|A Giant statue of EVE. |
for vocal soloists (mostly soprano trio & tenor trio), choir, children’s choir, girls’ choir, piano, basset horn, flute, piccolo, modern orchestra (3 synthesizer players, 1 percussionist, tape).
MONTAG is EVE's day, the Day of Birthing. This opera is a celebration of birth and the rebirth of humanity. EVE is represented by basset horn and flute. EVE gives birth to a new form of Mankind, but the children and their caretakers are mocked by LUCIFER. In the end a Pied Piper flautist leads the children off into the distance.
Stockhausen's 3rd entry in the LICHT opera cycle (based on the 7 days of the week) is titled MONTAG aus LICHT, or Monday From Light. This opera is a celebration of the LICHT character EVE, who represents the feminine side of humanity. Through text, narrative and "Sound Scenes" (taped sound collages), Eve is worshiped both as a mother and a lover.
Work began on Monday From Light immediately after Saturday From Light was completed, and went on throughout the production of Saturday From Light's premiere in 1984. Stockhausen subsequently premiered some parts of Monday From Light (independently from the opera) as early as 1985. The 2nd and 3rd Acts, "Eve's 2nd Birth-Giving" (dedicated to Suzanne Stephens) and "Eve's Magic" (dedicated to Stephens and Kathinka Pasveer) were composed from 1984-86, while the 1st Act, "Eve's 1st Birth-Giving" (dedicated to "EVA, Mother of the World"), was composed in 1987. The opening and closing Greeting and Farewell sequences were completed last, just in time for the full opera premiere in 1988 (La Scala, Milan Italy). The tape-collage Sound Scenes were assembled earlier in 1985.
In contrast to Saturday From Light (which was highly instrumental in nature), this opera is characterized by layers of mixed vocal combos and choir groups, with some solo instruments featured in the 3rd Act. The Stockhausen Edition CD 36 recording features Suzanne Stephens (woodwinds), and Kathinka Pasveer (flutes), Nicholas Isherwood (bass vocal), Annette Meriweather (soprano), and Pierre-Laurent Aimard (piano). Supportive electronic synthesizer layers were performed by Simon Stockhausen, Michael Obst, and Michael Svoboda, and Andreas Boettger provided percussion elements. The choir groups were assembled from the WDR Cologne Choir, the Radio Budapest Children's Choir, and Zaans Cantatekoor (Holland).
Acts 1 and 2 are essentially electro-acoustic cantatas centered around complex birth/childhood ceremonies. The final Scene of Act 2 features the basset horn as a solo instrument. The 3rd Act, a choral fantasia featuring basset horn and flute soloists, describes EVA's discovery of her "mirror-image" AVE. At the end, AVE entrances a crowd of children and leads them off (into the Heavens).
MONTAGs GRUSS (Monday Greeting, 1988):
This 4-channel tape piece (created through tape speed-manipulated woodwind melodies) is used as "entrance music" as the audience arrives. The venue's foyer space is also bathed in greenish waves, to give the effect of being underwater. A sculpture of a female basset-horn player is situated in the center of the room.
Act 1: EVAs ERSTGEBURT (Eve's 1st Birth-Giving, 1987):
This opening Act is musically characterized by vocal trios and electronics, supported by 3 choral groups: female choir (SA), male choir (TB), and children's choir (boys' voices). There is no orchestra. Three synthesizers mostly comment on and shadow the vocal elements, using drones and modulating timbres. Many of the visual elements also have corresponding sound effects projected.
Narratively, a giant Eve figure gives birth to 7 Animal-boys and 7 Heinzelmännchen (gnomes), who are celebrated by a siren trio of EVE sopranos and a visiting trio of tenor "sailors". However, after a reckless carriage race, Lucipolyp (a "disturbed" male vocal duo) arrives and ruins the mood. Lucifer arrives and commands the children to return to Eve's womb so that a 2nd birthing process can be attempted (in Act 2). This Act has 6 Scenes:
- Scene 1: IN HOFFNUNG (Expecting): A lighthouse-sized Eve is bathed by a female choir, which generally sings slow, ethereal harmonies. A trio of soprano soloists standing on Eve's shoulder contribute siren-like wails and pronouncements. After a cycle of "9 months", dawn arrives - met by an "explosion" from Eve's womb (signifying birth).
- Scene 2: HEINZELMÄNNCHEN: 7 "Animal-boys" and 7 Heinzelmännchen (gnomes) are born. During this sequence, the "midwife" Soprano trio offer more fervent, intertwining melody figures over the quietly keening choir.
- Scene 3: GEBURTS-ARIE (Birth Arias)
- Erste GEBURTS-ARIE (1st Birth Aria): The 3 Sopranos are featured in a contrapuntal (3-layered) song of thanksgiving.
- Zweite GEBURTS-ARIE (2nd Birth Aria): 3 Tenor sailors arrive with food and gifts (singing in a harmonized "barbershop" style). At the end the Soprano trio joins the Tenor trio in a tutti. The sailors depart.
- Scene 4: KNABENGESCHREI (Boy's Hullabaloo): The 7 Animal-boys are driven around in carriages in a square course (musically represented in even meter by Soprano choir, 1 soprano soloist, Animal-boys). At the same time, the 7 Heinzelmännchen are raced around in a triangle course (represented in odd meter by Alto & Tenor choirs, 2 soprano soloists, and the Heinzelmännchen). In other words, male, female and children's choirs create a slowly-accelerating polyrhythmic groove. This "Baby Buggy Boogie" ends in a chaotic crash.
- Scene 5: LUZIFERs ZORN (Lucifer's Fury): Lucipolyp, a black "double-octopus", appears amidst the tangle of crashed baby strollers. The Lucipolyp bass vocal soloist then begins celebrating the alphabet in a somewhat disturbed manner, shadowed by his "other half" (an actor vocalizing in even more bizarre styles). Eventually the women bury Lucipolyp in the sand and protectively hide the boys and Heinzelmännchen under their skirts.
- Scene 6: DAS GROSSE GEWEINE (The Great Weeping): During a storm ("weeping skies"), the Heinzelmännchen begin to misbehave and cause mischief. Umbrellas come out and move to the rhythm of the music. Finally Lucifer (as a fisherman) appears from the sea and orders the children to return to giant Eve's womb. Musically, this Scene revisits the opening musical textures from Scene 1, and features the Soprano trio and choir.
Act 2: EVAs ZWEITGEBURT (Eve's 2nd Birth-Giving):
This Act musically features a girls' choir, a piano solo, 7 boy soloists and a basset-horn (joined by additional vocal soloists). In this Act, a candle-lit girls' procession gives praise to Eve. Then one of the Animal-boys from the previous Act resurfaces to impregnate the giant Eve statue with a piano solo. Afterwards, 7 boys are born, and they are "seduced" by a "Couer de Basset". This Act has 4 Scenes. The first 3 Scenes, composed in 1987, feature the girls choir with a brief (but important!) piano solo (which was originally composed in 1984 for Pierre Boulez' birthday). Scene 4, EVAs LIED, was composed earlier in 1986.
- Scene 1: MÄDCHENPROZESSION (Girls' Procession): 3 groups of girls approach the stage in lily blossom costumes, lighting the stage with their hand-held candles. The 9-part girls' choir sings rhythms in different rhythms (polyrhythms), praising and thanking Eve, and asking her to give birth to more musical human beings.
- Scene 2: BEFRUCHTUNG mit KLAVIERSTÜCK (Conception with Piano Piece): The now-grown Budgerigar-Boy from the first Act arrives, playing a stretched-out grand piano. He parks it between the giant Eve's legs. The pianist plays a solo accompanied by chants from the lily blossom girls (girls' choir).
- Scene 3: WIEDERGEBURT (Re-Birth): The bird-pianist drives away and the women begin boiling water. 7 boys are born, each named for a day of the week (Monday-boy, Tuesday-boy, etc...). The girls' choir resumes singing as before during this sequence.
- Scene 4: EVAs LIED (EVE's Song): Scene 4 features the basset horn (mostly solo, but then eventually joined by a "basset tease" trio and a female vocal soloist), 7 boy soloists and synthesizers. It is further divided into 4 sub-scenes .
- COEUR DE BASSET: A Coeur de Basset (basset horn player) in the shape of a heart emerges from the giant Eve's chest (playing "Eve's song").
- WOCHENKREIS (Circle of the Week): She teaches each boy a song (each day of the week has its own song). The basset-horn part is playfully echoed by each boy soloist.
- BASSETTINEN (Basset Teases): 3 more versions of Eve's basset horn player emerge from the giant Eve statue: Busi, Busa and Muschi. They play with the boys seductively. At the same time a giant, standing Eve-spirit (glass statue) begins to light up.
- INITIATION: Each Song of the Week is reinterpreted as a layered harmony, featuring Muschi (Soprano) in the lead voice. The standing Eve figure begins to dance. Eventually the 7 boys, the basset horn players and the giant Eve-spirit all disappear behind the sitting Eve statue, as playful erotic noises fade away.
Act 3: EVAs ZAUBER (Eve's Magic):
In Act 3's 1st Scene, BOTSCHAFT (Message), EVE/EVA (as a basset horn player) encounters her reflection: AVE (a flautist), and features a basset horn and alto flute duo (based on micro-tones) with choir accompaniment. In the final two Scenes, DER KINDERFÄNGER (The Pied Piper) and ENTFÜHRUNG (Abduction), the children of EVE are entranced and then spirited away by AVE, who has become a Pied Piper figure. These Scenes focus on a solo flautist (with piccolo) and a children's choir interacting with concrete "Sound Scenes" .
- Scene 1: BOTSCHAFT (Message, 1985): Divided into 4 sections, in this scene a basset-horn and alto flute duet throughout all 4 parts, although the flautist (AVE) is mostly hidden for the first 3 parts.
- EVA's SPIEGEL (EVE's Mirror): Eve/Coeur de Basset performs while regarding her reflection in a glass sculpture. The Boys of the Week from Act 2 (now grown up into Young Men), sing, "Mirror, mirror on the wall - who's the fairest of them of all?"
- NACHRICHT (News): A crowd of women arrive and report the appearance of a "musicus", with magic powers. The women depart, and the Coeur de Basset plays seductively with the Men of the Week, who sing, "Susani..."
- SUSANI (& SUSANI'S ECHO): The Young Men praise the Coeur de Basset. In this sequence, the basset-horn navigates a 3-voice polyphony, and the unseen flute plays a 2-voice polyphony.
- AVE: AVE, a female flautist (but dressed in male attire) arrives, leading the returned crowd of women. EVE and AVE play a duet using "humour, charm and erotic allusion." The mixed choir comments during their duet. EVA and AVE end their performance entwined in a pose (a kiss on the hand and applause is heard).
- Scene 2: DER KINDERFÄNGER (The Pied Piper, 1986): A crowd of children arrive, and AVE turns his/her attention to them. AVE, now acting as a "pied-piper" character, begins to enchant the children, with Sound Scenes, alto flute and vocal exhortations. The children mimic the sounds of the Pied Piper and ultimately become AVE's "puppets".
- Scene 3: ENTFÜHRUNG (Abduction, 1986): The Pied Piper (now with piccolo flute) plays an infectious song (the Eve melody) to draw the entranced children into the clouds. The children throw their shoes into a huge pile and depart while singing (their voices turning into bird calls). Meanwhile, the giant Eve statue slowly crumbles and transforms into a mountain, with white birds circling above it. After a while one of the departed children returns and retrieves his shoes, reporting: "It is very dirty outside!", and then runs away again (not heard on CD recording).
MONTAGs ABSCHIED (Monday Farewell, 1988):
Monday Farewell is a tape-manipulated version of "Abduction" consisting of the children's choir part (sung by soprano Kathinka Pasveer on 2 tracks (lower and higher voice)) and the piccolo flute part (also Pasveer). Additionally, dense samples of birdsong (44 different species) are interspersed throughout. The piccolo flute and soprano voices are transposed upwards over a duration of 28 minutes so that they join the "natural" (un-modulated) bird sounds in the higher sonic stratosphere.
In contrast to Saturday From Light, which had minimal vocals and no electronics or tapes, Monday From Light is dominated by vocals, synthesizer textures and sound effects, with only basset-horn, piano and flute appearing as traditional orchestral instruments (but featured in purely soloistic roles). Children's choir appears here for the first time in the LICHT cycle, and will have an equally important role in Friday From Light (which features opposing "children's brigades"). The melodic features of the Eve formula are also highlighted throughout, most notably its signature microtonal "bending" tones (glissandi) and smoother, more consonant harmonies and figures.
Michael and his trumpet do not appear at all this time, but Lucifer pops up here and there as a "spoilsport", and is featured in the bizarre male vocal duet of "Lucifer's Fury". The 3rd Act's "magical" bifurcation of the Eve persona surprisingly adds a slightly sinister element to the final climax of this "birthing drama" (Ave leads the children away from Eve). However this opera is also probably the funniest of the LICHT entries so far, due in part to the frequently hilarious sound effects (Sound Scenes) scattered throughout.
The table below lists the instrumental forces for each scene.
|MONDAY GREETING||Basset horn and tape|
|EVE'S 1st BIRTH-GIVING:||3 Sopranos, 3 Tenors, Bass,
children’s choir, 3 synthesizers, perc., tape
|EXPECTING||(feat. 3 Sopranos and choir)|
|HEINZELMÄNNCHEN||(feat. 3 Sopranos)|
|BIRTH-ARIAS||(feat. 3 Sopranos, 3 Tenors w. choir)|
|BOYS' HULLABALOO||(feat. choir)|
|LUCIFER'S FURY||(feat. Bass vocal soloist and vocalizing actor)|
|THE GREAT WEEPING|
|EVE'S 2nd BIRTH-GIVING:||7 Boy vocal soloists, basset horns,
piano, children's choir,
girls' choir, 3 synthesizers, perc., tape
|GIRLS' PROCESSION||(feat. girls' choir)
(feat. piano (PIANO PIECE XIV))
|RE-BIRTH||(feat. children's choir)|
|EVE'S SONG||(feat. basset horn, synthesizer, boy vocalists)|
|EVE'S MAGIC:||Basset horn, alto flute with
children's choir, 3 synthesizers, perc., tape
|MESSAGE||(feat. basset horn and alto flute soloists)|
|THE PIED PIPER/||(feat. alto flute, piccolo, children's choir)|
|MONDAY FAREWELL||Tape featuring piccolo flute, Soprano voices and musique concrete|
|The color for MONDAY is LIGHT GREEN.|
Released on Stockhausen Edition CD 36, MONTAG aus LICHT (MONDAY from LIGHT) features bass vocalist Nicholas Isherwood, soprano Annette Meriweather, pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard, the WDR Cologne Choir, the Radio Budapest Children's Choir, Zaans Cantatekoor (Holland), Suzanne Stephens (woodwinds), Kathinka Pasveer (flutes), Simon Stockhausen (electronics) and others.
- MONTAGs-GRUSS (EVA-GRUSS)/Monday Greeting (EVE's Greeting) for basset-horn (Suzanne Stephens) and tape (composed/created 1986/1988).
- Act 1: EVAs ERSTGEBURT (EVE's First Birth-Giving) for 3 sopranos, 3 tenors, bass, vocal actor, choir, boys’ choir, 3 synthesizers, percussion and musique concrète tape, rec. 1988.
- Act 2: EVAs ZWEITGEBURT (EVE's Second Birth-Giving) for girls' choir, piano, 7 solo boy singers, 3 basset-horns, 1 singing basset horn, choir, 3 synthesizers, percussion, and musique concrète tape (1984-1987), rec. 1986/88.
- Act 3: EVAs ZAUBER (EVE's Magic) for basset horn, alto flute, piccolo flute, choir, children's choir, 3 synthesizers, percussion, and musique concrète tape (1984-1986), rec. 1986/88.
- MONTAGs-ABSCHIED Monday Farewell (EVE's Farewell) - Tape piece for speed-manipulated piccolo flute, soprano voices and bird samples (composed/created 1986/1988), feat. Kathinka Pasveer.
MONTAG AUS LICHT Wiki
LICHTWERKE DVD English Transcript (PDF)
LICHTWERKE Youtube version
Stockhausen on Opera (Interview with Jerome Kohl)
Sonoloco rundown of MONTAG AUS LICHT
Albrecht Moritz on MONTAG AUS LICHT