After two weekends of Stockhausen's music in Lucerne, I thought I would just post here some short thoughts about the experience and how it impressed me. Of course, coming from Australia, where Stockhausen is performed so rarely, anything feels special to me but, even so, I thought this festival was, for the most part sensational.
I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of Pierre-Laurent Aimard's interpretations, and I found his MANTRA, with Tamara Stefanovich, and his KLAVIERSTÜCKE I - XI, maybe a little lacking in the dynamic diversity and articulation that is always so important in Stockhausen. But even though it lacked a few of the nuances that I would have loved to have heard more clearly, he did a pretty phenomenal job of impressing everyo with KLAVIERSTÜCK X, even though that was probably more attributable to Stockhausen's spectacular writing.
I felt he was more impressive in KONTAKTE, but probably for me the highlight of that concert was Dirk Rothbrust doing ZYKLUS and Helga Karen's stellar role in holding everything together so magnificently from the piano in REFRAIN. I would have loved to have heard her doing KONTAKTE, where she performed so spectacularly in Kürten in 2015.
GRUPPEN was sensational, although the tempi were rather slower than what I think Stockhausen asks for in the score, but the power and wonder of the piece, as the three orchestras share and shape that endless variety of sound-groups in an endless variety of trajectories and patterns, was still, for me, captured superbly.
But the undoubted highlight of everything was, for me, INORI. I could write forever about that. Both pairs - Diego Vásquez and Winnie Huang first, and Jamil Attar and Emmanuelle Grach second, were amazingly powerful and beautiful and, perhaps most importantly of all, musical - and, despite each dancer and each couple performing the piece with astonishing precision, they also each, as individuals and as couples, brought something unique to the piece. To me, that's what INORI is about - a world of diversity, everyone traveling their diverse journeys of whatever they conceive spiritual growth to be, brought together by the universality of INORI. These four soloists worked so hard and for so long on this piece, and their efforts rewarded us all. I still get goosebumps thinking about it.
The Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra was sensational, and I think it has become my new favourite orchestra. Such a strong bunch of young musicians. gathered from around the world, clearly so open and enthusiastic to take on the challenges of new and adventurous music. This is something that I think is often lacking in some of the world's more established orchestras.
INORI will be done again in Paris on 14 September with Jamil and Emmanuelle, and in Berlin on 18 September with Diego and Winnie. If there is any way you can get to either or both, you really should, I will be going again to the performance in Berlin.
So - just a few rushed thoughts, far from doing justice to two incredible weekends.
Thanks, Ian. Fortunately we in Berlin have the priviledge to experience this whole programm here again, except GRUPPEN; thanks to Winrich Hopp, who manages the Berliner Festwochen. I look forward to that. I should add: It is also the initiative of Wolfgang Rihm, that INORI could be performed and trained, and I agree: It was a very impressive performance. It makes a difference when the work is performed with such a big orchestra, and the conducting of Peter Eötvös is simply brillant!
Yes, I was astonished at how much of an impact the live and large orchestra had on me for INORI. I attended quite a few rehearsals and it was a wonderful thing to watch the piece grow in the hands of these musicians who were so eager to learn its very unique challenges. I will also be attending the performance in Berlin on 18 September, where Diego and Winnie will perform for the first time with Eötvös conducting. It has been a challenge for the dancers, too, having worked for so long with the tape, and then needing to quickly become accustomed not only to the live orchestra but, throughout the rehearsals and performances, four conductors! But what a powerful piece it is, and the utterly profound solemnity of hearing the melody of the formula for the first time in full, about forty minutes into the piece, rising from the depths of the orchestra, and then that moment of great awe when then dancers finally stand up to that huge and brilliant crescendo! It is as if in that moment Stockhausen created for us a glimpse of the light that LICHT would later send us forever spiralling towards!
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!