In the University of Sheffield concert season on Tuesday the Bruno Heinen Sextet perform new arrangements of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Tierkreis, originally written for 12 little music boxes (one for each sign of the zodiac) and some of the original music boxes will feature in the performance.
The piece is one of Stockhausen’s most popular compositions and the 12 melodies (with or without their accompaniments) form an autonomous work.
Pianist and composer Heinen said: “Four of the original boxes from the 1970s have been in my family since I was born. I began arranging the piece for jazz sextet featuring trumpet, tenor sax, bass clarinet, rhythm section and of course the boxes - which we used in the recording and subsequent performances.”
Stockhausen encouraged re-workings of the piece, but stated that each melody must be played at least three times, and that any performance must start with the zodiac sign that falls under the performance date, and then run through the cycle of signs, ending with a repetition of the opening sign. The musicians have stayed true to this in their performances, which makes every concert sound and feel different. The concert at Firth Hall on Tuesday takes place under the sign of Pisces, so this will be the opening and closing movement. There’s a pre-concert talk and demonstration of the original music boxes by Heinen.