LITANEI 97 for choir and conductor
LITANY 97 for choir and conductor was composed in 1997 for the festival EUROPEAN CHURCH MUSIC 1997, Schwäbisch Gmünd. The world première took place on July 26th 1997 at the Augustine church in Schwäbisch Gmünd, performed by the Choir of the South German Radio conducted by Rupert Huber.
The choir and conductor speak and sing a text which I wrote in 1968 in the context of the composition AUS DEN SIEBEN TAGEN (FROM THE SEVEN DAYS).
A studio recording of LITANY 97 was made by the SWR Stuttgart at the Villla Berg Studio from June 28th30th 2000, and editing and mix-down took place from June 30th to July 3rd 2000.
Head of department: Hans-Peter Jahn;
conductor: Rupert Huber;
sound supervisor: Thomas Angelkorte;
sound engineer: Christian Leuschner;
digital editing: Klaus-Dieter Hesse;
sound projection: K. Stockhausen.
On June 30th 2000 at 8 p.m., LITANY 97 was performed twice by this choir conducted by Rupert Huber, at the Stuttgart conservatory.
The score of LITANY 97, with numerous photographs has been published by the Stockhausen-Verlag.
KURZWELLEN / SHORT-WAVES for six players (1968)
(1968 programme notes by Stockhausen)
KURZWELLEN, like PROZESSION, was created for the ensemble with which I tour since 1964. The instruments are piano, electronium, large tam-tam with microphone, viola with contact microphone, 2 filters with 4 faders, 4 short-wave receivers. The work may also be interpreted by a different combination of instruments which corresponds to the one mentioned.
In TELEMUSIC I composed various processes of intermodulation, combining "found" (folklore) music of different countries and epochs with electronic music.
These experiences were expanded in HYMNEN (ANTHEMS), through integrating national anthems into electronic music. In PROCESSION, the musicians transform events taken from my earlier compositions. And now, in KURZWELLEN, each player has in addition to his instrument a short-wave receiver with which he receives the musical "material" to which he reacts: he imitates it, transposes it, and modulates it, playing together with the others in reciprocal reactions and intermodulations.
By way of explanation, I will cite a few of the playing instructions:
"There are four parts. Each instrumentalist receives one part. It comprises a sequence of plus, minus, and equal signs: plus means higher or longer or louder or more rhythmic segments; minus means lower or shorter or softer or fewer segments; equal means unchanged. When changing from one event to the next, a player follows the given sequence of signs. The signs may be applied to the register, the dynamic level, to the duration and to the number of the segments of an event. An event is played using either the short-wave receiver, or with the instrument. The first one must be a short-wave event. With each event, a player reacts either to the event which he has just played or to an event of another player which is just beginning and to which he first listens in its entirety, before he reacts.
The rhythm, timbre, melodic contour and envelope of an event played on an instrument should be as close an imitation as possible of the event to which one is reacting, and transposed according to the prescribed degree of change.
When and how often a player alternates between short-wave and instrumental events is left to his discretion
Completely unmodulated, realistic short-wave events should be avoided. In order to find a short-wave event which corresponds to the prescribed degree of change, one should first search quietly for a setting, and then begin with the event. The search (at low volume) for a suitable short-wave event tuning from station to station should be perceived as a characteristic quality of this composition, and should therefore always be executed carefully and musically; even unwanted stations should be listened to momentarily, with varying duration and loudness, before tuning to another.
Each player gives himself a name in the form of a musical signal. With this name he may be called by another player to participate in a duo, trio or quartet. There are six different signs in the parts that cause a player to call others to play with him synchronously or in alternation.
At four "stations" the players must wait for each other. At these places, each repeats the event he has just played until all have arrived, and one of them according to his part gives the downbeat for the continuation.
A performance should not last much longer than circa 55 minutes."
An undreamed intensity of listening and of intuitive playing is reached and shared by all co-players and listeners through the concentration of all players on unforseeable events coming from the realm of short-waves, in which one only very rarely knows who composed or produced them, how they came into being or from where, and in which all possible acoustic phenomena can appear.
Already in the first performances we directly experienced a continual supra-personal inspiration, expansive calm, a multi-layeredness, freedom, spaciousness and a medial distance from oneself, which surpass all our previous experiences and which announce something decisively new in musical interpretation in general.
At the moment, I can convey nothing more about KURZWELLEN than to say that the times and spaces in which we were accustomed to make music until now have been abolished and that the possibility of making contact with levels of consciousness which in the past were closed to us or accessible only in extremely short moments of intuitive inspiration, is becoming a reality.
The première of KURZWELLEN took place on May 5th 1968 during the Pro musica nova festival in the television studio of Radio Bremen; the score is dedicated to Hugo Wolfram Schmidt, initiator of the Cologne Courses for New Music.
The performers were: Harald Bojé (electronium and short-wave receiver), Alfred Alings and Rolf Gelhaar (tam-tam and short-wave receiver), Johannes Fritsch (viola and short-wave receiver), Aloys Kontarsky (piano and short-wave receiver), Karlheinz Stockhausen (electric filters and potentiometers).
In the course of the evening of May 4th 1968, this ensemble made 3 recordings of the work in the television studio of Radio Bremen. Their durations were circa 52 minutes, 47 minutes and 57 minutes. The second of these was chosen for broadcasts and this compact disc.
A studio recording made on April 9th 1969 by the same musicians has been released on CD 13 of the Complete Stockhausen Edition.
The score of KURZWELLEN, with photographs of the instruments and players, has been published by Universal Edition, Vienna.