakis writes an amazing nearly fifteen minute work for solo cello in which you never are aware that only one instrument is playing. The richness of the sound that come out of Palm's instrument is truly amazing. The work is in a later style for Xenakis, less interested in stochastic mathmatical formalism and more interested in game theory and chance devices. But the sound produced is divorced from it's means of generation, just a truly powerful and emotionally devastating work.
Mauricio Kagel's piece, Unguis Incartatus Est is a parody piece based on one of Lizst's late works. I actually bought the CD for this work (and the Earle Brown later in the disc) as I was not familiar with the work of this influential composer. I was not disappointed with this piece. Using the first few notes of the Lizst piece and subjecting them to various manipulations, Kagel creates a work that is at once serious, playful, theatrical, moving and quite beautiful. The Brown piece is also relatively important, partly because Brown is woefully underrepresented on disc. Music for Cello and Piano is one of Brown's graphic scores, where much of the performance is left up to the instrumentalists. And yet, the work has all of Brown's hallmarks, a sort of illogical logic, and a serene yet unpredictable sense of rhythm.
The Perndercki piece is fun, but ultimately lightweight. More of an etude than a real piece, Likewise, the Zimmermann Four Short Studies is also cerebrally interesting, but not particularly important as a work of art. But the Zimmermann work Intercommicazione is marveous and very impressive, perhaps the second most solid work on the disc just behind the Xenakis. The cello takes the lead in the work initially, with violent chords and delicate fillagree in the piano. But as the work progresses the piano begins an equal partnership with the cello and leads to a shattering climax. Zimmermann here is wild, darkly serial, and yet with an arc and romantic sweep that many other serial composers lacked. I love this work.
Performances are astounding. During much of the Xenakis you find yourself trying to figure out how Palm does it. You hear one line on the cello in harmonics, scuttering about, while another holds a sustained whispy high note that doesn't ever seem to change bows. It's a real mystery without the score! And Palm's tonal variations are picked up beautifully on DG's excellent remastering. Also impressive is Aloys Kontarsky, another important Darmstadt performer (he and his brother are well known for premiering Stockhausen's Mantra.) Kontarsky knows this repertoire completely and makes an excellent foil for Palm.
Get this CD if you have any interest in music of the European avant-garde. It's an important document and a great way to here music by many composers of this style, played by a musician of talent and great sensibility.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very `idiomatic' and historic performances. 9 Dec 2005
By Paco Yáñez - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Like other reviewer wrote, Siegfried Palm is one of those players who had a central role during the `60s and the `70s in the development of western modern music, in the sense he gave many world premieres and he contributed to create the own works with his knowledge about cello resources and technical possibilities, together with the great talent and capacity for communicate this not easy at all music. Like Mr. Forbes wrote, artists like Palm, Berberian, Tudor, Boulez, Kontarsky, Bruner, Gawriloff, Arditti Qt... were very important in the development of western music, and because of their protagonist figure and central role I think they have certain `idiomatic' style in their way of playing, in their technique and musicality, very close to the modern experimentation come from Darmstadt and the new music centers of central Europe.

I've listen some of these pieces in other performances, specially Nomos Alpha, which I have recorded by Saram (Montaigne) and Strauch (Erato), a very interesting performance the first one by the Arditti Quartet cellist and a little disappointing version the second one played by the Ensemble InterContemporain cellist who is not one of my favourites really. Palm's version in this CD is the best I know and with the plus of having in Palm a convincing player who know deeply the work and have the technical resources to make it so great like he did. Fortunately he recorded this piece some decades ago, because today he is not in so good shape like he was (listening Palm in the Ligeti's Cello Concerto for Teldec is a clear example of a real wise performer but who has lost his early freshness and strong playing). When he played this performance his capacity of playing was in his top moment and listening it on CD makes possible to listen a piece that listened live is impossible to be played full, because of the necessity of put the cello back to the right tone. The col legno, the wild pizzicatti, the glissandi... and all the resources are so clear in this version that it seems impossible one man is playing that piece; sometimes it looks like if two people were playing together to create that amount of sound and techniques. Palm has the best recording of Nomos Alpha that I know, even it is not DDD recording the sound is clear and with a great presence, it's amazing the way DG has remastered it.

Together with Nomos Alpha, my favourite work is Intercomunicazione, for cello and piano, played by Palm and Kontarsky, one of those pianist who developed this instrument to new levels of expression and possibilities. Zimmermann is a composer I really love and I knew this piece and this same version from a CD of the series XXth Classics which is now delete and which offered some of the best Zimmermann's chamber works played by Palm, Gawriloff and the Kontarskys, a must have that DG is missing for all the world; it could be a marvellous DG 20 21. The playing of Palm & Kontarsky is very idiomatic again and very dark, like Zimmermman's works are, much more appropriated than other more technical performances you can listen today. The partnership between both players is incredible and I really think this version is like a chapter of the last decades performed music, an example of understanding.

The other works are very interesting but not so great like these before. Kagel's piece is great and Penderecki offers a Capriccio dedicated to him, like some other works here. Glisées, for cello solo, is for me one of Yun's best pieces and has in Palm his ideal player.

I can say these are some of the best works for cello of the last decades (I have to add Pression by Lachenmann, never played by Palm I think, and which you can listen in a great performance by Walter Grimmer in Col legno). In all these works Palm shows himself like the best player we can imagine and he gives new light in this amazing remastering in DG 20 21. I hope DG releases more CD from the Avantgarde archives they have.
10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars With few exceptions, material that has aged quite poorly 16 Nov 2004
By Christopher Culver - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
INTERCOMUNICAZIONE: Cello Recital is a reissue in DG's "Echo 20/21" line of a 1975 set of avant-garde cello works performed by Siegfrield Palm. The German cellist has long been seen as the master of avant-garde cello and four of the nine pieces represented here were dedicated to him. Piano accompaniment is occasionally given by Aloys Kontarsky Though Palm is clearly a talented musician, I found that the material in this collection is of very uneven quality.

Anton Weben and Bernd Alois Zimmermann are each represented by two pieces. Weben's "Drei kleine Stuecke" for cello and piano is less than three minutes long, but manages to pack in some interesting phrasing. His "Sonata for cello and piano" tries to do a lot but is simply too short to manage. Zimmerman's "Vier kurze Studien" is entertaining but brief and entirely forgettable, but the second of his works here, "Intercomunicazione" for cello and piano, is fantastic. At 21 minutes by far the longest work here; the way it unfolds slowly and patiently is brilliant, and the piano keeps only the slighest of supporting roles.

Mauricio Kagel's "Unguis incarnatus est" is scored for piano and an unspecified instrument and attempts to dialogue with Liszt's music. Palm fills in the blank with cello. Penderecki's "Capriccio per Siegfried Palm" is one of the several pieces which Penderecki composed for Palm. There's also "Music for Cello and Piano", a piece by Earle Brown (I've never heard of him either), which is rather meandering and unimpressive.

The piece by Xenakis, "Nomos alpha", may be the most interesting piece on the disc. While Xenakis came to fame in the 1950's with compositions based on very strict mathematical rules, "Nomos alpha" was developed nearly entirely through chance, with the roll of two dice deciding the musical turns of the work. It's quite a fascinating exercise. Joining the piece to make the best of the collection is Isang Yun's exotic and pensive "Glissees", which has certainly motivated me to further explore the oeuvre of this Korean-German composer.

I am a great fan of modern compositions for cello. The cello concertos of Ligeti and Lindberg--as well as the numerous pieces for the instrument by Sofia Gubaidulina--are among my favourite works. Still, I got very little joy out of this collection. Most of the material hasn't aged well at all. There's a lot of abrasive clunking that, as much as it helped certain composers made progress with their ideas, should have never made it out of Darmstadt. Other works pale in comparison to more substantial compositions by the same composers. If you're expecting avant-garde cello music as brilliant as, say, Ligeti's "Cello Concerto" (another work dedicated to Palm), you will probably be quite disappointed. All in all this is my least favourite of the "20/21" releases.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars TRACK LISTING: 17 April 2008
By One World - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
1. Sonata for Cello and Piano, M 202
2. Nomos alpha
3. Little Pieces (3) for Cello and Piano, Op. 11
4. Unguis incarnatus est
5. Short Studies (4) for Cello solo
6. Capriccio for Cello solo "Per Siegfried Palm"
7. Music for Cello and Piano
8. Gliss,s
9. Intercommunicazione
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