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uatu Offline

Posts: 161

Sun May 17, 2015 8:39 pm

DÜFTE - ZEICHEN (Scents - Signs)
for 7 vocalists, boys voice, synthesizer
(2002) ['57]

DÜFTE - ZEICHEN is kind of a vocal review of all 7 operas in the LICHT cycle, giving each Day it's own song (MONTAG AUS LICHT also gave each Day it's own signature song, but here the songs also include duos and trios). The themes of each of the 7 Days are poetically described and their symbols explained. Actually the libretto text of DÜFTE - ZEICHEN is probably one of my favorites in the entire LICHT cycle. For the most part, I personally am not a huge fan of "abstract" wordplay (especially in a foreign language), but here the wordplay seems much more agreeable to me - or maybe after so many previous operas with strange-sounding words I am finally "getting in to it" (also there is a somewhat greater mixture of German and English text in SONNTAG AUS LICHT than in the other operas). The way that Stockhausen designed the Signs to match the themes of each Day are very clever, and I never really appreciated them until studying these texts.

The 3 layers (synthesizer, background aleatory layer and vocal soloists) work wonderfully together, but it's also great that the Day songs are on a separate CD without the aleatory layer, to be enjoyed purely as a "song cycle". The way that Stockhausen has structured the songs to reflect the concepts, story arcs and sign shapes of each of the Days of the Week is very fascinating, and gives each Day phase its own identity. The "Overtone Chant" accompanying the Alto solo also stands out as being a very beautiful and transparent choral piece, one that I wish could have been even longer.

Though it's hard to appreciate without having seen these works live, I imagine that these scents, signs and hand/body gestures work together wonderfully in a very organic way (no pun intended). The idea of using scents as another layer to the Days of the Week is pretty fantastic. I've never heard of this being used in other works (though Stockhausen had "floated" this idea as early as when he was writing the first LICHT opera). I would have liked to see this concept expanded to include the Foods of the Days of the Week and the Wines of the Days of the Week (which the audience could consume during each Day phase), but Stockhausen sadly never included "tastes".

Full analysis here:

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! Thomas Ulrich
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