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Portraits and Star Signs

 13 November 2011 at 7.30pm 

Portraits and Star Signs

CBSO Centre, Birmingham

United Kingdom

Violins: Alexandra Wood * / Peter Campbell-Kelly *
Cello: Ulrich Heinen +
Piano: Malcolm Wilson +
Introduced by John Woolrich (BCMG Artist-in-Association)



Introduced by BCMG Artist-in-Association John Woolrich, this intimate concert juxtaposes uniquely personal works from two of the 20th century’s greatest composers.

Inspired by a dream in which three music boxes were pulled from the belly of a giant bird, Stockhausen’s Tierkreis (Zodiac), consists of 12 melodies, one for each sign of the Zodiac. These little tunes were originally written for specially made music boxes but can be played by any suitable instrument or even sung. Each is centred on a different chromatic pitch (Leo = A, Virgo A#, etc…) and has its own distinct tempo. BCMG cellist Ulrich Heinen, who owns some of Stockhausen’s original music boxes, performs his own specially made arrangements with pianist Malcolm Wilson.

It’s rare for all 34 of Berio’s Duetti for two violins to be performed in a single concert. Just as the Stockhausen melodies encapsulate characteristics ascribed to the 12 star signs, so Berio’s Duetti are in part little vignettes of his friends. Each duet bears the friend’s name in its title – many of them artists or musicians – with their personality or a particular memory connected to them providing inspiration for the music. Amongst the honoured 34 are Igor (Stravinsky), Pierre (Boulez), Edoardo (Sanguinetti) and Bruno (Maderna).

Excerpts from both Tierkreis and Duetti were given captivating performances by these players last season at the Barber Institute and in BCMG’s Family and Schools’ Concerts respectively. Anyone lucky enough to have seen these concerts knows what a treat the two complete cycles in one evening will be.


Luciano Berio : Duetti
Karlheinz Stockhausen : Tierkreis
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