I only just re-noticed something today that I had had explained to me over two years ago by Kathinka Pasveer, but had forgotten - and that is the appearance of '14' as a kind of full-stop to the LUZIFER formula in the HELIKOPTER-STREICHQUARTETT. It is the only time in the whole of LICHT when the counting reaches 14, and I am told that the reason for this is that, because the arrival at 13 had, at other times, heralded an unexpected change in the music, Stockhausen was worried that it might tempt fate to bring about a disaster with the helicopters and so he inserted the number 14, just before the descent. My apologies if this is a story that everyone already knows well, but I found it interesting and it reminds me of other pieces where composers' musical decisions have been determined by their superstitions, such as Mahler's decision to remove the third hammer blow from his Sixth Symphony, and his refusal to call Das Lied von der Erde his Ninth Symphony.
Of course, there must be many such cases - and to me they just add to the infinite fascination of how music is created, and of the sometimes unexpected things that influence the decisions composers make.
Haha, that's pretty funny, I never knew that. One thing that I always liked about Stockhausen was that he never let rules hinder wherever he wanted to go. Rules are are for guidance, not imprisonment.
This reminds me of MANTRA where the bottom staff is an inversion of the top part, but since one of the end measure notes "cadentially ended" the piece, he just shifted it up - no rules baby! He describes this so well in the English lecture on MANTRA.
- 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/
"14" is the telos of the scene! Remember how they are all counting in hocket up until then? All of the sudden, they break through Lucifer's arbitrary barrier of 13 and arrive in unison at the number 14. They have finally, despite all the obstacles Stockhausen throws in their way, arrived at a consensus. It is the same as when the Parliamentarians arrive at the syllable "li" or the Finalists play their chords together. It's the whole point of Mittwoch.
I hadn't thought of it in those terms, Joe. Thank you! That makes a lot of sense and is probably more credible than the one I had heard earlier (although possibly both explanations are correct). Once again, thanks for this perspective.
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!