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uatu Offline

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Wed Apr 22, 2015 3:46 pm
LITANEI 97 for choir and conductor reply

My write-up on LITANEI 97:

LITANEI 97 is basically a reworking of the piece LITANEI (Litany) from Stockhausen's 1968 collection of intuitive text pieces, AUS DEN SIEBEN TAGEN (From the Seven Days), which generally uses verbal instructions to direct improvisational ensembles performances. In contrast to the other members of AUS DEN SIEBEN TAGEN, LITANEI is worded as a personal message from Stockhausen to the performer, and it's intention is more like "introducing" the concept of intuitive music, rather than instructing the players to play a specific melodic/rhythmic idea. In 1997, a version of LITANEI, redubbed LITANEI 97, was premiered by the Choir of the South German Radio, and conducted by Rupert Huber. This version is not based so much on intuitive improvisation, but there are definitely some aleatory elements relating to pitch ranges and glissandi. Each line of the text is intoned microtonally by members of a mixed choir (SATB), and each voice group is assigned a different pitch range. In addition, the conductor sometimes sings short phrases from the MICHAEL formula (one of the melodic themes dominating Stockhausen's LICHT opera cycle) and strikes metal percussion bowls as punctuation marks.

Sound Impressions
LITANEI 97 to me is a kind of microtonal vocal prologue to AUS DEN SIEBEN TAGEN, especially considering the subject matter of the text. On the CD 61 release, the premiere recording of this work is paired with KURZWELLEN (also the premiere recording). It seems natural that AUS DEN SIEBEN TAGEN should follow, if this were a "cycle" of sorts. Stockhausen might be surprised (or not?) that I actually find some ideas behind this work to remind me of STUDIE II, since the choir parts are essentially based on frequency "bandwidths" of aleatory spoken word. Since the pitches for each vocal group are arranged as unbroken frequency ranges (for instance, low C up to E in the Basses in the excerpt above), this creates the vocal equivalent of "colored noise", or bandwidth filtering, at least in theory. The glissandi also give me this impression. Though this work is admittedly not one of my "top 10" favorite Stockhausen works, there are some unique effects to be found here (the high humming at the beginning of verse 5, for example, is pretty unique and sounds almost electronic), and these ensemble effects (tongue-rolls, whispering, hissing, etc...) make for an unpredictable timbre palate within a strict range of melodic material.

More here:

- Ed Chang
- Stockhausen - Sounds in Space: Analysis, explanation and personal impressions of the works of the avant-garde composer Karlheinz Stockhausen.

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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