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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

On Stockhausen

posted by on March 11 at 11:31 AM

The March issue of Artforum has an excellent article on avant garde avatar Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928-2007).

Stockhausen at the Studio for Electronic Music, WDR, Cologne, 1969

Björk, Morton Subotnick, and Robin Maconie reflect on Stockhausen’s multifarious contributions to music. Maconie, author of Other Planets: The Music of Karlheinz Stockhausen, leads with a terrific essay (“For Stockhausen, the issue was not just how art in the modern world can respond to the presence of evil but whether art deserves to survive.”) though I have to disagree with his aside that Stravinsky’s “Movements for piano and orchestra (1958-59) owes much of its élan to Stockhausen’s Kontra-Punkte (1952-53) for similar forces.” While the post-Webern language of Movements was created by Stockhausen, Boulez, and others, the élan derives from Stravinsky’s rhythmic language, a raw intervallic impulse in place since The Firebird of 1909.

Björk, who interviewed Stockhausen several years ago, and Subotnick, composer of Touch and several other classics of electronic music, contribute personal reminiscences (“I remember very well sitting in his studio in Cologne…”) and sensible insights (“Stockhausen’s work solidified major ideas in the history of the avant-garde.”).

The print edition has additional reflections by musicians Irvine Arditti, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, and composers La Monte Young and Maryanne Amacher.

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