23 December 2015

Stockhausen Festival, Munich, 21 - 25 October 2015

Munich saw a different kind of Oktoberfest this year, with a five day Stockhausen festival, much of which was broadcast by BR-Klassik's Horizonte programme.

Pierre-Laurent Aimard played the first eleven Klavierstücke in concerts spread across the festival; I really like these performances, as they are played in a way which (to my ears), makes a strong connection to the piano music of Messiaen and Boulez. Apart from X, from which there are two substantial extracts, all the other pieces were broadcast in their entirety.

In addition, there are really excellent performances of three other pieces;

Kontakte (22 October)
Pierre- Laurent Aimard (piano)
Dirk Rothburst (percussion)
Marco Stroppa (klangregie / sound direction)

Zyklus (22 October)
Dirk Rothburst (percussion)

Hymnen (23 October?)
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Paul Jeukendrup (klangregie / sound direction)
Conductor - Peter Eötvös

With a bit of luck, the other pieces at the festival, including Mantra, might be either broadcast or released. It would be great to hear from people who were able to attend any of these concerts, or indeed any of the performers.


Tantris said...








Dark Matter said...


Thank you, as always, for your usual outstanding contribution!


Colin Green said...

Many thanks for this. Kontakte is a landmark work: the first to successfully integrate acoustic instruments and electronics.

Colin Green said...

The accreditation of live electronics in Kontakte is interesting. The peice is for piano, percussion and tape, which is what contains the electronics, and two videos of the piece suggest that this is how it's is still performed::



To my ears, the tape is used in the performance posted here. Indeed, it would seem impossible, even with digital electronics, to reproduce the tape live. Therefore, I assume that either the description is not quite right, or the live element is some sort of panning between speakers, which is what happens in the four channel version when four loudspeakers are used.my German's not that good, but the helpful notes that come with the download state "sound director", which is probably more accurate.

I agree, Mantra would be a nice addition. Another great work. And Aimard plays this kind of thing so well.

albin said...

many thanks for this, Tantris, and the Evan Parker too!

Tantris said...

Colin - I was trying to find a reasonable translation for 'Klangregie', and did think about 'sound manager' as one option, considering the use of tape in Kontakte. However, I have seen this translated elsewhere as 'live electronics' on other performances of Kontake, and thought this might encompass both the playing of the tape, and the management of the sound at the venue (as I doubt that pressing 'play' on a tape machine is the only requirement). Perhaps there is a better translation, and perhaps what is done during a performance can vary. I'd certainly be interested in others' views.

-- T

Colin Green said...

I think "engineer" or "sound engineer" might be closest. There's probably a lot of balancing etc. to be done when setting things up, and possibly a few tweaks during performance, but once that's sorted, he probably doesn't have to do much more than press the "play" button. It's then for the musicians to sync with each other and the tape. As you can see from the various, very good, video performances, getting those cues right can't be easy. It's an impressive visual spectacle, with the big gongs hung centre stage. It gives the piece the feel of a ritual.

onxidlib said...

Hi - I would like to help with the German term "Klangregie".
This word (and the function it is describing) was invented by Luigi Nono and K.H. Stockhausen.
The "Klangregisseur" is playing with the musicians sitting at the mixing-deck mostly with the score.
Therefore the "Klangregisseur" has to be versed in the technique and in the music.
Off course Stockhausen (and Nono) were 'the first' Klangregisseure.
For two pictures from Stockhausen in action take a look here.

BTW - my dear wife was attending the concert of "Hymnen" (Dritte Region) plus Klavierstück IX and after the intermission again "Hymnen" (Dritte Region) on Friday 23rd October '15.
Apart from the music she was especially impressed by Pierre-Laurent Aimard.

Tantris said...

Thanks onxidlib - your first link shows the term 'sound direction' for 'klangregie', so I'll amend the description to that for both Kontakte and Hymnen to show both terms. It's not clear on which date the performance of Hymnen took place, so I'll assume it was the first concert on 23rd (but it could also have been on 25th).

Colin Green said...

Just to add one further point, the role of the "sound director" changed quite radically in Stockhausen's music between Kontakte & Hymnen. By the time of the latter, the musicians were improvising in parts and the sound director (usually Stockhausen himself) took on a more creative role, operating what I think was not much more than a crude mixing desk (potentiometers). That kind of creative input wasn't really present at the time of Kontakte, which is a strict serialist work which has no improv.

I think the pictures are of Stockhausen in the radio studio in his younger days, where he created the tapes, rather than live performance. These images gives you a clearer idea of his contribution:



Anonymous said...

Indeed, Kontakte is a tape piece, which exists in two versions:

-- the tape-only version (issued on an old Deutsche Grammophon Lp, and also available now as a CD from Stockhausen Verlag)
-- the version for tape, piano, and percussion, which was recorded several times during the last 55 years.

The piece cannot be played without the original tape, that Stockhausen recorded in 1959-60. He wrote a most interesting essay about it, which was anthologized in this book http://books.wwnorton.com/books/978-0-393-00548-6/

St. was working before the time of voltage-controlled synthesizers, and so he could not twirl the knobs of his oscillator and filter very fast (which, in a nutshell, is what voltage control allows you to do). So he twirled the knobs by hand, but slowed down studio time by recording at quarter (and eighth) speed, to get the response he wanted. After experimenting a bit, he wrote a full score before recording. The whole process was an enormous lot of work. In the 90s he asked a technician to realize that score again, using modern equipment, but was disappointed with the result because the technician didn't have his "hand".


onxidlib said...

Thank you Colin and Alcofribas for correction/deepening our speculations.
In the 1980s I've read several books with texts from Stockhausen edited by Dumont.
Fondly recall my first exposure to his music before and after reading these books.
Alas the books are all OOP and I do not have them anymore except one.
But I've found that his website offers a good reading also in English.

> http://www.karlheinzstockhausen.org/stockhausen_menu_english.htm

J C said...

Wow what can i say, thanks....i just saw Trans played a month ago..... if anybody wants the recording let me know....

Tantris said...

Yes please, JC!

On the discussion above, here's an interesting video on the BR-Klassik website with Pierre Laurent-Aimard and Dirk Rothbrust, talking about Kontakte, and their approach to performing it. At around 4' 22", we see the mixing desk manned by Marco Stroppa, and Pierre Laurent-Aimard goes on the explain that they rely on the sound projection to shape the gesture and colour of the sounds;


As I said earlier, I suspect that the approach to klangregie varies depending on the performers, venue and equipment available, from relatively simple playing of the tape with the electronic sounds, to active sound projection and shaping.

By the way, BBC radio 3 will be broadcasting a complete performance of Hymnen on 1st January 2016, combining a December live performance by the London Sinfonietta of Hymnen's 3rd Region, with copies of the original four-channel tapes of the remaining Regions 1,2 and 4 of Hymnen from The Stockhausen Foundation for Music in Germany;


A good way to start the new year, and I also see that there will be a complete performance of Donnerstag aus Licht in Basel during 2016.

Otto Klempererzo said...

Thanks for the tremendous discussion here," very interesting", as Sgt.Schulze used to say on Hogan's Heroes!
Happy New Year!

juan ant said...

TRANS (1971’) Karlheinz Stokhausen
Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires Argentina
14 November 2015
private recording : Orquesta Filarmónica de Buenos Aires.
Ernest Martínez Izquierdo (Spain ): Director.


Karlheinz Stockhausen , TIERKREIS 1975
@ La Cupula CCK ,Buenos Aires Argentina
November 28 ,2015 private recording

TROPI ENSAMBLE version for clarinet, violín, vibraphone, guitar &y piano.
Constancia Moroni - Clarinet
Florencia Ciaffone - Violín
Manuel Moreno - Guitarr
Sebastián Gangi - Piano
Bruno Lo Bianco - Vibraphone


Anonymous said...

For the Stockhausen-curious who might happen to read this, I want to emphasize that "Hymnen" is a true masterpiece, IMHO the greatest piece of psychedelia ever recorded, and one of my desert island discs.

I got the DG Lp forty years ago, and when it got too scratchy I bought the 4cd box on Stockhausen Verlag (not cheap, I know, and ordering this was quite an ordeal ten years ago). And the upcoming BBC broadcast allows you to get 4-channel sound if you are equipped for it! I once had the privilege of hearing that original 4-channel tape when it was rented for the 2013 L'Audible festival in Paris (well, Bagnolet).

I'd never heard the version of Region 3 that was posted on the present thread. It's extremely interesting, and I'll play it many times again. The orchestral accompaniment is a great commentary on the original tape... but most of the times you can barely year that tape in the background! So for me it is a completely different experience from the Region 3 I know. The BBC broadcast tonight will have that same version of Region 3, but the other four regions will be the original tape. Don't miss these! Especially the truly mind-bending Region 4.

Messieurs-dames, rien ne va plus!!!!


Tantris said...

I've been listening to both versions of Hymnen region 3 today, and they are indeed quite different, both in terms of the orchestral music, and the interaction with the electronic noises on the tape.

I also like the version of Kontakte from the Munich festival - it's opened that piece up in a way that hasn't happened for me before.

Anonymous said...

His last few works before he died are incredibly frantic and complex, almost like he had experienced the process of dying at the level of the molecules of his brain or subatomic reality itself.

William A.P.M. said...

Any chance of having a re-upload of these pieces? Have seen Aimard play before and would love to hear the Stockhausen pieces. Grazie mille.