Having just bought the scores of CARRÉ, and having started to think about what probably everyone else has been really conscious of forever, that both CARRÉ and KONTAKTE (the scores of which I have had for some years) were composed around the same time, both works that use four-directional sound spatialisation, I was wondering if anyone has put the two works side by side and compared how they each organise this spatialisation. I have read, and certainly sense from listening to them, that both are examples of works in which spatialisation first became of equal importance to the other musical parameters, but I have now wondered if the structural organisation of the spatialisation is similarly constructed in the two pieces. Are there serial principles governing how the spatialisation moves, and are those principles integrated with any serial structures of other parameters? I know Paul Miller has written his dissertation on spatialisation, drawing a lot on set theory to develop models for analysing the spatialisation patterns, and I need to look at this more closely even though his major focus there is on OKTOPHONIE and LICHTER-WASSER. I presume there are observations there that might help me answer this question about these earlier works too. But I thought I would ask here as well.
Many thanks, in advance, for any insights. I really ask for no reason other than that wonderful thing that Stockhausen's scores always ignite in me: curiosity!
That's a pretty good question, one which I'd be curious to know answers about as well. Gads, I haven't heard CARRÉ in ages, but I seem to recall it having more to do with moving sound masses than all of the whirling stuff going on in KONTAKTE. The score has those thumbnail guides to the spatial movement which Cardew was hired to realize. I guess I always imagined he did those "intuitively", just like he did with the Wednesday Greeting and other pieces. I always wondered why he never used any kind of formal technique (serial/formula) to guide the spatial stuff. Even EXPO - the panning instructions there seem to be pretty improvisatory...
I would have thought that Stockhausen's Darmstadt lecture from 28 August 1970 ("Mikro- und Makrokontinuum; Neue Prozesse der Diminution und Augmentation, Teil 2", pp. 71–114 of Kompositorische Grundlagen Neuer Musik: Sechs Seminare für die Darmstädter Ferienkurse 1970, ed. Imke Misch, Kürten: Stockhausen-Stiftung für Musik, 2009) might be relevant here, since the first part deals precisely with Kontakte and Carré. It does not seem to address the spatialisation issues very much, though.
Thank you both for these thoughts. Yes I had looked at the seminar from the Six Darmstadt Seminars - mainly because I noted you had referenced it in your Wiki entry Jerry - but also couldn't find much on spatialisation there, other than the point that you had also noted: that is, that these were two works where spatialisation was, for the first time, accorded similar importance to the other musical parameters: hence my curiosity about if and how it was actually organised, and my thought that there was possibly more order there than the intuitive order that Ed has suggested. But maybe not. It is certainly pretty straightforward to follow the trajectories for CARRÉ from the sketches on the front of the scores, so I might just try (sometime!) to see if there are any patterns or tendencies that might connect with something else. They are rather wonderful puzzles to become immersed in, even if there is ultimately no solution to be found! And yet I would have thought that if there was some such ordering, Stockhausen would have written or spoken about it, which he seems not to have done, so maybe Ed is right after all.
I think I gave you the wrong lecture in Kompositorische Grundlagen. The sixth lecture has an extended section titled "Raummusik – Spatiale Formierung und Notation" on pp. 226–46. I think this may be exactly what you are looking for, although the discussion of Carré is sketchier than the one for Kontakte.
I guess because the formal techniques KS uses to create his works are so interesting or note-worthy that another aspect of his genius is so understressed, namely his brilliant "intuitive" side (outside of the official intuitive text works). I assume much of this improvisational side came from his years doing live improv for a magician as well as sets of jazzy background piano during the war years. But one funny thing that always brings a chuckle is in his lecture to Mantra he goes through all this formal technique to construct his "first" formula, and when he gets to a certain premature cadence (dictated by the formal technique) he says "oh no that won't do, obviously". And then just breaks his own rule to do something more in the line of "artistic freedom".
I've been listening to Klavierstucke 12 and 13 alot lately and those are also filled with intuitive embellishments. I once described those pieces as Liszt on acid (tongue in cheek but it was my way of enticing a new listener).
Although not particularly related to spatial issues, his instructions for the live improv aspect of Hymnen and the tips for making new arrangements for Tierkreis pieces are to me his "how to" book on improv and composition, respectively. Check them out if you haven't already....
Finally, I remember in 2015 asking Kathinka how KS had mixed all those layers of Cosmic Pulses (obviously the mixer was dynamically controlled). Kathinka said, "Oh - intuitively!". This practice of course goes all the way back to his "filters and potentiometers" work with Group Stockhausen!
(These thoughts will all be part of a future blog post probably. I am apparently in a Stockhausen-mode this summer...)
- Ed Chang - Stockhausen - Sounds in Space: Analysis, explanation and personal impressions of the works of the avant-garde composer Karlheinz Stockhausen. - http://stockhausenspace.blogspot.com/
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!