Hey, Joe. I thought it was Stockhausen who was pronounced "the most French of all German composers", and Boulez "the most German of all French composers". Perhaps this does not apply to their types of wit, but I have always thought of the opening bassoon gesture in Zeitmaße as a quintessential "Gallic shrug". As for witty pieces from Walter Piston, there cannot be many of his compositions that do not qualify. If pressed to name some examples, I would mention the ''Incredible Flutist'', the finales of most of his symphonies (the Eighth excepted), and the Sonatina for Violin and Harpsichord.
OK serial music is sometimes witty, I guess that's inarguable. Hell, Minimalist and Spectral music can be witty, really anything, as has been mentioned, depending in the intent of the composer. I do think tho that it's a bit harder to be witty if one abides by strict serialism (total, integral, etc...).
I also just recalled that one of the reasons why I was led to believe that serial music was boring was due to Luddites such as Pierre Boulez and Stockhausen.
Boulez characterizes the use of serial systems in Structures as being "restrictive" and essentially lacking life, which ultimately led to him dramatically loosening serial rules in Le Maitre sans Marteau (which is probably one of the most witty pieces of music ever written). He calls it a "conquest of freedom" from the serial system even. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ie5Ore2rjhk)
As for Stockhausen, he similarly says " I broke my own rule" when referring to the composition of KONTRA-PUNKTE, in which he deviates from strict serialism. He cites Stravinsky's characterization of total serialism ("Point music") as being "monotonous" (https://youtu.be/lYmMXB0e17E). I'm pretty sure the revisions to PUNKTE from the original 1952 version were to make it "wittier", with all those non-serial group shapes and eraser holes.
Did I say that Piston's Sonatina was a serial composition? I don't think so, nor why should I have done? The question was about whether Piston had ever written a witty composition, and found it quite an astonishing thing to ask. If you had asked whether he had ever written a witty serial composition, the answer would have been different, of course.
Zitat von uatu im Beitrag #13 As for Stockhausen, he similarly says " I broke my own rule" when referring to the composition of KONTRA-PUNKTE, in which he deviates from strict serialism. He cites Stravinsky's characterization of total serialism ("Point music") as being "monotonous" (https://youtu.be/lYmMXB0e17E). I'm pretty sure the revisions to PUNKTE from the original 1952 version were to make it "wittier", with all those non-serial group shapes and eraser holes.
Hmm. What sort of "strict serialism" do you think Stockhausen used in KONTRA-PUNKTE, what "rule" did he break, and how does he "deviate from strict serialism"? What non-serial groups occur in the revised PUNKTE, and in what way was the original version "serial"?
I think we're working on some misunderstanding here Jerry, which might explain a few things. Just to clarify, I find strict application of integral serialism kind of boring for the entire length of a work, though when it's used as a transitory device ("point-texture") I find it very effective. Of course Stockhausen also uses serialism as a technique for generating form, but that's not what I'm referring to. Of all the composers I've cited, I'm only referring to those works of theirs which exclusively use integral serialism as their primary compositional texture. Perhaps that makes my viewpoint more palatable?
Regarding your questions about Kontra-Punkte, these are all answered in Stockhausen's lecture, no? As far as Punkte, the erasures are purely based on visual shapes, and so therefore I would expect that durational serialism at the very least would be interrupted. As far as the original version, are you saying that it is not serial? If so, how was it composed? To be honest, I have not done a really close examination of my copy of the original version so it's possible (even likely) that it's not written according to strict integral serial technique, but it looks like many cell-like elements (points) are given independently-chosen pitches, durations, dynamics, and articulations, so that's probably where my misinterpretation comes from.
Anyways, in order to get this dialogue into a more constructive spirit (and less of a semantics debate), I was wondering if you could criticize my introductory text on Zeitmasze (http://stockhausenspace.blogspot.com/2015/11/zeitmasze.html)? I saved Zeitmasze for last since I was awaiting the publication of your book, but I'm now basically done with KS' entire work list and had to pull the trigger, so to speak (actually I still have a few posts on Kontakte left to do - saving the best for last). Once your book is out I'll add a link, but in the meantime, just curious if there are any major errors or omissions (which would be appropriate for the layman's approach I'm going for here). Thanks!
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!