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ipar1306 Offline



Posts: 132

Sun Jan 04, 2015 10:22 am
The Glass Bead Game reply

I was just wondering if others here have any thoughts, or can point me to any literature, on Stockhausen's relationship with Hesse's Glass Bead Game. Thanks heaps to Joe who has already discussed some of this with me, as well as alerting me to Christoph von Blumröder's article. I'd be interested in any other thoughts or commentary on just what impression the book had on Stockhausen as well as any views on how it played out in his works. I am especially interested in looking at how it adds a perspective to LICHT, different to, or complementary of, other influences, such as the Urantia Book. I have not yet found references to it in Stockhausen's own writings, but I am only just slowly delving into these as my German reading is slow (but slowly getting better!)

Many thanks, once again, for any thoughts.

Joe Offline



Posts: 103

Sun Jan 04, 2015 11:15 pm
#2 RE: The Glass Bead Game reply

One of the virtues of Hesse's novel is that he never really explains how to play the Game. That leaves a wide lacuna for other imaginations to fill. Many of Stockhausen's scores fit the bill. Stimmung is one that most simply addresses all the basic tenets of Hesse's gameplay: aestheticization of units of knowledge, meditative posture, collegial interaction between participants. Jahreslauf is Stockhausen's grandest game design, but the process scores are far more complex games. In many ways, you can view all of Licht as one giant glass bead game. (Forgive me for paraphrasing the preceding from my dissertation) A study that looked at Licht from the perspective of game play would have a lot to offer, in my view.

The cloistered aspect of the game is one that connects to the other big novel of Stockhausen's youth. In Doktor Faustus, poor Adrian's pact really does not translate to worldly success by any stretch. He spends most of those 24 years cloistered away in a tiny country house achieving a very private artistic success. This issue also lies at the heart of Knecht's decision to resign, and the kneejerk criticism of Licht is often that it represents the failings of a composer who decided to cloister himself away in his own country house and scribble gibberish for his remaining days.

Over and over in Stockhausen's career, you can see evidence of him following Hesse's advice to nurture what was original in his art, and to disregard what he had in common with others (the "dowry without much value"). Doing so inevitably requires some cloistering of oneself, and all in all, I'd say Stockhausen managed to balance that need pretty well without losing sight of his audience.

ipar1306 Offline



Posts: 132

Mon Jan 05, 2015 1:21 am
#3 RE: The Glass Bead Game reply

As always, some really helpful comments thank you Joe. Given your thoughts on JAHRESLAUF, I'd be interested in how you view INVASION-EXPLOSION, from a gameplay perspective. Luzifer, as we know, heralds it as a much a tougher battle and, while it does not have the same interplay of dramatic devices that we see in JAHRESLAUF's time layers, the musical and formula interplays between Michael and Luzifer do seem to be very intricate (although I have not yet studied them in detail), giving a sense of a battle with very huge stakes indeed. Cosmic gameplay, almost? I'd be very interested in your thoughts on this.

Joe Offline



Posts: 103

Mon Jan 05, 2015 5:23 am
#4 RE: The Glass Bead Game reply

Someone might do well to analyze the troop movements that Stockhausen designed and see if they bear fruit. One of the things I was surprised to discover was the continuity of the right (Lucifer)/left (Michael/Eve) paradigm throughout Licht. Perhaps Stockhausen's movement schemes follow a similar internal logic.

The volleys of sound between the forces is a weaponization of music (a theme first sounded in Kindheit when Michael learns to kill with pure sound). Warfare has been compared to gameplay by any number of people, and if it weren't for Michael's death, I'd say it's reasonable to look at the scene as a more boisterous continuation of Lucifer and Michael's contest. To me, the tone of the scene is too serious to justify reading it as a mere game, but I suppose one could simply say it is a game with very high stakes.

Jenseits could be considered a game, or a depiction of a game, at least.

ipar1306 Offline



Posts: 132

Mon Jan 05, 2015 10:52 am
#5 RE: The Glass Bead Game reply

Thanks again Joe. I was just reading your discussion in your dissertation about Michael learning to kill with his trumpet in KINDHEIT, so it was a timely reference!

As for the question of Stockhausen's own views about Hermann Hesse's impact upon his music, I have managed to find a letter he wrote in 1998 to Jean-Noël von der Weid, criticising him for the way he described Stockhausen's relationship to Hesse in a book that he, von der Weid, had just published. I don't exactly know what von der Weid said, but Stockhausen strenuously denies that Hesse had any influence on his early serial music, arguing that he had already developed a strong interest in serialism before he read Hesse and that Hesse really had no understanding of what serialism meant musically - that he was just building in a timely way on Mann's attempts to personify Schönberg in Adrian Leverkühn.

Not that that necessarily means Hesse did not have an influence in a more generalised high-level way, of course. It is difficult to know exactly what Stockhausen was objecting to, without reading the original writing of von der Weid.

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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! Thomas Ulrich
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