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

The PIED PIPER; Kathinka Pasveer
(Photo: Henning Lohner)

(Act III scene 2)

A group of children has come to join the others, looking out between the adults.
The flutist suddenly directs “his” attention to the children, who seem to fascinate him. He begins to play with them. EVE is put off by this, and retreats in the manner of a besieged and furious cat, spitting and hissing, into the heart of the large EVE-statue, which however keeps a crack open, through which EVE now and again protrudes her basset-horn. The heart closes up completely before the following scene;
The events shock the men and women present, causing them to withdraw some, watching how the PIED PIPER enchants the children. The adults disappear in an uneasy atmosphere, once in a while checking back in.

Antonio Pérez Abellán & Kathinka Pasveer
participating in a the world première concert performance
of The PIED PIPER in Kürten August 2001
(Photo: Ingvar Loco Nordin)

The kids try mimicking all that the PIED PIPER does, until they’re completely under his spell. He teaches them all kinds of crazy tones, noises, sounds, syllables, gestures.
Sound-scenes from all over the globe enter and disappear seamlessly. The children, under the influence of the PIED PIPER, throw their shows in a pile.

Kathinka Pasveer & Andreas Boettger
participating in the world première concert performance
of The PIED PIPER in Kürten August 2001
(Photo: Ingvar Loco Nordin)

The PIED PIPER plays his flute and sings, and the children resound:

A cock and a pastor:
Come you little chicks!

Ha haha hahaha, don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid!

Alive or dead: whizz bamboozle wheeze!

Ghost-train – ghost-man – witches scare shrill!
Hahaha haha!!

Pick up your ears: wailing banging-
M m m ä – bitching fitching goat licker: off with his head!

Bang and war –
sound and victory –
go home, little EVE-animals!

Oh how nice!
Steaming whistling hissing clattering:
up into the clouds with rattling
and fluttering, floating, knotting, stuttering!

Crack! Bang! Zang!
Sealy ehö ehö
nut häng schäng
ehö hö earthlings!

Now what is that!
Darling in the street?
Parrot in the nose!

Taster sugar baker
Heaven’s licker!

Ritsche ratsche
plitsche platsche
Plups! Plups! Plöps!

Eleven times mu-ö blind man’s buff
Ox at the hill

Eyes – Nose –
Stu bis en dood!

Katolikal – piat
You are… you are great!

häi ka kaha kahala kahalata heja
EVA Suka Kathinka hahaha

gak gak gak

e e e e EDIT TIMAR

gok gok gok gok gok gok gok
gagak gok gak

schnat schnat schnat schnat schnat schnat schnat schnat schnat

ts ts hai-lo o o

hu hö hy hi huiu

Kathinka Pasveer & Andreas Boettger
participating in the world première concert performance
of The PIED PIPER in Kürten August 2001
(Photo: Ingvar Loco Nordin)

The cock crows the scene into existence, and voices reminiscent of prayer calls from Moslem minarets resound, until a staccato Cutty Sark interplay of synthesizers, flute and children amaze at about 17 seconds into index 12 of CD 4.
The repetitious game, or the follow-John game, is incredible here, in the fashion of a tabla player repeating the patterns of a thala-singer in India. In the PIED PIPER, however, the children’s voices follow much sooner, much tighter, like a short, immediate shadow of the flute and the synthesizers.
On occasions the children come across like cut-up remains of Christmas carols, displaced in some latter-day holographic havoc of a multi-layered double-vision, when the synthesizers take on the guise of harpsichords and the flute is the leader of the pack; a motorpsycho nightmare in fluorescent sound; neon audio!
The tingle tangle inklings of the percussion – sparse and jittery! – spread glittering metal fragments through the commotion, and I think I can hear ring modulators at work in one spot, reminding me of
MIXTUR (Stockhausen Edition Volume 8), but then again, so much is happening in this music that events just flash by in a fury – or a flurry! – and dissipate!

Kathinka Pasveer participating in the world première
concert performance of The PIED PIPER
in Kürten August 2001
(Photo: Ingvar Loco Nordin)

Stockhausen has always been an expert at integrating voices with electronics, electric instruments, acoustic instruments and concrete sounds, and of juxtapositioning them, just to let them drift and change places with each other or take on each others characteristics in a hide-and-seek of sonic origin – but in The PIED PIPER he outdoes himself! It’s enormous! He plays so brilliantly with the sounds, no matter their origin, that it all seems so easy, even though it is so hard – and that is the insignia of true mastery! Like a circus juggler with his balls or torches he throws the sounds around in a fast-moving jumble of intense movement and perfect balance!
The richness of the material is overwhelming, taking into account the sounds from synthesizers, flute and piccolo, percussion, children talking, talk-singing, chanting, singing… plus the sound-scenes, like sheep bleating, trains passing and so forth. It gets crowdy in your mind!

Andreas Boettger & Kathinka Pasveer
participating in the world première concert performance
of The PIED PIPER in Kürten August 2001
(Photo: Ingvar Loco Nordin)

It’s fascinating to hear an idea, a glissando or a melodic line – or even a rhythm! – appear somewhere in an instrument, then quickly, like a shadow, pass through the voices and maybe soon show up somewhere else! This puts the focus not on individual instruments (to which I count the choirs), but on the moving auditory fragment itself, the moving sonic figure itself, as it wanders among the participants, be they people or instruments – and this is going on in Stockhausen’s music in a very different way than in a regular classical orchestra, where themes may wander from woodwinds to strings and so forth. In The PIED PIPER it’s more like the feeling of a spider moving along, making fast rushes, stopping dead still, and then moving slowly, putting its extremities down on different size pebbles along the way; the pebbles in this metaphor being the voices of individual children or of the collective of children, and of the synthesizers and the flute – and it’s a swirling, moving sensation!

Index 23 of CD 4 – eleven times moee… - is way out there on a limb! It simply has to be heard; the cow repeating itself, the children in unison mimicking it or talking back to it with all the might of their collective voices, in a humdrum cow versus children’s choir duel of hilarious dimensions! Holy smoke! Many such animated experiences await the unsuspecting listener in The PIED PIPER. It is definitely one of the most interesting pieces of new music I’ve heard, even from this Maestro. It’s completely wacky and wonderfully coherent, in a masterly display of musical genius and sparkling, good-natured humor!

DER KINDERFÄNGER (THE PIED PIPER) in a concert version for alto flute with piccolo (Kathinka Pasveer), two synthesizer players (Antonio Pérez Abellán & Benjamin Kobler), percussion (Andreas Boettger) and tape was premiered on the last night of the Stockhausen Courses in Kürten on 12th August 2001, and The PIED PIPER will be the object of Stockhausen’s daily seminars at the Stockhausen Courses in Kürten 2002.
DER KINDERFÄNGER (THE PIED PIPER) has also been released recently on Stockhausen Edition Volume 63 with Kathinka Pasveer [alto flute and piccolo], Antonio Pérez Abellán & Benjamin Kobler [synthesizers], Antonio Pérez Abellán & Karlheinz Stockhausen [percussion]. This recording took place soon after the Courses, on 16th and 17th August 2001 in Cologne.

(Act III scene 3)

Towards the end the PIED PIPER abducts the children virtuosos, disappearing with them among the clouds… A long time after they’re out of sight they can still be heard whistling and singing the EVE-song:

MONDAY – born from LIGHT –
ceremony and magic.

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

A strange and unavoidable transformation now takes place, as the EVE-figure grows visibly older. She gets wrinkled and shriveled, and finally transforms into an old mount! Life itself thrives on her, as bushes, shrubs, flowers, animals and brooks spring form her crackling skin. Big white birds approach, calling out loud, circling the EVE-mountain.

One of the children comes running back, looking surprised, shouting: “
Ohare you still here?”, poking about in the pile of shoes that the children had left behind, explaining: “It’s very dirty outside!” – and runs off, looking back once more before disappearing.

Far off in the distance the children and the birds can be heard for a long time…

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

The scene of ABDUCTION starts in a percussive atmosphere, as if the marching-order was given to large crowds of great migrations… and soon a barrel-organ rises out of the center of sound with its jolly, popular tunes of secularity, to which the children sing in tilted blocks of voices, skidding down the sides of the composition. This soon ends, as a tapestry of singing children’s voices, synthesizers, flute/piccolo and percussion delivers sloping planes of tight, polished chords, reflecting the environment in shining surfaces, like the many-colored light reflecting off the facets of a diamond.
The motion of flute/piccolo is the scribbling of a quill, jotting down this story of elusiveness for posterity, as the moment passes; the nib of the quill cutting through the exact now, leaving a past of inscribed signs…
An emerging synthesizer drone constitutes assurance of continuity above and beyond the fluttering of heres and nows, which pass in the wink of an eye…
Jingling, gleaming percussion shine and reflect; arrows of tonal rainbow light shooting out from the dancing, swaying progression of sounds, which soars away, away, away across the terrain, rising slowly between the clouds, into distant, lofty regions of the muses.

A cloud of butterflies dances away in the sunlight above yellow rapefields of June…

Stockhausen rushing to thank Jan Pasveer, conductor
of the Zaans Cantatekoor, after Act III of the world première
(Photo: Henning Lohner)


MONTAGS-ABSCHIED is scored for piccolo-flute, multiple soprano voice and electric keyboard instruments, lasting 29 minutes.

Participants of MONTAGS-ABSCHIED:

Kathinka Pasveer [piccolo-flute, multiple soprano voice]
Simon Stockhausen [electric keyboard instruments]

Karlheinz Stockhausen & Kathinka Pasveer
during the recording of Monday Farwell
in the WDR Electronic Music Studio February 1988
(Photo: Henning Lohner)

The foyer is drenched in the sounds of surrounding swarms of children-birds when the audience leaves the opera. The bright voices, climbing ever higher, are endlessly extended:

MONDAY – born from LIGHT –
ceremony and magic!

Finally a drawn-out single voice sings:

The EVE-children have been abducted
by music
into higher worlds
with green clouds

Stuor Reaiddavággi Valley, Swedish Lapland,
looking north-east, July 2001
(Photo: Ingvar Loco Nordin)

In unison the piccolo and the multiple soprano dance down the line, side by side and side to side, jerkily, like a scare-crow walk of tumbling motions (Estragon & Vladimir!) in an atmosphere of absolute fairytale innocence, through which the forces of Life are flowing towards the living… and it’s like a vision of sunlight reflecting off of vibrating wings of wasps across a late summer’s meadow; pastoral – archetypically pastoral! -; a generous feast of Physical and Spiritual in one long breath, one long gaze, one generous motion of God through Creation!
Into this terrific blend of multiple soprano voice, piccolo and synthesizer, Stockhausen introduces sound-scenes, like concrete calls of birds – as the mysterious, holy crane – and other beings… and the impression of glittering Life under the Breath of God manifests itself ever stronger in my perception and my mind as
MONTAGS-ABSCHIED progresses in tones of sunlight on distant waters of the sea, the way individual beings gleam across the expansion of Creation, on a sea of Life under a Spiritual Sun.

The mid-April of these writings enhances this impression of a sliding motion into the embrace of Summer and Life, as the Scandinavian solar arch of golden light grows higher day by day – spring flowers at its base – magically affecting the inhabitants of the North.

Stockhausen’s concluding musical gesture of
MONTAG AUS LICHT brings me into the sensation of light, of flickering light across water, seeping down through leafy crowns swaying in a summer’s breeze which fondles my knees and my bare feet; my bare feet feeling the jubilance of grass!

Stuor Reaiddavággi Valley, Swedish Lapland,
looking west-south-west, July 2001
(Photo: Ingvar Loco Nordin)

MONTAGS-ABSCHIED contains it all, displays it all; the Soul of the Child, the Wisdom of the Sage, the Adventure of Life… and this music with its all-encompassing qualities finally merges with the light that falls in through my window as I’m writing, and light and music become one as I stop writing and sit back, perceiving light as music, music as light…

back to part 1 of the review