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Ulrich Offline

Posts: 152

Fri Mar 21, 2014 6:05 pm
KLANG and the character of the hours reply

Jerry posted this contribution in the thread of DONNERSTAG:
"So far as KLANG is concerned, it does seem that Stockhausen may have started out with the idea of representing the character of each hour, but we can see from the displacement of COSMIC PULSES from Hour 6 to Hour 13 that by this stage the original plan is no longer in operation. As I have said in my article in PNM 50 on the trios of Hours 612, since they are all permutations of the same basic composition, they share the same general character of an early morning outdoor serenade, or aubade, which is most appropriate to Hour 6, but increasingly less so for the subsequent hours toward noon. This stretching out of seven of the hours, along with the displacement of COSMIC PULSES and its extension into the eight pieces that follow in the cycle, were of course a decision Stockhausen cannot have found easy to make, but the choice was clearly about how many pieces he thought he might be able to complete in the time he had left on this earth."

My comment: Should we say: Right from the beginning the original plan is not in operation? Or is there any reason for placing the first works HIMMELFAHRT and FREUDE in the hours 1 and 2? Is their position not solely due to the fact that he got these 2 challenging commissions? Especially FREUDE is one of my favourites, but I was a bit disappointed that Stockhausen did not examine the character of the hours of the day - or did he in the first pieces and I am just not aware of that?

Jerry Offline

Posts: 145

Fri Mar 21, 2014 7:21 pm
#2 RE: KLANG and the character of the hours reply

It may well be that, right from the very beginning, Stockhausen did not take seriously his own announced plan to represent the characteristics of the various hours of the day. However, the question of choosing Hour 1 for HIMMELFAHRT has got another puzzling aspect. In Stockhausen's seminar on that composition, given at the courses in 2006, he discusses the colour wheel he borrowed from Wilhelm Ostwald's research, and says that he rotated it: "The Ostwald circle originally starts number 1 with the brightest colour yellow at midday of an ordinary clock, but in the colour circle for KLANG I change the order and start with the darkest colour at one o'clock in the night. Accordingly I turn the circle by one step in order to coincide with a clock." It is plain that Stockhausen could have started his cycle at noon, as Ostwald did, or at midnight, as is usual for the ordinary 24-hour clock, but instead he started it at 01:00. Furthermore, when he composed LICHT he started on Thursday, and composed the days "out of order". So, he might just as well have started composing KLANG with the ninth hour, then composed the fifteenth, the third, and so on. Consequently, when he began creating HIMMELFAHRT and assigned it to 01:00, this was a deliberate choice. Was it also an arbitrary one? I think this is an interesting question that invites discussion.

Robin Maconie Offline

Posts: 67

Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:56 pm
#3 RE: KLANG and the character of the hours reply

A passage in "Mysterium" the preamble to LICHT (Other Planets 407-08) may help here: "The naming of the days of the week can be traced back to the ancient Babylonian tradition of dedicating the hours of the day to the seven major planetary bodies, ranged in an order related to their respective orbital periods, thus: Saturn - Jupiter - Mars - Sun - Venus - Mercury - Moon, from the longest to the shortest ... or lowest to highest in frequency. ... The first hour of the day gives its name to the day, each successive hour taking the next name in the planetary order. Like a tape loop, the sequence recycles endlessly, and since for the Babylonians as well as ourselves there are only twenty-four hours in a day, at the end of the day there are names left over. ... This explains how the names of the days of the week are a permutation corresponding to every fourth name in the planetary cycle, i.e. Sunday (Venus, Mercury) Moonday (Saturn, Jupiter) Marsday etc. in the manner of a note-row permutation by Alban Berg. ... Stockhausen has rotated the sequence like a seven-note row (Sun- Venus - Mercury - Moon / Saturn - Jupiter - Mars) and then reversed it, so the order of production ends with the sun, thus: Mars - Jupiter - Saturn / Moon - Mercury - Venus - Sun (Dienstag, Donnerstag, Samstag, Montag, Mittwoch, Freitag, Sonntag)" thus setting up an ostensible polarity between Jupiter and the Sun, but covertly between Mars and the Sun (Der Jahreslauf Act One of Dienstag having been composed before Donnerstag). In the course of composition, perhaps for logistical reasons relating to electronics, the order of Mittwoch and Freitag has exchanged. (For a summary of the Babylonian connection see John R. Barrow, The Artful Universe, NY: Little, Brown, 1995, 150-56.) While not explaining the ultimate ordering of KLANG, at least one can see a connection in Stockhausen's thinking between the naming and ordering of the hours as well as the days of the week, and a possible precedent for KLANG, though I incline to agree with Jerry that the way KLANG unfolded appears to deviate considerably from any such prototype.

James Offline

Posts: 72

Sun Mar 23, 2014 12:31 pm
#4 RE: KLANG and the character of the hours reply

Has anyone seen the WDR documentary on KLANG? I remember emailing the director of the film (who also did one on SONNTAG aus LICHT) and he was saying that there are plans to have both widely released in video formats in the near future. ;

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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