Webmaster's note: Margarete Zander is journalist for NDR (the same company who employs the journalist who reported that Stockhausen called the WTC & Washington D.C. terrorist attacks "the greatest work of art ever". Ms. Zander was at the same news conference and has come forward with the facts and an excerpt from the actual transcript. The Stockhausen Home Page will publish a full transcript for the Hamburg news conference as soon as one can be transcribed.
It is our sincere hope that those who have inflicted such pain on Stockhasuen (and all us who love him) will quickly retract the poisonous yellow journalism as swiftly as they have spread it.
Dear Mr. Stonebraker,
I was at the press conference Stockhausen, where he was asked on the attack of the world trade center. I am specialized on contemporary music and was very familiar with the world of Stockhausen. At no point I doubted, that he was speaking of the attack as of Luzifers - the devil's - artwork.
Nevertheless I was shocked, that he was calling it "artwork" and his consequent view on the world from an outer point. But for him and his understanding of all things happening in the world and in space it was the explanation, for us these thoughts are shocking consequent. I did not want to publish it, because we all are in a very special situation, we hold together against terrorism and are working together on a better world. But the misunderstanding and the rumours on what Stockhausen had said were already there.
When you only take the part that was quoted, it is very very bad, but when you know, that before he said that he was speaking about Luzifer and Michael, the bad and the good, that he is praying to Michael, to the good, and of course not to the bad, you should see it in another light, I think.
That does not protect Prof. Stockhausen to speak about his understanding of artwork one time, but this is nothing to be discussed now.
Our task is to be with the victims, to help them, to pray for them and to help stop terrorism.
Original text from the Stockhausen press conference of 16 September 2001 in the Hotel Atlantic, Hamburg.
[during a discussion about the LICHT cycle]
Stockhausen: ... And ever since then, the large work is called LICHT -- "Hikari" [in Japanese]. In other words: a world era consequently takes place in a work which, in the end, will last 28 hours, you see.
This is, in fact, nothing compared to the themes which occur within it, and compared to the temporal conceptions which are constantly being called into consciousness by the music and through the appearance of Saint Michael. "Well, for Heaven's sake, what is Michael doing here in Europe and in Germany, and so on -- , and Eve (the mother of life), and Lucifer (the prince of light), who called forth the large world revolution, and cosmic revolution? Stockhausen is crazy!" These are naturally dimensions which cannot be elaborated on here today.
But observing you as you speak, you feel quite comfortable about this!
Stockhausen: Yes, certainly. Why not?
For you, are these figures who belong more to a common cultural history,
Stockhausen: No, no!
or are they realistic apparitions?
Stockhausen: I pray every day to Michael, but not to Lucifer that is, I do not allow myself to do that but he is very present, well, like in NewYork at the moment, or oh, yes!
Do you have visions of angels?
Stockhausen: Yes, certainly.
What do they look like?
Stockhausen: Not dissimilar to what you are all familiar with in paintings and the other visual arts from the past thousand years. And [striking his hand on the table] sometimes also in a human being.
Now the name of the city has actually been mentioned, New York. In your notes to HYMNEN, of course, you write of a musical way of making audible a harmonious humanity.
You also have just spoken about the world languages in which you have been composing. You just said that Lucifer is in New York, I don't think I misunderstood you -
Stockhausen: No -
The events of the last few days how do they touch you personally and, above all, how do you now regard such notes on a harmonious humanity in HYMNEN, a piece that is to be performed here?
Stockhausen: Uhm, well then, as for what has happened - now you all will have to reset your brain -- ...