Author Topic: Stockhausen's Spaceship  (Read 347078 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline EigenUser

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3328
  • Mahler's 9th - "Deadlifts in the midst of life"
    • Ligeti's Laboratory
  • Location: Northern VA
  • Currently Listening to:
    Bartok, Ligeti, Ravel, Gershwin, Debussy, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Feldman, Messiaen, Haydn, Ockeghem, Adès, Mahler, Ohana, Webern, Boulez, Varese, Beethoven, Berg, Scriabin, Tippett, Takemitsu, Vaughan-Williams
Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #760 on: May 15, 2014, 01:24:19 PM »
I like electronic sounds but frankly I don't like the sounds KS chose for his later works.  I'm sure this must've been discussed here before, but his synth patches are kind of dated sounding.  It's too bad he didn't choose to record a violin playing all the notes of Cosmic Pulses and then use the computer to do all the spacial panning and "speeding up".  Or even a Garritan sampler, those sound great!
They are definitely different. I don't really care for either, but for some reason I find the later ones easier to listen to. All I can think of with the earlier sound (i.e. "Kontakte") is a dial-up modem. The metallic percussive sound of "Cosmic Pulses" is more interesting I think -- plus, the structure of the piece isn't hard to follow. While I'm sure that "Kontakte" is organized, I can't hear it well. Maybe that shouldn't bother me, but it does  :-\.

Missed that one. Just started it.
Ehh, didn't care for this one. By the way James, thanks for the recommendation of "Tierkreis". It is really a great piece. Is it considered one of his more obscure works? It isn't praised like "Kontakte" or "Gruppen" (or, at least, doesn't seem to be).

Do you collect scores of his, or just recordings? I might (in the future) get the score.

Also, why is there early applause in the YouTube recording?
« Last Edit: May 15, 2014, 02:45:40 PM by EigenUser »
Beethoven's Op. 133 -- A fugue so bad that even Beethoven himself called it "Grosse".

Offline EigenUser

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3328
  • Mahler's 9th - "Deadlifts in the midst of life"
    • Ligeti's Laboratory
  • Location: Northern VA
  • Currently Listening to:
    Bartok, Ligeti, Ravel, Gershwin, Debussy, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Feldman, Messiaen, Haydn, Ockeghem, Adès, Mahler, Ohana, Webern, Boulez, Varese, Beethoven, Berg, Scriabin, Tippett, Takemitsu, Vaughan-Williams
Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #761 on: May 15, 2014, 03:27:01 PM »
Tierkreis is one his most popular & recorded works actually, 12 melodies or tunes, and material from it was used as the basis for many different versions and compositions through his life  .. (KS really knew how to use his material and could realize almost infinite possibilities). In fact, you mention you had listened to Sirius recently .. well, the seed material for that vast theater piece is Tierkreis's melodies .. and it occurs throughout every layer of that work's amazing polyphonic structure, including the electronic score that accompanies the 4 live performers.

I don't collect scores. There is applause because it is a live recording.

Yeah, but then they start playing again...
Beethoven's Op. 133 -- A fugue so bad that even Beethoven himself called it "Grosse".

Offline Rex

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 19
  • Location: New Zealand
Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #762 on: May 15, 2014, 08:29:03 PM »
I love nearly all of Stockhausen's electronic music. It was an LP of Gesang der Jünglinge and Kontakte that had by some miracle found its way to the only local classical music record shop in New Plymouth, NZ, way back in 1966 that completely amazed my young schoolboy mind. I had never heard anything like it, and it excited me in he same way that Bach's 48 Preludes and Fugues, Beethoven's last 3 sonatas, Verdi's Requiem and Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire did. Visions of new worlds I had never dreamt of.

I still think those 2 works are remarkable, and beautiful, and they remain fresh every time I hear them. I have suggested to some friends who found them incomprehensible that they need to stop listening to them as what they think is 'music'. Our notions of music have been so heavily conditioned by the one language we hear constantly all around us, of the 12 tone tempered scale, melody, harmony and rhythm. (Even to the birds that system is alien. We only need to listen to how mutated, if not mutilated, birdsong becomes when Messiaen attempts to constrict it into our tempered tonality!) Rather listen to it as great aural landscapes. This cue has been useful to some people, not so  much to others.

Other electronic works I love include the epic Hymnen, and so many parts of Licht. The background electronic music of Act II of Dienstag is amazing - terrifying, awesomely beautiful, pulverising. And for all its horror somehow inspires the deepest humanity, a profound abhorrence of the abomination that war is. Mittwochs-Gruss, that seems to me to have a sternness, but a gentleness that has a palliative affect after the devastation of Dienstag. I love the massive circling soundscapes that Stockhausen creates. Here they become enfolding, embracing, comforting, hopeful. Freitags-Gruss is also electronic music and I've only listened to this a couiple of times. It sounds to me very gentle, and quite beautiful.

Cosmic Pulses is also an immensely powerful, over-whelming listening experiencing. (I have to admit I cheat with these electronic pieces that were written for more than 2 channels. My music system has a function that allows an 'artificial' 5-channel separation, and miraculously it creates the effect of the sounds of Cosmic Pulses swirling and swooping around me. How close this is to Stockhausen's original sound movement I have no idea, probably not very faithful, but it certainly shows me how significant the movement in space is to the effectiveness of these works). I don't find the electronic sounds Stockhausen uses in any way problematic, and suspect that there is a kind of 'authenticity' in his use of purely electronic sources. I don't find these sounds any more dated or effete then for instance the sounds of the piano, or the violin, or the flute, which have changed but little over the past 200 years and more.

One thing that is certainly true is that this is not music for 'background' listening. You have to give all your concentration into the music to be able to be taken where it wants to take you.

And then there's the use of live electronics . . . . another extraordinary world again, where once again Stockhausen was a pioneer of genius and has left us with so many wonderful works. LOL - I suspect I have raved enough. I could go on for a very long time.

Offline Uatu

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 277
  • +Beethoven and Music after 1903
    • Stockhausen - Sounds in Space
  • Location: NYC
Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #763 on: May 16, 2014, 11:47:23 AM »
Nicely put Rex!  You have a good point, DX-7 sounds sound no more dated than a Steinway does on a purely semantic level.  I guess for me the sounds I characterize as "dated" remind me too much of synth patches prevalent in 80s pop music.  Why does piano not bother me as much then?  Not because I like Billy Joel (tho I don't hate him either) but because piano had a lifetime that came before KS, whereas Yamaha DX-7 sounds were something that came out as new technology, and then faded from sight.. until it resurfaced on KS' work.  For that reason, those sounds immediately correlate to that relatively brief moment in time that popular music used (abused) those sounds.  Sounds like those used in Kontakte seem more timeless to me because they were not first used in pop music and then co-opted by electronic classical composition.  They were new, and remained in the arena of avant-garde. 

In any case, I don't HATE the LICHT sounds, I really appreciate the structural ideas, I just wish I wasn't personally distracted by the back of my mind going "oh that synth patch was first used in Wang Chung's debut album..."
« Last Edit: May 16, 2014, 02:22:02 PM by uatu »

Offline Rex

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 19
  • Location: New Zealand
Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #764 on: May 16, 2014, 09:57:42 PM »
I have to admit, uatu, that I kind of lost touch with pop music after the 70's, so I don't suffer from the same associations you mention. Another case of ignorance is bliss perhaps  :P

I also confess that despite my enthusiasms, there is some of Stockhausen's music I don't get. Sirius is an example. The beginning of it inevitably conjures pictures of Buck Rogers spaceships for me.

I also haven't managed to enjoy the Helicopter Quartet (despite a recording, the video, and downloads of the Birmingham and recent French productions). However I think that attending a production of Mittwoch might create a very different experience of it. I think as a piece of theatre in the middle of that opera it must be pretty amazing.

It was interesting to read the comments about Luzifers Abscheid in Samstag. I love that! The clattering of the clogs in the cavernous cathedral acoustic, the chanting and shouting, the bells, tamtam, organ and trombones, the smashing of the coconuts. I would love to experience that in a live performance! My biggest regret last year was that a visit to Munich for my niece's wedding was in October - not 4 months earlier!

The Engel-Prozessionen from Sonntag is another Licht ritual that I find exquisitely beautiful.

I like what you're doing with your site uatu - keep it up!

Offline petrarch

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1401
  • Luigi Nono (1924-1990)
  • Location: Boston, MA
Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #765 on: May 17, 2014, 03:40:57 AM »
I have to admit, uatu, that I kind of lost touch with pop music after the 70's, so I don't suffer from the same associations you mention. Another case of ignorance is bliss perhaps  :P

I don't think it is a case of pop music associations. To my ears, the synthesizer sounds on Licht and Klang are for the most part flat and lifeless. Now, the electronic music of Freitag and Mittwoch, that's a whole different matter.

I also confess that despite my enthusiasms, there is some of Stockhausen's music I don't get. Sirius is an example. The beginning of it inevitably conjures pictures of Buck Rogers spaceships for me.

Sirius does nothing to me either, even though I have seen it live in 1990. In terms of synthesizer sounds, despite the use of the big EMS Synthi-100 machine to create the electronic music, it sounds (again) much flatter than his much livelier and much more engaging Hymnen and Kontakte, two works I deeply enjoy (well, Kontakte with soloists, since the tape-only version sounds a bit disconnected).
//p
The music collection.
The hi-fi system: Esoteric X-03SE -> Pathos Logos -> Analysis Audio Amphitryon.
A view of the whole

Offline EigenUser

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3328
  • Mahler's 9th - "Deadlifts in the midst of life"
    • Ligeti's Laboratory
  • Location: Northern VA
  • Currently Listening to:
    Bartok, Ligeti, Ravel, Gershwin, Debussy, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Feldman, Messiaen, Haydn, Ockeghem, Adès, Mahler, Ohana, Webern, Boulez, Varese, Beethoven, Berg, Scriabin, Tippett, Takemitsu, Vaughan-Williams
Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #766 on: May 17, 2014, 04:11:15 AM »
I think that it would be awesome to sit through a live performance of "Cosmic Pulses" with the correct speaker setup. I can be pretty jumpy, so I'd probably be looking all over the place since the "pulses" bounce from one speaker to the next, I assume.

Edit: Listening to the beginning of it now from YouTube. Even on my laptop speakers the panning sounds make me want to keep looking from one side to the other!

Unfortunately, I think it gets old after a few minutes.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2014, 04:17:04 AM by EigenUser »
Beethoven's Op. 133 -- A fugue so bad that even Beethoven himself called it "Grosse".

Offline petrarch

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1401
  • Luigi Nono (1924-1990)
  • Location: Boston, MA
Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #767 on: May 17, 2014, 05:30:57 AM »
What do you think of Kathinka's Gesang, the version with 6-channel electronics? I love it, and actually prefer it to the version that is used in Samstag.

It's an interesting piece, with the flute gestures imitating some tape manipulation processes in some of the exercises. IIRC it is the only one where Stockhausen used computer-generated sounds. The glissandi and phasing effects are occasionally a bit too thin (very FM-like) for my tastes, making me think of what would come in later works, but it works well overall. That piece is the main reason I got that SV CD.
//p
The music collection.
The hi-fi system: Esoteric X-03SE -> Pathos Logos -> Analysis Audio Amphitryon.
A view of the whole

Offline Uatu

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 277
  • +Beethoven and Music after 1903
    • Stockhausen - Sounds in Space
  • Location: NYC
Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #768 on: May 17, 2014, 05:34:09 AM »
At long last I've updated Stockhausen Sounds in Space with pretty complete (I think) coverage of Der Jahreslauf. Will probably wrap up Dienstag in the next update with the space battle scene, and then move way back to something from the 50s....

http://stockhausenspace.blogspot.com/2014/05/opus-47-der-jahreslauf.html


Offline petrarch

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1401
  • Luigi Nono (1924-1990)
  • Location: Boston, MA
Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #769 on: May 17, 2014, 06:00:30 AM »
But from my point of view .. Oktophonie is one of his real successes in electronic music and up there with the best (i.e. Kontakte, Hymnen). It's full of life, power and excitement .. I just have never found it dull whatsoever.

I certainly wouldn't put Oktophonie in the same league as Kontakte or Hymnen, but yes, it isn't so bad... At least the thin and tinny synthesizer sounds are woven in more substantial textures, although it starts going downhill in part 2, from Jenseits onward. Also, Klangbombes notwithstanding, I sometimes wish it was less bombastic ;).
//p
The music collection.
The hi-fi system: Esoteric X-03SE -> Pathos Logos -> Analysis Audio Amphitryon.
A view of the whole

Offline EigenUser

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3328
  • Mahler's 9th - "Deadlifts in the midst of life"
    • Ligeti's Laboratory
  • Location: Northern VA
  • Currently Listening to:
    Bartok, Ligeti, Ravel, Gershwin, Debussy, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Feldman, Messiaen, Haydn, Ockeghem, Adès, Mahler, Ohana, Webern, Boulez, Varese, Beethoven, Berg, Scriabin, Tippett, Takemitsu, Vaughan-Williams
Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #770 on: May 17, 2014, 06:15:42 AM »
The jazz guys do it .. (i.e. Jarrett), even Gould did it (not as bad).
Yeah, apparently Gould would hum or sing what he was playing while he was playing. I read that the recording engineers had a very difficult time working with him.

By the way, the Wikipedia articles on Stockhausen's works are really nicely done -- some of the best I've come across for any composer, and definitely the best for any postwar composer. Very informative and interesting with a lot of visuals. I wish that Ligeti's entries were like that, yet they don't even come close. Much of his work doesn't even have a page at all.
Beethoven's Op. 133 -- A fugue so bad that even Beethoven himself called it "Grosse".

Offline Uatu

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 277
  • +Beethoven and Music after 1903
    • Stockhausen - Sounds in Space
  • Location: NYC
Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #771 on: May 17, 2014, 06:27:53 AM »
It's an interesting piece, with the flute gestures imitating some tape manipulation processes in some of the exercises. IIRC it is the only one where Stockhausen used computer-generated sounds. The glissandi and phasing effects are occasionally a bit too thin (very FM-like) for my tastes, making me think of what would come in later works, but it works well overall. That piece is the main reason I got that SV CD.
I think I agree here. 
The raison d'etre of the electronic version is the different phasing rotations, and on a personal level I couldn't find much pleasure in counting phasing waves....whereas the original version has some interesting homemade percussion instruments, which appeals to me alot more, at least on a surface level.   An interesting experiment, but ultimately a work in progress leading to, as you say, later works.  Of course, I haven't heard it in 6-channel surround, so maybe that's an issue. 
Boy, I kind of regret missing Oktophonie at the Armory now....at the time I had other rods in the fire.

Offline Uatu

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 277
  • +Beethoven and Music after 1903
    • Stockhausen - Sounds in Space
  • Location: NYC
Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #772 on: May 17, 2014, 06:31:54 AM »
Nice. I'm adding your blog to my favorites.

Thanks!  But now I'll have to keep it accurate... ;)

Offline petrarch

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1401
  • Luigi Nono (1924-1990)
  • Location: Boston, MA
Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #773 on: May 17, 2014, 11:12:11 AM »
From Moritz's site ..

Still does very little to me.
//p
The music collection.
The hi-fi system: Esoteric X-03SE -> Pathos Logos -> Analysis Audio Amphitryon.
A view of the whole

kishnevi

  • Guest
Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #774 on: May 17, 2014, 11:26:39 AM »
The jazz guys do it .. (i.e. Jarrett), even Gould did it (not as bad). But yea .. one clear example of it within KS's work where it kind of irks me because I love the music (and I wish he didn't call for it when things are performed unstaged, standalone) is specifically Klavierstuck 12, 13 & 14.
But there is a categorical difference.  KHS wanted his performers to vocalize.  Bach did not.

Offline petrarch

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1401
  • Luigi Nono (1924-1990)
  • Location: Boston, MA
Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #775 on: May 17, 2014, 03:45:31 PM »
It may do very little for you, but it's killer music.

That assertion, like the extensive description by Al Moritz, has little bearing beyond being just another data point that might sometime be taken into consideration.
//p
The music collection.
The hi-fi system: Esoteric X-03SE -> Pathos Logos -> Analysis Audio Amphitryon.
A view of the whole

Offline petrarch

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1401
  • Luigi Nono (1924-1990)
  • Location: Boston, MA
Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #776 on: May 18, 2014, 03:22:39 AM »
hey petrarch .. you experience Oktophonie or any-of the other octophonic (cube set-up) works in the flesh?

No, I haven't. I had tickets for Cosmic Pulses in NYC, which was going to open with Weltraum/Freitags-Gruss, a piece I was quite looking forward to listen to live, but then... Sandy happened.

And can you correctly place these ..
                       

The first one sounds like a moment from Hymnen, when bird sounds are transformed into sounds of people. The other one sounds like Tierkreis in the version for music boxes.
//p
The music collection.
The hi-fi system: Esoteric X-03SE -> Pathos Logos -> Analysis Audio Amphitryon.
A view of the whole

snyprrr

  • Guest
Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #777 on: May 21, 2014, 07:03:50 AM »
Stockhausen's legendary Klavierstück (excerpt)

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/8TFwujEGMyY" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/8TFwujEGMyY</a>

Published on May 20, 2014
Marc Ponthus plays Stockhausen


My new nickname for KHS = MITTENS! :laugh:

kishnevi

  • Guest
Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #778 on: May 23, 2014, 12:06:48 PM »
Quote
in the top row, you will find Stockhausen nestled between Lenny Bruce and W.C. Fields
nestled between two comedians.  perhaps a sly comment on the part of the Beatles?

Quote
One hopes that recordings of this music, made available at prices that average listeners can afford
Which is common sense.  Are the persons who hold the rights more interested in making money off a limited cult-like following--sort of like Scientology without the ethical problems of the latter--or getting people to know KHS's music.  Random Youtubes are not the best way to listen to anyone's music.

kishnevi

  • Guest
Re: Stockhausen's Spaceship
« Reply #779 on: May 23, 2014, 12:27:30 PM »
Jeffrey .. if physical media (recordings) were more widely available at affordable prices would you consume more of it?

I would certainly be more inclined to experiment with it.

As it is,  the only "cheap"  recordings I know of consist of an EMI double CD which no one seems to mention, and a DG recording of Gruppen that people don't seem to like that much.  Are there other non StockhausenVerlag CDs available?  (I know the Klavierstucke are available, but nothing I've heard of them has led me to get more of them.)

ETA:  Hmm, there seem to several available on Wergo, but at prices that don't invite speculative buying.   What is your opinion of them?
« Last Edit: May 23, 2014, 12:38:38 PM by Jeffrey Smith »