Thanks for this Joe. This answered exactly much of what I was curious about, particularly in terms of the challenges for musicians in learning this aspect of Stockhausen's pieces. Your point about 'theatricality' is also interesting, and it brings to mind a comment Suzanne Stephens made this year during one of the classes where IN FREUNDSCHAFT was being taught. She said there that many performers overdo the gestures because they mistake IN FREUNDSCHAFT as a theatre piece, which, other than the bassoon version, it isn't. But then other pieces clearly are meant to be more 'theatrical' and therefore, she said, offer the interpreter more latitude and opportunity to inject their own personality into the piece. I imagine that knowing where to draw that line, both within and between pieces, must often be a challenge for performers for whom these issues rarely arise in other work they do. Mind you,. I think it's equally (well, maybe not quite equally!) a challenge for audiences, for whom so many of Stockhausen's works provide new opportunities for thinking about how music is conveyed and expressed.
I had wondered about the gestures in the performance of ARIES. I haven't seen the score of the piece, although I do have the score of SIRIUS and couldn't recall those gestures being included there. When SIRIUS was performed here last year, there were many gestures included by all four performers and I remember discussing this briefly with Tristram at the time and my recollection is that he said that, although they weren't indicated in the score, Stockhausen had later indicated that he wanted them to be part of the performance and what they should be. But I'm relying on a vague memory of a short conversation there, so I must ask him again. But it seems to perhaps accord with what you say about Marco's conception of ARIES, formed through his years of working with Stockhausen.
Then comes to mind another question - the use of gesture for more practical reasons. I'm thinking here particularly of SAMSTAGs GRUSS, where the performers move from standing upright to bowing low throughout the piece. The preface to the score says that this is used to help ensure synchronous playing, as it is supposed to be performed without a conductor. But it looks mightily impressive in its own right too. When that piece was performed here a few months ago it was actually performed with a conductor, but the players still followed the directions for the gestures. It was clearly not needed as a means of keeping everyone playing together, but it certainly somehow still seemed right for the piece, in a way that I can't quite define. So I suspect it is often the case that gesture and movement ends up having an impact on an audiences perception of the music beyond what might have originated as a fairly simple or singular purpose on Stockhausen's part. Maybe.
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I feel that it could be useful to have a discussion-forum on the music of Stockhausen. There are so many people from all over the world, young and old, learned and eager to get into contact with this musical world: musicologists, composers, musicians, music lovers; people who plan concerts - who write books or have to give lectures and so on. So there should be much stuff, many ideas that we can share. And when we have open questions, there may be people who studied just that and could give a hint or a stimulus.
A problem might be the English language, but i feel that is the only possibility that many people who are interested can participate. And we can exercise tolerance to mistakes!