After the experience of seeing it in Lucerne and Berlin, and of the overwhelming impact that had on me, I am curious as to why we don't get more performances of INORI with live orchestra. There is now a decent group of soloists who know the dancer-mime parts, especially after the intense work that the four who performed it in Lucerne did in preparation for that for over a year beforehand.
The orchestra part is challenging for the musicians but not in a way that should be at all insurmountable. Although parts of it are technically difficult, this is certainly no more so - and often much less so - than a lot of other orchestra repertoire: the main challenge, rather, is in the orchestra learning the level of concentration and focus that they need to maintain with the constantly changing tempi, and of course becoming familiar Stockhausen's very distinctive performance practice. The Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra discharged that responsibility stunningly well: I think largely enabled because of the openness of the musicians to take on a different sort of challenge, a different sort of playing. But can it really be the case that this sort of openness is so rare in the world's orchestras, and that the piece has to remain so untouched?
I could see too, from attending many rehearsals in the week prior to the Lucerne performance, that it calls for a conductor who knows the music well and, as is so often the case with Stockhausen's music, ideally someone who has been mentored by someone who worked directly with Stockhausen: but there is already a growing pool of conductors with this knowledge and surely many more are eager and able to devote the time and attention to learning the piece, including from those who already know it intimately.
So, ultimately, I can understand that INORI has a few elements that have to brought together to make a performance of it work - engaging the soloists who know it, acquiring an orchestra that it open to learning, and finding the conductor who has built enough connection with the music to bring it all together. But none of these are insurmountable today, and I think it would be a dreadful shame if the seed planted in those performances in Lucerne is not encouraged to flourish elsewhere in the world as well - engaging these young and very passionate soloists, and encouraging more orchestras and conductors to learn the piece.
It seems to me that the only thing stopping that happening is that there are not enough music programmers aware of what an incredibly unique and special experience INORI can be if it is performed properly. I know that there are still many orchestras that are very closed in their thinking, and still focus mostly on very conventional repertoire - but this is slowly changing in many parts of the world, so surely the openness that INORI calls for cannot be that difficult to tap into and further ignite.
The performances with the tape are always special - but the dynamism of the large and live orchestra is unimaginable, and those performances will count amongst a very small handful of the most profound musical experiences of my life. I really think we should all be trying, as much as we can, to encourage more performances of INORI - seeking out, where we can, orchestras and music programmers who are innovative and open enough to take on its challenges and do it real justice.
Yes, Ian, that is a very good question. And it would be a shame, when all the soloists we saw, who are very competent and acted very passionately, would not be given the opportunity to perform this masterwork again and again. But ... Honestly speaking I do not expect that this wish will be fulfilled. There are other examples: many years ago I attended a performance of MIXTUR in Berlin. The Ensemble Modern played, Peter Eötvös conducted, it was unforgetable, a big success, the audience was enthusiastic, and Peter Eötvös wrote, this work should be performed by many many orchestras over and over again. Fact was: I never had the opportunity to attend a live-performance again. Another example: Some years ago the CD with the orchestra-version of TIERKREIS was published and I expected: That is a piece for many orchestras - I looked forward to listen to it in the Philharmonie - nothing happened. Music managers are needed who know the music of the second half of the 20th century and who have the willingness to overcome some difficulties and prejudices - these people are very rare. Therefore, as to INORI, I think, it could be more realistic to organize performances with the new soloists and the music in tape recording -even that demands courage. But also such performance can be very impressive. More than: Better than nothing...
Hello all. I signed up for this forum a couple weeks ago, but have had yet to post, but thought I would jump in here.
First off I just want to express gratitude for having a place to discuss the music of Stockhausen. I came to this site via a link on Ed Chang's "Stockhausenspace" website, which is a great guide.
I've been a fan of Stockhausen since just a few years before his death, and know his music only through recordings, so i think it is wonderful that you (Ian & Ulrich and others on this site) have even gotten to see and hear the works played. I live in Cincinnati, Ohio and while there is a rich arts culture in this city, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) and it's associated arms are for the most part fairly conservative. I was disappointed that in 2012 the CSO did nothing to mark John Cage's centennial -and here we are in America, we should give tribute to the legacy of this American composer. So I think the issue is broader, and is summed up when Ulrich said "Music managers are needed who know the music of the second half of the 20th century and who have the willingness to overcome some difficulties and prejudices - these people are very rare."
Also, though I go to a number of concerts put on by the CSO each year, I feel that because they are dependent on gifts, foundations, and subscribers, it kind of reinforce's a conservative attitude. The CSO did partner with members of the rock group The National to present the Music NOW festival every year in the spring which brings together contemporary classical, rock music in various forms, alongside other more well known pieces from the classical repertoire (this last to make it more palatable to season ticket holders). You can see a list of premieres and artists involved here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MusicNOW_Festival Still it is great to have this festival in my hometown.
In any case, it seems if I want to see Stockhausen's music performed I will have to travel. Until then I have made due with many wonderful recordings and have had my sense of the possibilities of music expanded by him at every turn.
Ulrich, thank you for providing this space.
A bit of my own background since I am new here: I work in the catalog department at the Public Library of Cincinnati (where they don't purchase enough music by Stockhausen--though I do have libraries to thank for my exposure and the ability to first hear his works). I have been involved in community radio on and off over the years doing music shows of underground rock music and experimental & avant-garde music. Later I became an amateur radio operator. That might not sound like it fits, but because of my love of radio, and musicians who use shortwave radios in their music, I wanted to learn more about it. Two of the radio shows I've been involved with are "Art Damage" and "On the Way to the Peak of Normal" the latter of which I took over and became the main programmer for. This latter is also named after an album by Holger Czukay of Can, who was famously a student of Stockhausen's (and shortwave radio enthusiast!) I still fill in at the station though I gave up the radio show in order to spend on other hobbies (liek amateur radio and writing). I also played music in Cincinnati's underground noise/experimental/electronic/art music scene in the band Neato Torpedo and as a solo musician -though I have no formal training in music. In fact my study of Stockhausen has really bolstered my knowledge of music as a field of investigation. I've learned so much just by listening to and reading about his pieces.
Don't mean to take up too much space on this thread with an introduction...but definitely feel there should be more live performances. But the challenge is getting people educated about his contributions to music in the first place.
Welcome to the forum Justin! It is great to have you on board - and Thomas Ulrich has done us all a great service in setting up this forum and maintaining it!
I, too, have a background in community radio - still presenting a weekly show in Melbourne, Australia (I live a little out of Melbourne), of avant-garde music, and so naturally Stockhausen is a pretty regular feature on that!
But I think that both you and Thomas are absolutely correct - there is an ongoing conservatism in music programming, and it is generally very bad here in Australia too. We have a few dedicated people who do some innovative programming, especially at the Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music, which is held annually in regional Victoria, about 110 kilometres from Melbourne (they programmed Stockhausen's SIRIUS a few years ago!), but new music - and certainly Stockhausen - gets very little attention in the major programming.
I guess it is a vicious circle in the sense that audiences don't show an appetite for it, so programmers and funding bodies (whether government, corporate or philanthropic) tend to see it as too risky and unpopular, and so audiences don't get to hear or understand it, and so show no interest in it, and so on and so on. I guess our biggest hope lies in the advocacy of those few musicians and conductors and programmers who persist with bringing new music to the public's attention - and we just have to do what we can to encourage more of that.
But, like you say, for most of us the only option is to travel. My house is literally falling down because I spend pretty well all my meagre income and savings (I'm in the final stages of a PhD - on Stockhausen's LICHT - and so relying on a very modest scholarship for income) on Stockhausen-related travel, scores, and recordings. It means I have a pretty dilapidated house, but I feel enriched in other ways!
Once again, welcome to the forum and I'm sure I speak for everyone here in saying that it is great to have you on board, and we look forward to continued discussions!
A warm welcome to you, Justin, also from me. I very much appreciate the way you introduced yourself - and it is really nice to have people from all over the world and with very very different backgrounds here! Thinking of Melbourne and Cincinnati, we here in Berlin are very privileged. There are performances of Stockhausen's music in town, and very helpful is a person like Winrich Hopp, the head of the Berlin festival, who knows this music very well and loves it. Thus it always depends on dedicated people - but they also must have the means or the ability to perform themselves. Right now there is an example of this: Yesterday in Berlin there was a concert of the Rias Kammerchor (Chamber choir) to celebrate the 70th birthday of this very famous and brillant ensemble. For that they commissioned a long (more than 40 minutes) new work for choir - very good! But the conductor of the choir said in an interview: We must commission such longer works, because there is a lack of longer works for choir. When I read this I thought: How can he say this? Doesn't he know works like WELTPARLAMENT or ENGEL-PROZESSIONEN? The latter was only performed here right after the world premiere in Amsterdam by the dutch choir - the first never. Maybe I should write a letter to leader of our choir... And, as you point out, the problem is not only with Stockhausen, but with Cage, with Feldman, with Jonathan Harvey, with Klaus Huber and so many other composers. So we must keep the interest! Justin, best wishes! Thomas Ulrich.
Thank you for the warm welcome, Ian & Ulrich. I am looking forward to our future discussions.
Ian -it's good to know there are some other radio folks lurking about here! & some things are worth sacrificing for -the music of Stockhausen included. It's a dream of mine to some day attend the course in Kurten. But I'm not sure if/when/how that might manifest. But it would be sweet.
In the meantime I will work on building/completing my collection of Stockhausen recordings, writing about his music, and seeking ways to share it with others.
If you can make the courses in Kürten, Justin, I would strongly encourage it. I know the cost of getting there can seem a bit - but the courses are amazing value: nightly concerts, daily workshops and lectures, plus opportunities to see musicians learning the pieces from the people who worked with Stockhausen (or you can take pieces there yourself and learn them if you are a musician). You can watch all of the rehearsals, get some guidance in sound projection, and all the scores are there to look at (and buy). Plus the environment is fantastic - a great mix of people, sharing their passion for the music and just having a lot of really nice time together. Many of my best friendships have been made there!
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!