Author Topic: Stockhausen's Spaceship  (Read 342201 times)

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snyprrr

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #380 on: September 10, 2011, 07:51:05 AM »
Listening to this one again before retiring for the night ..

31.48
Helicopter String Quartet
3rd Scene of Mittwoch aus Licht


The Helikopter-Streichquartett (Helicopter String Quartet) is one such module, and forms the third scene of Mittwoch Aus Licht (Wednesday from Light). The inspiration for it came directly from a dream. Stockhausen initially had no interest in writing a string quartet when he was approached with a commission for one by Professor Hans Landesmann of the Salzburg Festival. Then he had a dream which changed his mind. In it, he flew above four helicopters, each containing a member of the string quartet. The helicopters in his dream were transparent, so he could see through them. He sketched out the dream and made some preliminary plans, but did not find the time to compose it until 1992-1993.

It is a complex work, requiring not only four helicopters who have specific flight paths and patterns they must make in the air, and string players who must be synchronized in time though separated in space, but also transmissions of live video singnals to an auditorium equipped with four columns of televisions and loudspeakers, one for each helicopter/musician. Microphones are placed on the rotator blades of the helicopter making them secondary instruments. The strings are intended to be louder in the mix than the blades. The audience watches on the monitors and listens on the speakers while all the action takes place outside and above them.

Many logistical leaps and hurtles were overcome by Stockhausen and the organizers of the first performance to make the dream a reality. I appreciate his creative willfulness and the sheer gumption that led to the work being realized. It carries an important lesson for other dreamers: sometimes it is necessary to infect others with a personal dream.

The musicality of Helikopter-Streichquartett is a dense whirlwind of grating tremolo. It begins slowly with the take off, reaching a climax at great heights where the volume between strings and helicopter blades are mixed equally, and finally ending with the descent and landing. The structure of the piece has a pleasing symmetry. - Justin Patrick


Karlheinz Stockhausen's Helikopter-Streichquartett is one of the most controversial and talked-about works of art in recent years. Composed for the Arditti Quartet and premiered at the 1995 Holland Festival, it involves the four members of a string quartet playing in four different helicopters flying through the air. The music the quartet plays is then sent to a central space and mixed at a sound board. In his film Helicopter String Quartet, Frank Scheffer documents the complex preparations in the month leading up to the premiere of this work, as well as eliciting insights from the composer regarding how he conceived and executed it. Stockhausen tells Scheffer, for example, that the idea for the work came to him in a dream he had of musicians being able to fly. He then produced a fascinatingly original score in which each instrument is written in a different color, and in which the four string lines frequently jump from one staff to the other in order to imitate birds flying in different formations. Stockhausen also analyzes the content of the work for Scheffer, in particular showing how the writing for the quartet is meant to merge with the sonic characteristics of the helicopters. Scheffer goes behind the scenes and, stage by stage, shows the enormous production needed to realize Helikopter-Streichquartett.

External links:

http://www.stockhausencds.com/Stockhausen_Edition_CD53.htm

http://www.stockhausen.org/helicopter_intro.html

http://www.stockhausen.org/heli_pg_1.html

ok, you're forcing me to put it on! ::) ;D

I always dread this, haha, but, maybe I'm in the mood today? ;) Let's listen...

snyprrr

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #381 on: September 10, 2011, 08:28:21 AM »
HELIKOPTER-QUARTETT (31:51)


0:00: turbines begin

1:57: first entry of strings

@2:45: tremolos/rotors get faster; constantly, the strings keep going up, one tone at a time...

@4:20: nice mixing of rotors and tremolos

5:16: the strings suddenly break into semi-glissandos

5:54: first entry of quasi-pizzicato

6:28: off 'beats'

6:47: first entry of vocal 'counting'; more pizz & gliss

@7:35: longer held notes (momentary)

8:27: second entry of 'counting'

9:26: new sense of tension; third entry of 'counting'

10:13: different sense of tension (lower notes?)

11:22: pizzicato

@11:50: interesting rotor-phasing sound

12:39: low cello ostinato

12:58: fourth entry of 'counting'

@13:50: squealing violin

14:30: all strings on same tone; piercing lead tone; most interesting quartet work so far

@15:30: note values begin sliding down instead of up

16:16: fifth entry of 'counting'

@17:10: some amount of stasis; very high violin, aggressive

18:26: sixth entry of 'counting'

@19:20: gliss/trem with prominent violin work

@20:26: a little sul

20:46: seventh entry of 'counting'; interesting violin glissandos

@21:20: sense that things are winding down instead of up; interesting violin work

22:22: eighth entry of 'counting'

23:30: ninth entry of 'counting'

24:32: tenth entry of 'counting'

24:46: interesting note

25:05: interesting trems

25:50: interesting moment

26:25: more stasis oriented trems; then, some wild vibrato

27:00: signal rhythms; lower tension still

@27:30: much slower feeling

@28:00: continue relaxing tension

29:00: continued relaxing of tension

@29:30: lower tones; nice viola sound; loss of any fast values

30:30: last, low, cello notes; last sound of rotors




snyprrr

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #382 on: September 10, 2011, 08:29:12 AM »
ok, you're forcing me to put it on! ::) ;D

I always dread this, haha, but, maybe I'm in the mood today? ;) Let's listen...

Community Service done for the day! ;)

Offline MDL

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #383 on: September 10, 2011, 09:02:46 AM »
Has the Conservatoire come some ways since its Director, Luigi Cherubini, blocked performances of Berlioz and since its students deliberately botched performances of Schoenberg? This curiosity -  a recording of Stockhausen's Trans, featuring the Orchestre des Etudiants du Conservatoire, would seem to suggest it. Not that the quality of the performance is substantially better when they try to do well on Stockhausen, than when they deliberately botch Schoenberg. Unless it's the music that's not that good - Stockhausen's, that is, not Schoenberg's. There is more excitement to Ernest Bour's recording, still, partly owing to audience participation, partly to a sense of mystery Bour is able to convey through the background strings, partly to an otherwordly clarity he conveys to the solo winds.



Also featured on this CD is Chausson's poem for Violin and Albert Roussel's neo-classical 4th Symphony: not all traditions are worth maintaining but Roussel is OK.

I always preferred Hans Zender's studio recording, which made much more sense of the wind and percussion writing. Although I think the resounding "clop" of Bour's loom is more effective than the rather dry sound of Zender's loom. I take it that this new recording isn't up to much, then.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2011, 03:13:59 PM by MDL »

Offline MDL

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #384 on: September 10, 2011, 10:14:02 AM »
Posted on the Official Stockhausen Site >> You may now audition and purchase Stockhausen Compact Disks using a credit card directly by visiting http://www.stockhausencds.com/


Oh, wow! Thanks for the info. I might finally get around to buying that 1998 Momente, or perhaps I'll fill in a gap in my Licht recordings. After Thursday, Saturday and Friday, where should I go? I've heard good things about Tuesday.

Offline MDL

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #385 on: September 10, 2011, 02:57:11 PM »
With regards to Licht .. i'd say get it all if you can .. it's all one extraordinary highly integrated musical world that he's created there and it's a lot of fun. Once you go into this site >> http://www.stockhausencds.com/ .. just click on any album cover and samples are provided.

I've just discovered the samples. They're absolutely amazing! I've been out partying tonight and am a bit, ahem, refreshed, but I plan to spend most of tomorrow clicking through the hundreds (thousands?) of samples. My poor other half.
What I've heard of Tuesday sounds fantastic!

Offline MDL

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #386 on: September 11, 2011, 02:03:12 PM »
Dienstag/Tuesday (the day of War) is the most concise .. and it's a blast! Pure fun. The Licht cycle builds and mounts in complexity and has a wide expressive range; tho musically it's unified and is generated from a single series (or "formula" as he calls it) .. and after years of listening to it, I'd say that within Licht there are many masterpieces; Mittwoch & Sonntag are perhaps the apex of the cycle .. being the most diverse and complex of the lot. Mittwoch seems to reflect the complexity & hussle/bussle of the modern world with it's machines, technology, politics, nature .. while Sonntag is more like a serene calm after the storm, a parting of the clouds .. and it has a very devotional, spiritual and ceremonial vibe to it - like a celestial cosmic mass of sorts .. 'this vibe' to a certain extent carries over into the Klang cycle aswell.

The extracts from Tuesday's Greeting really intrigued me. I have the LP of Jahreslauf and have heard Oktophonie; obviously their Tuesday incarnations are quite different. I was also very impressed by what I heard of Monday, an opera I'm totally ignorant about.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #387 on: September 17, 2011, 07:50:52 AM »
Best thing to do is let ol' Fruit Loops run his mouth and simply ignore him. That's what I've been doing, James, and it's worked wonders.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Robert

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #388 on: September 17, 2011, 07:54:40 AM »
Um yea .. see? This just isn't constructive at all, and no .. i'm not going to even bother responding to your accusations either. I'd rather stay on topic. Back to the music ..

James your in OVERLOAD.....YOU HAVE CRAMMED SO MUCH INFORMATION , I AM HAVING TOUBLE BREATHING.......

snyprrr

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #389 on: September 20, 2011, 04:29:38 PM »
Quartet-playing in a helicopter is the type of a bad idea - bad idea because it is mostly unrealizable, in terms of the logistics (the long negotiations with military and civil authorities required for the first performance), the costs, and the safety of musicians, pilots and spectators underneath. There are also issues relating to the difficulties for four musicians to play their parts in sync, when they are playing in separate locations - granted, the Arditti kids have pulled it off nicely. Lastly (if I am not missing anything), playing well in the narrow space of an helicopter would be complicated if the helicopter were on the ground: here, the helicopter is moving and though, true enough, I never have had a helicopter ride, they sure don't look like they have the smooth stability of airplanes in good weather.

It would be disingenuous to claim the music, as music - the string parts - is bad; indeed, it reminds us that Stockhausen, all through his many experiments (failed or successful), his Dada-inspired antics, his obsessions with electronics, his borrowals from California-Style happenings, his multi-cultural dabblings and New Age mimicry of religious fervor, remained essentially a composer. But it isn't particularly original, either, as it does no more than to hover (no pun intended) in between the world of Ligeti, and the world of 1960's Penderecki, who did not need helicopters, machines or goofy-sounding voices to achieve novelty, as he knew how to wrest new sounds out of these old instruments, - violins, violas, and cellos. Perhaps Stockhausen's gimmicks and experiments of the 1960's and beyond were reflective of a desperate effort at re-enacting the creativity and the originality he had attained during the glory days of Integral Serialism and of Gruppen - a creativity and an originality that subsequently have often eluded him.

As I was timing out the piece, I was thinking how this piece isn't really all THAT bad,... I think I would like to have heard only the string parts though. I think it would have worked that way, if KHS just did it as 'Impression' rather than as 'Fact'.

The whole trajectory of the piece is interesting... I recall doing a really stupid art project, but, once I got into the actual IDEA of it (this SQ came from a dream), it became as this piece,... tailored to its own specifications. Still, it seems a lot of work for pure vanity, no? As an ACT, it is impressive, as you say, logistically, but, as 'music' (or... whaaatever) it does seem to be lacking. My mother overheard...mm... not good!! :o

I might not wait another three years to listen again! ;) ;D

Offline MDL

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #390 on: September 20, 2011, 10:07:54 PM »
But it isn't particularly original, either, as it does no more than to hover (no pun intended) in between the world of Ligeti, and the world of 1960's Penderecki, who did not need helicopters, machines or goofy-sounding voices to achieve novelty, as he knew how to wrest new sounds out of these old instruments, - violins, violas, and cellos.

My thoughts exactly when listening to this piece. The goofy (hah!) count-shouts are just annoying and the string writing is an extended remix of the type of sliding, drifting material he used to far greater effect in Carré.

snyprrr

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #391 on: September 21, 2011, 04:10:13 AM »
Yea he never really had a natural affinity for string instruments (they never sparked his creative juices & imagination) .. but one aspect of his thinking was that he was always fascinated with creating a perfect harmony between traditional instruments and noises of daily life, live mixing, time & space - so in that regard it's a tremendous success. The strings blend, imitate and interact with the musical characteristics of the rotors .. playing Licht material polyphonically aswell .. it's a wild, fun multi-media scene from the Weds. opera .. and only KS could pull off something like this .. he was a brave & fearless creator and opened so many doors ..

Yes.

Offline MDL

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #392 on: September 21, 2011, 01:43:26 PM »
Carré is entirely different, ..

Of course it's different in some ways, but I think that a skilled music student could strip out 30 seconds of the string writing of Carré and cobble together something not unlike the entire Quartet.

Offline MDL

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #393 on: September 23, 2011, 06:50:38 AM »
Impossible.

Ha-ha! Oh, James, you old grump, you're being far too literal.

snyprrr

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #394 on: September 24, 2011, 07:30:09 AM »
Ha-ha! Oh, James, you old grump, you're being far too literal.

 :D

Offline petrarch

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #395 on: September 24, 2011, 03:49:51 PM »
Ha-ha! Oh, James, you old grump, you're being far too literal.

That may be, but don't let any superficial sonic or textural similarities in both works fool you into thinking they are "the same". Outside the rotor sound inspiration, the sound in motion idea and the use of four "layers", the process and intent are quite different (these facets are shared to some extent with other works, e.g. Kontakte--and no one would claim it sounds the same as Carré).
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snyprrr

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #396 on: September 26, 2011, 07:51:16 PM »
That may be, but don't let any superficial sonic or textural similarities in both works fool you into thinking they are "the same". Outside the rotor sound inspiration, the sound in motion idea and the use of four "layers", the process and intent are quite different (these facets are shared to some extent with other works, e.g. Kontakte--and no one would claim it sounds the same as Carré).

How do you feel about Der Helikopter uartette?,... seriously?

Offline petrarch

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #397 on: September 30, 2011, 06:51:27 PM »
How do you feel about Der Helikopter uartette?,... seriously?

It is certainly one of the most extravagant ideas for a work I have ever seen--although sonically it is not that interesting as a quartet (or, to put it another way, I'd rather listen to other pieces if I want to delight on the sounds being extracted from the string quartet). I like it, though, most probably because my exposure to it was through Frank Scheffer's film in the late 90s, which gives it some behind-the-scenes context.
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Offline petrarch

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #398 on: October 01, 2011, 05:55:37 AM »
He had the ears, technological know-how & a scientific level of writing to pull it all off.

Hmmm, no. You could say that of Xenakis, but not of Stockhausen. If you read his articles--e.g. starting with How time passes...--you'll see that the scientific basis is very thin; what we have is a pseudo-science with home-grown terminology, concepts and inferences behind a façade of rigor and thoroughness that is as arbitrary and fanciful as most other creative endeavors. But he was a creative and imaginative genius, that he was.
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Offline petrarch

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #399 on: October 01, 2011, 04:15:41 PM »
You've misunderstood what I ment. I was talking about the science of writing. Not any scientific basis.

I have no idea what you mean there.

Tho even there, I think Stockhausen's work illustrates that even in that regard he was more informed, diverse & experimental in spades.

That is a joke, right?

Xenakis's writing & musical conception does not even approach the level of musicality, forensic insight, refinement & clarity you hear with Stockhausen.

Some of those are subjective; in any case, when I listen to Xenakis I don't want it to sound like Stockhausen (and vice-versa).
//p
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