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Bernard Pulham Offline



Posts: 6

Sat Oct 01, 2016 11:06 am
#81 RE: DONNERSTAG aus LICHT in Basel June 2016 reply

My own relief for wider access to this production is because I find Stockhausen's work wonderful, and have been privileged to experience this again through the performances in Basel. With deserved thanks to all collaborators. A ludicrous situation where some would be entitled to see the staging but others not, was surely nobody's intention, yet it so nearly came about. The future relationship with opera houses and collaborators could have suffered if things hadn't been resolved.
I can't sympathise with what appear to me as exaggerated statements; that the composer's meaning was completely lost or entirely misunderstood in Basel. Stockhausen's powerful libretto was as ever to the fore, (supported by surtitles that both penetrate and contextuallise any additional irony of the visuals). Lydia Steier's fertile and playful ideas on stage must been born from an appreciation of Stockhausen's own humorous inventions, and were given rein to coexist with the existing profound message. Not to everyone's taste, but nevertheless nurturing Donnerstag Aus Licht.

Bernard

Christian Offline



Posts: 124

Sat Oct 01, 2016 5:22 pm
#82 RE: DONNERSTAG aus LICHT in Basel June 2016 reply

Statement of the Stockhausen Foundation for Music:

As the Stockhausen Foundation for Music it is our responsibility and commitment to preserve and make the intellectual and artistic heritage of Karlheinz Stockhausen accessible, in the spirit of the composer. In this context we are and have always been open and grateful for new interpretations of Stockhausen’s works, so that in the past very diverse interpretations of his works have emerged, all of which however had in common that they respected the artistic intentions of Karlheinz Stockhausen. If however, as it has happened in regard to the production of the Basel Theatre, important staging instructions that Stockhausen wrote in the score are ignored and accordingly actions are distorted and twisted to the extent that their meaning is changed, the Stockhausen Foundation for Music cannot and must not tolerate it without comment.
In the 40-year performance history of LIGHT, with nine complete opera productions and numerous partial productions throughout the world during Stockhausen’s lifetime and after his death, all of which were praised by the international press, honoured by critics’ prizes and completely sold out, this is the first time that the Stockhausen Foundation for Music cannot approve of a production.
For clarification we quote Karlheinz Stockhausen:
“Light is actually spirit, the manifestation of the spirit, exactly the perfect, absolutely pervasive, completely enlightening spirit. (. . . ) I wanted to write a cosmological composition that represents the truth both of today and of eternity; I wanted to flee the temptation of writing a historic work; I did not want anything that is only related to the history of the Earth; nothing that (...) points backwards towards the dark past.” (Karlheinz Stockhausen 1981 in a conversation with Michael Kurtz, published in TEXTE zur MUSIK, Vol. 6, pp. 188 ff.)
This spiritual dimension of the work is negated in this production; the plot is reduced to earthly aspects. Instead of hope and light, darkness presides. This is not in the spirit of Karlheinz Stockhausen.
However, in order to keep the discussion about Stockhausen’s works alive, we have given our one-time consent to this stream and would like to take this opportunity to announce the next Stockhausen Concerts and Courses (July 29th to August 6th 2017, http://www.karlheinzstockhausen.org/Stoc...ten_english.htm ), which centre around Stockhausen’s music for nine days of concerts, master classes and lectures. For the first time, there will also be a seminar for theatre professionals, in which the many challenges on the most diverse levels posed by the LIGHT operas in regard to conventional opera houses will be discussed.

Al Moritz Offline



Posts: 9

Sat Oct 01, 2016 7:54 pm
#83 RE: DONNERSTAG aus LICHT in Basel June 2016 reply

Zitat von Bernard Pulham im Beitrag #81
My own relief for wider access to this production is because I find Stockhausen's work wonderful, and have been privileged to experience this again through the performances in Basel. With deserved thanks to all collaborators. A ludicrous situation where some would be entitled to see the staging but others not, was surely nobody's intention, yet it so nearly came about. The future relationship with opera houses and collaborators could have suffered if things hadn't been resolved.
I can't sympathise with what appear to me as exaggerated statements; that the composer's meaning was completely lost or entirely misunderstood in Basel. Stockhausen's powerful libretto was as ever to the fore, (supported by surtitles that both penetrate and contextuallise any additional irony of the visuals). Lydia Steier's fertile and playful ideas on stage must been born from an appreciation of Stockhausen's own humorous inventions, and were given rein to coexist with the existing profound message. Not to everyone's taste, but nevertheless nurturing Donnerstag Aus Licht.





Bernard, I fully agree.

Al Moritz Offline



Posts: 9

Sat Oct 01, 2016 8:17 pm
#84 RE: DONNERSTAG aus LICHT in Basel June 2016 reply

Zitat von Christian im Beitrag #82
“Light is actually spirit, the manifestation of the spirit, exactly the perfect, absolutely pervasive, completely enlightening spirit. (. . . ) I wanted to write a cosmological composition that represents the truth both of today and of eternity; I wanted to flee the temptation of writing a historic work; I did not want anything that is only related to the history of the Earth; nothing that (...) points backwards towards the dark past.” (Karlheinz Stockhausen 1981 in a conversation with Michael Kurtz, published in TEXTE zur MUSIK, Vol. 6, pp. 188 ff.)
This spiritual dimension of the work is negated in this production; the plot is reduced to earthly aspects. Instead of hope and light, darkness presides. This is not in the spirit of Karlheinz Stockhausen.



This point of view by the Stockhausen Foundation for Music is perfectly understandable, and may be judged as correct when it comes to Stockhausen's statement "I did not want anything that is only related to the history of the Earth; nothing that (...) points backwards towards the dark past". Yet it appears to misinterpret Lydia Steier's intentions and aspirations with this production, which ultimately do strive to emphasize the aspect of light (see below). On the other hand, the fact that these intentions can be easily misinterpreted may itself be a shortcoming.

Let me reproduce a part of my post on thread page 7:

As for Lydia Steier trying to be true to the work, I would like to highlight some of her comments, after having been asked in a conversation, about the INORI gestures in the program booklet, which also provide a clue ]as to why she chose the interpretation that she did:

"Es ist sehr spezifisch, was Stockhausen dort vorschreibt. Man kann diese Gesten nicht weglassen, sie gehören zur Partitur. Aber man muss einen Weg finden, sie nicht dekorativ aussehen zu lassen und ihnen einen Kontext geben, der in der Psychologie der Figuren begründet ist. Die Herausforderung, die sich grundsätzlich stellt, wenn man Stockhausen inszeniert, ist, das alles dort sehr friedvoll, himmelartig und verklärt erscheint, unberührt von menschlicher Psychologie. Ich glaube aber an das Gesetz der Kontraste: Wo viel Licht ist, da ist auch viel Schatten. Und wer nach Erleuchtung sucht oder sich nach Momenten der Erhabenheit sehnt, der hat oft Schmerzhaftes erlebt. Dies trifft auch auf <<Donnerstag>> zu: Dort findet zu Beginn innerhalb einer Familie ein Trauma statt, das der Ursprung für alles andere im Stück ist. Man muss diesen Schmerz sehen, um den Figuren folgen zu können. Und mann muss die vielen dunklen Momente in diesem Stück zeigen, damit sein Licht heller leuchten kann."

Translation (mine):
"What Stockhausen prescribes is very specific. You cannot leave out these gestures, they are part of the score. Yet you need to find a way of not having them look merely decorative, and of giving them a context that is grounded in the psychology of the characters. The challenge that arises in principle anytime you enact Stockhausen is that there appears to be everything peaceful, heaven-like and transfigured, untouched by human psychology. Yet I believe in the law of contrasts. In the presence of much light there is also a lot of shadow. And someone who searches for enlightenment or longs for moments of sublimeness often has had painful experiences. This also applies to <<Donnerstag>>: there you have at the beginning a trauma happening within a family, which is the origin of everything else in the piece. You have to see this pain in order to be able to follow the characters. And you have to show the many dark moments in this piece so that its light can shine more brightly."

In her own way, Lydia Steier seems to understand that ultimately it is about LIGHT.

Christian Offline



Posts: 124

Mon Oct 03, 2016 9:10 am
#85 RE: DONNERSTAG aus LICHT in Basel June 2016 reply

The Stockhausen symposium offered the possibilty to discuss with Lydia Steier directly yesterday. I am glad to have told her how hurt, angry and sad I was. She seemed to be touched by this because she (of course) never had the intention to do this, just in contrary. "Everything we did was with love for Stockhausen", she said. I believe her but she now had to learn that it had a total different effect on some of us. "If I brought DONNERSTAG on stage again there are some things I would do in another way", she said at the end of the discussion. Perhaps she learnt also by the discussion with Johannes Conen and Uwe Wand (also on the panel) that Stockhausen could also be performed successfully without any "Regieeinfälle"...

What the Stockhausen-Stiftung should do, I think, is to have a broader board. It's not a good and satisfying situation that when Kathinka and Suzee have different opinions all the burden to decide lies only on the shoulders of one board member. I think the board should have at least 5 to 9 members with the right to vote.

Adorján F ( Guest )
Posts:

Mon Oct 03, 2016 3:53 pm
#86 RE: DONNERSTAG aus LICHT in Basel June 2016 reply

Very interesting discussion I participated in directly after the première. Please let me criticize one thing: Those who are hurt by the staging, and I completely understand their point of view, should be a bit more detailed. They say that the staging was not in the spirit of Stockhausen etc. What does that mean exactly? Was the whole production a mistake? Were parts of it wrong? If yes, which ones? Where, by which precise event or image of the staging was the spirit of Stockhausen hurt? In my postings, I tried to offer my understanding of the staging and came to the conclusion that it was quite coherent in itself. But there have been details which were not in accordance with the premises; e. g. I found the „altar” with the videos of the speaking Stockhausen in the Third Act quite absurd because it served the denunciatory press misunderstanding of Stockhausen being a guru or founder of a private religion. This cannot have been done „in love for Stockhausen“.

Adorján F ( Guest )
Posts:

Mon Oct 03, 2016 4:00 pm
#87 RE: DONNERSTAG aus LICHT in Basel June 2016 reply

Sorry, wrong quote of Lydia Steier: That allusion to Stockhausen as guru was not done „with love for Stockhausen“.

ipar1306 Offline



Posts: 138

Wed Oct 05, 2016 1:06 pm
#88 RE: DONNERSTAG aus LICHT in Basel June 2016 reply

I agree with Adrojan that being a little more specific about the things people are unhappy with is important. I also think (and this is slightly related) that it is important to make some attempt to understand why things were done as they were. I have noticed quite often throughout the many discussions that have been had now that there is sometimes a very quick move from 'I don't understand why Lydia Steier did such-and-such' to 'I disapprove of such-and-such'. I think it is at least worth asking why things were done, and having that discussion with others, in relation both to the specifics and the general approach because sometimes that discussion can lead to insights we had not considered and, when we understand them, they make more sense and can become more valid than we initially thought.

Ulrich Offline



Posts: 157

Mon Oct 10, 2016 5:33 pm
#89 RE: DONNERSTAG aus LICHT in Basel June 2016 reply

In the last 10 days I had the privilege to dwell in an 'internet-free zone' - therefore I could not participate in the discussions of the last days. Good, that finally there was an agreement about the streaming (but: I just tried to get access to the streaming and it was not possible - sorry!); Basel theatre should not appear as a prosecuted innocence. I myself did not feel hurt, but more disappointed and angry about an interpretation that is simply one-dimensional and, as I see it, full of distrust to a work of art - as if it is necessary to make it better. Mrs. Steier is completely right in stating, that it is not sufficient to show just positive and sublime motives, that it is necessary to show also the dark sides of reality. But as to DONNERSTAG I simply cannot understand this statement. Not to mention KINDHEIT, where this dark side is evident, it is present in all the scenes, and especially concentrated in Luzifer and all his actions: in the 2. act in the New York-part, in the Africa-part, in crucifixion, in the 3. act in DRACHENKAMPF and the dispute between Michael and Luzifer etc. What was missing is the insight, that Michael is no ordinary historic person, but an energetic principle, a power of the good and the striving for better. And when that insight is missing, everything turns out to be nonsense. For me the argument was revealing that "Opernwelt" gave for choosing the staging as "production of the year"; they wrote that the Basel production was the first production of a LICHT-opera, that put the work down to earth, from a cosmic cloud-cuckoo-land in which the guru of Kürten lived. That is exactly the spirit Stockhausen had to encounter again and again through his lifetime and that, also again and again, was connected with personal insults - the intention of all that was to put him down. That the production followed this critique, made it price-worthy! And that means that the essential traits, the spirit of the opera had to be neclected. I think, Adorján, that I myself and others clearly pointed to that - that we not only pointed to feeling hurt, but had and have some arguments.

Adorján F ( Guest )
Posts:

Wed Oct 12, 2016 4:28 pm
#90 RE: DONNERSTAG aus LICHT in Basel June 2016 reply

Thank you, dear Thomas. Of course, you (and others) had arguments. I only wanted to know whether these arguments are global or specific. And I understand your summary, that you (and others) completely reject the staging.

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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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