Yesterday in Berlin Akademie der Künste there was an evening commemorating the 4 concerts Stockhausen and his musicians gave in the cave of Jeita in Lebanon 1969. I must confess: I did not expect such an event in this academy, for: Though Stockhausen was a member from early days on, in later years I had the impression: There was a lot of hostility against Stockhausen from the music-department. But now this evening – great. I think it took place because of Raed Yassin, a Lebanese artist who undertook reserches, especially in the Kürten archive, to these concerts, and created a work of music about it. Before presenting it he spoke about the concerts in 1969 in an interesting way: He began with mentioning the astronaut Armstrong who entered the moon in the same year and spoke about having listened there to a cosmic sound, a cosmic echo. In the interpretation of Yassin that had a spiritual meaning, a sound from beyond. Like in Islamic tradition: Primarily this tradition is not written, not a book, but orally performed. What Mohammed received, was an oral tradition, a spiritual echo from God. (By the way, it is the same in Christian, in Pauline thinking: „The letter kills, the spirit gives life“) And in this way Yassin interpreted the music of Stockhausen in the big cave of Jeita: an echo from the divine. And his own work in the same way: an echo of this echo. It consisted of works of Stockhausen that had been performed in Jeita: GESANG DER JÜNGLINGE, STIMMUNG, HYMNEN, TELEMUSIK, KURZWELLEN, in a sort of a remix. The Stockhausen Stiftung does not support this idea of remix, but in this evening I must confess: It did not sound bad and functioned in this context. And then Yassin gave the hint: When Armstrong entered the moon and heared the echo, he was 40 years old, Stockhausen in Yeita was 40, Mohammed receiving God's message was 40, and also he himself, echoing Stockhausen's music, was 40. An age of special receptivity to the Divine... The second person presenting a work of his, was Daniel Ott, the Swiss composer living and teaching (as successor to Dieter Schnebel) in Berlin. He presented his work Fin al Cunfin, composed for an Alpine landscape near the origin of the river Inn, were Switzerland, Austria and Italy meet, a spectacular and very steep spot with echos from the mountains, a 1 hour work for choir and brass ensemble that lived from the contact to this landscape, to nature. So: Echos in the mountains and under the earth in the cave, a nice relationship. Finally the evening ended with the projection of the film: Stockhausen et les grottes de Jeita by Anne- Marie Deshayes (you can find it in youtube in the French original version). Very impressive the pictures of the spectacular cave, the public including Max Ernst and Andre Masson, and above all the musicians with Stockhausen himself. Some parts of the rehearsals were shown with then young musicians like Peter Eötvös, Johannes Fritsch, Vinko Globokar (before his terrible time of Stockhausen-bashing!); especially impressive the work on STIMMUNG were Stockhausen managed to form a complete unity of the group of singers with an unbelievable musical intimacy. That is an result of rehearsing again and again – a result that in nowaday concerts seems completely unknown. And Stockhausen himself talking about his ideas about music, spirituality, politics – always talking out of this very moment, but you could have the impression: his sentences are absolutely classical, as if he had thought about it for hours. So you could get a sens of the revolutionary spirit of the years 1968 and following – I was really enthusiastic, because these years of my youth came back. And with that an important insight for me: If you just look at the content, what Stockhausen said is what now everybody says – but what a difference in spite of that! In our time everything is poisened by some hidden anxiety: in respect to political correctness, and in the ambition to defend the position of an opinion leader that is threatened. Thus everything has changed. What had been revolutionary and enthusiastic, now is conservative and moralistic, gets didactic in a bad sense. It is important to get in contact again to our origins!
Thank you for reporting on this Thomas. I think, however, it is important to note that it is not only the Stockhausen Stiftung that does not support this sort of thing, but that Stockhausen himself also spoke very strongly against it. When the suggestion was once put to him that that some well-established musicians might create a Tribute Compilation of remixes, he reacted very assertively that he was opposed to this (see TEXTE Band 11, 197-199), and then an even angrier response to a suggestion that students work with his material as a basis for improvisation, remixing, and sampling (TEXTE Band 16, 427). Of course, I cannot comment on the music you heard in this instance - I just thought it was important to make clear that Stockhausen himself seemed very clear (in what I have read) in his opposition to such practices.
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!