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Thread: Help with getting Stockhausen

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    Default Help with getting Stockhausen

    I love Stockhausen's Gesang der Jünglinge, Mantra, Refrain, Klavierstück X and the helicopter quartet - I'm convinced all 5 of these are masterpieces and Mantra belongs in my desert island collection. However, the rest of his music leaves me in complete bewilderment.

    Take Zeitmasse for instance - to my ears this sounds like the closest to playing random notes you can get while still retaining a vaguely Webernian sound. Or Gruppen - I just can't warm to that piece and to me it doesn't sound "nice", despite my ears being attuned to serialism and dissonance. Then there are the electronic compositions - I am told (by Wikipedia) that Hymnen, which consists of extracts of national anthems and electronic sounds, is thought by some to be a masterpiece on the same level as Beethoven's Missa Solemnis. Can someone please offer some help in appreciating Stockhausen's music? Ideally as many pieces as possible, since the ones I do like have convinced me of the composer's genius.

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    Quote Originally Posted by soni View Post
    I am told (by Wikipedia) that Hymnen, which consists of extracts of national anthems and electronic sounds, is thought by some to be a masterpiece on the same level as Beethoven's Missa Solemnis.
    Yeah, but is it better than CATS? Until it's thought by some to be a masterpiece on the same level as CATS, I really can't take that sort of praise seriously.

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    Quote Originally Posted by soni View Post
    I love Stockhausen's Gesang der Jünglinge, Mantra, Refrain, Klavierstück X and the helicopter quartet - I'm convinced all 5 of these are masterpieces and Mantra belongs in my desert island collection. However, the rest of his music leaves me in complete bewilderment.

    Take Zeitmasse for instance - to my ears this sounds like the closest to playing random notes you can get while still retaining a vaguely Webernian sound. Or Gruppen - I just can't warm to that piece and to me it doesn't sound "nice", despite my ears being attuned to serialism and dissonance. Then there are the electronic compositions - I am told (by Wikipedia) that Hymnen, which consists of extracts of national anthems and electronic sounds, is thought by some to be a masterpiece on the same level as Beethoven's Missa Solemnis. Can someone please offer some help in appreciating Stockhausen's music? Ideally as many pieces as possible, since the ones I do like have convinced me of the composer's genius.
    Try Carré, and Bruno Maderna's performance of Kontra-Punkte. Be sure to hear Rzewski playing Clavierstuck X.

    It would be good if someone could recommend a good book -- one that covers Klang and after.

    Licht -- I've sen Donnerstag, but I didn't enjoy it. And it somehow put me off exploring the cycle further.

    This is a good website

    http://stockhausenspace.blogspot.com...ntakte_21.html

    The guy who runs it is friendly and I'm sure he'd appreciate it if you dropped him a line and asked his opinion.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Jan-13-2020 at 22:48.

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    Quote Originally Posted by soni View Post
    ...I am told (by Wikipedia) that Hymnen, which consists of extracts of national anthems and electronic sounds, is thought by some to be a masterpiece on the same level as Beethoven's Missa Solemnis.
    People apparently say the strangest things. Why would a comparison be made with Missa Solemnis of all things? According to the Wiki, Pierre Boulez once declared, "Stockhausen is the greatest living composer, and the only one whom I recognize as my peer" (credited to Anonymous)

    On the other hand, again from the Wiki, “perhaps the most caustic remark about Stockhausen was attributed to Sir Thomas Beecham. Asked "Have you heard any Stockhausen?", he is alleged to have replied, "No, but I believe I have trodden in some"

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveM View Post
    People apparently say the strangest things. Why would a comparison be made with Missa Solemnis of all things?
    Yeah. I was thinking exactly the same thing. Completely random. Maybe we should be comparing it to a Quantz flute concerto? Maybe it's a masterpiece on the same level as Quantz's 63rd Flute Concerto? It sounds like one of those un-sourced "people are saying" quotes where if "people are saying", it must be true.

    * By the way, there are some people saying I am a genius. It's not me. I wouldn't say that. But people are saying...

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    Yes it's bizarre to think that anyone should praise Missa Solemnis as much as the absolutely brilliant, magnificent work Hymnen is.

    You might like to read what Lawrence Kramer has to say about the structural style Stockhausen was developing in the 50s and 60s regarding some of his more bewildering electronic works. Stockhausen was interested actually in taking a rather different approach to how a listener experiences time in music itself. Where we perceive a 'beginning' or an 'ending' and a trajectory from point A to point B in other western classical compositions don't really apply to quite a lot of Stockhausen's works, and it might take a bit of time to adjust to what he calls 'moment form.'

    It might interest you to explore other extracts from Licht and then Klang to also get a bit more of an awareness of his more mature approach to instrumentation, form and theatre.

    Oktophonie is an extract of electronic music from Licht and is structurally (or temporally? how we talk about the aesthetics of the experience of time passing in music?) a little more similar to most western classical music in that there are times where phrases of music feel like they have beginnings, endings and that they are heading somewhere.



    You might find this wikipedia article on Moment Form of some interest as well

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveM View Post
    People apparently say the strangest things. Why would a comparison be made with Missa Solemnis of all things? According to the Wiki, Pierre Boulez once declared, "Stockhausen is the greatest living composer, and the only one whom I recognize as my peer" (credited to Anonymous)
    At the time of Pli selon Pli, Boulez and Stockhausen were friends, and the correspondence is good to read. I think the friendship cooled off after that.

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    I probably wouldn't have been friends with Stockhausen either tbh

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    When I saw Donnerstag aus Licht he was directing the performance in London and I met him briefly afterwards. I liked him!

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    Quote Originally Posted by soni View Post
    Can someone please offer some help in appreciating Stockhausen's music? Ideally as many pieces as possible, since the ones I do like have convinced me of the composer's genius.
    You might find it helpful to peruse the website of Stockhausen aficionado, Albrecht Moritz.

    http://home.earthlink.net/~almoritz/...senreviews.htm

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    Quote Originally Posted by composer jess View Post
    Stockhausen was interested actually in taking a rather different approach to how a listener experiences time in music itself. Where we perceive a 'beginning' or an 'ending' and a trajectory from point A to point B in other western classical compositions don't really apply to quite a lot of Stockhausen's works, and it might take a bit of time to adjust to what he calls 'moment form.'
    Don’t know what that means or why I would care to find out. It’s like an answer to a question I never asked to solve a problem I never had. I’m not sure why I am supposed to learn a new reality conceived in the mind of someone who, for me, lived in a parallel music universe. To me, classical music is supposed to resonate with something we can readily identify. For instance, as complex as it is, the Große Fugue ‘spoke’ to me on the first hearing, no instruction required.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveM View Post
    Don’t know what that means or why I would care to find out. It’s like an answer to a question I never asked to solve a problem I never had. I’m not sure why I am supposed to learn a new reality conceived in the mind of someone who, for me, lived in a parallel music universe. To me, classical music is supposed to resonate with something we can readily identify. For instance, as complex as it is, the Große Fugue ‘spoke’ to me on the first hearing, no instruction required.
    I am aware that you did not ask the question that soni was asking, but that's cool to know what resonates with you i guess.

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    I get where you're all coming from.
    The Missa Solemnis I can understand. It's got music, it's got singing, it's got melodies and harmonies and real word lyrics.
    But that Stockmarket? Totally confounding. Never could crack it. I suspect the musical equivalent would be a real mess of seemingly random noise and confusions. And that d----d ringing bell! Glad I don't have to listen to it. Glad, too, we have the Missa Solemnis.
    One's a winner. The other? A money losing proposition.

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    I like a lot of Stockhausen. There are few works I can't get into like Hymnen, Stimmung and a few others.

    Gruppen loses a lot of its effect, I heard, from recording vs Live, where there are 3 orchestras from different points relative to the audience. I thought Kontrapunkt is very similar in style to Boulez's Le Marteau sans Maitre.

    Kontakte is a favourite with its momentum of different combinations sound. Mikrophonie I is also a favourite, check out this video (I find the visuals too distracting, and it looks a bit funny with a few guys standing around seemingly doing stuff on a whim, but the commercial recording sounds great). Agree Gesang der Junglinge a masterpiece. I think what is most interesting of Stockhausen and how his music holds together for me, is that rhythm seems to given higher priority over actual pitches, and the way the way the timbres sound in rhythm. But with Gesang, I feel pitches are given a higher priority than typical for Stockhausen.

    Last edited by Phil loves classical; Jan-14-2020 at 04:47.
    "Forgive me, Majesty. I'm a vulgar man. But I assure you, my music is not.“ Mozart

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    Quote Originally Posted by SONNET CLV View Post
    The Missa Solemnis I can understand. It's got music, it's got singing, it's got melodies and harmonies and real word lyrics. But that Stockmarket? Totally confounding. Never could crack it. I suspect the musical equivalent would be a real mess of seemingly random noise and confusions. And that d----d ringing bell! Glad I don't have to listen to it. Glad, too, we have the Missa Solemnis.
    One's a winner. The other? A money losing proposition.
    As the Variety headline says, “Beethoven gets religion, beats drum for Jesus and big bucks, goes gold.”

    Yes, Stockhausen was a bit less successful. “Karlheinz’s headscratcher sinks, millions don’t care.”

    Perhaps it was a matter of attitude? (see 1:01)



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