Author Topic: Stockhausen's Spaceship  (Read 393372 times)

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Online Mandryka

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #1400 on: January 29, 2021, 05:55:03 AM »


Listening to Oktophanie today what occurred to me is what an extraordinary writer Stockhausen was for voice. What I mean is, somehow all his work work with electronics inspired him to imagine new vocalities, new vocal sonorities.

I suppose it’s only to be expected that, when you have fundamentally new instrumental music, that has an impact on vocal music. Think Monteverdi.

Oktophanie goes deep, I would say, it’s deep music. Music from Mars Syrius.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2021, 06:10:12 AM by Mandryka »
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #1401 on: January 30, 2021, 09:02:52 AM »
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #1402 on: January 31, 2021, 02:59:40 PM »
Listening to Hymnen 3 tonight. This is a very very impressive piece of music. More than that!
« Last Edit: January 31, 2021, 03:17:34 PM by Mandryka »
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #1403 on: February 07, 2021, 01:17:25 PM »
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/8-ykiTrP7dA&amp;ab_channel=Royaumont" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/8-ykiTrP7dA&amp;ab_channel=Royaumont</a>

Enjoying this choreographed performance of Inori here. I read in Maconie that it was initially intended to be one dancer, but people said the movements looked random, so he added a second to make it clear that everything is planned!
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Offline Hans Holbein

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #1404 on: April 13, 2021, 08:16:08 PM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eDgIaJtCk4

Stockhausen: "Montag aus Licht" ("Monday of Light") documentary (1988) (English)

A half-hour documentary about the music and staging of "Montag aus Licht"

Offline Cato

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #1405 on: April 14, 2021, 05:50:35 AM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eDgIaJtCk4

Stockhausen: "Montag aus Licht" ("Monday of Light") documentary (1988) (English)

A half-hour documentary about the music and staging of "Montag aus Licht"


Concerning Montag aus Licht....




I have translated an article from the German magazine Der Spiegel from around 1987.  (Exact issue date is gone.)

Note it is written by the editor himself.


"With Hitler and a Bow-Wow into Cloud-Cuckoo-Land

Spiegel Editor Klaus Umbach on Karlheinz Stockhausen’s new opera Montag aus Licht

Like a lord, with curly hair down to his shoulders, he sits enthroned in the glow of spotlights 5 meters above the earthly stage.  His bright shirt is colorfully knitted, his trousers blossom white.  You cannot help but look at him: Karlheinz Stockhausen, 59, a figure of En-Light-enment for the contemporary electronic music scene.

With big eyes full of transfigured delight, this composer on the podium of the Cologne Philharmonic, a man who spiritually is able “to leave my body and observe it as if it were an automobile,” pursues a kind of neocreation of creativity: his work.  And he saw, that it was good.

Among “21 musical performers,”, small ensembles of singers, children’s choirs, traditional and electronic sound generators, among the cries of babies, goats bleating, and the beat of a cuckoo clock, 3 women named after the primeval mother Eve shriek through a squadron of giant loudspeakers “Huvva Luhudens” and “Akka Aditi”, at which point a choir, after a hymn to God as an “immeasurable Intelligence” monosyllabically chants a response: “Michi Michikiki niminimi.”

Then a “Birthday Aria” (“Parrot aye Parakeet Bow Wow!”) is to be understood, according to a published exegesis by Stockhausen himself, that Heaven has bestowed Life to 7 “Animal boys” and to 7 Dwarfs: “Luci-cat, Wee-wee-grimace, Penis-treasure, Birdie-boobs, Johnny Top, Manny-Tickle-Deer, and Little Brat.”

In grateful joy: 3 sailors gargle – according to the score – the sounds “a---öäua aö oöa oa ua” and then “ruketu Urt Werdani,” spitting out the water in high arches.

Up until then it had been a really colorful evening!

But then Hell bursts out in Stockhausen’s Eden.  Luci-Polyp steps out in the forms of 2 Beelzebubs and rattles down the alphabet “from A-fa and Be-fa to Upsilon-fa and Zee-fa.” Then an alarm clock goes off, and Adolf Hitler snores an historic O-tone, so that “we shoot back to 5:45 A.M.,” a crowd of men shout “Hail!” and a toilet flushes from an 8-track tape directed by 40 channels of sound.  Aha!  Creation is excrement, the miscarriage must go through the toilet back to a mother’s lap.

On to something new: a flock of lovely maidens prophesies “sea Samudra Ice,” apparently the code of an exotic genetic technology.  Because immediately a pair of rough chords occur on Eva’s Steinway (“Fertilization with Piano Piece”), the birth proceeds (“frai dai dai vae”) crazily fast, and already they are in the world of Karlheinz Stockhausen: “seven boys of the days,” “healthier and more beautiful human beings,” monstrosities of a composing visionary, who long ago lifted off into the cloud-cuckoo-land of his own crazy-quilted private philosophy.

So (“sonono nononono no”) this is the way things have been screaming with birth-pangs since 1977, and it will continue in installments until the next century, if the powers of inspiration remain whole for the creator.  Then it shall completely enlighten mankind: Stockhausen’s LIGHT, the most monumental and monomaniacal undertaking in Western Musical History, a cycle of operas structured and named after the days of the week, 5 times greater than all of Beethoven’ symphonies together, and at more than 30 hours a Colossus of Time, compared to which Wagner’s Ring tetralogy is a “a cute little chamber opera” (the newspaper Kölnische Rundschau).

At the beginning of April Stockhausen oversaw at the control panel the concert premiere of his latest piece Montag aus Licht.  On Saturday of this week Michael Bogdanov, Hamburg’s designated theater director, is arranging a premiere at La Scala of Donnerstag aus Licht via his previous London staging.

For over 4 hours this syllabic and sibylline  “Play of Light” winds around out of the incense from Poona and Oberammergau, from the Bible, legends, the vocabulary of children’s books, and the coffee grounds of Erich von Däniken (Note: a pseudo-scientist who claimed he had evidence of extra-terrestrial landings in ancient times), leading to the heights of the Bergisch Land and Kürten 5067 (Note: Stockhausen’s town and zip code), where Stockhausen has his center, a man who claims “not to be necessarily identical to Stockhausen the composer.”

Here at the address of Kettenberg 15, a green hill of electronic music astrology, he could listen in on “the 12 melodies of the zodiac”  as well as perceiving the vibrations of Sirius, the “central sun of our area of the Universe,” over 8.7 light-years away, “the highest form of oscillations,” under whose influence he went from new-sound revolutionary to a new-age softie, and from a philharmonic terror of the middle-class to the supernova of a messianically turned community.

Whether as a pioneer at the podium or the music mixer or as Heaven’s loudspeaker, he always stood at the center.  His work Kreuzspiel caused a scandal in 1952 at the Darmstadt New Music Festival.  His Gesang der Jünglinge almost became a classic.  He created by his won estimation the first works of purely electronic music in 19534 at the WDR studios.  The Beatles even honored him with his portrait on the album cover of Sergeant Pepper.  The Distinguished Service Cross Winner of the Republic of Germany once represented the brotherhood of the musical avant-garde in Bonn’s Villa Hammerschmidt and in Lebanon for a German cultural exposition.  During Expo 1970 in Osaka 21 soloists offered his new German sounds in a round auditorium for 5 1/2 hours per day over 183 days, and more than a million fair visitors listened enchanted to this new kind of permanent wave from Germany.

In Amsterdam, as late as 1985, according to a Stuttgart newspaper, “Stockhausen would draw more people than Karajan.”  And last year the composer’s son and trumpeter Markus even promoted his father in East Germany.

But the more frequently Stockhausen has directed ear into the Universe from his high throne his artistic sense to ideas on salvation, the more persistently he has destroyed his regular position as Germany’s #1 composer, which he quite rightly deserved as a revolutionary of the new and as a grandiose craftsman.

To be sure, even in the 3-act Montag aus Licht there are still some trace elements of his sonic inspiration in evidence, especially in the exquisite mixture of voices, synthesizers, and noises, even in the songs without words, which the bassett-horn player Suzanne Stephens and flautist Kathinka Pasveer perform with virtuoso elegance.

But unpleasantly there is nothing else of interest in this score, and it even becomes unsettling to realize: when it gets loud, it sounds like Orff, and when it gets soft, it moans like Cats, and if it keeps going like this, if Sonntag aus Licht is to be expected in the year 2002 as developing this trend, we can expect the world to beam in C major!

This whole musical-theatrical spectacle becomes embarrassing first through its “text-action-stew” (quote from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) with which “total artwork creator” (Gesamtkunstwerker) Stockhausen waters down his musical message, and it makes no difference, as composer and critic Dietmar Polaczek wonders, whether “lower Rhine peasant Buddhism” or “tantric-lamaistic monastic Catholicism” is befogging Stockhausen’s sensibilities.

In any case, his community of believers can be seized by the metaphysical smoke from Kürten, and even the Hamburg newspaper Die Zeit ("The Times") gives the prayer wheel a spin: this work LICHT, said the newspaper in all seriousness about the unfinished work, might be a new type of evangelization, a type of Apocalypse of Karlheinz, and between Hitler, Bow-Wow, and a parakeet (“who attempts to whistle the Marseillaise” according to the score) arises “the art of composing as a new sacrament of the new human in a new, transformed Universe.”

There, in this new ivory-tower full of thoroughly senseless “Times-liness”, the Guru from Bergisch Land “would like to be allowed to make music with planets and moons and roaring groups of planets and suns and moons.”

Really, it’s almost tragic: while Karlheinz Stockhausen, the searcher for God, treks down the Milky Way of the Cosmos with his retinue, the composer of the same name has been going down backward on the wrong road for a long time."



One can debate whether Klaus Umbach's negative review, not just of this opera, but of Stockhausen's later career and intention to create 7 such operas, was on target.
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Offline Rex

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #1406 on: April 16, 2021, 04:43:24 PM »
LOL - Klaus Umbach deserves to join the estimable list of great critics such as:

August von Kotzebue:  “Recently there was given the overture to Beethoven’s opera Fidelio, and all impartial musicians and music lovers were in perfect agreement that never was anything as incoherent, shrill, chaotic and ear-splitting produced in music. The most piercing dissonances clash in a really atrocious harmony, and a few puny ideas only increase the disagreeable and deafening effect.”

Some London critic complaining that in Beethoven’s Ninth:  “Szforzandos, Crescendos, Accelerandos, and many other Os [would] call up from their peaceful graves…Handel and Mozart, to witness and deplore the obstreperous roarings of modern frenzy in their art.”

John Ruskin: “Beethoven always sounds to me like the upsetting of bags of nails, with here and there also a dropped hammer.”
GB Shaw on Brahms Requiem: “It’s so execrably and ponderously dull . . . “

The admirable Edouard Hanslick: “Bülow began with Liszt’s B-minor Sonata. It is impossible to convey through words an idea of this musical monstrosity. Never have I experienced a more contrived and insolent agglomeration of the most disparate elements, a wilder rage, a bloodier battle against all that is musical. At first I felt bewildered, then shocked, and finally overcome with irresistible hilarity… Here all criticism, all discussion must cease. Who has heard that, and finds it beautiful, is beyond help.”

. . . and again on Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto: “We see plainly the savage vulgar faces, we hear curses, we smell vodka. … Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto gives us for the first time the hideous notion that there can be music that stinks to the ear.”

J.L Klein: “… [t]his reveling in the destruction of all tonal essence, raging satanic fury in the orchestra, this demoniacal lewd caterwauling, scandal-mongering, gun-toting music … the darling of feeble-minded royalty, …of the court flunkeys covered with reptilian slime, and of the blasé hysterical female court parasites … inflated, in an insanely destructive self-aggrandizement, by Mephistopheles’ mephitic and most venomous hellish miasma, into Beelzebub’s Court Composer and General Director of Hell’s Music—Wagner!”

Some critic from the Berlin Tribune on Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde: “… sounds as if a bomb had fallen into a large music factory and thrown all the notes into confusion”
Nicolai Soloviev: “Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto, like the first pancake, is a flop”

W.L. Hubbard: “M. Debussy wrote three tonal pictures under the general title of The Sea… It is safe to say that few understood what they heard and few heard anything they understood… There are no themes distinct and strong enough to be called themes. There is nothing in the way of even a brief motif that can be grasped securely enough by the ear and brain to serve as a guiding line through the tonal maze. There is no end of queer and unusual effects in orchestration, no end of harmonic combinations and progressions that are so unusual that they sound hideously ugly.”

Carlo Bersezio on Puccini’s La Boheme: “. . . will leave no great trace upon the history of our lyric theatre”

Karl Plodin on Sibelius’ Violin Concerto: “… far too complex, far too busy, dark and dingy.”

And of course the list could go on for a very long time.
Thank God we have these great minds to guide us through the stormy seas of contemporary music!

Offline Rex

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #1407 on: April 16, 2021, 05:33:15 PM »
For me, Stockhausen’s compositions remain among the most profound and intellectually stimulating of musical history.

Regarding his spirituality, I am a deeply sceptical when it comes to unfounded belief, especially when it is belief propped up by little more than convention!

However, I don’t find Stockhausen’s spiritual beliefs any  more strange than the idea of a virgin giving birth - elephants flying through the air at the birth of a boy destined to be a spiritual saviour - walking on water - eating the somehow magically transformed flesh, and drinking the blood, of a man crucified centuries ago, as some kind of spiritual epiphany  - cows as being particularly holy and being revered over other animals - that the Red Sea parted - that the God of this uncomprehendingly vast universe chose this tiny bit of orbiting rock to manifest on (and I have only touched on the very surface of some of the most generally accepted beliefs).

I don’t relate to the idea that the tortured death of one man somehow redeems the sins of the world - and yet Bach’s St Matthew Passion still inspires me and moves me profoundly.

I think the idea of a giant turned into a dragon who gets killed by a jumped up oaf of a boy is absurd - but I still thrill to the music of Siegfried.

I couldn’t possibly believe that God created all that is in 6 days, with a day of rest - but I can still delight in Haydn’s Creation.

And so it is with Stockhausen. I have no need to subscribe to his spiritual beliefs (which may or may not be as true as any others), to be able to be moved to the core by the vision and the deep humanity that his music communicates so profoundly. Or simply just to enjoy the wonder of his immense creative genius.

Online Mandryka

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #1408 on: April 17, 2021, 12:55:01 AM »
Is Montag the first of the cycle? Is Montags Gruss a parody of the Rhinegold overture?
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Offline Cato

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #1409 on: April 17, 2021, 02:15:29 AM »

LOL - Klaus Umbach deserves to join the estimable list of great critics such as * :


And of course the list could go on for a very long time.
Thank God we have these great minds to guide us through the stormy seas of contemporary music!

Quote

For me, Stockhausen’s compositions remain among the most profound and intellectually stimulating of musical history.

Regarding his spirituality, I am ... deeply sceptical when it comes to unfounded belief, especially when it is belief propped up by little more than convention ** !



*  You must have a copy of Slonimsky's Lexicon of Musical Invective !    8)


In this context, I am reminded of Edward Gibbon's opinion of the poetry from the late (c. 350 A.D.) Roman Empire by Ausonius: "The poetry of Ausonius condemns the taste of his age."   ??? 0:) 0:)


** Stockhausen's "convention," however, would seem to be rather unconventional!   ;)



« Last Edit: April 17, 2021, 02:32:02 AM by Cato »
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Offline Cato

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #1410 on: April 17, 2021, 02:28:28 AM »
Is Montag the first of the cycle? Is Montags Gruss a parody of the Rhinegold overture?


Dienstag evolved first from a work c. 1976-1977 named with the Japanese word for "light," i.e. Hikari, but Donnerstag was the first opera to be completed.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2021, 02:35:39 AM by Cato »
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

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Offline Rex

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #1411 on: April 17, 2021, 03:31:22 AM »
Is Montag the first of the cycle? Is Montags Gruss a parody of the Rhinegold overture?

Both Donnerstag and Samstag were written and produced before Montag. I don’t know if there is any correct or intended way to listen to the cycle. However it certainly is true that Montag is about birth, and Sonntag is about transcendance, with the union of Michel and Eva implying the rebirthing of Montag. Thus making a true cycle.
But I don’t see much of a linear narrative coherence between all seven of the operas, with for example the Birth-day of Monday followed by the warring, (both of Michael and Luzifer, and of mankind in general) of Dienstag, and then later in Donnerstag, is Michael’s childhood and adolescence.

I have never considered any relationship between Montags-Gruss and the prelude to Das Rheingold. They both have a sense of quietly moving towards a beginning, and both refer to water. Montags-Gruss seems to have a still, nascent expectancy, whereas Das Rheingold has a more dynamic expectation of moving to a dawning.
An interesting idea though. Have you seen reference to it anywhere else?

Offline Rex

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #1412 on: April 17, 2021, 03:42:09 AM »

** Stockhausen's "convention," however, would seem to be rather unconventional!   ;)

Yes indeed. My mistake to make it look like I was referring to Stockhausen's beliefs being propped up by convention.

Rather I think I might be a little more tolerant to his beliefs because of their unconventionality :P

Online Mandryka

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #1413 on: April 17, 2021, 12:21:33 PM »

I have never considered any relationship between Montags-Gruss and the prelude to Das Rheingold. They both have a sense of quietly moving towards a beginning, and both refer to water. Montags-Gruss seems to have a still, nascent expectancy, whereas Das Rheingold has a more dynamic expectation of moving to a dawning.
An interesting idea though. Have you seen reference to it anywhere else?

No, but I just looked at Other Planets, and Maconie mentions it, only to say that it’s not like the Rhinegold prelude (he thinks the Stockhausen is “more nocturnal”, more static  - page 391. And he’s probably right!)
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Offline Rex

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #1414 on: April 17, 2021, 11:03:35 PM »
No, but I just looked at Other Planets, and Maconie mentions it, only to say that it’s not like the Rhinegold prelude (he thinks the Stockhausen is “more nocturnal”, more static  - page 391. And he’s probably right!)

Well I guess it's like enough for both of us to see similarities, and not like enough to certainly be different. To me that is still an interesting comparison :)

Offline Rex

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Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #1415 on: April 17, 2021, 11:12:43 PM »
No, but I just looked at Other Planets, and Maconie mentions it, only to say that it’s not like the Rhinegold prelude (he thinks the Stockhausen is “more nocturnal”, more static  - page 391. And he’s probably right!)

Hmmm the Maconie quote you refer to is on p. 427 in my edition of 'Other Planets'. But Maconie here is referring to Donnerstags-Gruss, where I would agree with him in not seeing a similarity to the Das Rheingold prelude at all.

Online Mandryka

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Re: Stockhausen's SpaceshipT
« Reply #1416 on: April 17, 2021, 11:30:43 PM »
Ah yes, sorry, sent you on a wild goose chase there! He does say some odd things about Mongtags Gruss later on (Jullian Carrillo . . . )
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