The music of QUADRIVIUM is clearly shaped by the roots of European art music. Stockhausen’s, Comisso’s and Brinkmann’s compositions form a harmonious synthesis with the art of improvisation with a lightness, a kind of playfulness, strong emotional expressions and also sometimes humorous.
All four musicians are virtuosos on their instruments and have a broad palette of playing experience. Electronic sounds enhance the group’s sound scapes. The music feels close to jazz, but can amaze a more classically – or contemporary – minded audience just as much.
The group’s beginnings go back to the year 2003, when Markus Stockhausen performed the first concerts as a duo with the beguiling pianist Angelo Comisso in Italy. The German debut came the year after at the Munich Piano Festival ‘Münchener Klaviersommer’ and presented, for example, its “Sound collages of fascinating beauty” (Süddeutsche Zeitung) in the town of Fürstenfeldbruck.
Having expanded in 2004 to a trio with the addition of Christian Thomé, an extremely sensitive and virtuoso percussionist, a concert tour through Italy followed shortly after. In Trieste the opportunity to make some studio recordings arose. The result of these recordings can be heard on the beautiful CD “Lichtblick – prima, altrove …”, which appeared on the Cologne label Aktivraum in January 2005, and since has been very successful. Two more beautiful CDs followed, “Once about a time … Istanti infiniti” and “Stabat Mater” by Angelo Comisso.
In 2015 cellist Jörg Brinkmann joined the group and since then they call themselves QUADRIVIUM. Jörg is the perfect match to the trio, as if he was the missing link to a new, exciting european jazz group. His playing is stunning, based like Stockhausen’s and Comisso’s background on classical as well as on jazz music. Together they create a beautiful new sound.
A rich and varied mixture
Markus Stockhausen’s Quadrivium: an inner film unreels in the audience
“A unique sound concept: a music of transition, floating in space, that gives the listener an idea of transcending the present – and thus of freedom. Full of spiritual power but by no means esoteric; flooding the whole room, but firmly anchored in great depth; luminous, but never dazzling; unobtrusive, but constantly handcrafted in supreme brilliance. …. musical stringency at the very moment of its climax, i. e. precisely when it unreservedly opens up to the listener – there are currently only a handful of quite varying ensembles such as the Tarkovsky Quartet or Quadrivium, who succeed in this feat. .”
Volker Doberstein, Jazz Podium 10/17
Markus Stockhausen calls some of his music intuitive and this is a clear indication that labels, genres or the dissection into musical categories are not intended or desired. What the four members of his Quadrivium conjured within the concert series “All that Jazz@Starnberg” in the nearly sold out Starnberger Schlosshalle was indeed a highly rich and varied mixture, the elements of which, however, were closely intertwined and skilfully modelled to a convincing musical unit.
What Markus certainly learnt from his father the celebrated composer Karl-Heinz Stockhausen, is the ability to find the correct dosage as well as a clear sense of proportion. In this he can also completely depend on his fellow musicians who sense exactly when simplicity will increase effectivity.
A central element in the music of this formation – often enriched with reverberation and echo – was without doubt the atmosphere. This is because each of the pieces evoked concrete images and fired the imagination of the listeners. Beginning with “Our Father” in which the syllables of the prayer are translated into sound, then soaring in celestial flight with “Into the Stars”, or the oriental “Kult”, the opulent “Mondtraum” from “Oliver’s Adventure” then moving on to “Better World” or “Warmes Licht”, each of these titles not only suggest particular moods, they also open a considerable space for experiment in sound and arrangement.
The four musicians are highly attuned with each other and take advantage of this space – but thoughtfully, with much awareness for delicate nuances and a continual feeling for gradual and ongoing development within the pieces. The result was the unfolding of an inner film as sensual as the works of Peter Greenaway and as mystical as those of Andrej Tarkowski. And a storm of applause and an encore. by Reinhard Palmer, Süddeutsche Zeitung, October 2016
Markus Stockhausen at the the Red Sea Winter Jazz Festival, Eilat 2019
The festival which got amazing revues as “The best festival ever” was proud to have in this year’s lineup the German trumpet player Markus Stockhausen. His music with QUADRIVIUM hypnotized the audience – the critic in “Ïsrael Today” described the concert as “beautiful meditative pieces on the edge of classical music wrapped in an electronic envelope”.
Yuval Erel wrote: “Markus Stockhausen had a seminar called “Singing and Silence” and that is exactly what we heard in his music. I remembered the way from Switzerland to Lichtenstein – snowy hills on blue lakes, cows in the meadow, children running in this beautiful scenery… it filled me with unexplainable feelings…how delicate. Not a blowing trumpet trying to impress, just a lot of humble musicality…amazing modesty!“
Far into the stars
The new CD by QUADRIVIUM released by OKeh/Sony Music.
For this CD Markus Stockhausen received in 2018 the prestigious Echo Jazz Prize. Listen !