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Born in Ludwigshafen in 1936, the composer Barbara Heller is addicted to sounds. The search for sounds – lost, buried, undiscovered, or previously unnoticed – shapes her life. She has no choice: “Composing for me means finding my own filter for the permanent flood of sounds, both within and without. Listening, imagining, and discovering music is like building a bridge between the material and the immaterial worlds.”

This CD presents a small portrait of the sounds Barbara Heller has found for string instruments. It opens with her third string quartet, "Patchwork", from 2008. Playfully flowing figures, often in pizzicato, alternate with static layers of sound. Conceived by Heller as a study in tritones, the pitch material consists throughout of whole-tone relationships.

Heller’s second string quartet, "La Caleta", was written in November of 2008. “A coming and going …” is how Heller describes the essence of this work. She was inspired by the calm, gentle, and steady movement of waves on the beach of a small bay on the island of La Gomera, one of the Canary Islands.

The comparatively more substantial String Quartet No. 1 was written in 1958 at the end of Barbara Heller’s time as a student at the Music Hochschule in Mannheim, where she studied with Hans Vogt (1911-1992). In terms of sound, this is an entirely different universe from the works written in 2008.

At the end of this recording, there comes "Lalai – Schlaflied zum Wachwerden?" [Lalai – lullaby for an awakening?], one of Barbara Heller’s best known and most performed works. The expressive power of its simple folksong melody makes Lalai a sensitive and many-sided portrait of human feeling.

Co-production with the Hessischen Rundfunk / with the friendly assistance of the Strecker-Stiftung


Patchwork String Quartet No. 3 (2008)
La Caleta String Quartet No. 2 (2008)
String Quartet 1958 (1958)
Eins für Zwei [One for Two] duo for violin and violoncello (1985)
Herbstmusik [Autumn Music] duo for violoncello and piano (2012)
Arriba! [Upward! Onward!] trio for violine, violoncello and piano (2014)
Zwiegespräche [Dialogues] duos for violine and violoncello (2014)

Minutentrios [Minute Trio] for violine, violoncello and piano (2008)

Lalai – Schlaflied zum Wachwerden? [Lalai – Lullaby for an Awakening?] for violoncello and piano (1989)


Verdi Quartett / Susanne Stoodt: violin / Katharina Deserno: violoncello / Gesa Lücker: piano

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70 ′54 ′′

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WER 51232
0,11 kg

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