Karlheinz Stockhausen: RIP

From Stockhausen Verlag:

The composer Karlheinz Stockhausen passed away on December 5th 2007 at his home in Kuerten-Kettenberg and will be buried in the Waldfriedhof (forest cemetery) in Kuerten....

Bob Burnett: Wow...I just mentioned him earlier this week too in another post--and was reading about him in Alex Ross' The Rest Is Noise. So many memories, Ceylon/Bird of Paradise (on Chrysalis Records--and almost immediately a cut-out), Kontakte, Hymnen, Sternklang.... The last piece I recall hearing by him was Helikopter Streichquartett "The Helicopter String Quartet" a piece for The Arditti Quartet where each of the four members are aloft in a helicopter, connected with microphones and audio monitors. The sound of the helicopters drones in the background and the strings skritch and batter about for 30 minutes. I recall liking the piece theoretically more than sonically. On the other hand if you ever see a copy of Hymnen grab it--you'll find it as a 2 lp version on DG. Hymnen is an amazing national anthems of the world sound collage featuring radio frequencies, static, electronic sound and creative ingenuity. Kontakte, from 1960, is a composition either for four-channel tape or four-channel tape with piano and percussion. The composition was the turning point for Stockhausen into the approach he called "moment form" which had more in common with film editing than traditional linear development of beginning,middle and end-type scoring. Paul McCartney referred to this work and others by Stockhausen as major influences on The Beatles' re-thinking of the role of electro-acoustics in what they were doing. The James Tenney(piano)-William Winant(perc.) version of Kontakte was recorded in 1978 and re-released on cd in 1997. A quick check at Amazon tells me it's out of print but some "kind soul" is willing to part with theirs for $99.99. Luckily, the Christoph Caskel (perc.)/David Tudor (piano) Wergo label version is readily available at a normal price and what is called the finest recorded version on Koch by Mircea Ardeleneau and Bernard Wambach (which I've never heard but am now curious) can be had for about $30 .

If you have Stockhausen on cd or vinyl play some. If you don't, put something on that has any form of
electronic sound atmospherics in it and say "here's to ya, Karlheinz....". If you don't have either, go fire up your helicopter for a quick reverent spin.

No comments:

Post a Comment