Author Topic: Stockhausen's Spaceship  (Read 341946 times)

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Offline Kaiser

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #180 on: April 11, 2010, 05:47:29 PM »
Glad to hear you found that LP; pre-1970 Stockhausen is overall very very good. If you're really into vinyl, you should try to find Hymnen or Kurzwellen on LP.

I will keep my eyes out for those. Actually, I've come to the conclusion that just about any Stockhausen vinyl I bump into that is not insanely expensive is coming home with me! Would it be true enough to figure that post-1970 Stockhausen is more "hit and miss"? I know the whole idea of tackling his "Licht" project in its entirety is enough to give me the willies for sure. I'm more likely to check out certain pieces based on reviews here and elsewhere.
--------- Chris
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Offline petrarch

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #181 on: April 12, 2010, 05:21:55 AM »
I will keep my eyes out for those. Actually, I've come to the conclusion that just about any Stockhausen vinyl I bump into that is not insanely expensive is coming home with me! Would it be true enough to figure that post-1970 Stockhausen is more "hit and miss"? I know the whole idea of tackling his "Licht" project in its entirety is enough to give me the willies for sure. I'm more likely to check out certain pieces based on reviews here and elsewhere.
--------- Chris

Yes, in my opinion post-1970 Stockhausen is a lot more miss than hit. Some of the hits are e.g. Mantra and Natürliche Dauern.

I find LICHT in general to be unpalatable except for Mittwoch and some of the instrumental or orchestral works; the vocal stuff is abhorrent and the electronic (other than that in Mittwoch, that is) really needs to be listened to in concert--on CD it is just plain cheesy and timbrally flat.

KLANG seems to be a bit better. I absolutely love Natürliche Dauern, which sounds like a return to the good piano writing of the 50s and 60s Klavierstücke; Freude is also quite good; the vocal works with electronic music like Havona or Urantia don't do it for me; Cosmic Pulses, the big electronic work from KLANG, falls into the timbrally cheesy and flat category--though I concede it should be impressive in concert.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2010, 05:24:43 AM by petrArch »
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Offline Kaiser

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #182 on: April 14, 2010, 10:17:44 AM »
Thank you both James and petrArch! I appreciate the varied perspectives you have offered and will seek out the pieces you have mentioned. What I am finding most compelling about what Stockhausen I've heard thus far is the "other-ness" of the music. It is quite unlike anything else I've encountered which is stimulating! Being a fan of the music of Miles Davis' electric period, it is fascinating to consider how that music was informed by Stockhausen's influence (Miles was an outspoken admirer of Stockhausen). Following the link James provided for LICHT, I was surprised to read of the connection to and influence of the famed Urantia Book (which I never read myself, but have heard of through the music of Jaco Pastorius and others). I imagine Stockhausen was quite taken with this book to have constructed a 29-hour opus as a reaction to it. I can't say that I am keen on reading it myself - I'd rather spend the time listening to the music in fact. In this regard, Stockhausen reminds me a bit of Sun Ra. One doesn't need to buy into the philosophy in order to appreciate the music inspired by that philosophy.
------------ Chris
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Offline CRCulver

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #183 on: April 14, 2010, 12:21:55 PM »
I imagine Stockhausen was quite taken with this book to have constructed a 29-hour opus as a reaction to it.

Though I've forgotten his name, there's a composer who was a student of Stockhausen in the mid-1970s, and he says that Stockhausen's lectures at that point had become little more than tedious readings from the Urantia Book. That Stockhausen was "quite taken with the book" is an understatement.

Offline CRCulver

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #184 on: April 14, 2010, 05:18:24 PM »
Chris ... that entry in wiki is flat out incorrect, Licht is not based on the Urantia book. He didn't discover that book until later...

While LICHT is indeed not based on the Urantia Book, Stockhausen had discovered the book by the early 1970s, well before he began work on LICHT.

Offline Kaiser

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #185 on: April 15, 2010, 02:01:12 AM »
Chris ... that entry in wiki is flat out incorrect, Licht is not based on the Urantia book. He didn't discover that book until later .. and he merely used some of the unique names found in the book to title some of the later Klang cycle pieces, there is no deep significance or connection beyond that.

Ah! Thanks for clearing that up. I suppose wiki being what it is helped to confuse matters. Still pretty fascinating stuff in both cases.
---------- Chris
"Music is organized sound" - Edgard Varese

Offline petrarch

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #186 on: May 08, 2010, 12:34:05 PM »


This brilliant performance was recorded in 1983 in consultation with the composer.

Worth mentioning that there's also the reference recording of the work on SV (CD 12), containing two studio recordings (1969 and 1982) by the Collegium Vocale Köln (for whom the work was composed) under the supervision of Stockhausen.
 


The score is a good complement to the CD, as beyond the notation it also details the overall formal scheme and all the models used. Some of this information is contained in the extensive liner notes on the SV CD.
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Offline petrarch

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #187 on: May 08, 2010, 02:15:48 PM »
A couple of weeks ago I got a bunch of SV CDs (my third bulk order from the Verlag), including CD66, Mittwochs-Gruss.

This is another CD containing electronic music from Licht (like CD41 or CD49), this one taken from Mittwoch aus Licht. The electronic music contained here is used in Michaelion, scene 4 from the opera, a work for choir, voices and ensemble.

Following a previous thread where I discussed my disappointment with Cosmic Pulses and some of the other electronic music works taken from Licht (like Oktophonie from Dienstag or Elektronische Musik mit Tonszenen from Freitag) I am happy to say that Mittwochs-Gruss fares much better. There are still some boring sections, but overall the timbres are less bland than those in the other works. A worthwhile 55 minutes of listening.

One other CD I also ordered was CD55, which contains Mittwochs-Abschied, another electronic music work from Mittwoch.

This is the electronic and concrete music used in Orchester-Finalisten, scene 2 from the opera. As discussed in the thread mentioned above, Orchester-Finalisten is a work I like very much, especially for the ambience and atmosphere provided by the concrete sounds; given that Mittwochs-Abschied is everything in it but the instrument parts, it is indeed a truly enjoyable 44 minutes of listening.

Mittwoch is really the only opera from Licht that I can listen to without cringing.

 
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Offline petrarch

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #188 on: May 08, 2010, 03:56:16 PM »
I have both of those ... quite sick, tho personally I think I prefer the electronic music from Dienstag's 2nd Act (Oktophonie), very powerful, but especially Freitag w/ sound scenes. I just enjoy the music & sound of those a lot.

Just curious petrArch, it's a lot to take in (29hrs) but what (if any) would be your "Licht Highlights"? ... (besides the things from Mittwoch you have already mentioned)

What I can't definitely swallow are the works with voice (but then even Momente is difficult for my taste), so bar some notable exceptions I'll usually take any solo, small ensemble or orchestra works. I don't find piano pieces XV-XVII interesting or captivating like I do I-XI, and XII-XIV are passable (however I do like Natürliche Dauern from Klang very much, which proved to me that Stockhausen could still write great piano music almost 50 years later).

As for highlights, it's difficult for me to say what stands out from Licht, other than (coincidentally) the works in Mittwoch, although Welt-Parlament falls in the not my cup of tea category. To me, Licht is just a haze of notes (of the musical kind), text and mythology that sometimes combine into interesting music. And that which is interesting has to be taken in their isolated releases (the variety of transcriptions provides plenty of material to explore); I would never buy the box sets of each of the operas (well, maybe Mittwoch, if it was available--I already have a full performance of it on mp3).

There is something about the formulas in Licht that doesn't appeal to my ear. It's probably a combination of factors that makes those works far less palatable than generally those up to Mantra. And there's a whole lot of more interesting music composed in the late 70s and through the 80s and 90s.
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Offline petrarch

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #189 on: May 09, 2010, 03:41:30 AM »
(...) tho personally I think I prefer the electronic music from Dienstag's 2nd Act (Oktophonie), very powerful, but especially Freitag w/ sound scenes. I just enjoy the music & sound of those a lot.

I'll give those two a listen this afternoon. It's been close to 10 years since I got those CDs and I must confess I played them only 2 or 3 times when I got them but never since; perhaps I'll be able to listen to them with different ears now and that'll rehabilitate them to my pantheon of Stockhausen's electronic music.
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Offline petrarch

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Listened to Oktophonie again
« Reply #190 on: May 09, 2010, 06:37:25 AM »
This was probably the first time I heard Oktophonie on a high-end system (when I got the CD in 2001 I only had a small system and listened to most of this stuff on headphones) so today I was able to listen to it at a reasonably high volume and enjoy the expansive sound stage.

My earlier judgment still applies to some extent (long, boring, largely unengaging timbrally), however there were sections that stood out and sparked some much needed interest:

1. The Eva segment followed by the counting 1-7 tracks (tracks 32 and 33 on the CD).
2. The Pietà 9 minute bridge on part 2 (tracks 54-58 on the CD).

The rest hovers between long/boring and barely passable. One of the things that detracts from my enjoyment is how the various changes in the action (klangbombes et al) sound too foreign and break the overall flow, feeling more like inserts and interruptions. As I mentioned before, the stereo reduction is probably not making the music any justice; it surely makes a lot more sense when listened to in concert with the spatialization properly perceived as integral to the music.

I think the Eva segment stood out because it felt like a relieving lull after 16 minutes of stuff happening all over the place--the long, wavering and arbitrary glissandi, those unfortunate metallic interjections, the relentless pedal all give way to a more sonically ethereal section. However, that doesn't last long as track 34 brings us back to where we were before.

At least the Pietà is a reasonably long uninterrupted segment that is more cohesive and very enjoyable.



I have the electronic music CD from Freitag now playing and I have to agree, it is better than Oktophonie.
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Offline MDL

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #191 on: May 09, 2010, 10:37:05 AM »
Has anybody heard the 1998 version of Momente? I love the previous two versions, especially the longer 1972 recording, and I'm thinking of trying to get over my phobia of ordering from the Stockhausen Verlag to hear this performance. How does it measure up?


CD 80   MOMENTE / MOMENTS for soprano, four choir groups and thirteen instrumentalists
Version 1998 (2 CDs)

Offline petrarch

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #192 on: May 09, 2010, 12:43:59 PM »
I noticed in your collection you have the Synthi-Fou set, how is that?

The first CD has a solo synthesizer version of Synthi-Fou, "for study purposes only", then Synthi-Fou/Klavierstück XV proper, for synthesizer and electronic music, then Dienstag-Abschied, for choir, synthesizer and electronic music. The second CD has separate recordings of each of the sounds used in Synthi-Fou.

Klavierstück XV works slightly better than the electronic music as presented in isolation in Oktophonie or the solo synthesizer part, because there is a much better sense of integration and development (ignoring for the moment the poor "ROMpler"-like timbres used throughout). I don't care for the version with choir--makes me want to go back to Scelsi's Uaxuctum to listen to great writing for choir ;).
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Offline petrarch

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #193 on: May 09, 2010, 01:05:30 PM »
Licht has a lot of instrumental sections, bits, pieces, fragments, layers, transcriptions for a variety of forces, plenty of mondo bitchin' solos (prominently for brass & wind instruments, which I prefer to other instruments generally) etc.

Yes, I know :). I am moving to Hong Kong in August and before I go I intend to stock up on the instrumental Stockhausen from Licht (roughly what I'm missing from the Verlag) and some of the solo and ensemble scores.
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Offline petrarch

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Re: Listened to Oktophonie again
« Reply #194 on: May 11, 2010, 05:20:30 PM »
I have the electronic music CD from Freitag now playing and I have to agree, it is better than Oktophonie.

It is way better. I am surprised at how much I enjoyed listening to this over the weekend (and how much I didn't 9 years ago, leading to a perhaps premature dismissal). In the meantime I got the full Freitag on FLAC and I must say that I am tempted to get the box set to have the Gruss and Abschied in their original form, that is without the "interruptions" of each of the sound scenes as presented on the double CD (in the opera version those two sections flow very well). I seemed to detect (on a cursory listening) some slight mixing differences, but that might be my memory playing tricks between critical and casual listening.

I am not totally sold on the timbres used (here we go again), but here the thing actually sort of works. I am very happy to have "discovered" this properly now and that I got those CDs on rotation after being dormant for almost a decade. Now, to explore the middle sections of Freitag :-\...
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Offline petrarch

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #195 on: May 11, 2010, 05:42:10 PM »
So it looks like Freitag repeats the electronic music of Gruss and Abschied twice. Basically, the 1st act adds the sound scenes and real scenes on top of the electronic music for Gruss, and the 2nd act adds sound scenes and real scenes on top of Abschied.

Thus between the quadruple CD of the opera and the double CD of the electronic music with sound scenes we have 3 versions each of Freitags-Gruss and Freitags-Abschied: 1. plain (just the electronic music without the prerecorded inserts, aka sound scenes), on CDs 1 and 4 of the opera; 2. with sound scenes, on the double CD; 3. with sound scenes and real scenes (the instrumental and vocal parts), on CDs 2 and 3 of the opera.

At 70 + 79 minutes times 3, it is a lot of material with the same foundation. However each of the variants seems to work well on its own, making it worthwhile to have both the opera and the double CD without any fears of duplication and redundancy.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2010, 05:49:23 PM by petrArch »
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Offline petrarch

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #196 on: May 12, 2010, 08:49:46 AM »
There is also a disc in the Stockhausen edition that just has the sound scenes/couples on their own.

To be clear, that disc has the real scenes, not the sound scenes/couples.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freitag_aus_Licht

While the wikipedia entry has some basic information about the opera, I recommend the book Other Planets by Robin Maconie for in-depth information about Stockhausen's whole oeuvre. It is in fact an updated revision of his 1976 text Works of Karlheinz Stockhausen, brought up-to-date with the works composed since then, including Licht. It has extensive coverage of Freitag and all of its constituent parts and their variants.
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Offline petrarch

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #197 on: May 12, 2010, 01:16:55 PM »
Edition 48 is the 12 sound scenes/couples layer on it's own

Indeed it is. I had thought I had seen it somewhere, but then reading the Freitag chapter on Maconie I saw no mention of SV48, just 65 (besides 49 and 50, of course).

And regarding Klang, I am glad that cycle is devoid of any gratuitous, sometimes silly and camp, other times pretentious, mythology mixed with personal references.
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Offline petrarch

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #198 on: May 17, 2010, 03:38:44 PM »
I gave Welt-Parlament and Sonntag a shot this weekend. I know what is grating to my ears, now: It's the operatic vibrato. Stockhausen should have notated all of the vocal parts with a senza vibrato sempre in the manner of some Nono scores.

Welt-Parlament is interesting enough that I will likely buy the CD, so it is another piece that confirms that Mittwoch is indeed to my liking.

Sonntag has exceedingly good instrumental writing, perhaps because I really enjoy this type of sparse instrumental textures; I kept wishing that the voices be taken out, though ;). Lichter-Wasser and Licht-Bilder may grow on me just based on the instrumental writing--the clear, straight sound of the voices alleviates some of my distaste for them; didn't care much for Engel-Prozessionen; Düfte-Zeichen and Hoch-Zeiten fare better, there's indeed some great potential there; Sonntags-Abschied unfortunately didn't really engage me, the same material is vastly more interesting in Hoch-Zeiten (although I would love to listen to the version for soloist and tape, aka Klavierstück XIX).

I'll probably add another 4 CDs to my next order: Lichter-Wasser, Licht-Bilder, Düfte-Zeichen and Hoch-Zeiten.
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Offline petrarch

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #199 on: May 17, 2010, 04:44:36 PM »
I think there are 3 versions of Hoch-Zeiten, one that's just orchestra, one that's just choir, & one that is choir & orchestra.

The versions just for orchestra and just for choir are for study purposes only. The version with both is the "true" version, with the orchestra and choir parts performed simultaneously but in different venues, with sound from the other venue being projected and mixed in live. The audience is supposed to change rooms when the work ends, and listen to it again but from the other room.

I now have all 7 operas on the computer and will be checking them out systematically and gauging whether they are worth buying. I am definitely ordering those 4 out of the 6 Sonntag CDs.

Over the weekend I heard some of Klang's Paradies and it was pretty awesome ... what sorta irks me is that it's issued on a single disc, the piece is roughly 18 minutes long, and the rest of the disc is filled out with what? The electronic music itself? and? Couldn't they just group some of these shorter Klang pieces together on a single release for chrissakes. Poor planning imo.

Can you point me to it? I've been trying to find it just to check what it sounds like, although I imagine the electronics will be based on Cosmic Pulses.
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