for 2 Harps with voice
After writing HIMMELFAHRT (Ascension), the first hour of KLANG (a cycle of chamber pieces devoted to the 24 hours of the day), Stockhausen received another request from the Milan Cathedral to write something for the following year's Pentecost in 2006. He envisioned a piece for 2 harpists, inspired by the performing duo of Marianne Smit (niece of Stockhausen's flautist Kathinka Pasveer) and Esther Kooi. He also decided that text from a 24-line sequence hymn of the Pentecost ("Veni Creator Spiritus") would be sung during the performance.
|Text of "Veni Creator Spiritus"|
|Stockhausen's sketch for FREUDE's structural Form Scheme (from score).|
|1||Veni, Creator Spiritus||1:48 (+9)||alternating chords, tremolo plucking, chorale-like text|
|2||Mentes Tuorum Visita||2:09||"point" music interspersed with glissandi figures|
|3||Impie Superna Gratia||2:24||ostinato patterns, glissandi up and down, phrases shared between harps, high irregular chanting echoing away|
|4||Quae Tu Creasti Pectora||1:46||long held chords, alternating text syllables|
|5||Qui Diceris Paraclitus||1:29||baroque(?) feeling, ending with strings "hammered" with open hands|
|6||Altissimi Donum Dei||1:25||slow held notes with a few glissandi|
|7||Fons Vivus, Ignis, Caritas||1:14||chordal phrases with ostinati|
|8||El Spiritalis Unctio||0:53||wild glissandi with plectrum|
|9||Tu, Septiformis Munere||2:10||chord tremolo, fast glissandi with fingers and nails - "Joy!"|
|10||Digitus Paternae Dexterae||1:14||slow low chords with a few high gliss. figures|
|11||Tu Rite Promissum Patris||1:01||descending scale, then ascending with harmonics|
|12||Sermomne Ditans Guttura||2:33||alternating low pedal note, then rhythmic chord strokes, slowing, then accelerating, glissandi end|
|13||Accende Lumen Sensibus||1:18||chord tremolo, double glissandi (2 notes) alternating with rests and chord phrases, tremolo ending|
|14||Infunde Amorem Cordibus||1:27||chorale-like text, followed by tranquil Harp 1 solo|
|15||Infirma Nostri Corporis||1:16||rhythmic low pedal figure with mixed figures|
|16||Virtute Firmans Perperti||1:28||occasional glissandi and ostinati accompanied by recurring 2-note descending motif|
|17||Hostem Repelias Longius||3:16||long scalar passages of varying tempi in duple and triplet rhythms|
|18||Pacemque Dones Protinus||1:31||long up/down glissandi, with slow tremolo punctuated by sforzati accents|
|19||Ductore Sic Te Praevio||1:55||low melodic phrases slowly ascending, ostinato patterns|
|20||Vitemus Omne Noxium||1:13||alternating low ostinato patterns with accented chords and string rubbing|
|21||Per Te Sciamus da Patrem||1:24||high tremolo trilling, trilling in different registers|
|22||Noscamus Atque Filium||1:34||chordal trilling, low ascending figures, ascending syncopated chords ("beat humorously")|
|23||Te Utriusque Spiritum||1:14||fast rhythmic ascending chords, string hammering, chord tremolo|
|24||Credamus Omni Tempore||1:58
|synchronous melodic phrases punctuated by accent chords, ending with alternating low chords (reminiscent of 1st moment)|
|Excerpt from Moment 9 (glissandi figures).|
|Excerpt from Moment 23 (fast ascending chords).|
(score © www.karlheinzstockhausen.org)
The first part of my new cycle KLANG (SOUND), The 24 Hours of the Day, was a commission of ArtAche Milano, an institution of the Duomo di Milano with its artistic director Don Luigi Garbini. I named it KLANG – Erste Stunde: HIMMELFAHRT (SOUND – First Hour: ASCENSION) because it had its world premiere on May 5th 2005 for Ascension Day. The score is written for organ, soprano and tenor.
After this première, Don Luigi asked for the première of KLANG – Second Hour in relation to the festival of Pentecost. I accepted it happily and immediately had the inner audition and vision of a work for two harps. During the composition I was imagining the two Dutch harpist-girls Marianne and Esther, both 21 years old, who live and perform together as real idealists. One of them is the niece of the flutist Kathinka Pasveer for whom I wrote so many works.
As a first title I chose Pentecost and decided to let the two harpists also sing – in alternation or sometimes together –the essential text of Pentecost Veni Creator Spiritus, while plucking, picking, caressing, stroking, pinching, rubbing, striping, striking, pinking, jubilating. In accordance with the 24 lines of this hymn I have composed 24 musical moments like the 24 hours of the Day, so that the Second Hour of KLANG is a full day within one hour of the Day.
During the composition I changed the title to FREUDE (JOY). My basic feeling was Freude (joy). I imagined always the première at the Duomo di Milano, the enthusiasm of the two girls, their playing, singing. The score certainly preserves this fantastic joy in my mind and soul during the many months of composing this work. There is something unique about the adventure to combine two harps which are normally tuned in diatonic scales and to synthesise them into one large chromatic harp.
Now I have understood why I have sent a design of a Greek harping angel to Don Luigi to remind him of the divine role of this instrument. Pentecost unites what has been separated. My work FREUDE too.
- K. Stockhausen, February 15th 2006
|(from Stockhausen Edition 84 CD Booklet)|
Live performance extracts (12:42) with harpists Bleuenn Le Friec and Frédérique Cambreling:
FREUDE is a truly beautiful piece for harp and female voices, and might surprise people who think of contemporary classical music as being intimidating and inaccessible. It's pretty amazing that Stockhausen could create such a "pretty" work so late in his career, and then follow that up with the ear-bending COSMIC PULSES just a couple years later. It's a bit lengthy at 41 minutes, but once one perceives that it's really 24 individual sections structured in a dramatic arch, it almost becomes a kind of liturgy in itself. The 24 sections are also a kind of "microcosm" (symbolically, but not musically) of the entire KLANG concept of 24 hours of the day.
FREUDE (CD 84) samples, tracks listings and CD ordering
Purchase the Score
Stockhausen in Lugo: HIMMELS-TÜR and FREUDE DVD
FREUDE clip with premiere performers Marianne Smit and Esther Kooi
Albrecht Moritz Analysis
Marianne Smit Website
Review of FREUDE on Dusted Magazine