Stockhausen Edition no. 36
Part 4/8 of the review

Alain Louafi & Nicholas Isherwood as LUCIPOLYP
at the Stockhausen Courses in Kürten 2001
(Photo: Ingvar Loco Nordin)


This scene carries all the magic, humor and wit of a Stockhausen at his best. It was performed separately in a lauded concert version at the last night of the Stockhausen Courses in Kürten in 2001 (12th August), with Nicholas Isherwood [bass], Alain Louafi [actor] and Antonio Pérez Abellán [synthesizer]. The performance in fact ended with the audience breaking into fits of hysterical laughter; especially when Alain Louafi as one part of the LUCIPOLYP figure stretched his arm out of his coffin and complained, addressing Stockhausen: “Maestro, zu klein!” (“Maestro, too small!”). That was the roaring end to a shining performance of very complex, intricate, humorous and downright hilarious patterns of movements and vocals, that will not be forgotten by the attending crowd; a mixture of participants in the Courses and local attendants. Isherwood and Louafi were like a well trained and physically fit Laurel and Hardy in a Stockhausen road show that had descended on the Bergisches Land with the wittiness of fireworks!

A new recording of this concert version has been issued together with DER KINDERFÄNGER (the PIED PIPER) and DIE 7 LIEDER DER TAGE (the 7 SONGS OF THE DAYS) as Volume 63 of the Complete Stockhausen Edition. DER KINDERFÄNGER is to be analyzed by Stockhausen during daily seminars at the Stockhausen Courses in Kürten, Germany from 27th July to 4th August 2002. The CD is very new and fresh when writing this in April of 2002, because in a note from Stockhausen dated 7th December 2001 he says that he was going to record DIE 7 LIEDER DER TAGE the following two days; 8th and 9th December 2001, with Kathinka Pasveer and Antonio Pérez Abellán.

LUCIFER'S FURY; Alain Louafi & Nicholas Isherwood
at Teatro alla Scala 1988
(Photo: Lelli & Masotti, Archivio Fotografico, Teatro alla Scala)

As scene number 5 of Act I of MONTAG aus LICHT begins, “a black polyp-like double being” appears, laughing malevolently in a bass voice, while also hissing! The creature – enacted by two performers [Nicholas Isherwood and Alain Louafi] – draws nigh, laughing and squeaking. The three sopranos and the women stare at him, and the women pull in their shoulders and exhale voicelessly. The creature rebukingly hops around, grunting and squeaking nasally. The sopranos call out voicelessly: “LUCIPOLYP!”
LUCIPOLYP shouts and caws, threatingly.
There is an exchange of vocal expressions between LUCIPOLYP and the women. LUCIPOLYP begins dancing, looking up at the three sopranos, singing: “
We sing, play…”, as he caws.
The three sopranos start descending from the EVE-statue, climbing down slowly, and very gradually but emphatically edging over towards LUCIPOLYP, leaning somewhat forward, holding their hands in front of them like claws. They keep LUCIPOLYP under tight scrutiny, as they’re protecting the children and the women, sometimes spitting like geese and hissing like snakes to show their venomous attitude and jagged determination.
LUCIPOLYP stretches towards the budgerigar, daring a whistle right in front of his beak! He is then kneeling in front of the EVE-figure, singing up towards her while scolding, croaking and snarling:

La – tsa – fa

LUCIPOLYP whistles as he jumps up, makes a wild downbeat and exclaims

A – fa

which causes the women and the children to shout a word starting with an A.

LUCIFER'S FURY: Nicholas Isherwood
& Alain Louafi in Kürten August 2001
(Photo: Ingvar Loco Nordin)

The alphabet now gets a wholehearted and thorough Stockhausenesque walkthrough, as LUCIPOLYP celebrates the letters, one by one, which also gives a good example of the inner core of structural logic that Stockhausen’s music is built around, and which lends its structural strength and stability even to the most frantic and surreal expressions of his creative imagination and humorous wit (Alas; the scientist inside the dreamer, the dreamer inside the scientist!).
As can be seen on the picture of LUCIPOLYP in the booklet of
CD 63 of the Stockhausen Edition and in the score of the concert version of LUZIFERS ZORN, a circle of the letters of the alphabet is laid out on the stage floor. This was done for the rehearsals, and the letters were removed for the performance at the premier of the concert version at the Stockhausen Courses 2001, but the picture gives a good insight into the principal of the movement from letter to letter of the alphabet. Exactly quoted from the booklet, the description of the action is:

LUCIPOLYP: Nicholas Isherwood
& Alain Louafi in Kürten August 2001
(Photo: Ingvar Loco Nordin)

[…] At each letter he [LUCIPOLYP] changes style, manner, phonetic level, techniques like singing, whistling, hissing, languishing, speaking hoarsely, laughing, stuttering, roaring, cursing, wheezing.
Simultaneously, his Double grotesquely acts, whistles with singing, clatters with his teeth, horridly calls, slobbers, squawks, caws, puffs (like a steam locomotive), bellows, groans, chatters, cackles, wheezes, squeaks, yodels, sneers, mutters, snarls, parrots, snorts, drones, explodes, gargles, feminizes, wails, belches, retches, chokes.
During these tirades
LUCIPOLYP rages, prowls, limps, creeps, jumps and stalks… around the women.

LUCIPOLYP: Nicholas Isherwood
& Alain Louafi in Kürten August 2001
(Photo: Ingvar Loco Nordin)

The cyclic property of the piece is expressed through the recurrent opening of the next letter of the alphabet. As LUCIPOLYP arrives at the letters he exclaims for example Be-fa, Ce-fa, De-fa, E-fa, Fe-fa and so forth, and at those instances he gives a hypnotizing downbeat, which makes the women and the boys (animal-children and Heinzelmännchen) shout a word which begins with the letter concerned, where after they freeze in a pose.
Some ways into the alphabet, between I-fa and Ka-fa, the double being crawls around the women on hand and legs, singing vile insults to them, while he also throws sand at them. His second voice murmurs dirty words in prayer-like expressions. LUCIPOLYP is enraged, banging his hand onto the ground. Politicians’ racket at a parliament session ends with the ringing of an alarm clock and the barking of a mongrel dog. LUCIPOLYP then starts ridiculing the animal-children in sarcastic expressions.
The loud ringing of an alarm clock cuts in at Wu-fa, and suddenly the unexpected happens, as one hears Herr Hitler speaking, like a demonic crow in the center of the sound, wheezing, grinding his words, as he leans into the room and lets evil trickle like honey through the room temperature, articulating his words with a timbre of sulfuric acid in his 1st September 1939 Reichstag address, slashing: “
Seit fünf Uhr fünfundvierzig wird jetzt zurückgeschossen!” (“Since five-forty-five we are returning fire!”)… and it is foggy and 1930s’ gray all through das Deutsche Reich as the crowd shouts “Heil!” and the German troops fall into Poland, presenting the world with the Second World War, commented on by Stockhausen flushing the toilet!

& Nicholas Isherwood in Kürten August 2001
(Photo: Ingvar Loco Nordin)

The three sopranos surround LUCIPOLYP, shouting “Inumare LUCIPOLYP” at him with their fingers extended like claws. The women lash out at the double-creature in wild fits of rage, while several of them kneel in the sand, scraping a substantial hole. LUCIPOLYP can be heard counting “hynstsvaisdraisfyrsfynfssyks” and singing “fa-tsytfa-tsyt”, followed by further counting. At the letter Z (tsyt-fa) both voices of the double being slows down. He picks up his cursing counting again in a whistling ritardando.
The women scream stridently and push LUCIPOLYP into the hole they just dug, throwing sand over the creature. At this the double being makes quite a few noises. He shouts and hee-haws, but his exclamations end in guttural sounds of suffocation…
The women quickly bury the creature and crawl backwards and position themselves kneeling with hands on the ground in a semi-circle, while the sand is still moving…
They all change their postures, facing outwards with their behinds side by side in a circle around the burial site, looking between their legs!
The three sopranos circle the women once, then sing:

Always, always, always
LUCIPOLYP spoils the game!

The women appear hypnotized, standing up. 13 women go and get one boy each, thrusting them under their skirts. They all look in different directions.

Antonio Pérez Abellán playing the synthesizer
in the concert version of LUCIFER'S FURY
in Kürten 12th August 2001. Behind the screen:
Nicholas Isherwood
(Photo: Ingvar Loco Nordin)

A large, wide, deep chord opens the scene, into which LUCIPOLYP enters like a nasty, spiteful, intrusive creature with the mind of a careless playboy.
The two voices of the creature produce all kinds of sounds as described above, and as a backdrop the children and the women are heard, like the helpless victims of something vile, evil, ruthless.
The synthesizer drone keeps extending itself throughout the scene, as a rock bottom for the action; as a canvas for the paint of Stockhausen’s palette.

Nicholas Isherwood swirling around in
LUCIFER'S FURY in Kürten 2001
(Photo: Ingvar Loco Nordin)

The alphabet walk-through has the children and women sound like a cheering Wimbledon crowd at a BorgConnors showdown, while the deep underworld voice of Nicholas Isherwood and the clownish, quizzical jester vocals of Alain Louafi mix into an uncanny sonic phantom of morphemes, let loose at the very initiation of language and speech, where the building-blocks of verbal expression appear in a magic, circular shape, through which the twin-faced, ambiguous demon creature strays.
This section has got to be a haven for psychoanalytic speculations as to the significance of the symbolism of

Going down! Nicholas Isherwood & Alain Louafi
as LUCIPOLYP in Kürten 2001
(Photo: Ingvar Loco Nordin)

The choreography of this scene (as I saw it in the concert version in Kürten) is a stunner of drastic expressivity through innumerable phrasings of bodily motions, in nuances too varied to readily explain verbally.
The choreography is a mind-blower all by itself. The combination of this advanced choreography with the double-voiced utterances – sound-poetic and lingual – of the LUCIPOLYP creature, lands this operatic scene right in the area of instant legend: there is nothing like the alphabet dance of
LUZIFERs ZORN anywhere in operatic literature! It’s a mix of bravery and God-given whim through a golden gesture of humorous creativity that has handed us this bit!

Stockhausen really pokes a joyously venomous magic wand into the stale and dusty
Bourgeois respectability of meager reason with
LUZIFERs ZORN, causing a well-deserved havoc in the minds of those who live their lives in seriousness without humor, which amounts to nothing more than a sour grimace!

Two coffins for Alain Louafi and Nicholas Isherwood
were graciously provided by
Klemens Spicher Undertakers in Kürten
for the concert version première of LUCIFER'S FURY
at the Stockhausen Courses in August 2001
(Photo: Ingvar Loco Nordin)

At the end of the scene we are left on the shore where the waves roll in with the soothing rhythm of eternity, the synthesizer drone still there, thinned out and transparent as the air of glass and thin smoke of a spring evening in a northern garden as you shudder in your coat, wrapping your scarf around your neck, sensing the sacrosanct moment seeping through your anatomy…


In this final scene of Act I of MONTAG AUS LICHT the women and some invisible men weep in various fashions, sometimes inhaling and sobbing, and the 3 sopranos keep singing in sustained chords, albeit with extended pauses and at times covered (here quoted with some phonetic letters missing):

LUCIFER’s fury
LUCIFER’s wrath
against the women
Hu hu ho h[…] h[…] ha hate
against MICHAEL

The great weeping
is heaven’s redemption
rain of the soul


Lunedi Munedi Rinedi
jugent jogät jugu[…] ju[…]
iugint jugunt iunta juggs junds
jung – jungs

at Teatro alla Scala 1988
(Photo: Lelli & Masotti, Archivio Fotografico, Teatro alla Scala)

The women individually interrupt the weeping at six times by crying out.
The first cry is “
MOCK!” One of the women appears horrified and lifts her skirt to reveal one of the Heinzelmännchen – MOCK – which sits there grinning. An elephant is heard from far off, trumpeting, and a steam locomotive pulling freight cars rambles through a tunnel. The woman pulls MOCK by his ear and hides him again under her skirt.

Soon another woman cries out, exclaiming “
DICK!” She lifts her skirt, finds her Heinzelmännchen, slaps his cheek and conceals him again.

Light hail and some sparse rain commences. The women make hissing and rustling sounds. The three sopranos, who descended from the EVE-statue in scene 5 -
LUZIFERs ZORN -, start ascending up the statue again, into the pulpit, still singing.

Yet another of the women yell, calling out “
MICKY” as she staggers backwards, her skirt lifted high, revealing Heinzelmännchen MICK. The woman treats MICK quite harshly, as she grabs his beard and pulls him backwards, to the approving gestures of the other women, until he is hidden again beneath her garment. MICK weeps, and everybody keeps on weeping, gradually in longer waves of crescendi and decrescendi.

Lightning strikes, scaring everyone. A forth woman screams “
DOCK!, DOCK!”, waving her arms, while the other women lean towards her as she falls backwards. DOCK comes into sight. Two other women come charging, pulling DOCK’s cheeks, and he cries. He is forced under the skirt again, and the general weeping continues!

At the part of the scene where the sopranos reach the section of their text where they sing “
The great weeping is heaven’s redemption…” a hyena howls, a dive-bomber descends fast, letting a bomb fall – and a woman groans, as if in sexual pleasure (Index 78 of CD 2).
At this all women fall to the ground, covering themselves best they can with their arms. Many Heinzelmännchen thus become visible.

As the general weeping continues, the women cautiously rise, stuffing the boys under their skirts again.

at Teatro alla Scala 1988

Then all of a sudden smoke and flames alarm everyone. One woman’s skirt is ablaze! She screams in fear, and the other women stare at her as they spit, sneeze, snort, cough and wave their arms. All the women who do not harbor any Heinzelmännchen under their skirts rush to the aid of the fiery woman, spitting profusely at the flames. Water is also brought in a rush from the ocean, spurted on the fire. A woman rips her blouse off, beating the flames. Finally the fire is extinguished, and the burnt skirt is torn off the woman. The woman screams: “FRICK! My ma-tches!” She is extremely angered. FRICK sits with a box of matches, again striking a long match against the striking surface. The woman takes the box from him, slapping his hands. He runs off, around the EVE-figure, the woman tailing him. Some other women join in, and as one woman catches him, he falls, causing also the runner-ups to fall in a pile.
The rain picks up. The Heinzelmännchenless women fetch umbrellas. They all stand erect with the umbrellas opened across the boys. They weep slowly. They hold on to each other, linking their arms, swaying and weeping in time with the musical rhythm.

A low voice is heard: “
SA-CK! SO-CK!! No! No!! No!!!” She takes a leap to the side, and SACK and SOCK are shown. She shoves them away in such a powerful manner that they make a somersault. She then pulls down their pants and spanks them seven times, alternatingly, in the metronome tempo 120! Silence falls. Some nod approvingly in rhythm.

An otter weeps very sadly, in a sound-scene with chirping birds. The women all squeak and drone to a carousel waltz and a rattling lottery slot machine! They make riding movements to the music in sync with each other and look up at the sky.

The rain gets denser, as does the weeping, which is expressed in parallel glissandi. They move their umbrellas up and down as they synchronously rise up and then bend their knees again. They keep this up-and-down motion going for a little while, shaking.

At this stage LUCIFER approaches out of the ocean in a shiny black raincoat, a sou’-wester and fisherman’s boots. He rounds up the women, who all clamp together, hiding beneath their umbrellas.

LUCIFER points individually to all the Heinzelmännchen, yelling their names:

Mock Cock Mock
Dick Pick Mick
Mock Dick Pick
Mick Sick

Krrr – Dock Stock
Frick Fick Frrick
Sack Pack Sack
Sokke de Stokke
Sock hy!

Löwenpiß hy!
Schwalbendriß hy!
Driß hy! Piß Schiß!
Driß! Pfeherdebiß!
Papageiß Wellenzeiß
Steiß Greis Schiß!
Wauwauwau wauwau
Kauwauwau wauwau klau
wau klau mi-au!

LUCIFER gasps for air, his voice breaking like a jackass. The budgerigar has left unnoticed, the three sopranos close curtains around themselves. LUCIFER counts the boys, almost voiceless. Then he stares at the boys, one after the other, individually, pointing to the womb of the EVE-figure, exclaiming in a cracked voice:

Everyone back in!!
The whole thing again from the start!!!

The women crouch, and the boys rush towards the womb, disappearing inside, one after the other. LUCIFER talks to himself, recommending himself to take a break. The Venetian blind closes as LUCIFER shivers, water dripping from him.

Stockhausen with Michael Bogdanov
& Peter Eötvös at Teatro alla Scala 1988

As DAS GROSSE GEWIENE starts, the voices move in wavy garlands, like undersea plants in a Costaeu expedition. The elephant suddenly pries open the continent of Africa in this music (savannahs, jungles, crocodile rivers, dusty villages in the drought, a towering, snowcapped, glacier-crowned Mount Kilimanjaro), and the introduction of bubbling water envisions fresh-water forest wells or methane oozing up through marshes…
The extra-musical mouth-sounds of the women and the electronic sounds further embellish the sonically induced visions on the inside of one’s eyelids. Little pings – like the ones always heard in old submarine war films – from a synthesizer, shoot out like tin soldier mortar shelling or fairytale fireworks… or neutrino passing through water basins inside the mountains…
The weeping and the bubbling or rippling water of this moist lament convey a very peculiar sensation, through which the bent little pings move like water spirits, conjured up by all this profuse weeping. I think of little fairies hovering like dragon-flies right above the pebbles of a Nottingham brook in the shade of dense, leafy late-summer maple crowns, through which the sunlight shimmers in scattered glimpses.
The passage with the hyena, the dive-bomber and the sexually aroused woman reaching her climax in a whimper of lust, is a fantastic oddity of a kind that couldn’t possibly show up anywhere else but in a work by Stockhausen. The sequence is totally hilarious, and it is not less exciting that these consecutive sounds actually work together. Who would have thought…?
On occasions of choir silence an alien stillness sets on the scene; the synthesizer emitting a thin light of sounds, slowly glowing, while the women rustle like autumn leaves, the faint ping trajectories descending like meteorites below the horizon – and the silence gathered around a baby that sneezes is attentive, serious.

to part 5 of the review