Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Karlheinz Stockhausen
speaks for himself
COSMIC PULSES (2007)
Stockhausen is recognized as one of the leading composers in this most modern of Modern Music.

22 comments:

  1. Hmmm, not the music of the spheres that Kepler had in mind, I imagine.

    Still, first an impressive sonic array. Conventional forms can only make a limited appropriation.

    Controlled chaos, if that isn't contradictory and even a dose of absurdity. Surely those are elements of contemporary life that require expression. Not that they're new.

    It does take study to unwrap the structure but art is going to require some study.

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  2. I must say, FT.

    I was shocked, shocked I tell you to see Stockhaused posted.

    But it's a much a sonic garden as any of the romantics.
    Now, what have we lost coming to this brave new world. Or what have we gained?

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  3. Wonder if this man's life on the sterile rubble of the "liberated" Germany after WWII helped in his ability to create such an unharmonic and atonal mish-mash of intolerable noise.

    Music to the ears of some quacks, I guess.

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  4. I would say that demanding conventional harmony and tonality to the exclusion of all else is more an indication of comfortable convention than anything in Stockhausen.

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  5. Maybe the maestro, FT, can weigh in to compare the classical German musical geniuses from long ago with the new age "music" of Herr Stockhausen.

    The old music and the new seem diametrically opposite.

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  6. This isn't "new" music, and the gist goes back to quite a few great composers of old. The idea, for instance, of a constant force movement achieved by carefully controlled "chaos," as Ducky pointed to above, is as old as music history can recall. It's interesting. Not everything has to be beautiful. It's interesting.

    JMJ

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  7. If the concept of music entails harmony and rhythmically pleasant sounds, as was understood by the great classical musicians, to pretend that substituting chaos and unharmonic noise in its place insist that is music, something is destroyed in the real world. Specifically the concept of music and the as well as introducing the brain rot that results accepts the counterfeit currency in the inner world of the mind of the individual.

    That is evident in the brain rot and lack of character displayed in the character of today's "progressive mind" and the empty shells of human remains seen today in those embracing this rot.

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  8. So, you couldn't imagine something like playing in the background of thriller or space movie? You just see no place at all for this in music?

    JMJ

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  9. If the concept of music entails harmony and rhythmically pleasant sounds ...
    ---------------
    Is that the only possibility?
    It's certainly an established form but why must it preclude dissonance or randomness?
    I imagine because it is what you are comfortable with and something that takes you out of your conception of what the world should be is disquieting.

    But Bach is still there. Although Stockhausen's conception of rhythm is certainly his equal.

    The question is why the "other" apparently threatens you.

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  10. You know, Joe, that's a perfect example of the difference between music and noise.

    Who knows what will be called music next by the ever "progressive" mind?


    I'm thinking a singalong with a vacuum cleaner would be accepted by the already brain-dead regressives.

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  11. Waht "other" would that be Qucker?

    Jesus you're and a$$hole.

    You must walk around with a boil on your ass and a chronically inflamed sphincter ... all day ... everyday.

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  12. Well Waylon, in your case other would be György Ligeti, Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Jackson Pollack, André Breton, David Smith, Jacques Rivette, Virginia Wolf, Gregory Corso, Morton Feldman ... and so many more.

    Anyone who pushes the envelope.

    You know, anyone who doesn't eat tuna sandwiches for lunch.

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  13. It certainly isn't "music" in the usual sense. I think Jersey may have described it best by categorizing it as "sound effects" -- a possible background for an eerie Sci-fi film, a dangerous adventure in strange, hostile territory, a nightmare fantasy of what it might feel like to drown in murky waters covered by pond scum where the dark night air is filled with swarms of mayflies and mosquitoes darting at your head and getting in your eyes as you struggle desperately to stay afloat -- things of that sort.

    I don't know this music at all, but I imagine it analyzes well if you chart its course on paper. It is n;t just random "noise," I hear evidence of definite organization, and though it all seems to sound the same, I hear minute, subtle changes in tiny quasi-melodic threads that pop up, but never develop enough to dominate the texture.

    From a casual hearing it sounds like the musical equivalent of a bowl of Wheatena, but it's hardly that benign. It fairly writhes with a chattering, squirming chorus made up of billions of germ-like organisms the majority of which are benign, but -- as in "real life" -- many that have a toxic, potentially lethal effect.

    Could I honestly say I LIKE this? Definitely not, but as a professionally trained musician and qualified musicologist I have to say I can ENDURE it.

    I have no idea where Ducky gets his ideas. If they come honestly from his heart, God bless him. If they've been pre-digested, canned and fed to him by "experts" paid to endorse this sort of thing in the classroom, because it tends to support self-styled "advanced" thinking -- i.e. Anarchism, Fascism, the Leftist Agenda, etc. -- I think it rather silly of him.

    Ducky, your ideas on dissonance and rhythm are naive. ALL music contains dissonance -- even in Machaut, Orlando di Lasso, Palestrina, Victoria, Byrd, Bull, Gibbons, Taverner, Zweelinck, Peri-Caccini, and Monteverdi. In fact series of dissonances resolving into consonances is the very thing that gives music its appeal.

    And have you never heard of Gesualdo, the celebrated composer of 'far out' madrigals and a contemporary of Monteverdi? Gesualdo's chromaticism sounds very "modern" to most cultivated modern ears.

    No one has ever used dissonance to greater dramatic effect than Johann Sebastian Bach. Dissonance permeates and gives the Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue, the Well-Tempered Clavier, his great organ works, his cantatas, the two Passions, and the B-Minor Mass their great, unmistakable character.

    If you want to hear a great celebration of dissonance, listen also to the Sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti and Padre Antonio Soler.

    And on and on it goes.

    It is the TENSION between dissonance and consonance that gives music its character, but the two must COMPLEMENT one another. Once dissonance takes over completely, we have CACOPHONY.

    Now, even cacophony has its uses. Benjamin Britten, for instance, employs it brilliantly in his operas, particularly Death in Venice, but he uses it sparingly. Bartok uses it a great deal, but his work is full of CONTRAST that gives it a sense of SHAPE and DIRECTION. It neither stays in one place interminably nor does it meander aimlessly. It has a POINT, and that is why many sophisticated, musically literate audiences find Bartok -- and many other celebrated wentieth-century composers -- appealing.



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  14. Most music certainly does have a measure of dissonance, FT.

    I believe Bach was criticized for it, no?

    But I do not understand why Stockhausen in any way limits your (or mine) enjoyment of the Baroque.

    The Impressionists are still central in museums. Renoir in all his late dull sentimentality will always be thee.

    Differences in taste drive away boredom.

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  15. You remind me of the character, Steiner, in La Dolce Vita, FT.

    "We must get beyond passions, like a great work of art. In such miraculous harmony. We should love each other outside of time... detached."

    Didn't work out for him, either.

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  16. "But I do not understand why Stockhausen in any way limits your (or my) enjoyment of the Baroque."

    I never said -- or even hinted at -- that or anything like it, Ducky.

    If anything, it might be the other way 'round, but I didn't say that either

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  17. A Mutual Denigration Society is every bit a tedious and unproductive as its opposite.

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  18. Haven't checked out the Stockhausen yet, but really been enjoying some Gesualdo. Thanks. :)

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  19. I have to admit that I was compelled to find out more about Gesauldo, apparently a fine gentleman that seems to have also been cuckolded by his dearly beloved missus. Being the hot blooded type he took matters into his own hands to resolve the issue:

    "In 1586 Gesualdo married his first cousin, Donna Maria d'Avalos, the daughter of the Marquis of Pescara. Two years later she began a love affair with Fabrizio Carafa, the Duke of Andria. Evidently, she was able to keep it secret from her husband for almost two years, even though the existence of the affair was well known elsewhere. Finally, on October 16, 1590, at the Palazzo San Severo in Naples, when Gesualdo had allegedly gone away on a hunting trip, the two lovers took insufficient precaution at last (Gesualdo had arranged with his servants to have keys to the locks of his palace copied in wood so that he could gain entrance if it were locked). Gesualdo returned to the palace, caught them in flagrante delicto and murdered them both in their bed. Afterward, he left their mutilated bodies in front of the palace for all to see. Being a nobleman he was immune from prosecution, but not to revenge, so he fled to his castle at Venosa where he would be safe from any of the relatives of either his wife or her lover.

    Details on the murders are not lacking, as the depositions of witnesses to the magistrates have survived in full. While they disagree on some details, they agree on the principal points, and it is apparent that Gesualdo had help from his servants, who may have done most of the killing; however, Gesualdo certainly stabbed Maria multiple times, shouting as he did, "she's not dead yet!" The Duke of Andria was found slaughtered by numerous deep sword wounds, as well as by a shot through the head. When he was found, he was dressed in women's clothing (specifically, Maria's night dress). His own clothing was found piled up by the bedside, unbloodied.

    The murders were widely publicized, including in verse by poets such as Tasso and an entire flock of Neapolitan poets, eager to capitalize on the sensation. The salacious details of the murders were broadcast in print, but nothing was done to apprehend the Prince of Venosa. The police report[4] from the scene makes for shocking reading even after more than four hundred years.

    Accounts on events after the murders differ. According to some sources, Gesualdo also murdered his second son by Maria, who was an infant, after looking into his eyes and doubting his paternity (according to a 19th-century source he "swung the infant around in his cradle until the breath left his body"); another source indicates that he murdered his father-in-law as well, after the man had come seeking revenge. Gesualdo had employed a company of men-at-arms to ward off just such an event. However, contemporary documentation from official sources for either of these alleged murders is lacking."

    In our politically correct "progressive" world today, how interesting that he'd be embraced by those folks ...

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