James, don't worry, Stockhausen is not getting a bad composer only for having loved the UB. But I'm really sure that he would have refused to speak of "mythology junk". If the UB is "intellectual junk" LICHT is it, too. I don't know who really has written the UB but for me one thing is sure: It is one of the most intellectual efforts I know, comparable perhaps only to Tolkien's "Silmarillion". And to claim that the UB "isn't a big part of his work at all" is right and wrong at the same time. It's right with regard to his whole work and life but for LICHT and KLANG it plays a very important role, I think. I guess there were three phases in the relation of Stockhausen to the UB: I: 1971-1974; not interested at all. II: 1974-2006; very interested but reading it in a very selective way. III: 2006/07; increased interest, caused by the German translation, reading also other parts but still in a selective way. Perhaps Joe and Leopoldo will prove or confute this in their dissertations...:-) Nevertheless, there are central UB topics which weren't of any importance for Stockhausen such as the Thought Adjusters, the Morontia or Part IV of the book (The Life and Teachings of Jesus). That's why I call his reading selective.
You're distorting things a lot, this is because you seem quite obsessed with this crap yourself .. because there is very little of the UB in KS's actual later work - it doesn't really play "an important role".
It's important to remember that Stockhausen sowed confusion on this issue by saying that the UB had no influence on his work. One of his strengths was his ability to generalize his influences. One can listen to Sirius and not come away thinking that it is an indoctrination into Stockhausen's belief system. You don't read the score for Aus den Sieben Tagen and think that it's proselytizing on behalf of Aurobindo's integral yoga. This connects to the discussion about the depiction of the crucifixion in Donnerstag, and his disinterest in Recha Freier's text suggestions for Unsichtbare Chöre. He knew that if we waded into these subjects literally, he would be distracting from his larger agenda.
As Christian and others have demonstrated, Stockhausen was not obsessed with the UB enough to read the entire book. When he wanted to incorporate it into Klang, he actually assigned Kathinka to the task of finding passages for the libretto. That's why the Klang text shifts from the UB to the music itself, because Kathinka couldn't really find enough material worth setting. So, he was no devotee, going to weekly discussion groups, donating to the foundation, and wearing the concentric circles on a lapel pin.
In my work, I engage in a few parallel readings of Licht, with the main focus being the development of Michael's character and the narrative of the operas. An important subsidiary reading, is a comparison to the UB, and there are many obvious connections with Stockhausen's music. The goal of that reading is merely to dispel the confusion over how much of the book is in Licht. There is so much cross-talk and misinformation, beginning with Stockhausen's own assertions on the matter, that I felt it was important to look at the subject objectively.
I began from the point of the famous "You must read this book" assertion in Kurtz, assuming that Stockhausen was very devoted to the UB. I have to admit that when I first began reading the book in detail, I was astounded at the amount of connections. However, as I cross-referenced my findings with what Christian and others have said about his level of involvement with the book, I found that I should attribute many of these connections to coincidence. As I've said before, there are many passages in the UB which would have reinforced Stockhausen's intuition if he had actually read them.
"I began from the point of the famous "You must read this book" assertion in Kurtz" Somewhere in his TEXTE, St. stated that he never said that and that he never would suggest pupils to read anything in that commanding tone.
All of the pupils I've ever heard discuss what it was like to be in KS's class never once mentioned this kind of thing. They all stressed that his classes were entirely consumed with compositional technique and what it means to be a professional trained composer, also encouraging them to find their own voice/way. So him inflicting what he may have been reading in his personal life, in his spare time onto his students - seems completely out of character of how he would run his classes. Most of the famous ones don't sound like an imitation of what KS did either.
This is exactly the type of information that I found that pulled me away from that initial perspective. However, one of the faults of Kurtz' bio is that he relies on a very close association with Stockhausen in order to complete the book. Much of the book relies on Stockhausen's own recollections through interviews with the composer. So, when Kurtz provides a direct quote like this one on p. 196, it is difficult to dismiss it out of hand, even if Stockhausen later claimed it was untrue. As I said before, Stockhausen willfully obscured the record on the UB's influence on his work, and I do think it's important to remember that Stockhausen almost typifies the "unreliable narrator".
Moreover, one of his composition students at the time, and an original interpreter in Licht, recalls being urged to buy the UB. He felt that he was expected to read it, and the way he described it to me in a dissertation interview was that everyone in Stockhausen's performer circle was expected to buy the book.
That interviewee also undercuts the assertion that Stockhausen's classes were strictly business. He recalled in great detail how absent Stockhausen was from the campus, and how he would make up the classes that he missed by holding marathon sessions. He also tried to insure that his students could travel with him to the various performing obligations that kept him away from his duties as a professor. The last impression that the interviewee gave was of a straight-laced composition class, but more of a shambolic trial by fire. In my view, that's actually a more valuable educational experience than a traditional classroom environment.
Pupils I'm referring to went on to become successful composers & performers in their own right, and are from different eras of KS's life .. so it is normal that his teaching style (and time-table) developed & evolved.
And recommending books to people close to him, or not so close to him - doesn't really mean anything.
A more general remark to the Urantia-Thing and Stockhausen: 1. maybe that there are phases in KS's life where the influence of UB is different. Thus I have the impression that in MITTWOCH not very much is happening with the UB, and also SONNTAG can be understood fairly well without knowing anything about the book (with 1 exemption). 2. one should acknowledge that the UB is a (sometimes strange) trait of the Christian tradition; it bases on Christian motives. Therefore: Not every detail in LICHT, that is also present in the UB, comes from the UB. The main content of LICHT according to my impression comes from the "original" christian-catholic tradition, and Stockhausen very much was rooted in that. Therefore I think the main thing you can understand without UB. For my way of dealing with LICHT: It took time to read the UB for me, and I wrote my essay on Lucifer for the Stockhausen memorial book, before I read the UB. I think: Some traits are missing in this essay, but the main content, what is really important to think about, is there - without the UB, because it is rooted in the old Christian tradition, which is really vast and contains innumerable motives and traits!
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!