INVASION – EXPLOSION, PIETÀ, SYNTHI-FOU

DIENSTAG AUS LICHT
Greeting
DIENSTAGs
GRUSS


Act 1
JAHRESLAUF
 vom LICHT


Act 2
INVASION – EXPLOSION
mit ABSCHIED 

OKTOPHONIE

No. 61: INVASION – EXPLOSION mit ABSCHIED 
(INVASION – EXPLOSION with FAREWELL,
ACT 2 of DIENSTAG AUS LICHT (Tuesday from Light))
for octophonic electronic music, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, 2 synthesizers (1 soloist), 2 percussionists (or MIDI percussionists), 1 flugelhorn, choir, and 3 vocal soloists (soprano, tenor, bass) 
(with ad lib. 6 tutti trumpets & 6 tutti trombones)
1990-1991 [74']

Also:
Extract 1: OKTOPHONIE (Octophony)
Octophonic Electronic Music, 1990-1991 [69']
Extract 2: SIGNALE zur INVASION (Signals to Invasion)
for trombone with or without octophonic electronic music 1992 [19-52']
No 61 1/2 (ie 61.2) PIETÀ for flugelhorn and octophonic electronic music
with or without soprano vocal soloist, 1990-1991 [27'45"]
No. 61 2/3 (ie 61.3) DIENSTAGs-ABSCHIED  (Tuesday Farewell)
for choir, synthesizer and octophonic electronic music, 1991 [23']
No 61 3/4 (ie 61.4): SYNTHI-FOU (KLAVIERSTÜCK XV) (Piano Piece XV)
for synthesizer with octophonic electronic music, 1991 [23'] 




Introduction
          INVASION – EXPLOSION mit ABSCHIED  (INVASION – EXPLOSION with FAREWELL) is the 2nd Act of Stockhausen's dramatic music work DIENSTAG AUS LICHT (TUESDAY from LIGHT), which was the fourth-composed entry of his 7-part, 29-hour opera cycle LICHT (Light).  LICHT is a work for acoustic and electronic operatic forces, divided into the 7 days of the week (one opera for each day).  This opera cycle revolves around 3 archetype characters, MICHAEL, EVE and LUCIFER, and over the 29 hours each of these characters are introduced, come into conflict, face temptation and finally come into union.  The music is almost entirely based on a "super-formula", which is a 3-layered melodic-thematic representation of the 3 characters.  These formula-themes are together and separately threaded throughout the opera's vocal and instrumental fabric.  Story-wise, actors and narrative can (and often do) change from scene to scene, and the libretto text is sometimes made up of non-traditional grammar (or even purely phonetic sounds).
War Gamers of the Beyond
www.karlheinzstockhausen.org)

             
Simon Stockhausen as the SYNTHI-FOU
www.karlheinzstockhausen.org)

     DIENSTAG (Tuesday) is the "day of war" between MICHAEL and LUCIFER.  Following the somewhat surreal "contest" of Act 1's JAHRESLAUF (THE COURSE OF THE YEARS), in INVASION the forces of MICHAEL and LUCIFER battle using "sound weapons", until LUCIFER exposes a crystal barrier leading to BEYOND.  MICHAEL valiantly defends the barrier but LUCIFER eventually breaches it, revealing a group of "war gamers" manipulating war toys.  Finally a comedic synthesizer player distracts the choir of war gamers and the opera comes to an end.  Similar in some ways to TUESDAY'S GREETING, MICHAEL and LUCIFER each have their own armies with similar numbers, but with slightly different instrumentation. Both have portable synth and percussion divisions (actually MIDI triggers on percussion instruments in the CD recording), but MICHAEL's tenor soloist is backed up by a squad of trumpeters, while LUCIFER's bass soloist is supported by a trombone troop (troupe).  Just as in TUESDAY'S GREETING, EVE appears and tries to create an atmosphere conducive to peace.

Electronic Music
     The 8-speaker electronic music aspect is one of the many unique elements at work here.  4 speakers are arranged in a square around the audience, and 4 are set in a square above each of the floor speakers.  This places the audience in a "cube of sound", so that the sound movements are completely 3-dimensional (left-right, front-back, up-down).  This "octophonic" music (OKTOPHONIE) plays throughout the Act, and the swirling and diving sounds create aural equivalents of bombs going off, missiles shooting upwards and airplanes crashing down.  Low bass drones and ethereal sliding chords create a kind of "miasma of war".  A separate page here describes OKTOPHONIE in more detail.



Mobile Instruments
INVASION Mobile Synth Trooper
www.karlheinzstockhausen.org)
     While OKTOPHONIE provides the "air war", the brass and synth-percussion ensembles led by the MICHAEL and LUCIFER vocalists battle on the ground in successive INVASIONs, shouting vocal/instrumental "Signals", roaming the stage, and attacking each other with portable sound artillery.  The synth players and percussionists all have speakers attached their bodies, so their sounds can be "aimed" like beam weapons, while the brass players have directional projection built in naturally.  This also contributes to the idea of sounds moving in space, though these Signals remain 2 dimensional, as opposed to the octophonic 3 dimensional movement created by the electronic music.   The Signals themselves are derived from compounded melodic fragments from the MICHAEL and LUCIFER formulas (Jerome Kohl's observation). In this case the formulas are frankly much more difficult to pick out than in previous LICHT scenes.

     In the 1991-93 productions, Massimiliano Viel (Synth 1) and Simon Stockhausen (Synth 2) played Yamaha KX 5 portable keyboards connected to AKAI S 1000 or Kurzweil K 2000 R samplers.   Andreas Boettger (Percussion 1) played a home-made "MIDI-Lyre", which was a glockenspiel-like controller (with pitch bend wheel) controlling an AKAI S 1000.  Renee Jonker (Percussion 2) created a "Tambour Miditaire", which was a used marching parade drum (tom) fitted with a contact mic, which could trigger programmed SIGNAL sequences and pitch-bends from a Steim Sensor-Lab sequencer into an AKAI S 1000 PB sampler.

Structure:
Some of the OKTOPHONIE background Elements:
  • Sound BOMBS (&"crickets") (1st invasion) : Bass synth pad attacks with fast decay
  • Sound Missile SHOTS Complex sound clusters with quick rising glissandi, ending in swarms of fireworks
  • Plane Hits and CRASHES: jagged falling glissandi, usually spiraling or "figure 8's", sometimes "recovering", and sometimes just "wobbling" up and down
  • EXPLOSIONS: 3 masses of swarming noises
  • WINDING Sounds: Looped chord arpeggios, similar to a music box, constantly speeding up or slowing down
  • Searchlights or HIGH CHORDS: constantly-panning soft pad chord
  • CRYSTAL TONES (during ABSCHIED) 
  • OVERTONE GLISSANDI (2nd INVASION): similar in effect to the manipulation of formant spectra in SIRIUS
The far right column has brief summaries of the electronic music elements, but a much more detailed form structure is in the OKTOPHONIE page.
CD Trk Sequence Stage Action Stage Music OKTOPHONIE Electronic Music
1 - 10 1st 
AIR DEFENSE
(Luftabwehr)
Searchlights scan the sky, as 3 silvery planes are shot down by missiles.  One plane is examined by a shadowy figure.
Air-War (Sound-Bombs, Sound Missiles, Plane Downings) with bass drone, twittering, vari-speed pulses, trombone exclamation, droplets of bright points...
11 - 31 1st 
INVASION
Ground troops enter and battle in front of a mountain side:
MICHAEL (Lt Blue & Red) troops pursue
LUCIFER (Black & Red) troops.
LUCIFER's troops expose a chrome bunker wall in the mountain.
Ground troops exit stage right.
Signals: tenor and bass soloists with short exclamatory phrases underscored by trumpets, trombones, and portable synths/percussion Air-War continued, add crackling/popping,  sirens, metallic wind-up toy/egg-beater sounds, etc…
32 Calm 
(Ruhe)


Slow layered drone melody: Wednesday EVE fragment
33 - 34 2nd 
AIR DEFENSE
Searchlights resume and more planes are shot down by missiles from the hissing mountain bunker.
Air-War with electronically modified male counting: "Eins, zwei, drei...Eins", changing to high frequency cyclonic hissing, bass formula layer briefly fades out, then comes back
35 - 50 2nd 
INVASION
Ground troops enter:
LUCIFER (Black chrome) troops pursue MICHAEL (Bluish chrome) troops.  LUCIFER's forces dismantle the bunker to reveal a crystal wall beneath.
Signals Air-War w. synth overtone cycles, female voice: "Light, fright, fight, krieg…" (electronic transformations)
51 - 52 Casualty
(Verwundung)
A piercing scream causes both forces to retreat, leaving a fallen MICHAEL trumpeter center stage.
Bass drone, strings pad (brief overtone drones, fast pulses)
53 - 59 PIETÀ EVE (as a Red Cross nurse) cradles the trumpeter's head in her lap, while his spirit rises and is mirrored by a flugelhorn player standing above them.  Imagery inspired by Michaelangelo's "Pietà" Flugelhorn solo
Soprano vocal soloist joins (using the EVE formula)
(see text below)
4 layers of drone sounds
(bass and synth string pads, bass has short break), 
overtone patches, 
faraway Air War sounds
60 - 64 3rd 
INVASION
As the war resumes, EVE, the fallen trumpeter and the flugelhorn player all disappear.  LUCIFER troops attack again, while MICHAEL troops try to defend the crystal bunker wall. Signals Air-War with additional twittering, vari-speed pulses, clattering, etc... 
65 - 69 EXPLOSIONs

LUCIFER's forces cause 3 EXPLOSIONs to shatter the crystal structure into snow-like crystal dust, while LUCIFER laughs.  The ground forces all exit Signals, cont'd Multiple missile attacks creating a "3D zone" of destruction, with dense metallophone-like clattering tremoli
70 - 79 BEYOND
(JENSEITS)
A glass world (BEYOND) is revealed, with a conveyor belt holding toy soldiers and war vehicles, surrounded by bluish glass choir singers - "war gamers".  The War Gamers periodically knock down soldiers and toys to a lower conveyor belt, while a tally keeps track. Male choir HUMS and then sings in slow tempo 2 main layers:
"HU-ran-tia...Pla-ne-ton...Fight...time...etc"

Watery bass drones with choir and string patches, faster tempo, dripping sounds
80 - 88 SYNTHI-FOU
as
KLAVIERSTÜCK XV
Glassy Red Cross nurses enter behind the War Gamers and hold their hands.  The SYNTHI-FOU soloist (in an outlandish costume) enters and plays energetically and happily.  The War Gamers are amused and accompany SYNTHI-FOU. Mixed Choir accompanies solo synthesizer, playing energetically and humorously, phonetic vocalization Bass drones and synth patches continue, adding percussive sound clusters, building in density and intensity
89 - 99 FAREWELL
(ABSCHIED)
SYNTHI-FOU continues to mesmerize all, as the toys fall off the conveyor belt.  The walls become transforming mirrors and the War Gamers and Nurses dance off the stage. Choir and solo synthesizer continue, male voice countdown from 13 Synth patches cont'd, add oscillating glassy chirping and pulsing

13 chords end the Act and the opera

Score
This score page shows the 1st 7 "SIGNALS" of INVASION.  
The blue labels MICHAEL's forces and red labels indicate LUCIFER's forces.
(I inverted the colors here for dramatic effect, the actual score is normal black text on white!)
www.karlheinzstockhausen.org)
Additional Works and Extracts:

SIGNALS to INVASION
MICHAEL troop on the left, LUCIFER troop on the right.  Some performers carry only batteries or mixers.
www.karlheinzstockhausen.org)
     A version of all of the "Signals" played by the MICHAEL and LUCIFER vocal/brass groups was written at the request of trombonist Michael Svoboda.  In this arrangement, a solo trombone interprets all 252 SIGNALS from INVASION both sequentially and sometimes polyphonically.  This version can be performed as separate Invasions (1 through 3) and can be presented with or without OKTOPHONIE.  In this version, the trombonist plays while moving through the aisles of the auditorium and exits while playing during some Invasions.  In the 1st INVASION, Signals for MICHAEL are played to the right, while Signals for LUCIFER are played towards the left.  In the 2nd and 3rd INVASIONS, the directions change but are always opposed.  If played solo (without the electronic tape) then tempo deviations are used to create a sense of dialogue and plasticity.

PIETÀ
     PIETÀ can be performed with or without the soprano vocal part, but is always accompanied by its matching OKTOPHONIE backing tape.  It was developed when Markus Stockhausen and his father took a trip together to Sweden in June of 1990 and spent their time exploring the possible timbres of Markus' new specially-constructed "quarter-tone" flugelhorn (which is also capable of producing eighth-tones and has a range of almost 5 octaves!).  The melodic content of the parts are derived by elaborating on notes from the EVE Nuclear formula and also incorporating elements from the 6-layer PIETÀ form scheme (below).

PIETÀ: EVE, a fallen MICHAEL trooper, and MICHAEL as a flugelhorn player (MICHAEL in 3 dimensions).
www.karlheinzstockhausen.org)
PIETÀ Text:
MICHAEL-trumpeter has been hit in the heart, wounded.
LUCIFER’s trombone invasions.
This life – death – the Beyond
Earth – sleep – Heaven
PIETÀ
You fight for Heaven.
May love heal your wounds.
Wonderful Son of God
MICHAEL musicel dearest
rest – rest – rest
sound in my heart
let the man die
return home
arise.
Angel-choirs
await you, Master of Heaven.
GOD, your breath,

gives you new life.

PIETÀ Form scheme.
The 1st, 2nd and bottom staffs (M, E, L) are stretched out versions of part of m. 5 from the LICHT super-formula (derived from taking the PIETÀ measures out of the length of the original LICHT super-formula, as seen in OKTOPHONIE). 
The 3rd, 5th and 7th staff lines (E, M, L) are from m. 11-14 of the super-formula (derived from projecting the super-formula onto the DIENSTAG formula).  See LICHT-BILDER for more on this "projection" technique.
www.karlheinzstockhausen.org)
SYNTHI-FOU (or KLAVIERSTÜCK XV)
     SYNTHI-FOU is always accompanied by it's matching portion of OKTOPHONIE.  This adaptation can begin with JENSEITS (Beyond) with or without choir (the solo version on Stockhausen Edition 42 actually starts just a little before the EXPLOSION part of OKTOPHONIE).  In JENSEITS, the solo synth and 1 layer of OKTOPHONIE both double the male choir part.  After the solo SYNTHI-FOU section, the soloist continues playing to the end of DIENSTAG's ABSCHIED (Tuesday Farewell).
A mobile Simon Stockhausen as SYNTHI-FOU in front of the JENSEITS chorus.www.karlheinzstockhausen.org)

     The score for SYNTHI-FOU (meaning "someone crazy about synthesizers"), indicates a sequence of 131 different sounds-patches and/or sampler-combinations (chosen by the player) which must be switched in while at the same time playing complex notated material  (there are also several interspersed "improvisation windows" where additional sounds and figures can be inserted).  Some of the equipment that Simon Stockhausen used to create his set of 131 sounds include the following synths:
  • Yamaha DX7 (II-FD) synths
  • Yamaha SY 99 synth
  • Casio FZ-1 sampler
  • Roland D-50 synth
  • Akai S 1000 sampler
  • Oberheim Matrix 1000 synth
Additional processing was done with an SVC vocoder and several other digital multi-effects units.  In all interpretations, the synth player must come up with his own sounds, but Stockhausen calls Simon's version a model for future players.  An alternate recording was created by Antonio Perez Abellan in 2004 (using I assume more-current synth technology).  Either way, this solo is pretty amazing, especially considering that virtually every phrase uses a different sound patch combination and sometimes 2 (treble and bass clefs).  As far as the melodic material itself, Stockhausen writes in the Stockhausen Edition CD 42 booklet: "...all notes, chords, rhythms and figures are derived from the SIGNALS of the singers, synthesizer players, percussionists, trumpeters and trombonists  of the INVASIONS, and the sounds of SYNTHI-FOU must also refer to them."
SYNTHI-FOU score indicating places to switch sound patches (100-108) and 2 "improvisation" windows.
www.karlheinzstockhausen.org)
DIENSTAGs ABSCHIED
     The ending choral part (with OKTOPHONIE tape and SYNTHI-FOU soloist) can also be performed independently from the opera, in which case it begins with the electronic layers from PIETÀ.  13 minutes in, the tenor and bass chorus members begin humming and then singing in 2 separate layers (staffs).  At around 17:14 (when SYNTHI-FOU begins), the soprano, alto and high tenors join the male singers in a mostly synchronous rhythm.  The work continues as in the opera until the end of ABSCHIED.

Sound Impressions:
     INVASION and OKTOPHONIE as a pure electronic work both have lots of moving parts (and not just spatially!), all of which reveal themselves as the piece goes on, as well as after repeated listening.  Aside from the spatial movement aspect, there are many layers at work, and the table above really just lists the major signposts.  Tones, drones and glissandi in each sequence each have their own evolution and lifecycles, and new sound textures continually enter the scene, just as new weapons and vehicles might enter a real battlefield.  Also in 1st INVASION, I really like the high-pitched metallic "wind-up toy" sounds, since they fit right in with the imagery of the toy planes and vehicles at the beginning and end of the Act.  Some of these revving sounds also evoke images of a spinning roulette wheel, which also fits into the "war game" message.

     The Signal troops all roam about the stage (and into the audience at times), so there is sound coming from many distances and directions.  When Stockhausen first proposed this concept to the Ensemble Contemporain (whose patron had commissioned the piece) they refused to perform it, delaying its completion for 3 years.  Possibly they weren't too excited about all the mechanical gear they would have had to lug around.

     Just when the INVASION gets to be overbearing, moments of CALM, or a flugelhorn and soprano duo "requiem", provide relief.  Additionally at the end, the ridiculous antics of the SYNTHI-FOU player somehow condense all of the 3-dimensional complexity into a single (somewhat self-deprecating?) synthesizer solo. This act (as well as DIENSTAG AUS LICHT as a whole) is great fun, even for a "day of war".

Links:
Sound samples, tracks listings and CD ordering:
DIENSTAG AUS LICHT Score Purchasing
Video Excerpts of Leipzig Premiere (MOV)  
OKTOPHONIE Experience with Kathinka Pasveer and Rirkrit Tiravanija
DIENSTAG aus LICHT Wiki
OKTOPHONIE Wiki 
Photos of DIENSTAG AUS LICHT at the Leipzig Opera, 1993. 
From Tape Loops To MIDI (Manion)
OKTOPHONIE & LICHTER-WASSER - Stockhausen and the Serial Shaping of Space (Miller 2009 thesis)
Stockhausen's Spatial Processes in Gruppen & OKTOPHONIE (Overholt)
The influence of technology on the composition of Stockhausen’s Octophonie... issues of spatialisation (Clarke & Manning)
Becoming the Synth-Fou: Stockhausen and the New Keyboardism (Michael Fowler, Tempo V65, N.255)
Sonoloco Review of DIENSTAG AUS LICHT Act II
INVASION – EXPLOSION mit ABSCHIED on Youtube
OKTOPHONIE on Youtube
OKTOPHONIE 2013 NYC

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