Monday, December 10, 2007

He didn't die, he just moved to Sirius!!!

Consider this as a comment to RFlat's post! I just think it should be its own post because I posted Stockhausen's questionnaire last week to give a good example of a living composer of the ''old school''. When I heard in the radio that he was dead, I was first of all very surprised because he has been quite active in the public during the last year. The second thing I thought was that we really are entering a new time. The generation of Stockhausen is about to die, all those composers who made 21st century music to what most people consider noise are dead already or very old. Stockhausen went far over the top sometimes. But in my terms, he was very "authentic". I played one of his piano pieces and some chamber music, which is how I became interested in him. These works are probably his more traditional ones in terms of instrumentation and appearance. Sometimes I wished he wouldn't do such controversial events like his helicopter quartet or wouldn’t say all these offensive things, e.g. about 9/11. All in all, people were talking a lot about his curious personality, but unfortunately not about his music. This strikes me. Why do they have half an hour long documentaries on the radio with old interviews, funny episodes, but NO MUSIC? They could have played something, an excerpt from an orchestral work or one of the piano pieces.

This only enhances my theory that even people who talk about contemporary music don't listen to it. This is such a big misunderstanding, why do people feel like talking so much that they forget what they are talking about? How many of us actually listened to music by some of the composers that were mentioned in our readings? I can say for myself that I went to the Library once to listen to some Birtwistle - and that was pretty much it, because I'm lazy. Some of you could pretend that you really wanted to listen to some Lachenmann, but it wasn't in the library. That's at least an excuse.

Here is an
interview from 1999 with Stockhausen in a British magazine, which is quite interesting and also entertaining. Please don’t waste your time and read the whole thing, if you are interested in Stockhausen try to get some scores and CDs! Here is a very short paragraph:

Ben Hollings: Do you think there will come a time when the pen and paper are no longer part of the composing process?

Stockhausen: Well, I wouldn't recommend that because when working, it's not important if it's on paper or a screen where you have a light pen or something like that. What is important is that, working on paper, to take what you say means spending time, unlimited time, on composing. And if you don't use paper, you might use a monitor which is fed by a computer or whatever it is. It is necessary that the spirit of the composer can concentrate on what he sees so that his eyes can help organize it into symbols which are used for other human beings to produce the sound. (...)

As you could read in the following text, Mr. Stockhausen has moved to the star of Sirius last Thursday (that's also where he came from, of course) and will continue to compose from there for the whole universe and in eternity. And I really hope that people in two or fifty years will not only remember him in this crazy context, but also remember some of his achievements in music and sound.