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uatu Offline




Posts: 161

Fri Aug 14, 2015 3:35 pm
#11 RE: ALPHABET for Liège, AM HIMMEL WANDRE ICH reply

Oh yeah, that's a good point - any rearrangements will not have the changes that Stockhausen himself would have added. I often imagine that if he had lived longer he would have had so many more things to work on: rearrangements for the final 2 Tierkreis for orchestra, Plus-Minus, new arrangements of In Freundschaft for theremin, the remaining derivations of Luzifers Tanz, a Submarine Bassoon Trio, etc...

Joe Offline



Posts: 103

Sat Aug 15, 2015 4:30 am
#12 RE: ALPHABET for Liège, AM HIMMEL WANDRE ICH reply

Regarding the drones...

Stockhausen is explicit about them, when he wants to be. For instance, he says that the instrumental tape in Kindheit is provided as a pitch reference for the singers.

In Freitag, the drones are a result of Lucifer & Eve's formula being played at 0.46875 bpm.

Stasis was an early toehold for criticism of serialism. The constant development of material creates a sense of motionlessness. Thomas' book has a wonderful meditation on how Stockhausen essentially elevated this kind of aimlessness into a theological statement.

Regarding remixes and whatnot, yes, Kathinka and Suzee do not look kindly on these things. (That doesn't mean that they can't be posted privately). At the first Sound Projection Course, Bryan Wolf went into this prolonged riff on the proper volume levels for Stockhausen tapes. His basic point was that they are all set in the studio and fixed on the tapes. He pointed out that there were a few exceptions, like a particular moment in Kontakte where Stockhausen would urge him to boost the volume temporarily.

The scores are littered with notations like +8 to indicate that the volume of the tape should be boosted. So, I asked the logical question: "Why is it okay for Stockhausen to determine that and not us?"

Bryan shouted, "This is not Nono! This is Stockhausen!"

I totally got it. It's a different aesthetic entirely.

uatu Offline




Posts: 161

Sat Aug 15, 2015 4:59 am
#13 RE: ALPHABET for Liège, AM HIMMEL WANDRE ICH reply

OK this +8 business reminds me of a little beef I have with the way the electronic music is projected on the CDs sometimes, specifically Invasion. The way Oktophonie is faded in and out in between the Michael and Lucifer troupe outbursts drives me crazy. I get that he doesn't want to cover up the live musicians, but in a real war the bombs don't fade out momentarily when giving out orders. If I ever got my hands on a version of Invasion without the Oktophonie layer, that'd be the first thing I'd remix. Freitag has a little bit of the same thing when the Real Scenes occur, but at least it doesn't fade back in between vocal lines.

Joe Offline



Posts: 103

Sat Aug 15, 2015 5:17 am
#14 RE: ALPHABET for Liège, AM HIMMEL WANDRE ICH reply

You'd probably find that the dynamic variations aren't unwarranted, if you ever did conduct that experiment. Think of how the speakers (particularly the woofers) were overloaded in Kürten during the Sirius excerpts. Those fades are practical solutions, as are so many of the performance direction in Stockhausen's scores. If the tape level remained constant, the cumulative effect would be overwhelming.

So many people felt that Invisible Choirs was overbalanced during Donnerstag that I think he learned a lesson from that experience. Especially when you are dealing with vocal soloists, you had better not cover them up unless you had a damn good reason for doing so!

uatu Offline




Posts: 161

Sat Aug 15, 2015 5:08 pm
#15 RE: ALPHABET for Liège, AM HIMMEL WANDRE ICH reply

If that's the case, then I guess the bottom line is that I can't win either way and it will just be a flawed work to me in that respect. Nonetheless, I may try an experiment sometime with just mixing in a 2nd track of Oktophonie in the parts where it drops out and see how it goes.

Thinking now about Mittwoch, I think the solution Stockhausen came up with was to just have the electronic element at a constant low dynamic, avoiding the dramatic volume dips. I guess that wouldn't have worked with Invasion...

Joe Offline



Posts: 103

Sat Aug 15, 2015 7:10 pm
#16 RE: ALPHABET for Liège, AM HIMMEL WANDRE ICH reply

For me, Oktophonie is perpetually flawed because the audience is sitting at the bottom of the sound field. I feel like the only place it'd work its full magic is in an Osaka pavilion-style venue where the speakers are above and below the audience.

But that's really why this performance practice is so scattershot with Stockhausen, because any given work is so ambitious that there will always be factors that need to be tweaked for various venues. Simon's experience with setting the soloists version of Michaels Reise comes to mind. He described sorting through various copies of the score and all of Stockhausen's marginalia to make editorial decisions about the "final" version to put in print. All those notes and various versions came about from repeated listens in rehearsals and performance.

A new venue's particulars could yield a new note, and we often see Stockhausen trying to account for as many variables as possible in his scores. Sometimes, I think the only reasonable solution is to publish a variorum for his scores that simply puts all those notes out there. That gives people a sense of his thinking process for each work.

Speaking of Mittwochs-Gruss, Frisius said that there WDR was not available during the realization of that score, which is why it is vastly simpler than the original sketches for the work. It's hard to imagine that piece being more complicated and still fitting into Michaelion, which is oversaturated enough as it is!

ipar1306 Online



Posts: 138

Sun Aug 16, 2015 6:50 am
#17 RE: ALPHABET for Liège, AM HIMMEL WANDRE ICH reply

That's an interesting point about where the audience sits with OKTOPHONIE. It would certainly be a different experience to hear it in the sort of setting you describe, Joe. I guess whether Stockhausen had that in mind or not is another issue.

As for the question of the sound fading out when the other forces come in, I am inclined to agree that it could all be a bit dense and I presume that, once again, Stockhausen knew what he was doing when making the decisions he did about the relative volume levels here. Maybe in some ways I find the sudden fade-downs, immediately prior to the entry of the various forces (particularly the first time) a little clunky, I actually find the reverse - that is, the rturn of the electronic layer to full volume, incredibly powerful. As with so much of Stockhausen's music, especially in LICHT, it feels to me as if everything is happening at a number of layers at once and, in this case, the electronic layer has, for me anyway, the sense of a timeless cosmic war, from which our attention is occasionally diverted as we see it played out in the manifested characters of Michael and Luzifer and their respective armies. And even though those characters withdraw from time to time, and even though the fallen Michael is mourned by Eva in PIETÀ, that cosmic war just keeps on re-emerging - and every moment when it does so I, for one, am utterly shattered.

uatu Offline




Posts: 161

Sun Aug 16, 2015 4:09 pm
#18 RE: ALPHABET for Liège, AM HIMMEL WANDRE ICH reply

That's an interesting way of looking at it Ian. I suppose also one could say that if the tape were at a constant level, then the scene would be more "fixed camera". But the way it is done with all the volume changes is more like a multi-cam production. Also a fixed tape would make it objective (3rd person) whereas the fading/swelling version makes it 1st person (almost an internal movie).

Still, I find it a bit jarring and the fades/spikes tend to distract me by announcing themselves as "artificial", as opposed to being naturally "atmospheric".

uatu Offline




Posts: 161

Sun Aug 16, 2015 4:11 pm
#19 RE: ALPHABET for Liège, AM HIMMEL WANDRE ICH reply

Joe, I've never seen these sketches for Mittwochs Gruss. Can you describe them? All I know is that it basically follows the Mittwoch formula and that Antonio did all the realizations. What elements are missing from the original sketches?

Joe Offline



Posts: 103

Sun Aug 16, 2015 8:22 pm
#20 RE: ALPHABET for Liège, AM HIMMEL WANDRE ICH reply

Frisius said the sketches are in the archive.

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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! Thomas Ulrich
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