On the occasion of a Christmas concert with string quintet in the Cologne Philharmonic Hall in 2006, Markus Stockhausen wrote this composition to feature Tara Bouman on clarinet. Later several perfomances took place with string orchestra.

Relief opens with a simple theme on the clarinet, accompanied by a homophonic string setting. Immediately after this, the clarinet begins to improvise over changing harmonies and a calm, uniform accompaniment on the strings. The dynamic gradually increases in a gentle wave motion: The performance instructions “bright” and “jubilant” describe this moment in the score. A clarinet improvisation follows over a cantus firmus on the ‘cello. Little by little, a further player from each string section begins to improvise (unusual for classically-trained musicians) within a predetermined harmony. The theme returns in the coda to conclude this seven-minute piece, whose charm is directly related to its simplicity.

RELIEF was completely written with Tara and her sensitive way of playing in mind. It allows her a lot of room for her own creativity.

RELIEF (2006)

for solo clarinet and string quintet, or string orchestra

Solo Clarinette in B-flat
Violin 1
Violin 2
Violon Cello
Double Bass

Aktivraum Musikverlag, Köln 2006
ISMN: M-700233-24-2

World Premiere
Kölner Philharmonie, 27.12.2006

Soloist: Tara Bouman, Clarinet
Gerdur Gunnarsdottir, Violin 1
Christine Rox, Violin 2
Diemut Poppen, Viola
Klaus-Dieter Brandt, Violon Cello
Henning Rasche, Double Bass