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Jerry Offline

Posts: 181

Tue Mar 18, 2014 12:02 am
#21 RE: Understanding reply

Robin, for a moment there I thought you were going to say that Cage and Boulez were bitten by the Levi-Strauss snake! Of course, it was Levi-Strauss who bit Boulez first, I think (in ''Le Cru et le cuit'', 1964), and Boulez was never the kind of person not to bite back. It is a well-known fact that all French intellectuals are first and foremost anthropologists, whether or not they have any credentials in the field. At least, that was the case from the 1950s through the early 1980s. It must have been very difficult at that time for anyone wanting to engage with French culture to ignore anthropological ideas.

Getting back to your previous post (which arrived while I was typing the one that appears below it), you mentioned Clara Rockmore and the failed "dancing theremin" called the aetherophone. Are you familiar with the work of Australian dancer Philippa Cullen, and do you know t what degree she may have been influenced by this contraption? I know only that she used dance movement to create sounds, through the use of a theremin cupled to a synthesizer. The relevance to the present discussion is that, according to Michael Kurtz's Stockhausen biography, Philippa Cullen performed on one of the Oeldorf Group's summer concerts in the 1970s. Since the Group was made up primarily of Stockhausen's associates, and their concerts were given in a barn that is walking distance from Stockhausen's house, it seems very possible that he could have seen her perform. What I do not know is just when this performance took place. The Oeldorf Group was active from about 1972 until 1978, which spans the time when INORI was composed, but if Cullen was there later rather than earlier, she can have had no influence on INORI.

Another connection with dance-activated music is a project that Stockhausen discussed in the late 1960s with a choreographer whose name I cannot recall at the moment. The project never got past the pipe-dream stage, but somehow a report of it got into the newspapers. The idea was to have sensors of some sort placed around the platform, which would be triggered by the dancers' movements in order to produce sounds. The report was evidently convincing enough to cause Richard Kostelanetz to confuse this unrealized project with an actual composition, described in Kostelanetz's Encyclopedia of the Avant-Gardes: "with Stimmung (1967 [sic]), Stockhausen appropriated aleatory esthetics by having dancers activate eggshells placed on the floor or piano wires strung across the stage."

With respect to "original ideas", it is well-known that "there is nothing new under the sun", but on the other hand, as Elias Canetti observes, "It doesn't matter how new an idea is: what matters is how new it becomes."

Robin Maconie Offline

Posts: 67

Tue Mar 18, 2014 1:18 am
#22 RE: Understanding reply

Jerry, I did meet Phillipa Cullen once and it would have to have been in 1974 when I visited Kürten to gather material in preparation for The Works 1976. On our arrival she greeted us since KS was having a nap. She was short, poised, curvaceous for a dancer, with small hands and feet. I remember her association with the Oeldorf Group but cannot add to your description of the planned sonic event and was not in the audience but now you mention it I do have a dim memory of the topic being discussed. She disappeared in tragic circumstances I understand. The question is whether her ideas were transferred to or otherwise influenced the actions of MUSIK IM BAUCH and HARLEKIN, or had any input to HERBSTMUSIK. All of the above works involving sounds moving in real space present manifest challenges for recording in surround sound, which has the potential to allow the listener to "listen inside" the music rather than from the outside. Levi-Strauss as well as being a trendy figure in the hippie era, was also one source of the plus-minus notation, which L-S adapted from Malinowski who shared it with Information Theorists John von Neumann, popularizer of the "tree diagram" adapted for MOMENTE.

Robin Maconie Offline

Posts: 67

Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:09 pm
#23 RE: Understanding reply

Further evidence of KS's drawing on 18th century precedents is of course LUZIFERS TANZ which draws on the "science" of facial gesture associated with Johann Kaspar Lavater and in England, of William Hogarth.

Jerry Offline

Posts: 181

Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:22 pm
#24 RE: Understanding reply

Not to mention the 17th-century French academicians whose work no doubt formed some of the basis for their 18th-century successors.

I have just now discovered an article from 2004 by Stephen Jones, titled "Philippa Cullen: Dancing the Music" (Leonardo Music Journal vol. 14, 6473). It appears to confirm both of the hypotheses (1) that Cullen had a lot to do with the gestures in INORI and (2) that the mudras are at the centre of things. On p. 69: "After Utrecht [in 1973], Cullen went to work with Stockhausen in Germany. She had met Stockhausen in Hobart during his tour to Australia in 1970 [40] when she was helping out with the equipment. She spent time with him at his home in Germany and is credited with inspiring his use of the gestures of prayer (particularly the Hindu mudra, which she had been studying as part of her choreographic work), in his composition Inori (1973-1974). She also danced with a theremin controlling a synthesizer during the Summer Night Music concerts held by Stockhausen's students and associates, the Öldorf Group, at a farmhouse in Öldorf near Kürten in Germany [41]." (The two notes both reference Michael Kurtz's Stockhausen biography.)

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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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