Live performances, that's a good idea. Especially in the right context and with a respectful audience.
I'm trying to recall the very first Stockhausen piece I heard live... ahh yeah Kontakte at Columbia, on a bill with a Davidovsky electroacoustic piece and maybe one other. The spacialization of course is a "grabber" as well. I saw Gruppen with the NY Philharmonic a few years ago, a very good performance but a tad too polite for my tastes (the guitar is always too unamplified).
KLAVIERSTÜCK 9 - that's a great one for new listeners! Actually I just got Vanessa Benelli Mosell's recording of Examen. I will never forget Simon Smith's stupendous rendition at the Courses in 2015, but Mosell's interpretation is very appealing! She pairs it with Scriabin Preludes, which seems like a way to broaden the audience somewhat.
Yes ... I love those bursts of humour. And yet, even so, that was ultimately the approach I took to learning his music too: starting at CD 1, and then continuing from there. It is a journey I love to take, over and over again!
Dear all, it is good to be back to this site after a long time. When I read the proposals here for someone who wants to become familiar with Stockhausen’s music, I had to smile a bit. One could see immediately that you had a person in mind with not a bit but quite a lot of experience in post-war music. Someone like you. Even Thomas Ulrich’s proposal of hearing Stockhausen live is good but misleading. Imagine: You take someone with you to a Stockhausen concert. Most of these people will hear the live music to the end and clap their hands because they are held back by the concert situation to stand up and go. It is mostly politeness and not liking which makes them behave like this. Believe me. By themselves, they never would go to a Stockhausen concert, and only very rarely will after you took them with you. They say: Oh, it was very interesting and I liked it BUT... – – One member proposed a more diatonic peace like SCHÖNHEIT. That is a good idea. One cannot be cautious and conservative enough. I would even go further and propose DREI LIEDER, although it is more Hindemith than Stockhausen – but with those pieces you can demonstrate to someone not familiar with post-war serialism that Stockhausen »could write true music«. My experience with quite a lot of people is that the solo pieces for flute and clarinet are very well received. This is not so much due to the music but to the familiar timbre of those instruments. These instruments avoid also the dissonances of the piano pieces because they normally cannot play more than one note. So you are using a trick to make people listen. And why not? A fine little piece like VIBRA-ELUFA is also very much suited for the task of making Stockhausen’s music liked.
Drei Leider would be good, especially in a concert with Pierrot Lunaire or something like that.
I have to agree with Adorjan's point about some concerts not having an impact. I've seen some concerts which had no real impact immediately afterwards, but later if I heard the CD and had some better introductory/preparatory remarks then I could appreciate them much more. I guess it depends on the piece as well of course. From what pictures I've seen, Montag aus Licht and Freitag aus Licht must have had a pretty great live impact, much more so than on CD. To experience those crazy "paare" - oh man! But PLEASE don't stage it in an insane asylum ;).
I think the "preparation" of an audience for a Stockhausen piece can't be under-estimated. Nothing will kill an audience's interest more than if you counter their expectations. Of course if you are an "avant-gardist", some kind of surprise is usually tolerated, but if you are a "new" listener (and probably much more conservative) then some form of explanation and "grounding" would be really invaluable. (This is of course the motivating factor behind Stockhausen Sounds In Space - my attempt to "sell" KS' work to a (possibly) skeptical audience).
Ironically, this actually works both ways...for an "avant-gardist" who fell in love with KS' Kurzwellen and Hymnen timbres, I was totally bored (initially) by the sounds I heard on Oktophonie and Sirius. However, once I adjusted to the idea that the "tape-splice" and "electrochord" days were over, I was more open to accept these new timbres (it took years, I have to admit).
The trick is to give the audience what they want, but just a bit "more". But if you totally betray/shock the audience, then they will have a hard time to come to grips with the "newness" of it. I think that's also why the "classical" chamber works go over so well - a flute will sound like a flute. Der Kleine Harlekin is popular for the same reason. It's easy to describe what is to come, but the performance always delivers much more than a mere preparatory remark!
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!