Even in the light of the various retrospectives and premieres going on this
year of Stockhausen's music I found this Aus Den Sieben Tagen (almost)
complete project proved to be a very considerable artistic success.
In my experience, these performances and their relationships to each other
gave the lie to oft expressed convictions that the text pieces were too much
of their time, or that only the famous Grammophone records could form the
definitive versions for all time!
It is probably also widely thought that these pieces, more than any others
by Stockhausen, required his own performing presence to make them more than
collaborative improvisations, or mere studies in group improvisiation.... I
beg to differ..
I hope readers of this group are able to listen to the recordings that will
be in UK's Radio 3 "Hear and Now" programme on 1st and 8th of November,
because among them were performances that achieved stunningly clear musical
processes and imagination, thanks to the calibre of the musicians and
ensembles taking part and the formal planning that was undertaken in
presenting them as a cycle.
Carl Bergstroem-Nielsen, DK
PS - Those curious about literature on this, see the Stockhausen
I've just listened to the BBC broadcast (still available for 5 days)
I must confess a great disappointment... Maybe my approach of these
text pieces has been too much formated by so many years of listening
to the extraordinary DGG recordings, and having had in the past the
opportunity to perform two of these texts?
The BBC has selected only 5 of the 13 pieces performed on Friday 24th
and Saturday 25th of October.
Why these 5 ones? What can be said about "Goldstaub"? The 1-hour long
ritualistic and magical DGG recording has turned to become these
ridiculous 5 uninteresting minutes with a couple of meaningless
"plinks" and "plonks" in an ocean of embarrassing silence? I guess the
two performers were too exhausted after their 4 days of fasting and
What has happened to all the amazing, various, juicy, breathtaking and
mysterious timbres combinations and moods of the Stockhausen
recordings? What a dull vision of "Unbegrenzt" which should take you
in an endless dream, and such a linear approach of "Intensit�t" which
should be a fantastic bonfire of howling and burning sounds and
Maybe "Treffpunkt", in this program, is the only interesting
performances because of the voices.
I don't deny that such a program was bold, and that "Cut and Splice"
has to be congratulated for such an event, and I don't intend to say
that any new performance of "Aus den sieben Tagen" has to "sound like"
the Stockhausen recordings, but at least, it has to be as beautiful,
fascinating and "bewitching"... I don't think the performers had at
all in mind how "intuition" was expressed by Satprem in his book "Sri
Aurobindo and the Adventure of the Conscience", and how it certainly
was sensed by Stockhausen. Maybe it should be added in the "Aus den
sieben Tagen" score that Satprem's book is required to be read?
as a young man he was interested in the Pied Piper.
> There was a whole stageful of the guys at one point. See ->
The performance of Set Sail for the Sun (ending the Friday concert) and
Arrival (beginning the Saturday concert) had large ensembles as that photo.
The performance of Goldstaub that began the cycle was indeed delicate.
"Playing single sounds without thinking what you are playing", having a
fragile instensity where the two performers could have been hearing sounds
as if never heard before but the audience were in a different situation. The
astonishing grammophone record of 40 years ago surely goes far beyond the
This was only the first instalment. Next Saturday Hear and Now will
broadcast the rest (or nearly all the rest) of the pieces performed.
> Why these 5 ones?
Presumably because they were the pieces performed the first of the two
I haven't heard this broadcast yet. Perhaps tomorrow I can find the
time to catch up.
Probably, but there were two more works on the programme ("Nachtmusik"
and "Abw�rts") which were not selected by the BBC. Maybe they just
wanted to even the duration of this broadcast with the coming second
part I wasn't aware of?
I truly hope the second night performances were more inspired, more
poetic, and stuck more to the text (and to the spirit).
Possibly. I shall ask Robert Worby when I see him. He did say that he
thought the piece played by three bass clarinets and tuba was a very
well-done performance I don't remember which text that was). Was that
on the first broadcast, or do you have that to look forward to on the
> I truly hope the second night performances were more inspired, more
> poetic, and stuck more to the text (and to the spirit).
Yes, it is all too easy to overlook the fact that the texts give
instruction for *what is to be played*. They are not just
"inspirational messages" (though they may be that as well). As to the
"spirit", there are the two texts, Litanei (Litany) and Ankunft
(Arrival) that are not directly pieces to be performed (though Litanei
was adapted by Stockhausen for performance), but should both be read
by anyone meaning to perform one of the others.
Connection was the piece with 4 bass clarinets and tuba. Performed second
on the Friday concert.
These 5 performers were outstanding for the pieces in which they
participated. Communion used those instruments on the balcony level (unseen
to the majority of listeners) providing material for the performers on stage
to focus upon for their own processes. I noticed (as I've mentioned before)
that the adst texts were convincingly the basis of these approaches, but not
an aural tradition gained from the sound world of existing recordings.
Yes, thank you. I listened to the first half of last Saturday's
broadcast today, and got just as far as the beginning of Connection
before I had to rush off for an appointment. Nothing up to that point
impressed me much (at least, not in a positive way), but the beginning
of Connection showed some promise. The biggest disappointment for me
was Unlimited, which seemed (in contrast to the promise of the title)
extremely limited, indeed.
Paul asked whether everything from these concerts will be broadcast,
and the producer , Philip Tagney, tells me that, unfortunately, no,
that is not possible. Hear and Now is restricted to 90-minute
episodes, and there was more than 180 minutes' worth on the two Cut &
Splice concerts, so something had to be left out. I don't know which
pieces got cut, however, but it is clear that they are not going
straight through from the top of the first to the bottom of the last,
so we shall have to wait and see what is included, next Saturday.