Stockhausen Edition no. 40
[Part 1/5 of the review]

Karlheinz Stockhausen
opera in a greeting and two acts with farewell for 17 musical performers (3 solo voices, 10 solo instruments, 4 dancer-mimes), actors, mimes, choir, modern orchestra, tapes:

DIENSTAGS-GRUSS [Tuesday Greeting] – Act I; Der JAHRESLAUF [Course of the Years] – Act II; INVASION – EXPLOSION mit ABSCHIED [Invasion – Explosion with Farewell]

The modern orchestra for DIENSTAG aus LICHT consists of 9 trumpeters, 9 trombonists, 4 synthesizer players, 3 percussionists, 3 piccolo flutists, 3 soprano saxophonists, 1 guitarists.

Stockhausen 40
Durations: CD 1: 77:58, CD 2: 74:58


solo soprano
9 trumpeters – 9 trombonists – 2 synthesizer players
choir – conductor – co-conductor
sound projectionist

Act I; JAHRESLAUF [Course of the Years]:
tenor – bass
4 dancer-mimes
1 actor-singer – 3 mimes – little girl – beautiful woman
modern orchestra – 2-track tape of sound scenes
sound projectionist

Act II; INVASION – EXPLOSION mit ABSCHIED [Invasion – Explosion with Farewell]:
solo soprano – tenor – bass
3 trumpeters (the 1st also plays the solo flugelhorn) – 3 trombonists – 2 synthesizer players with 2 assistants – 2 percussionists with 2 assistants
6 tutti trumpets & 6 tutti trombones (ad lib.)
choir with invisible conductor
8-track tape (OKTOPHONIE electronic music)
sound projectionist

The dramatic figures and their interpreters on these recordings of Volume 40 of the Stockhausen Edition:


EVA [Eve]: Annette Meriweather [soprano]

MICHAEL choir & LUCIFER choir: Choir of the Musical Comedy, Leipzig Vocal Ensemble, Andreas Korn [conductor], Jörg Krüger [co-conductor]

MICHAEL orchestra: Markus Stockhausen, Andreas Adam, Achim Gorsch, Christian Batzdorf, Alexander Bernhard, Marco Blaauw, Berno Lilge, Torsten Rösch, Ralph Schäfer [trumpets] – Massimiliano Viel [synthesizer]

LUCIFER orchestra: Michael Svoboda, Felix Schöpe, Steffen Schwarz, Stefan Ziegler, Timo Bäuerle, Marton Palk, Iven Hausman, Hans-Martin Schlegel, Joachim Gelsdorf [trombones] – Simon Stockhausen [synthesizer]

Act I;

MICHAEL: Julian Pike [tenor]

: Nicholas Isherwood [bass] (the bass also sings the part of the referee)

Millennium Musicians: Simon Stockhausen, Andreas Adam, Michael Svoboda [synthesizers / samplers (instead of harmoniums)]

Century Musicians: Renee Jonker [anvil] – Kathinka Pasveer, Camilla Hoitenga, Janna Hüneke [piccolo flutes]

Decade Musicians: Achim Gorsch [bongo] – Hugo Read, Wolfgang Schmidtke, Ian Stuart [soprano saxophones]

Year Musicians: Andreas Boettger [bass drum] – Theodor Ross [guitar] – Massimiliano Viel [synthesizer / sampler (instead of harpsichord)]

Angelic girl: Bearnadette Read [female speaker on tape]

Sound scenes: Karlheinz Stockhausen [realization & man’s voice]

Act II;

MICHAEL troop: Julian Pike [tenor] – Markus Stockhausen [trumpet, solo flugelhorn in PIETÀ] – Andreas Adam, Achim Gorsch [trumpets] (the three trumpeters also played the parts of the tutti trumpeters 4 – 9 in the recording on Stockhausen Edition Volume 40, CD 2) – Massimiliano Viel [synthesizer] – Andreas Boettger [percussion]

LUCIFER troop: Nicholas Isherwood [bass] – Michael Svoboda, Timo Bäuerle, Iven Hausman [trombones (these three trombonists also played the parts of the tutti trombonists 4 – 9 in the recording on
Stockhausen Edition Volume 40]) – Simon Stockhausen [synthesizer] – Renee Jonker [percussion]

EVA (in PIETÀ): Annette Meriweather [soprano]

SYNTHI-FOU: Simon Stockhausen [synthesizer]

THOSE IN THE BEYOND: WDR Choir, Karlheinz Stockhausen [conductor]

OCTOPHONY: Studio for Electronic Music of the WDR, Cologne. Karlheinz Stockhausen [realization] in collaboration with Simon Stockhausen [synthesizer, sampler]
The voices in the electronic music are Simon Stockhausen, Kathinka Pasveer and Karlheinz Stockhausen.

TUESDAY from LIGHT is the day of war in Stockhausen’s opera cycle LICHT; a war between MICHAEL and LUCIFER – but it starts with a PEACE GREETING!

A short summation of the opera (but let me also direct everybody to the booklet, which in fact is a book of 196 pages, containing invaluable information in the form of text, drawings, charts etcetera, concerning all aspects of the opera, from loudspeaker placement to spiritual content!):

The Peace GreetingTUESDAY GREETING - opens the work. Two choirs are placed to either side of the stage, equipped with an ensemble each consisting of brass players, a synthesizer player and a conductor.
To the left stand the Lucifer musicians, dressed in the colors black and red. To the right stand the Michael musicians in their blue outfits.
The Lucifer Ensemble is bent on denying God, but they still ask for peace and freedom, though on their own terms, which means without God. The Michael Ensemble, on the contrary, wants to work with God to achieve freedom and peace. The opposing ensembles get into a musical battle, which the solo soprano tries to reconcile.

In the first act,
DER JAHRESLAUF, Michael is challenged by Lucifer to take part in a game; DER JAHRESLAUF [COURSE OF THE YEARS]. In this part Lucifer tries to halt time itself, while Michael keeps restarting its movement.
On the stage the four digits of a year are applied. Four runners are the personifications of four aspects of time. They move across the digits of the year at different velocities, according to their representations: millennium, century, decade and year, the millennium runner moving slow and the other ones at varying faster speeds, the year runner being the fastest.
Lucifer tries different ways of stopping the ensembles from playing, thus stopping time. These four time-stoppers are called
TEMPTATIONS in the opera. Michael’s solutions to get time moving again are called INCITEMENTS.

The second and concluding act,
INVASIONEXPLOSION mit ABSCHIED [INVASIONEXPLOSION WITH FAREWELL], displays more fierce and serious battles taking place between the good and the evil (though Stockhausen is sure to always give the benefit of the doubt, in a Yin and Yang perspective on existence). The electronic music (also released in its pure form, on CD 41 as OKTOPHONIE) envisions the turmoil of the battle, sounds coming from all directions, not only left – right and front – back, but also up – down [in an octophonic manner].

A mountainside is revealed on stage, blocking off the combatants. The Lucifer troops attack the obstacle, finding that it really is a metal wall. In the engaged and hard battle the metal wall is crumpling, revealing a solid crystal wall beneath it. This is the wall between this world and

The actions on stage are highly visual and choreographically exciting. The Michael fighters play trumpets, and wear black and blue. They have a commander who is a solo tenor. The Lucifer combatants play trombones, and they wear black and red. Their commander is a bass singer. The two opposing forces also have a percussionist and a synthesizer player, carrying amps and loudspeakers, looking like grotesque practitioners of American football or bopping moon walkers, the equipment making them broad shouldered and mighty.

During a cease-fire a trumpeter lies wounded, resting his head in the lap of a nurse. The trumpeter turns out to be Michael; the nurse is Eve. Michael plays
PIETÀ, a flugelhorn solo, accompanied by Eve.
As the battle again commences after the mourning peace of
PIETÀ, the crystal wall that is blocking off the Beyond is falling apart, disintegrating in loud detonations.

As the opera moves towards its conclusion an alien world of glass is revealed. It is
THE BEYOND. A conveyor belt carries war toys, which are scraped off irregularly by the singers, who utilize croupier rakes to achieve this.
In the end a synthesizer player elegantly moves in, distracting the participants of war games with his music. He is Synthi-Fou. The combatants, spellbound by Synthi-Fou’s magic music, start to sing with his synthesizer tones, dancing into a happy state. At the bow of Synthi-Fou, the curtain is drawn on

Richard Toop conducting a seminar
at the Stockhausen Courses
30th July 2002
(Photo: Ingvar Loco Nordin)

In Michael Kurtz’s book STOCKHAUSENA BIOGRAPHY (translated into English by Richard Toop, who incidentally conducted a series of highly interesting seminars at the Stockhausen Courses in Kürten of the year 2002), Stockhausen says, in reply to a question - at the time when he was working on MONTAG aus LICHT - about the possible conflicts arising from him being world famous:

Even more than before, I have to learn to concentrate, and to say no. Increasingly, when I’m offered a concert, I consider whether it is compatible with work on LICHT… It often saddens me, because there are scarcely any conductors who want to perform my work. The works require too many rehearsals for normal concert managements, and conductors want to get from the first rehearsal to the concert as quickly as possible. Our most famous interpreters do not play my works because they do not want to spend time studying them… So I have to concentrate firmly on whatever project is next, and that, for the foreseeable future, means LICHT.

Richard Toop & Stockhausen
in Sülztalhalle, Kürten, 29th July 2002
(Photo: Ingvar Loco Nordin)

After the premier of MONTAG in Milan, Stockhausen worked feverishly for a year with eleven concert series in nine countries. Michael Kurtz explains that the commotion was set about because of Stockhausen’s 60th birthday in August, and contrary to earlier behavior, the City of Cologne led the celebrations. The Musikhochschule in Cologne also sported a series of celebrational concerts in May of the same year, and in July Stockhausen took off on his first South American tour.
On returning to Germany in August, Stockhausen went to Salzburg, Mozart’s hometown, where, at the Mozarteum’s Summer Academy, he directed staged performances of seven of his works. After the Salzburg endeavor, Stockhausen went on to tasks at the Swiss Radio in Zürich, and concerts at the Frankfurt Festival, Festival d’Automne in Paris and the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.

At this time, as he was working with
MONTAG aus LICHT, Stockhausen received a commission from the Cologne University to write a piece for its 600th Anniversary in 1988. As he accepted the feat with joy, starting to compose what was to become TUESDAY GREETING, he recalled his earlier years, 40 years ahead (1947 – 1951) when he frequented the buildings of the university.
Stockhausen says, in Kurtz’s book, that his new work with
DIENSTAG aus LICHT – which deals with the Day of War between Michael and Lucifer – made him think back and remember those philosophical post-war discussions about whether the humans should strive with or without God, in the context of, for example Sartre and his existentialism and a fanatical new religiosity that flourished.
In his conversations with Michael Kurtz, Stockhausen points out that nothing much, in that intellectual battle, has changed.

Let me also insert that it seems clear that many of the impressions that Stockhausen got during the 2nd World War, at the end of it and just after it, are reflected in parts of this opera, in Red Cross nurses etcetera. At the Stockhausen Courses of 2002 a participant asked Stockhausen, in connection with the sound scenes of

When you […] selected all the material from the radio archives, when you chose them; were you thinking of your own childhood at all, or when you listened to them, did they bring back memories of your own childhood?

Stockhausen answering questions at
the post-seminar discussion of 31st July 2002
in Sülztalhalle, Kürten
(Photo: Ingvar Loco Nordin)

Stockhausen replied:

Well, that’s obvious. I have nothing else. Even last night you must have heard what I like; these steam trains – they don’t exist anymore… This is essential, or these airplanes which had a totally different sound than now the jets. I lived in the country as a child; not only as a child, still with 18, 19 years I was for a year [a] farmhand […] in a farm nearby here, to make a living, and I lived with the animals closer than with human beings.
All sounds that I have selected in Tonszenen in my works are preferred by me. It’s clear.

Surely this – the connection with recollections from his youth - is true also of much that surfaces in DIENSTAG, which, after all, is a war opera, dealind with the war between Lucifer and Michael.

There has been some confusion as to who Lucifer really is in Stockhausen’s opera cycle. He is often mistaken for Satan, for example, even though the right ranks can be deciphered in several places in the operas. In the post-seminar discussion of the sixth day of the Stockhausen Courses of 2002, on 1st August, a participant asked a question about this, wondering if Lucifer could be compared to Mefisto.

Stockhausen replied:

No, Mefisto is an assistant, as a matter o fact; a Foreign Minister, like Satan, and Lucifer is the chief. He was, and practically still is, the highest angel in the Universe. He was Master, until the terrible rebellion happened. As it says in THURSDAY from LIGHT, when they have to fight, Michael and Lucifer: > […] 607 bewohnte Welten, und [Du] hast alles verspielt! Was willst Du noch, Luzifer? <, which means: >There are 607 inhabited worlds, and you have gambled them all away! What else do you want, Lucifer? <. Michael is furious in that moment. […] At the moment Michael is in control, but… rebellion goes on, and this planet is an extremely hot spot in the Universe of rebellion.

Karlheinz Stockhausen
at the post-seminar discussion of 31st July 2002

in Sülztalhalle, Kürten
(Photo: Ingvar Loco Nordin)

In a talk with Rudolf Frisius in Kürten on 2nd March 1990 Stockhausen expresses many interesting things concerning TUESDAY from LIGHT. For example, he says:

In TUESDAY from LIGHT I occupy myself almost throughout with the possibilities of sound approaching from afar, with movements through an auditorium in which the listeners are situated, and of an outdistance of the sounds; that which I, for example, had tried out in STERNKLANG through the sound runners, through the distances to [and between] the five groups of musicians in a big park, [the perceiving of] which can be changed by the listener’s own movements [through the park]. Composed movements of the musicians are basically achieved through Invasions in TUESDAY from LIGHT.

Stockhausen then, in that same conversation, goes on to briefly explaining the main characteristics of the operas of LICHT to Frisius:

In LICHT each day of the week has its basic theme from the human experience: THURSDAY learning, SATURDAY dying and resurrection, WEDNESDAY collaboration and reconciliation, SUNDAY the mystical unification for the flight to other planets and suns. [and of course TUESDAY is the day of war between Lucifer and Michael]

Stockhausen continues [and remember that this conversation took place in 1990]:

INVASION is - in the context of TUESDAY from LIGHT - connected with quite new technical research, which I now regularly utilize. Just yesterday I had a discussion with the owner of the audio company Dudda about movements that I want to achieve within an acoustic cube with new electronic regulators. When you for example find yourself inside a cube with eight loudspeaker groups and wish to make the sounds move high – low, left – right, close – far, you need, for these motions from four loudspeaker groups to four other loudspeaker groups, special regulators for the eight sound waves.
the 2nd Act of TUESDAY from LIGHT I will use 14 transmitters and receivers simultaneously for the Invasions, balanced in a mixing console. There are [as yet] no technically realizable mixers in existence, for what I have in mind for motions through space.
I want to connect electronic music as well as instrumental music distributed by transmitters, in a way that I can feel free in my sound projection with regard to the velocity of the movements of the singers and the musicians, who conquer the space, approaching from a certain direction and disappearing in another direction.
So, as these musicians move down the gangways
[or aisles] through the audience, I want the sound of the pre-recorded tape as well as the sound through the transmitters of the mixing console, to move spatially in synchronousity with the moving musicians. That is a great feat, which to date isn’t solvable.

At the Stockhausen Courses of 2002 the question of movements in space and the distribution of sound came up. Since the movement of sound and people through space is an important aspect of DIENSTAG aus LICHT, I submit part of what was said.
A participant of the post-seminar discussion of the 7th day of the Courses, on 2nd August, asked:

I have a question concerning the movement and the spatial character of the compositions, and I would like to know how important it is for you that listeners can precisely perceive and locate where the movement [and sound] comes from. In one of your articles of the late 1950s on Space and Music you suggested a kind of experiment with a spatial circle of 360 degrees, concerning what angles to use and how far apart the sound points should be, in order that the listeners can still differentiate them. Was this experiment actually executed? I would like to know if those kinds of perception experiments play an important role, and if you think that the relation between your concepts and the perception of listeners can be tested experimentally and generally.

Stockhausen replied, in this most fascinating and beautifully comprehensive way:

The Bornemann-Stockhausen auditorium
in Osaka, Japan, 1970

The article Music in Space I wrote in 1958. I had already composed GESANG DER JÜNGLINGE and GRUPPEN for three orchestras, and I suggested such experiments […]. I was very optimistic - I’m optimistic always! – that the Radio [WDR] would be interested in developing space music. Fortunately, I had access very soon to a studio which I designed myself in the Radio building, where I had then four, and a little later, eight loudspeakers surrounding me and my collaborators… so I made the experiments myself, and listened up to ten hours per day, and could judge what was audible, what was recognizable and what was not. If other people have done this in other places, I don’t know. I remained, as a matter of fact, until the late 1970s, the only classical composer, as they say, who composed very much in detail this space music, and notated also how the sounds should be projected and recorded […]. I don’t know if it has been done somewhere else.

It might be interesting to have such a space. I always suggested a circular space and a half sphere, or like in Osaka, a complete sphere, and as a matter of fact, Mr. Bornemann, the architect from Berlin, had literally already designed and developed, and made models, for a shoe box, for the world premier; just rectangular in several levels, and then he heard about Stockhausen, who had said that something should be done in a totally different way, and he came to Darmstadt, where I was teaching, and he said; > Listen, tell me, what is your imagination? <, and I said: > Well, it’s stupid to make music in a box, in a square box or a rectangular box. It should be a complete sphere! <. I had announced this already since 1955 – 1956, and he said: > Well, describe it! <, and I said: > You must look for a special material that does not reflect, [that instead] absorbs, but make this sphere, I’m sure that it will give a good sound. Make circles of speakers. We’ll put the people in the middle, at the equatorial level, and they come up on an escalator <, and that’s what we made. He threw away his shoebox and started designing a completely new building, a spherical auditorium. As a matter of fact, that was only one year before [the World Exhibition], we changed everything, and then they built this auditorium in Osaka. It was really good. It had 10 rows of speakers; 51 all in all. Even under [below] the audience, there was a sound grid, a bit below the equatorial level, for having speakers underneath, but there were people from Siemens, who provided the speakers, who were very much against the idea, so under the people there were only a few speakers in a circle, and mainly base speakers.

I had a mixing console, and I asked an engineer from Siemens to make a little device, which I had imagined. I call it the sound mill. It is a small box, which has 1 input and 12 outputs. It has a little wheel, like a coffee mill, not larger than about this size [measuring the size with his fingers to the post-seminar discussion participants]. If I would put any sound at the mixing console with a little stick into this mill, and rotate it with different speeds, for example [the sound of] a singer standing somewhere singing into a microphone, he would be moved by me through space. With different speakers I could make any configuration of speakers [showing the participants different configurations with his hands], and if I had two sound mills I could put one player and a singer or two players on the two mills and move them in space, and though they were standing there somewhere, the sound would move according to my movements [of the sticks on the mills]. […] Any figure in space could be circumscribed with my sound mill.

Since that time [in Osaka in 1970] I never had again such an auditorium. That is 32 years ago! I still believe that such auditoriums must be built; not only spherical. I have designed several other possibilities, for example one space with three other spaces connected to that one space, and through hydraulic doors suddenly the walls would go down, and then one had a triple space with mirrors, and performers could appear and disappear in this triple space, and in one drawing I have made a tunnel, let’s say 5 yards wide and about 30 yards long, in the building, going from one auditorium to another auditorium with totally different spatial projections.

I’m always interested in inventions of spatial projections, and there are many other ideas of how to move sound in space, or to project or make sound appear in space, and disappear.
For example,
the HELICOPTER STRING QUARTET is a space composition. […] Yes, it is a space in the head plus a space in reality. There are these four columns of speakers, in front of the public, in the auditorium, with big television screens, or video screens, and even, at half distance from the front of the people who were sitting in Amsterdam there were another four, and then, once the string players had appeared in front of the audience and were presented by name etcetera […] cameras would follow them until they arrived to the helicopters which were standing right in front of that building; a former gas factory. [It was] a beautiful sight, and we wouldn’t disturb other people. The gas factory was no longer functioning, so there was a meadow, a lawn, and four helicopters, Aloette 25, French, with a lot of glass for the cockpits, very good ones, light, and then the players would go inside, while the cameras followed them, and in each helicopter was a camera, fixed, and each player had a string instrument with a contact microphone in the bridge of the instrument, and with microphones like pilots of an airplane for the vocal sounds, and there was a third microphone, very big and strong, also mechanically very strong, which was outside of the helicopter. It took quite a while and many experiments, and we destroyed quite many microphones. The membranes didn’t support this. [These microphones were for] transmitting the rotor blades. We found that the best solution was at the metal steps, the aluminum steps, going towards the entrance of the helicopter, and there we fixed a microphone. That was the best position to catch the sounds of the rotor blades. This was transmitted with three transmitters to the ground where I was at the mixing console and had these twelve microphones in front of me, coming from the four helicopters when they were flying above Amsterdam at about six, seven miles’ distance, and guys were standing on the lawn with these half-circular metal rings, which were the receivers […] for the signals coming from the helicopters. I could project these signals, these twelve signals, and mix them into four groups of signals, onto these four groups of loudspeakers, and we could see, with close-up video transmissions – which was fantastic! –; you could see on the big screens, the hands of the players, their fingers, the strings, and a bit of the face etcetera, of each one, and through the glass windows of the helicopters you could see, sometimes, […] the city of Amsterdam! It was beautiful space music, but it was projected into an auditorium.

Outside there were crowds of people. It was extremely absurd, because when the helicopters would fly up or come down, all the people were applauding like mad, though they hadn’t heard anything [of the music]. Event!

Now, for a musician, for a composer, it is quite imaginable that one makes music between different moons and planets, to start with, in our solar system, and transmit what can be played in these colonies to the ground, and project it in a given auditorium or in special spaces.

One is no longer bound to music, which is performed in one place or in one room. Up till now the history of European art music has been limited to churches and concert halls, and practically not to outdoor performances, except of performances of certain bands for certain festivals or events. The art music itself is bound to be performed in spaces, because of the silence, and of the sun and the rain.

The Romans, at the beginning of the 17th century, around 1600, who for the first time began scenic music, composing operas with Greek mythology, mythological themes, were bound to perform them in closed spaces, though the Greeks did them outdoors in these wonderful arenas. You can imagine whole groups of singers passing, coming from afar, coming close to people who were listening and participating in the ceremonies; singers and instrumentalists and dancers… so in earlier cultures these rituals were certainly space compositions of much larger sizes.

I have described in several texts such events in temples in Japan, but also in India. If you see a Katakali performance, it’s flabbergasting. I was at […] and then […]. It is a place where still the most famous Katakali school in India is [situated]. It’s in the desert; small boys and their teachers. I went there for a few days, just to learn, and then they offered to give me a performance for a thousand rupees. For me that wasn’t very much, but they were absolutely happy to do that, and they performed for me in the space of the village. There was a little podium already built, with stones etcetera, and then they performed one of the famous dramas for me and my friends who were with me; the musicians; Kathinka, Markus, my son; my daughter Majella was there, and Suzee… and so we participated in many of these events; not only in Katakali, but in [other places] in India where dancers were outdoors. It’s quite a custom to perform outdoors in India. This Katakali performance is unforgettable! […] I watched very closely, at a distance of one meter, how the make-up was made for the performers; flutists and singers. They apply this really thick layer of paste that needs to dry up, and they were just lying like half dead. They were preparing themselves from about 4 in the afternoon until 11 in the evening, when the performance started. It took so long to prepare everything; the make-up, the dressing, the costumes, cleaning the place where they performed, etcetera, and then they performed from 11 to 12.30 in the night.

Something like that is very important to experience; outdoor performances. Sometimes they still happen. In Bali – I was there for a month in 1966 – they still have these trance dances. They really go into a trance, and cut their own breasts. It belongs to their performance. They are on drugs, but what they do is beautiful; how they move in space, in the yard of the temple. We were just very few people, three or four, who were able to listen and see. I think it was unforgettable […]. It was 36 years ago… but if you have a chance to experience something like that; go go go go!

In Africa, here and there, you can experience this kind of ceremonial space music. That influences one’s concept of what music is all about.

to part 2 of the review