I don't agree with you, Adorján. Stockhausen often said that man is "an atom of God" - that cannot, I think, have the consequence that he identified with Michael. Furthermore, Stockhausen said that Michael is his master and teacher he always was praying to, that means that he saw Michael as a divine personality, much higher than himself. And he also wouldn't have agreed that everybody who is creative can be Michael - he can be filled with Michaelic spirit or help Michael, I guess, he would have said - but only in a very humble way as "Menschlein" (little human being) as Stockhausen used to call us all (himself included).
If Stockhausen identified with Michael ("the imaginative man of action") I'm fine with that, but he also would identify with Lucifer ("the fastidious idealist") & Eve ("the mediator, the teacher"). But he viewed all 3 central characters as "spiritual absolutes". In DONNERSTAG, the hero, a trumpet-playing composer and a leader with the same biography as his own (i.e. mother committed to a mental institution and eliminated by the authorities; Michael's school-master father killed in the war; like Stockhausen, Michael becomes a musician who travels the world). In the final act .. Michael is greeted by Eve after his travels as the .. "the guardian spirit of LIGHT".
I think: Stockhausen "is Michael" in the same way as the mother in DONNERSTAG "is" Eve, the father "is" Luzifer. More precisely: The 3 Protagonists of LICHT are spiritual entities, not in themselves materialised individuals. They materialize in individuals, as Michael did in Jovis, Donar, in the trumpet-player on stage, for instance Marco Blaauw. In this way one could say: We all "are" Michael, Eve, Luzifer; they all act in us, through us and it is up to us whom we want to feed, to follow in our own life. Already very early, in the interview with Rudolf Werner in 1980 (TEXTE VI, 152ff) he stated, that he has choosen his own example for the story of Michael, because he knew that best. That has nothing to do with the fact that Stockhausen thought his music supreme - otherwise he would have composed in another way. And this attitude is a very old mystic tradition: is it Angelus Silesius, who said that God is born in him (and not only in him)?
ZitatAs we all know Stockhausen was convinced that his music was the only music worthwhile.
How do we "all" know this? I seem to have been left out of this "knowledge" up until now, believing instead that Stockhausen valued the music of many other composers, such as Webern, J. S. Bach, Cage. Perhaps this is because he said this was so, but only to mislead us?
That is a strong argument, Christian, that indeed he prayed to Michael - so it is difficult to imagine that he identified himself with Michael. Although, an operatic situation might be different. What does it mean that he chose his own life? It does not convince me that he said: I know my life best. That’s banal. Let us look at the other parts of DONNERSTAG. Who is the young man who makes the musical examination? And who is that Michael who makes the musical journey around the world? And why is the materialized Michael returning to his celestial residence when the „original“ Michael never left it? It may be the same as the mystical union of the human spirit (being a part of God) with the divine spirit, as Ulrich states. But nevertheless, the protagonist in DONNERSTAG has something to do with Stockhausen the musician.
Jerry, it was my mistake to be not precise enough. Of course, Stockhausen valued the music of many composers already dead. He mentioned Strawinski, Schoenberg, Bartók, Varèse and Webern as his musical ancestors. But with the living ones, he had his problems. He valued Cage? Maybe a short time and very very early. Messiaen was too „sweet“. Berio became a composer of romantic transcriptions for him. Even Boulez lost his formerly deep respect since the time of „Marteau“. I could quote much from his press interviews and statements during the courses. But please don’t let me be misunderstood: I think that Stockhausen was right.
I understand you better now, Adorján, but I still think you are mistaken. I think you may be right about Cage, depending on how early "early" is. He was still advocating Cage in 1958, during his tour of America, and also gave favourable opinions at that time about Chou Wen-Chung and Henry Brant. Varèse was also a contemporary whose music Stockhausen valued, and at Darmstadt in 1959 he analysed music by several composers, including Cage, Bussotti, Kagel, and Earle Brown. It is unlikely he would have gone to this trouble if he thought their music worthless.
Hmm. I don't know about "neo-romantic", which Wagner used to describe Berlioz, but Stockhausen certainly had no use for minimalism. Are you saying that minimalists were the only composers active in the period following 1977? Or is your "etc." meant to cover every other style or technique of that time? I suppose that Stockhausen, after the age of 50, did not exhibit the same lively interest in younger composers that Stravinsky did, though he did ask me once (in 1996) for a short list of the composers in the field of computer music that I felt were most worth listening to. It turned out that he already had CDs of most of their music, but I cannot report what his opinions actually were.
Zitat von Ulrich im Beitrag #57Dear Morag, I am very interested on what you will discover in your essay, for in my studies on LICHT I am again and again confronted with these questions. I now tend to think that it is not the commonalities in worldwide traditions that interested Stockhausen - but that his starting point was what he had learned and practised for a long time in his early years, and what he, as he wrote again and again, had never forgotten: and that is the kernel of Christian belief: that God (or a messenger of God) came to us (incarnated), to teach us and to draw us to the heavenly realms. Maybe the reason of my understanding is, that I myself feel very much rooted in Christian tradition and therefore look at him from this point of view. But in spite of this I think there are strong traces to support my view in the TEXTE. For sure there are influences from other cultures, especially from eastern religions, but all this goes into that original pattern. For sure not everything is Christian in an orthodox way; especially the basic item of guilt and salvation is missing as we see in the really odd rendering of CRUCIFICATION in MICHAELs REISE - but today many Christians have problems with that teaching. And as to Lucifer: Isn't that very obvious that he uses this figure? In the tradition this fight between Christ and Lucifer, Good versus Evil, is very predominant. What should he use instead of that?
Firstly, on Christian and other traditions: It's clear that Stockhausen had a special connection to a rendering of these ideas from the Christian tradition (and in some cases Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition), but to focus only on these is misleading, I think. I wonder for example about the cyclical structure of LICHT, which cannot so easily be reconciled with those traditions unless we simply see it as a repeating rite/series of rites (just like the church year)? I think the influence of Eastern spirituality (particularly yogic ideas) is not simply an influence but something that "resonated" well with Stockhausen's own way of thinking about music as well as spirituality more generally.
Regarding Lucifer: there were several fallen angels that Stockhausen could have picked and, as far as my understanding goes, similarly to the unfallen angels all have slightly different roles and characters that also vary in different interpretations and traditions. But I think it's interesting that he picked the one whose name has a literal connection to light and implies the connection to light. This also tallies well with the fact that the good vs. evil battle in LICHT - as far as I understand it, and like I said, I'm still a novice in this regard - is not simply a polarised representation but a serial handling of the polarities.
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!