Stockhausen Edition no. 28
(9 works for flute, piccolo & alto flute)
Karlheinz Stockhausen Musik für Flöte (Music for Flute):
In Freundschaft for flute (1977) / Piccolo from Jahreslauf (Course of the Years), solo for piccolo flute (1977) / Amour for flute (1976/1981) / Susanis Echo from Evas Zauber (Eves Magic) for alto flute (1985) / Xi with micro-tones, version for flute (1986) / Zungenspitzentanz (Tip-of-the-Tongue-Dance) for piccolo flute (1983) / Flautina for flute (1989) / Ypsilon for flute (1989) / Kathinkas Gesang als Luzifers Requiem (Kathinkas Chant as Lucifers Requiem) for flute and electronic music (1983).
Kathinka Pasveer [flute, piccolo flute, alto flute]
Stockhausen 28. Duration CD 1: 63:30. Duration CD 2: 59:05.
I sense a golden aura in the circumference of this CD-box. I look at it; at Stockhausens design, at his handwriting reprinted on the cover, with the titles of all the 9 pieces as well as drawings of the three types of flutes that Kathinka Pasveer plays on this issue.
All CDs in the Stockhausen Edition are designed by Stockhausen himself, and he has painted all covers. They contain the basic information about the works presented, as well as the chronological number of the release in the Edition, but Stockhausen always adds something more, something extra, something that turns the informative content of the covers into art. If I spread out all the CDs I have of the Stockhausen Edition in front of me, covers up, I see a magnificent collection of Stockhausen art!
The Professor doesnt overlook anything; theres always more to find, as he finds surprising ways of connecting the information on the cover in startling artistic solutions of the presentation, in clear, radiant colors. Its all very clean and contoured. Hes careful down to the last detail, to get it just right and artistically substantial. I enjoy the whole concept immensely!
Some may say that this doesnt affect the music but it does! All the careful handling of all the details surrounding the music leading up to the music - in the formidable Stockhausen Edition project affects the music, or the listeners perception of it; from the environment in the studio or the hall, with all the careful attention to the gear, to the amplifiers, the instruments, the electrical chords, the connections, the general atmosphere in the room concerning temperature, scents of perfumes or incense or flowers, the emotions of the participants - the technicians, the musicians to the actual sounding content eventually registered in the binary information of indents or no indents in the layer of the CD holding the encoded result of Stockhausenesque creativity
so the look of the CD covers is also important in that context, conveying a sense of artistry, of spirit, of the joy of creation!
The Stockhausen Edition project is a one-of-a-kind venture, un-paralleled in the history of music, and a treasure that will be admired, studied and enjoyed for centuries to come, for the benefit of all, and especially for those individuals who seek out a groundbreaking task for themselves to accomplish, not because it is easy, but because it is hard!
Kathinka Pasveer & Stockhausen
in Los Angeles 1984
Kathinka Pasveer originally from Zaandam, Holland is evidently one of those seekers and accomplishers, because she has been a collaborator of Stockhausens since late 1982, and here she appears on her own double-CD of the Stockhausen Edition; volume 28. Stockhausen has written a number of works for her, and some of them are presented on these two CDs.
In Freundschaft (1977) is the first piece that Kathinka Pasveer plays here, in a recording from 1989, thereby this far into the Edition being the most recently recorded work. Stockhausen has, however, always been very careful and demanding as to the recording conditions, so even earlier recordings sound just as good as this more recent one.
Suzanne Stephens recorded In Freundschaft and Amour on clarinet on the Volume preceding this one; No. 27 of the Stockhausen Edition. I will therefore, for this Volume, quote the essential and appropriate parts from my text about In Freundschaft and Amour from Volume 27, with the necessary omissions and additions:
In Freundschaft was already from the beginning envisioned as a solo piece for different instruments. On this CD Kathinka Pasveer performs on a flute, but the piece can also be played on clarinet, bass clarinet, basset-horn, oboe, bassoon, recorder, saxophone, violin, cello, horn & trombone! This makes it as applicable and easily utilized as, for example, Tierkreis, which has also been performed in numerous instrumental versions.
Stockhausen works with three layers in In Freundschaft. He calls his method here horizontal polyphony, and indicates that it requires a special art of listening. This is surely true, but you can also dip into the flow and enjoy without any special preparations. Any set of sensitive ears hooked up to a sensibly sensible brain and mind will open up the world of In Freundschaft in Pasveers intimate and intense version as well as in Stephens one on the preceding Volume of the Edition, in waves and vibrations of compressions from the shifting pillar of air inside the instrument.
The special art of listening that you can practice and train, leads to a deepened and furthered act of hearing, though, and is strongly recommended to those who care very much for music and their perception of it - and I suppose you wouldnt read this if you werent one of those! It is rewarding on many levels.
As always in Stockhausens music, there are many different levels of possible listening, and like the characters in Herman Hesses novels you can develop a deeper understanding by evolving through level after level. This quality of Stockhausens music, which always inspires to deeper study and more attentive listening, separates it from all other compositional acts that I have come across, and makes his music so much more meaningful, with implications that go well beyond any purely musical border lines that restrain most other composers, making Stockhausens music a universal music, opening up unknown worlds and connecting them in intricate, transparent patterns to our immediate local intellectual, emotional and spiritual neighborhood, in experiences wherein the distant and unknown feels familiar, and the familiar and well-known, on the other hand, strange and wonderful. His music is always, in a way, an educative event; a spiritual refining act. This quality immerses his compositional work, his rehearsals with the musicians - and the minds of those who listen!
The beginning of In Freundschaft exposes the formula for the whole work. The formula has five limbs, separated by pauses.
A trill is developed in the middle register by a gradual accelerando on the last interval of the fifth limb; the minor second. This trill is entrusted the modus operandi of the whole composition.
The Formel the formula enters in three layers, and the circumstance that demands a special art of listening mentioned above is at hand. An alternation between the limbs with a tranquil, soft and high layer, and the limbs with a fast, loud and low layer takes place around the trill segments residing in a middle layer. All pitches relate to this middle layer.
A trained ear, combined with a focused attention, will discover the relations of the layers. The high and low layers are indeed reflections of each other in time and space. A score at hand is very helpful to determine this at the first run-throughs. Stockhausen describes in the CD booklet how the layers move chromatically towards each other in seven cycles, exchanging limbs and uniting to form a continuous melody in the same register. At two points the musician breaks out in enthusiastic cadenzas. Stockhausen also says that in some places the tempo is slowed down so much, or a pitch constellation repeated so fast, that it becomes possible to perceive the finest details of the formula, and the beauty of the sound causes one to forget the development for a moment.
Then Stockhausen summarizes the piece in this sentence: Clear differentiation, relation to a common and constant center, exchange, approaching one another, movement of lively ascending elements towards the end of the formula: IN FRIENDSHIP.
Stockhausen at the Grand Auditorium
du Conservatoire Caen, France, 1989
(Photo: Tristan Vales)
A wind instrument like the flute or the clarinet or the basset-horn is very closely connected to the body of the performer, of the human being. It works simply as an extension of the person and the personality, and the spirit of the person playing. It is the breath of the player that pours into the instrument, and therefore the active force of that human being, her spirit, is especially apparent, as is also the case with vocal music, with singing. There is an immediacy here, very tender, almost vulnerable, always close-up.
Piccolo (1977) for piccolo solo (or ryuteki flute) comes from the composition Der Jahreslauf (The Course of the Years) for orchestra (14 players) and tape. A version of Der Jahreslauf was composed for the opera Dienstag aus Licht (Tuesday from Light); then titled Jahreslauf, Act 1 aus Dienstag aus Licht. The version for orchestra and tape is issued on Volume 29 of the Stockhausen Edition.
This solo for piccolo flute lasts but 3 minutes and 20 seconds, but Kathinka Pasveer nonetheless manages to convey a penetrating birdsong-like, sweeping, soaring feeling of a message that must be delivered to un-responding beings in human guises, wandering the deepest regions of dark valleys with souls bent, while the sun of morning or evening shines on the snowy mountain peaks all around, as a reflection of the splendor of the feather-light and light-hearted properties of Eternity.
The pieces of Amour were composed in 1976, with the exception of Sei wieder frölich, which was presented to Suzanne Stephens in 1974. Amour was originally composed for clarinet, and the version for flute appearing here was composed in 1981. This recording with Kathinka Pasveer was done in 1989.
Amour is a common name for a whole group of small compositions. The pieces are: Sei wieder frölich (Cheer up!) / Dein Engel wacht über Dir (Your angel is watching over you) / Die Schmetterlinge spielen (The butterflies are playing) / Ein Vögelin singt an Deinem Fenster (A little bird sings at your window) / Vier Sterne weisen Dir den Weg (Four stars show you the way).
All these pieces are Stockhausens musical gifts to certain persons, and the common title of the set for sure indicates that the recipients all are very dear to Professor Stockhausen. Another indication that Stockhausen regards these smaller pieces as important is that he explains them so well and in such detail in the CD booklet. Stockhausen has also reprinted numerous sections of the score in this rich booklet.
We can note that Kathinka Pasveer, in this version for flute, extends the duration to circa 29 minutes, whereas Suzanne Stephens on clarinet on Volume 27 is content with about 26 minutes. The longer duration mostly stems from Pasveers considerably longer rendering of Vier Sterne weisen Dir den Weg (Four stars show you the way).
Kathinka Pasveer at the dress rehearsal of
"Flautina" in Kunsthaus Lempertz, Cologne, 1991
(Photo: Karlheinz Stockhausen. Adaption: Ingvar Loco Nordin)
The first melody Sei wieder frölich was (as stated above) presented to Suzanne Stephens in 1974. Its a tenderly opening miniature, rolling out a carpet of loving music for the sorrowful lady to tread on, when she needed cheering up!
The other four pieces were composed as Christmas gifts in December 1976.
Dein Engel wacht über Dir was presented to Mary Stockhausen-Bauermeister. She is the mother of two of Stockhausens children - Julika and Simon - and has meant very much to Stockhausen, both privately and professionally (though those two aspects are inseparable in Stockhausen!). We may just remember how Originale grew out of animated conversations between Stockhausen and Bauermeister in Erik Tawaststjernas summer cottage on Lake Saimaa in a particularly enchanted part of Finland (drawing its spiritual significance on the old myths of the Kalevala) in the summer of 1961, opening the Fluxus movement. (Finland was a haven for all kinds of diligent people of the arts at the beginning of their deeds in the early 1960s. Terry Riley was there, and Folke Rabe, Ken Dewey [Dancers Workshop] and others as well.)
We may also recall the significance that Bauermeisters art had for Stockhausen (and vice versa) as they spent a few months in Baron Francesco Agnellos palazzo in Sicily in early 1962, where Stockhausen began his very important work Momente, in the one room that the couple retreated into, to get out of the cold.
These stories of the couple Stockhausen-Bauermeister have now moved into the realm of myths and beautiful sagas, and a special luster radiates from them, the same way the Icelandic Tales or the epic poems on the evasive Aino and Old Väinämöinen and the Loving Mother of Lemminkäinen (out of Kalevala) convey an atmosphere of human relationships charged with meaning and symbolism in handed-down traditions, appearing as integrated symbolic parts of hanging tapestries on the walls over the kitchen sofas in many a Northern Scandinavian country house, where the scent of freshly made coffee and the newly cut birch twigs for the sauna blend in a heightened sense of life and spirit as the call of the Cuckoo resounds out of the open bays of Lake Saimaa in the light summer nights of northern latitudes.
Stockhausen describes the piece for Mary Stockhausen-Bauermeister (Dein Engel wacht über Dir) as a dialogue between a low soft voice of irregular long tones and another voice two octaves higher, loud and regular, fast, penetrating, admonishing. He goes on describing the events of the piece: They [the two voices] approach one another, meet exactly in the middle at a loud flutter-tongued tone and unite. The resulting single voice quickly expands and pulsates once at the lower extreme with a chromatic figure which is repeated several times before reaching the bottom note, then flies to the register two octaves higher, where it stands still as a little dance begins.
Im sure the construction of the piece has to do with the relationship between Bauermeister and Stockhausen and the immense meaning this evidently has had, but I would not dwell further on that, since it belongs in the privacy of a man and a woman. I know, however, that Time as a succession along a linear movement means nothing to Stockhausen, but that he rather sees Time as moving spirally, resulting in the concept that all that happens and which has happened has the same immediacy, the same closeness; that it doesnt get diminished or blurred by the passage of Time. This concept may also explain how Stockhausen seems to care equally for people that he for one reason or another has terminated his immediate relationships with, like former spouses and so on. He seems to encompass all people who have meant much to him with an equal care and consideration, no matter when the close relationships actually were peaking in Time.
(Photo: Karlheinz Stockhausen. Adaption: Ingvar Loco Nordin)
An interesting aspect on this is found in Stockhausens Texte zur Musik band 6, in an interview conducted in Budapest by Bálint András Varga of the Hungarian Television on October 7th 1984. Varga commented on the two works Hymnen and Harlekin which Stockhausen had brought with him, and asked the Professor if he was the same person at the time of the interview as he was when he composed those works. Stockhausen replied: I remember that Stockhausen. He is as familiar to me, as if I had met him last night. Stockhausen goes on to discuss the nature of his memories, which are very clear from the age of 2 until this day, and he says: For these memories there is no Time. They are like a house all simultaneous, stored vertically and behind each other. Later on in the interview Stockhausen says: I do not believe that there is a directional History [linear], not even in an individuals life. On the contrary, all aspects of my works appear to me rather in a circle or a spiral, and not along a line. Subsequently, I do not say: What I have done 10 years ago, I will not do anymore, or what I have done 30 or 35 years ago, I will no longer do. Instead, all moments are for me valid possibilities, like the pieces of a mosaic. All is more like a whirl in my consciousness, mixing in my consciousness, instead of threaded on a chain. Further on in this interview Stockhausen states: I always have the feeling that I have hit several billiard balls which roll somewhere, where after they rebound and return to me, requiring me to hit them once again, causing new constellations to appear. My whole life is a big reservoir of possibilities, which I at any time can revive.
One of the longer pieces of Amour is Die Schmetterlinge spielen, presented to Jaynee Stephens, the younger sister of Suzanne Stephens. The beginning conveys to me the vision of the young lady rushing almost flying - up and down a staircase in a lighthearted and eager mood. Stockhausen describes the young lady in these wordings: Jaynee plays the flute, loves delicate colors, silk, jewelry, perfume, grasses, flowers, all things quiet and secret, silence. She adores flying [sic!], can remain still in the sunlight for an unbelievably long time and, in an enchanting way, attract other butterflies to a flirtation.
Stockhausen says about the piece: The play of a pair of butterflies one with a beat of wide intervals in triplets, the other one more nimble, lighter, higher, in fast duplets of small intervals can be followed in the alternation of almost chromatic melodic lines.
In Ein Vögelin singt an Deinem Fenster the melodic line as clearly as ever! - is that of an imaginary bird; the kind you find in fairytales, always possessing magical powers to transcend the listener, even to the point of understanding the language of the birds, the squirrels, the hedgehogs and the small ones of the forest, the little secretive ones beneath the leaves and behind the rocks, under the fern, feasting on blueberries, intoxicating themselves on mushrooms...
Stockhausen says on the piece: Out of a quick bird melody, full of trills and flutter-tonguing, stretching in wide intervals over the entire range of the clarinet [but of course, here Kathinka Pasveer plays the flute] after three stages of exchanges, contrasts, compression and slowing down there evolves a very calm, soft, unembellished human melody.
(Photo: Karlheinz Stockhausen. Adaption: Ingvar Loco Nordin)
Vier Sterne weisen Dir den Weg was given to Stockhausens first wife, Doris Stockhausen-Andreae, with whom Stockhausen has four children; Suja, Christel, Markus and Majella. Of course, the four stars of the title are the children.
The illusionary, repetitive minimalistic melody (a four-note formula) even the pace is identical , for half a minute, with Terry Riley's Untitled Organ, recorded in New York City in 1966 on a single-handed harmonium, but then the similarities end for the moment, as Stockhausens piece slows down, though still repeating the same little sequence (formula) over and over again, and in fact, after a while, speeding up again, moving into notes held longer, again returning to the Rileyish atmosphere, and so on.
Stockhausen: A four-note formula slurred and soft, with a tritone as its central interval whirrs in the low register, slows down, takes on rhythm as each pitch receives its own duration, becomes even slower and loses its slurs, becomes increasingly staccato and loud and perforated by rests. The second pitch shifts up a minor second, thus changing the central interval into a fourth, the formula accelerates, becomes increasingly slurred, loses its rhythm, grows soft, then suddenly stands loud, bright and with long durations two octaves higher, in the sky. A second four-note formula, with the fourth as its central interval, similarly develops and alters, the fourth becoming a major third, then, two octaves higher, appears three times with varied durations and once again like the first of these three, but with a trill on the first pitch. A third four-note formula unrolls, changes its central interval from a major into a minor third, then rolls itself up again, jumps up three octaves, becomes loud with molto vibrato and is extended, becomes four times as fast, then eight times as fast, is continued by a short dispute between the original and the altered central pitch and appears once more, broadly with flutter-tongue, then plunges in cascades to become the soft, fourth four-note formula, with the minor third as its central interval, which unfolds like the previous ones, takes on rhythm, slows down, changes its central interval into a major second with comical glissandi, and imprints the falling minor second in the memory with a long drawn-out echo.
The very personal character of the pieces of Amour lends a special atmosphere of heartening tenderness and loving care to this work.
In Susanis Echo (Susanis Echo) (1985) Kathinka Pasveer switches over to alto flute with its more rounded off, brownish, fondling ebony character of sound, which it somehow in my mind has in common with the beautiful voice of Kathleen Ferrier (1912 1953), especially evident in her rendering of British folk songs like My Bonny Lad, Blow the Wind Southerly, O Waly Waly and My Boy Willie, wherein the dark ebony voice of Ferrier paints tender canvases of human relationships of an archetypical kind.
Susanis Echo originates in Botschaft (Message); Scene I of Act III; Evas Zauber (Eves Magic) of the opera Montag aus Licht (Monday from Light).
Susani for basset-horn was written for Suzanne Stephens, and Susanis Echo was composed afterwards, as an echo-music, which Stockhausen dedicated to his daughter Christel, who is a flutist.
The music feels conversational, i.e. is inwardly conversational, as someone trying out different ideas in his mind, aiming at foreseeing the consequences of his imagined actions, as he lies on his bed at night, flat-out, staring to the ceiling, hearing an airplane pass by on high, above the sensed nocturnal topographies, leaving a trail of turbo-prop engine noise leaking down through a crack in the skies, setting his tympanic membranes in motion, sending a signal of utmost desolation up his auditory nerves, connecting to reference-points of his life inside his mind, where he realizes that all he can do is open up his spirit to good divine forces and let happen!
The sense of a reasoning conversation, of a self-deliberation, may well stem from Stockhausens construction of the piece. He describes it thus:
In SUSANIS ECHO, the inverted EVE-formula as [a] descending melody, starting from the E in the second octave of the flute, alternates with the original EVE-formula which ascends from the lowest C. Both are projected over a duration of about seven minutes. The melodies are filled with twirling tendrils and micro-tones, articulated by rushing noise-glissandi, kissing-noises, tongue-clicks, wind tremoli, key-clatter, flutter-tongue, whispered number.
(Photo: Karlheinz Stockhausen. Adaption: Ingvar Loco Nordin)
Xi with microtones was composed in 1986. This version for flute was composed in 1987. The title is Greek, meaning unknown quantity. The beginning is straight out of the playing of a Greek god, no doubt, as the Mediterranea - golden and blue and a warm-breezed call up the contours of the composition inside yourself, inside the listener. The illusoric sensation of a wave-motion, of rising clouds, down-drifts, soaring sea-birds, billowing sea-movements and glary horizons with dark, heavy outlines of passing ships arise from the utilization of microtonal glissandi through-out.
Stockhausen explains: The MONDAY-segment of the super-formula for LICHT, consisting of three synchronous formulae, is stretched to a melody which jumps from formula to formula, and lasts circa 6 minutes. The dominating character of MONTAG aus LICHT is melody EVE-character and thus also gliding melody, glissando. The connections between the pitches of the three super-imposed formula-segments are prescribed as glissando scales of microtones. The number of micro-steps in each interval differs from instrument to instrument [Xi can be played on any wind instrument having keys or valves, or on a synthesizer having variable micro-scales], and each player must discover for himself in the course of numerous experiments how many intermediary pitches are possible in each micro-tone glissando on his instrument, taking into account the tempo, interval, and individual playing ability.
These are the unknown quantities of an interpretation.
Stockhausen points out that the sense of time and space is lost inside this music as a result of a few main pitches being extended and stretched to about 6 minutes. Another reason for this is the subdivision of the intervals into up to 7 steps within a minor second. Herein rests the glassy foundation of the transparent suspension of this piece.
Stockhausen has also prescribed unusual fingering combinations, which in themselves produce wonderful timbre changes and dynamic shades.
Zungenspitzentanz (Tip-of-the-Tongue-Dance) (1983) belongs in Luzifers Tanz (Lucifers Dance); Scene III from the opera Samstag aus Licht (Saturday from Light). Here it is performed as a solo piccolo flute piece by Kathinka Pasveer.
It is a lively, active music, hopping about in numerous choreographic figures inside your listening. It hops on one leg, tilted this way, then on the other leg, tilted that way, curls up like a ball and rolls away, bounces, comes back, remains for an instant in one place, bouncing up and down, right into your face, then hastily recedes into a corner, or under the table, hiding behind a corner of the table-cloth, sticks out its claws and scratches your foot! There are trembling whiskers sticking out behind the drawer!
Of course Zungenspitzentanz is a scenic music in real life too. Stockhausen describes the event: The composition begins with an ENTRANCE. The flutist a sweet cat emerges from the left background, rotating spirally in time. She moves diagonally across the stage, changing the direction of rotation at each limb of the musical form until she arrives at the front right.
A second phase begins which has 14 sub-phases. The first sub-phase is played towards the public. To elucidate the parts of the musical form, the continuation is performed clockwise from 1 oclock, 2 oclock, 3 oclock until 12 oclock - a circular movement. The piccolo flute traces like the hand of a clock a circular rotation.
The circular movement ends with the exclamation (in Italian): Salve Satanelli! (Greetings, you children of Satan!). The conclusion of the work is a Departure, in which the player withdraws in a manner that is a mirror image of the Entrance.
Flautina was composed as late as 1989. It was written as a solo for flute with piccolo and alto flute. Kathinka Pasveer wears a special design a silver quiver - when playing, enabling her to switch between the instruments.
In Flautina the Eve-formula of Licht is stretched to four times its original duration. The 12 main pitches of the formula are stretched over the combined ranges of the flute, piccolo flute and alto flute.
The music opens in a whirling motion of repetition, swelling and contracting, growing frantic, reminding me a little of the minimalistic events of parts of Vier Sterne weisen Dir den Weg of Amour. It is a convincing tone of voice here, hardly open to argument, but simply forcing its way through the underbrush! Kathinka Pasveer inserts vocal exclamations and kissing sounds, sings through the flute etcetera and even moans
maybe inducing somewhat suggestive associations for a while there
The score calls for the interpreter to bridge the changes of instruments with sung and hummed notes. Stockhausen explains further: The colored rests in the formula call for rushing noise, kissing-noises above the mouth-hole with beating of the keys, tongue clicks and sighing, flutter-tongue-noise alternating with irregularly staccatoed spitting-noises, voiceless whistling.
Micro-steps make clear how variously large the distance between two corner notes can be heard. The vibrati of long notes are rhythmicized, repetitions sometimes lightning-fast.
(Photo: Karlheinz Stockhausen. Adaption: Ingvar Loco Nordin)
The identification with which the flutist is supposed to play is evident when Stockhausen points out that Flautina is a flute-spirit in a human costume; magically enchanting.
Kathinka Pasveer is this spirit through-out these recordings; brilliant, transparent, full of will and determination, and then freeing herself, liberating herself of her will, flying off like a gull, moving without any will, suspended, without calculational force, simply carried onwards, upwards, inwards by the pure light within herself and within the composition.
Ypsilon is a Greek letter symbolically used to indicate variable quantity. Stockhausens composition with the same name from 1989 is scored for a melody instrument with micro-tones. The composition can be performed on any wind instrument that has keys or valves. Stockhausen has given the piece a graphical score in 16 pitches. He has indicated that the intervals between the pitches should be as small as possible but clearly perceivable. That is what he means by variable quantities, since the steps of the intervals depend on the instrument and the player. Ypsilon for flute was worked out by Kathinka Pasveer in 1990. Again the melody is that of the Eve-formula, here starting with the central pitch of Dienstag aus Licht (Tuesday from Light) but stretched to 9 minutes and compressed spatially into approximately a minor third.
The rattling of bells startles at first. The costume of the player is saturated with Indian bells (compare the costume of the birdman Miron of Musik im Bauch!). The clicking of the valves adds another dimension to this fabric of sounds, and the human sounds of kissing, combined with other human vocal sounds, further the impression. Small pauses are inserted into the progression of events, and sometimes the shaking of the Indian bells reign in supremacy. The player achieves this by shivering!
This is one strange piece of music, which easily transports the suggestive listener into alien levels of experience!
Kathinka Pasveer at the dress rehearsal for
the world premier of "Kathinkas Gesang"
at the Donaueschinger Musiktage 1983
(Photo: Iman Heystek)
I stand for a while at my kitchen window in a humid June morning, facing east across the roofs of some distant tenement two-story houses and the forests behind them. Heavy clouds roll in from the southwest, pregnant with a rain that they still withhold, and it looks like a gloomy day. Right outside my window a spider has constructed a large web, to catch his prey in the shape of a mosquito or a fly or even a butterfly. Yesterday I gently touched the center of the web with my finger to see if the spider would dart forth, so I would be able to study it, but it remained lurking in some invisible corner, though surely feeling the elastic stretching of the web as I touched it. Ive left this web as it is, because I dont want to unnecessarily destroy the construction. It restrains me from leaning out of the window, but so be it, for the time being.
The elasticity of this spider web - and the lurking feeling of the spider fit right into my meditation on Kathinkas Gesang als Luzifers Requiem and my understanding of the dreamlike stages of horror and light that the deceased person experiences, according to his own karma, in visions that are collected out of his own self and shown to him on his way towards in most cases a rebirth into human life, according to, for example, the Tibetan Book of the Dead; the aim being, though, to leave the wheel and enter a state of enlightenment, peace, serenity, purity and timelessness.
The elasticity is a property of Stockhausens electronic music for Kathinkas Gesang, through the means that for the first time was available to him at IRCAM in Paris where he realized this magnificent inner world of the newly deceased with the technical aid of Marc Battier. Stockhausen had dreamt of such a music planned such a music way back in the 1950s, but the technical means were not yet realized; not even thinkable at the time. Electronics, however, caught up with Stockhausens visions in the 1980s, and he conceived Kathinkas Gesang in its version for electronics (tape) and flute.
Kathinkas Gesang als Luzifers Requiem is a formidable piece, placed as the concluding work on the second of the two CDs of the Stockhausen Edition Volume 28. This music is a splendid music to end a CD to end something to then start something; enlightenment, a new birth or a new music.
(Photo: Karlheinz Stockhausen. Adaption: Ingvar Loco Nordin)
Kathinkas Gesang can be used as Bardo Thödol the Tibetan Book of the Dead i.e. as a guide and help for the transition of the deceased person onward, according to the persons possibilities. The music then has to be played for the dead person during 49 days after his bodily death, several times a day. Listening to the musical Übungen 24 exercises helps the deceased to withstand fears and temptations and go on to the best possible state for him, with the goal being a total enlightenment and the liberation from the wheel of rebirths. It is recommended to go through these exercises in this life, so as to recognize them in the bewildering, dream-like state right after the moment of bodily death. This is the way the Tibetan Book of the Dead also works, in its descriptions of mantric exercises in this life to prepare for the time when the transition to death comes, to help the dead realize that he indeed is dead (it can be hard to understand that in the beginning of death), and realize that he has nothing to fear; that all he sees is derived from himself, and that he has the possibility for enlightenment, if that is what he is ready for, or for a good rebirth, if that is what he is ready for.
I in fact know one person who has written in his will that Stockhausens Kathinkas Gesang als Luzifers Requiem in the version for tape and flute the version on this CD is to be played to him for the 49 days after his death.
In a talk with Guido Canella and Luigi Ferrari in 1984 printed in the architectural magazine Hinterland and reprinted in Texte zur Musik Volume 6 - Stockhausen explains: The 24 exercises for the musical listening is reminiscent of the rules of the Tibetan and the Egyptian books of the dead. In the Orient the deceased has to hear certain mantras (in my opera [Samstag aus Licht] certain musical exercises), not to be tempted [or scared] by other visions. The hearing, the concentration on the listening and the sound, shall liberate the spirit, enabling it to move into the white light without any sights. Sights of demons or attractive, beautiful sights are temptations of reincarnation, weighing the spirit down towards lower regions, causing rebirth [which is to be avoided, if at all possible].
Kathinkas Gesang is of course a part of Stockhausens opera Samstag aus Licht (Saturday from Light). Saturday is the day of Lucifer and the day of Death. Stockhausen says that he from an early age considered death simply as a transition leading to a continuation; not as an end. In connection with the composition of Samstag aus Licht Michael Kurtz writes in his book Stockhausen A Biography: Stockhausens life-motto, Birth in death, now assumed its broadest dimensions: death on earth is seen as birth into a world beyond, as a possibility of a new existence in the light, in the lux aeterna, if the soul [actually: spirit] can maintain itself in clear consciousness. [
] Stockhausen concluded his preparations for Samstag by studying the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and said at the time that he had inwardly come to terms with the question of death.
Kathinkas Gesang als Luzifers Requiem begins with a Salute, followed by 2 x 11 Exercises for Listening with 2 Pauses in 24 Stages, appearing homogenous. However, the Exercises are clearly announced by signals in the high F. The Exercises are followed by The Release of the Senses / Exit / The 11 Trombone Tones / The Scream.
In the booklet, sampling relevant parts of the score, the sections of the composition called listening exercises are indicated as follows:
Initially the listening is concentrated on the first 11 exercises with a pause at 7 (stages 1 to 12):
||Regular pulsation in eleventuplets in the 1st tone. (Compare all body rhythms; eleventuplets as assigned task)
||Initial accent and rhythmic modulation in the 2nd tone. (Accentuated choice of birth and initiation modulates the rhythms of the soul)
||Bent ascending scale with 12 steps as nontuplet (12 chromatic steps of the octave as the 12 houses of life in the rhythm of 9 units with 3 intermediate units)
||Sustained duration in the repeated 2nd ton and irregularly subdivided duration in the 3rd tone. (The undivided preceding division, the constant preceding the erratic)
||Tail-period (Final period) in the 4th tone. (Concentration on the period which is prior to the end, before concentrating on the initial period [in the 20th stage] and the middle period [in the 21st stage]; bridle the tail before head and heart.)
||Improvisation (variation) on what is past and what is to come. (The middle of the Eleven looks back and ahead, before the first pause comes)
||First pause (Seven is peace.)
||Colored silence in septuplets. (When the tones cease, the breath of silence comes forth; the holy Seven first.)
||Timbre of onset in the 5th tone. (Savor the onset: bright-dark or dark-bright.)
||Continuous timbre-transitions in the 6th tone. (Nothing is stable everything is moving remember the timbres.)
||Echo of the 5th tone. (Savor the onset a second time, however, as an Echo.)
||Echo of the 6th tone. (Remember the memory of the timbre-transitions.)
Now the soul concentrates on the second 11 exercises after a pause at 13 (stages 13 to 24):
||Second pause. (After the first 11 exercises for listening after death, the second peace comes at thirteen.)
||Second echo of the 5th and 6th tones. (Memory of memories of memories of the onset-timbres and timbre-transitions; tattered previous lives.)
||Wind. (The rushing of the wind is The Beyond of songs, irregularly blurred and ghostly.)
||Colored silence in bright-dark-triplets. (If the breath of silence in threes descends, the second on the third and first depends.)
||Small wind and pre-echo. (Short, narrowed rushing of wind foreshadows the 7th tone.)
||Groups of periods in the 7th tone. (Recognize the number of repeated rhythms, compare the numbers; large Three devours small Two and Three. The 7th tone is closest to the 1st and is the decisive turning point.)
||Colored silence in quintuplets. (In 8th place colored silence was in septuplets, in 16th place in triplets, and here, in 19th place, it breathes in brightening quintuplets; the Thirteen remains for the end.)
||Head period (beginning period) in the 8th tone. (The 4th tone steered towards the end, the 8th steers towards the beginning and places the head above the tail.)
||Heart period (middle period) in the 9th tone. (If tail and head have well been healed, the heart is laughing in mid-field so that it happily breaks.)
||Irregular timbre-change nervous in the 10th tone. (1 + 3 + 2 + 4: in the 10th tone approaches the shore, there is no more peace.)
||Decelerating and accelerating pulse in the 11th tone. (All that was regular begins to deviate; the 11th tone is Lucifers last.)
||Colored silence in thirteentuplets. (The last silence breathes in the magic meter of the Thirteen, rising falling rising.)
Thus, the 2 x 11 exercises with 2 pauses are concluded.
Also from Stockhausens description in the booklet:
The Release of the Senses follows, a 2-fold enlargement of the formula, transposed as minor second lower on E-flat. 7 signals of the high F announce the beginning of the 7 segments.
In the Exit, final breathing slowly transforms itself into shrill, expiring laughter, leading into the 11 Trombone Tones that are the core of the formula, extorted from the flute at the end of Kathinkas Gesang.
Is the Scream the release for reincarnation, for eternal extinction, or for the entrance into the clear Light? That will be decided individually by each deceased soul.
(Photo: Karlheinz Stockhausen. Adaption: Ingvar Loco Nordin)
Kathinka Pasveer plays the flute part here. Stockhausen met her for the first time at the Royal Conservatory in Den Haag in the fall of 1982. She assumed the part of the cat in Samstag aus Licht as she joined Stockhausens ensemble. Stockhausen expanded Kathinkas Gesang als Luzifers Requiem, which was scored for six percussionists, to also include a flute part, which actually was to play a leading, crucial role in the work. That was the beginning of a close collaboration, which has been intense since then.
Let me also to offer some more aspects on this important work - quote (by permission) from a text by Guido Zeccola on Kathinkas Gesang, sampled from a more extensive text by Guido Zeccola, called The Insanity of the Angel, which can be read in its entirety elsewhere on this site:
The second scene in Samstag aus Licht is Kathinkas Gesang or Luzifers Requiem. The participants are 1 flutist and 6 percussionists, but the piece also exists in a version for flute and tape [the latter being the version featured in Edition 28].
The planet Saturn and Lucifer dominate Saturday, the Day of Death, the Day of Night, the long night of Mysteries; night which illuminates night; night brighter than day, like in the famous poem by St. John of the Cross. The same way the night is bright, since it prepares us for the light of day, death is a passage to the eternal cosmic light, to Licht.
The name Kathinka is a combination of words; of Kat - the animalistic figure for Saturday -. Think think thoughts and A alef, alfa, the Beginning. Kathinka sings and dances, with flute and voice, in an almost shamanistic performance. Kathinkas Gesang is a Bardo Thödol accompanying Lucifer or each man inside death; a death, which nonetheless, is illusory.
The music, a hypnotic flute voice describing the stripping of the senses, almost becomes a spiritual striptease, which guarantees the passage from the stage of illusion to the clarity of reality. These 33 minutes of music for sure constitutes one of the most interesting sequences of Licht, containing the formula for the whole opera, the Lucifer formula, the formula of light.
After a long, terribly beautiful, acoustic liturgy wherein Kathinka often sings (plays) in the high registers, and breathes, weeps, laughs, the Lucifer-man becomes completely stripped of his senses, as the ritual via dolorosa through 24 stations reaches its conclusion. Eleven trombones start blowing a sequence of sounds similar to the trumpeting of elephants, culminating in a four second scream from Kathinka, which resembles the scream of Jesus on the cross, a scream which liberates, delivers and saves. The sequence and scale of notes in Kathinkas Gesang als Luzifers Requiem varies between one and eleven notes; the timbre decides the proclamation of the sequences wherein the flutist plays, whistles or inhales and exhales in a short breath.
The musical rendering through which the work is articulated is not mimetic, i.e. it does not symbolize the agony of the death struggle, but seems to constitute a real Bardo, a musical interpretation of advice, which guides the dead in traditional Tibetan religion.
That which is very hard for Westerners to understand is explained by Stockhausen through music.
The electronic music of Kathinkas Gesang is quite different from what has been heard before from Stockhausen, but as indicated above he always wanted since the 1950s to realize sounds like these. The possibility to actually achieve these unheard of, dreamy, suggestive, gliding, bulging, contracting, floating, exploding sounds of the transition between lives came as Stockhausen arrived at IRCAM in Paris and started a collaboration with Marc Battier, who was a musical/technical colleague of Stockhausens.
Stockhausen says in his text Electronic Music for Kathinkas Chant as Lucifers Requiem (originally published in Perspectives on New Music, spring/summer edition of 1985, translated from the German by Jerome Kohl) that what he was after was the technical means to produce phase-synchronized spectra with controlled phase-shifting of the individual partials.
Stockhausen goes on to say: One learns ordinarily in the study of acoustics that the phase-alignment of the partials plays no audible role. However, that is true only to a very limited degree. Some results of phase-rotation which I achieved in an adventurously experimental manner in the Cologne studio were very encouraging toward making further investigation in this direction (for example, while simultaneously recording a spectrum on two parallel tape recorders, slowly pressing a finger down on the tape between the record and playback heads, and recording both outputs on a third tape recorder). By these means one can achieve wonderful spectral rotations, in which all of the partials undergo phase-shifting among themselves.
The compositional availability of such phase-shifting in the Cologne Studio for Electronic Music of WDR (Westdeutsche Rundfunk) in any case remained a permanent pipedream, like most of what I wanted to compose from 1952 (Etude, musique concrète, O.R.T.F., Paris) to 1976 (completion of the realization of Sirius at WDR), and could not realize because of technical limitations.
For the benefit of especially interested readers, and because of the great importance of this work, Ill quote some further parts of the Stockhausens text from Electronic Music for Kathinkas Chant as Lucifers Requiem:
Since the opening of the Studio for Electronic Music at IRCAM I have regularly been invited there for demonstrations of the equipment. From among the sound-examples of the demonstration tape made by Giuseppe Digiugno (the designer of synthétiseur 4X), I was fascinated by an example of the slow phase-rotation of an overtone spectrum of over 700 phase-synchronized generators, as he proudly explained.
At the first opportunity to find out whether I could realize a large project in the IRCAM studio, I concentrated on process of phase-rotation with the use of the synthétiseur 4X.
The 4X has six plaques (boards memory storage), and each plaque can be programmed for a maximum of 64 oscillators, when these are used with a sampling rate of 32 000 Hz. [
] There are therefore 6 x 64 = 384 programmable oscillators. Each plaque is divisible into 32 x 32 oscillators. If one wants to produce a continuous succession of spectra, then these plaques must be divided into halves (with 3 x 2 outputs each, therefore 6 potentiometers), so that during the running of the program of one half, one can load the other half.
Depending on the complexity of the program, the loading sometimes takes rather a long time (in my program sometimes as long as six minutes). By doing this, the number of simultaneously employable oscillators is automatically reduced by half that is to say, by 192 (3 x 64 or 6 x 32). The 12 outputs of the 6 plaques (each is divided in two) can be separately regulated during the work by means of 2 x 6 volume-controls on a mixing-table, and if necessary filtered.
These were the technical conditions known to me when, in May of 1983, I wrote the version of Kathinkas Chant as Lucifers Requiem for Flute and Electronic Music.
The actual realization of the electronic music for Kathinkas Gesang took place in December 1983 and August 1984, during two periods of seven days each at IRCAM, when Marc Battier, using a PDP-11 computer, programmed the 4X synthesizer according to Stockhausens score.
I might remark that these technical traits described above are of historical interest now, since the digital revolution since then has made things easier for someone who knows exactly what he wants to achieve, even if he has only a single Macintosh Powerbook (as long as its loaded with software) and a set of speakers, but Stockhausen has always been at the edge and forefront of whats possible, which makes one wonder what impossibilities he now ponders, which will be possible in times to come, for thirsty ears to refresh themselves with! (But also please remember that it is impossible these days to make music sound like, for example Kontakte, because that would require gear that is now obsolete, and a programmer of digital sound tools, no matter how skilled, will not be able to copy and re-create all the haphazard imperfections of that old analogue equipment that made Kontakte shine!)
Stockhausen continues in his text Electronic Music for Kathinkas Chant as Lucifers Requiem: The most essential aspect [of the electronic music for Kathinkas Gesang] is the six-layered space-polyphony of controlled phase-rotations of harmonic spectra. A new orientation of musical logic in the realm of the harmonic stands out, which was not realizable with the technical means available until now [the time of realization in the 1980s]. Simultaneous phase-rotation of phase-synchronous partial-groups of rich overtone-spectra (with completely determined fundamental tones and durations of each rotation, above all with very long durations and with certain intensity-relations of the partial-groups amongst themselves) can be of a beauty such as has never before been experienced. The changes of slow phase-rotations have such an intense temporal logic, that one can accurately follow quarter-, third-, and above all, half-phases; and the coincidence of the maxima of all the overtones (where a sharp explosion occurs at the point of phase synchronization) is perceived each time as a liberating new beginning.
(Photo: Karlheinz Stockhausen. Adaption: Ingvar Loco Nordin)
In the CD booklet Stockhausen deliberates further:
The version of Kathinkas Gesang for flute and electronic music has through the phase-rotations of harmonic spectra described above, and the associated explosions of imaginary giant gongs at the null-points of the phase-cycles given the Requiem a hitherto unknown spaciousness, solemnity, austere beauty in the gliding harmonic transitions through all consonance/dissonance gradations, a traceable polyphonic multilayerdness and purposefulness of the partial processes as a magic world around the solitary voice of the flute.
Heed here three aspects of the Stockhausen adventure: advanced and inventive use of advanced and inventive technical equipment and processes, philosophical and religious insights into our spiritual situation as beings in a space-time universe of primarily spiritual properties (the material world being one aspect of the spiritual realm), and last but not least; beauty!