The composer would probably prescribe 'in the dark with eyes closed' OR 'with score in hand to see the music and bring oneself closer to it's essence'. On a good system of course!
I'd love to see this piece being performed .. perhaps they will film it and more Stockhausen in the future; put it out on Blu Ray or whatever. Much of the staged stuff would work for this. And there are companies out there that specialize in these kinds of releases (opera, ballet etc.)
Like most Stockhausen, I normally just put the discs on and listen, it is as simple as that. With MOMENTE .. often sections .. sometimes the whole thing. I prefer the 1998 recorded version a little over the original .. but both are good for comparing and contrasting etc.
"The original" is an interesting idea, James. For you, I guess this means the 1972 recording with Gloria Davy. For me, "the original" MOMENTE will always mean Martina Arroyo, and not just the 1965 version that was released on record. My first experience of the work was of the 1962 version (with only the K moments, two of the M moments, and starting with the I(m) moment—the "clapping" moment), though in a performance from March 1964. This was in fact filmed, by Robert Lawrence Productions of Toronto, and broadcast on NET (today PBS) stations in the United States. I have seen this twice, but the last time was in 1967. I do not know whether the film survives, but I hope it does and will be made available one day. There is of course also Luc Ferrari's 1965 documentary film (which is marvelous), but it only includes short excerpts from the rehearsals.
That is great news, about the Wergo CD release. The Stockhausen Complete edition includes only about half of that 1965 recording. I believe that Stockhausen was against reissuing it, on grounds that it was not the complete work, and of course there are some shortcomings in the recorded sound, as well, but it nevertheless has many virtues and, as you said before, Martina Arroyo's interpretation is for many people "the original" against which any other version must be measured.
Rather than arguing over the merits of a particular version, should we not be encouraging the production of a dvd edition of the work on which it is possible to program different permissible sequences? After all that is what a mobile work is about. Or was originally, though the situation is more complicated now. In terms of modern gaming technology, this would be a walk in the park. ZYKLUS, REFRAIN, and the PLUS-MINUS scores also call out for electronic practice editions so that real conversation about alternative versions is possible.
In response to Robin's suggestion, while I agree that a DVD edition would be very welcome, I wonder how it could be made "programmable" so that the different versions could be chosen by the viewer? It is not just a matter of changing the order of the thirty constituent moments. Almost every time you change the position of a moment, the inserts must be changed in it and the surrounding moments, and reversing the order of a pair of moments often requires elements of the preceding moment to "bleed" into the following one (in some cases, this involves a sound continuing all the way through the following moment). When one insert is replaced by another, aspects of the moment into which it is inserted must be adjusted (elements may be added or left out, dynamics changed, etc.). Other variables include the option to repeat a moment, with extensive changes upon repetition, and improvised or "variable" material that is dependent on the context (including the order of moments, in some cases). To make matters even more complicated, many of the inserts in the D moments must be transposed to match the central tone of the receiving moment. It seems to me that the only way of doing this "interactively" would be to create a computer-generated performance, which would be rather contrary to the spirit of a piece composed for human musicians.
Jerry, this is like saying it would be too complicated to design a flight simulator because you would have to be able to change airports as well as manage different flying conditions. Hello, flight simulators exist. Otherwise what is the point of a conversation that boils down to "I've been on a plane. My plane took off from Seattle, so there" and the response, "Oh, my plane trip was better. The flight went smoother, it was a bigger plane, and I landed in Berlin". That's not the point. The point is the implication of the system design, which is a tree diagram allowing for different logical (or grammatical) orders. Until you have the possibility of experiencing - and comparing - the work from a number of different configurations, you are only scratching the surface, as a performer or scholar as well as a listener. I agree, a dvd configuration to deal with all the variations might be a big ask. I think it would be worth investigating all the same. KS is certainly answerable for changing the rules between conception and final realization, the same as with MIXTUR. From a marketing perspective though, a computer game version even with synthesized instruments could be attractive to a new generation of gamers and geeks.
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!