This is kind of a cross between MIKROPHONIE I and ZYKLUS. I'm looking forward to hearing the "snare drum solo" being replaced by the "church door solo" in the future.
HIMMELS-TÜR KLANG 4th Hour (Heaven's Door), for a percussionist and a little girl, (2005) [28 min.]
This is Stockhausen's second work for a custom made musical instrument (the first being TIERKREIS for custom made music boxes). The focus on a single, monolithic object makes this a kind of sibling to MIKROPHONIE I, which focuses on a single large tam-tam (though with completely different textures created through a battery of implements and miking techniques). I'm also reminded of one of Stockhausen's British lectures where he recommends a composer to take a snare and specialize in hitting the snare in different ways, in order to gain notoriety as "the snare - composer". It's a fun idea and the language in HIMMELS-TÜR certainly finds it's own place in the door-percussion repertoire!
On CD this work has a very accessible feel, though it's possible that without the visual element, a certain dramatic dynamic is lost. In fact on the first few listens, it sounded very "monochromatic" to me, especially since the pitch range of the Lugo Heaven's Door only has a general pitch range (from top to bottom) of a minor 3rd. However, after awhile the variety of sounds and rhythmic attacks becomes much more appreciable, and it becomes obvious which sounds are hand strikes and which are boot stamps. In any case, the general texture has a kind of warm, soothing effect (at least for me), and it's apparent simplicity might make it much easier to "get" than, for example a work like REFRAIN or ZYKLUS.
One thing that's interesting is that the score calls for a door with some general characteristics, but exact pitches for each panel is not specified. In fact, the Lugo Heaven's Door as mentioned has a pitch range of a minor 3rd, whereas a second door created for American performances, D.J. Betsill's Spoleto Heaven's Door, has a range of an octave. Additionally, the vertical scale of pitches is not as cut and dry as something like a marimba. As one can see in the video, many times pitches can be higher or lower regardless of how high the panel is. The beaters used against the door can also be of different varieties. A 2007 performance by Arnold Marinissen features brushes along with the usual wooden dowels. All of these factors make HIMMELS-TÜR a work which sounds quite different in its details, from performance to performance.
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!