|SAMSTAG AUS LICHT|
for symphonic/wind orchestra, with piccolo trumpet, piccolo flute and bass vocalist (or alternatively trombone/euphonium)
(staged version also includes "stilt-dancers", "ribbon-dancer", and "tear-dancers")
3rd Scene of SAMSTAG AUS LICHT
(SATURDAY from LIGHT)
No. 53 Extract 2: RECHTER AUGENBRAUENTANZ
(RIGHT-EYEBROW-DANCE) for clarinets, bass clarinet(s), percussion,synth [35']
No. 53 Extract 3: LINKER AUGENTANZ
(LEFT-EYE-DANCE) for saxophones, percussion, synth [20']
No. 53 Extract 7: NASENFLÜGELTANZ
(WINGS-OF-THE-NOSE-DANCE) for percussion,synth or as percussion solo [7'30"]
No. 53 Extract 8: OBERLIPPENTANZ (PROTEST)
UPPER-LIP-DANCE (PROTEST) for piccolo trumpet, trombone/euphonium, 4 or 8 horns, 2 percussionists, or as solo for piccolo trumpet [14'30"]
No. 53 Extract 9: ZUNGENSPITZENTANZ
(TIP-OF-THE-TONGUE-DANCE) for piccolo flute, 2 euphoniums or synthesizer, percussionist, or as piccolo solo [9']
No. 53 Extract 10: KINNTANZ
(CHIN-DANCE) for euphonium, percussion, synth (or alto trombones, baritones, tubas) [10']
No. 53 1/2 (ie 53.2): SAMSTAGs-GRUSS (LUZIFER-GRUSS)
(Saturday Greeting/Lucifer's Greeting) for 26 brass instruments and 2 percussionists, 1984 [8']
LUZIFERs TANZ (LUCIFER'S DANCE) is the 3rd Scene of Stockhausen's dramatic music work SAMSTAG AUS LICHT (SATURDAY from LIGHT), which was the second-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).
SAMSTAG (Saturday) is LUCIFER's day, which is the Day of Death (and Resurrection), as well as the Night of the transition to the LIGHT. In LUZIFER's TANZ, the character LUCIFER, played by a bass vocalist, rises from his grave, and then forces a giant face composed of human characters to dance and gyrate in strange grimaces. MICHAEL, represented by a trumpet player, appears and fights LUCIFER, but is repulsed by the flautist from the previous scene, KATHINKA'S GESANG, and a skeletal "ribbon dancer".
As the sounds of a giggling male chorus resonate in the hall, the piano grave from KATHINKA's GESANG erupts and LUCIFER (portrayed by a "stilt-dancer") rises up. He first summonses a conductor by striking sparks from the floor with a giant hoof, and then conjures up a giant disembodied face, its eyes, nose and other features painted on black veils (behind which groups of symphonic brass and wind musicians sit).
LUCIFER calls out: "If you, Man, have never learned from LUCIFER how the spirit of contradiction and independence distorts the expression of the face...LEFT EYEBROW DANCE!" and rips off the LEFT EYEBROW veil, revealing one small group of wind instrumentalists. This ensemble (flute, basset-horn, percussion) plays a hypnotic "dance" based on melodic figures from the LICHT super-formula. This procedure repeats for 10 instrumental groups, each representing a part of the human face (with introductions from LUCIFER). In between each facial wind-band dance, short tutti "dance jams" between all of the so-far-revealed groups of the face take place as bridges. As LUCIFER announces each face group, he moves in an exaggerated character pantomime, taking poses as an "ecstatic African dancer, a bizarre automaton, a vulgar boxer, a jaunty transvestite, obscene witch, martial arts giant", etc...
During the UPPER-LIP DANCE, the character MICHAEL appears in golden armor with a piccolo trumpet and plays a musical PROTEST. During the following tutti jam, MICHAEL is able to subdue the giant face orchestra and enchant it with a cadenza. However when the orchestra tutti resumes, LUCIFER kicks MICHAEL down, causing the giant face to feel pity and begin weeping in a TEAR-DANCE. The "tears" are represented by naked bodies coming down a rope from the giant face's left eye.
MICHAEL tries to get back up, but suddenly the figure of KATHINKA (from Scene 2's KATHINKA's GESANG) erupts from the mouth of the giant face and plays a piccolo flute solo as part of the TIP-OF-THE-TONGUE DANCE, accompanied by a "ribbon-dancer" who wears 14 black ribbons over a skeleton costume. In the following RIBBON DANCE, the ribbon-dancer gradually tears off his ribbons and uses them to spells out SALVE SATANELLI ("Greetings, Satan's children") on the stage floor. Following this, the CHIN-DANCE begins, during which KATHINKA and the ribbon-dancer retreat back down the throat of the giant face.
LUCIFER's stilt-dancer form moves offstage, but his bass vocalist incarnation then appears from the giant face's forehead in a cloud of smoke and sings: "...you cannot turn your countenance in harmony - towards the LIGHT." A final full orchestral tutti begins, again interrupted by LUCIFER singing, "If you have tried out your 10-part face in all dissonances, grimace rhythms, it will decay, empty and hollow, before it resurrects on SUNDAY in the realm of the souls, invisible to human souls."
At this point during the opera the orchestra stages a strike and the scene ends in chaos.
|Early sketch of the giant orchestral face (from Jahreskreis calendar/artbook)|
Stockhausen created LUCIFER's TANZ as the 3rd scene in SAMSTAG AUS LICHT for a commission from conductor H. Robert Reynolds and his Michigan Symphony Band (based in Ann Arbor). The main body of this scene consists of the consecutive "dances" (and tutti dance jam bridges) of 10 small wind and percussion groupings, who each play signature "dance grooves" based on short fragments of the LICHT super-formula melody-theme (and the LUZIFER's TANZ segment of the super-formula) which change as they progress. In a way this is an expansion of KATHINKA's GESANG, which also took consecutive fragments of the LUCIFER formula and expanded upon them in various ways, though in this case, the fragments are manipulated in multiple instrumental layers, rather than as a single flute line. At the very end, the orchestra "stages a strike". This scripted strike is a reflection on the real-life chorus strike which affected the premiere staging of Stockhausen's previous opera, DONNERSTAG AUS LICHT.
|Above, the 2nd half of measure 2 is the LUZIFER's TANZ "segment" of the LICHT super-formula ("TANZ"). This fragment is stretched temporally across the entire 50 minutes of LUZIFER's TANZ, resulting in long, held background chords or other large structural elements.|
The image above is measures 14-16 of the 19 measure LICHT super-formula. When Stockhausen mapped out the 7 operas of LICHT, he divided the super-formula into "day sections", starting from Monday. Saturday is near the end of the week, so it is mapped to these penultimate measures (the measures assigned to Sunday are measures 17-19). LUZIFER's TANZ is roughly the middle section of the Saturday opera, so its duration segment is mapped to the second half of measure 15.
In LUZIFER's TANZ there are a total of 7 layers of melodic material which are stretched across the length of the entire work:
- LUZIFER's TANZ segment of the MICHAEL formula (1st staff above)
- The LUCIFER formula (complete version)
- LUZIFER's TANZ segment of the EVE formula (2nd staff above)
- The EVE formula (complete version)
- LUZIFER's TANZ segment of the LUCIFER formula (3rd staff above)
- The MICHAEL formula (complete version)
- LUZIFER's TANZ segment of the LUCIFER Nuclear formula (4th staff above)
A similar procedure is carried out for every scene of the entire 29-hour LICHT opera cycle. The full MICHAEL, EVE and LUCIFER formulas (layers 2, 4 and 6) are below (click to magnify):
Below is the initial form scheme sketch Stockhausen created which shows all of the 7 layers described above, and the divisions of the full structure into the separate group dances and bridging tutti "jams". Altogether there are 20 sections (I-XIX) marked off (Section XII is subdivided into 2 parts).
|Layers of the above LUZIFERs TANZ form structure sketch:|
The final score sometimes re-assigns the formula melodic materials in each section a little bit since the bridge sections generally don't have new dances in them. Section II includes the material originally marked for the Section III bridge. Section IV takes Section V's material. Section VIII absorbs the melodies of both of its connected bridges (VII and IX). Section X includes XI (and a little bit of IX). XVII is pushed into XVIII. Section XIX is interrupted by an orchestra strike. In the bridge tuttis no new dance is unveiled - instead all of the previously "unveiled" Groups play their own signature dances, resulting in polyphonic "stacked" dances.
A variety of instrumental dynamics is created by allowing certain sections at times to rest or play (a little similar in a way to INORI which also controlled dynamics through instruments playing/not playing, rather than through players blowing harder/softer). In the table breakdown farther down below I describe some group tuttis as "layered sound blocks", separated by gaps of different lengths .
Some of the Group solo sections also have background long tones associated with elements of the LICHT superformula in extremely stretched out form, but often times these are obscured by the dance being featured.
|Basic rhythms and note lengths for each Group|
(All score samples below from full score and © www.karlheinzstockhausen.org)
|Basic Rhythm & Tempo Scheme||Group||Dance Materials|
|1||2:07||"If you, Man, have never learned from LUCIFER how the spirit of contradiction and independence distorts the expression of the face…"||Full Orchestral Fanfare
(In each of the 10 Groups, there are a few additional metal percussion objects - rin, gong, tubular bell, antique cymbals, etc… - in addition to the instruments listed below)
|The orchestra begins a pulsing drone chord (on pitches Ab, Eb, A, F), entering in staggered groups, in a tempo sequence proportionate to the tempi in the LICHT super-formula. This overture lasts 19 measures and is a preview of the sections to come, which use these measures as a tempo form scheme. LUCIFER's text follows, punctuated by loud accents.|
|11 sixteenth notes
mid-tempo (75.5 bpm)
|Melodic EVE flute figure (in Flute 2) alternates with held notes, becoming more elaborate while held notes become longer, with syncopated MICHAEL basset horn figure. The opening LUCIFER formula tremolo figure is played by the 1st flute line.|
(75.5 - 80)
|Rising staccato clarinet figure
(Clr 1) ascends in pitch range, churning bass clarinet figure becomes more elaborate. Clarinet 2 plays EVE glissandi.
(Section II includes Section III's original sketch material)
|4||1:39||III||"…how brow can dance
(LUCIFER mimes an "emphatic speaker")
|Groups 1 & 2||The 2 groups play their signature dances in polyphony.|
|5||3:28||IV||"LEFT EYE DANCE"
|A falling/rising figure in the soprano sax sits on top,
while low brass lurches below. Rhythm becomes softer and staccato, then varying phrasing. For the last minute of the section the alto
saxes switch to "kissing noises".
(Section IV's figures include V's original sketch material)
(LUCIFER mimes an "ecstatic African dancer")
|Groups 1-3||Each group plays in "blocks", sometimes alternating and sometimes in tandem. The section ends with all 3 groups in 3-layered polyphony.|
|7-note melodic figures alternate with toneless blowing and kissing noises - the noises consume the melodic material. The oboe plays a toneless, rising, scalar figure. Low winds play long tones.|
|Japanese Rin bowl
(LUCIFER mimes a "bizarre automaton")
|Groups 1-4||All 4 groups begin with the phrase material from VI (in unison), then return to their own signature dance refrain. Soon the "layered blocks" structure of the groups resume.|
|7 eighth notes
|The other groups (mostly 1, 2
and 6) play long chords which punctuate swooping Trumpet 2 figures. Trombone plays a vocalized descending scalar figure led by descending interval leaps.
(includes VII and IX's original sketch material).
(LUCIFER mimes a "vulgar boxer")
|Groups 1-5||All groups play their signature dances stacked polyphonically.|
|6 quarter notes
|Echo of melodic material from
VIII (LEFT CHEEK DANCE) at half speed with Javanese gongs and muted brass.
(includes XI's original sketch material).
|12||0:42||XI||"…cheek against cheek… (and
against eyes and brows)"
(LUCIFER mimes a "jaunty transvestite")
|Groups 1-6||All groups play their signature dances stacked polyphonically.|
|13||1:06||XII A||"WINGS OF THE NOSE
|5 quarter notes
same tempo (75.5)
(w Groups 5 & 6)
|Drum solo with rolling snare/tom tom figures alternating with swelling/fading brass chords from both CHEEK brass (Groups 5 and 6).|
|14||1:37||XII B||"…nose against cheek… (and
against eyes and brows)"
(LUCIFER mimes a "mysterious witch with obscene poses")
Piccolo trumpet solo begins
|Groups 5-7 continue as previous
section, Groups 1-4 enter with their signature dances alternating with
staccato unison chords.
Piccolo trumpet enters after a minute with repeated and expanding LUCIFER nuclear tone sequence in double note melodic figures.
UPPER LIP DANCE"
(w Piccolo trumpet)
|Piccolo Trumpet plays a PROTEST (based on LUCIFER's formula) while horns play slow swaying chords with glissandi mixed in.|
(LUCIFER mimes a "nervous shaker")
(w Piccolo trumpet)
|After a loud tutti, all Groups eventually subside in anticipation of…|
|17||6:39||Piccolo trumpet Solo||Piccolo trumpet solo Cadenza|
(naked dancers descend from left eye of giant face as MICHAEL is kicked by LUCIFER)
(w Piccolo trumpet)
|Piccolo trumpet continues, Group 8 resumes in a variation of XIII, while remaining groups play blocks of slow descending chords. A repeating metal metal tam-tam hit signals LUZIFER "kicking" MICHAEL.|
|19||1:45||XVI||"TIP OF THE TONGUE
(LUCIFER mimes a "martial giant")
(KATHINKA appears with the Ribbon-dancer, MICHAEL disappears)
|3 half notes
much slower (50.5)
(Piccolo flute solo begins, Piccolo trumpet solo ends)
|Trumpet stops, as Piccolo flute
enters and begins a stretched out and elaborated version of the EVE formula
(somewhat similar to the traversal of LUCIFER's formula in KATHINKA's
Euphoniums play short parallel (dyad) phrases, with long pauses, becoming 5 note falling/rising scalar figures.
(Ribbon dancer begins laying down letters in strips)
"…tongue against lip...
(Ribbon Dancer and KATHINKA begin to retreat back down the giant face's throat.)
(w Piccolo flute)
|Piccolo Flute solo continues
(with elaborated EVE formula).
Euphoniums continue from XVI (with additional kissing noises, toneless swooping, long tones and then back to dyad figures).
The other groups play their signature dances in intermittent short blocks in the background.
Clusters of metal crotale strikes (2-3 fast hits) signal the ribbon dancer to spell out one of 14 letters.
Eventually all groups stop except piccolo flute and euphoniums.
After KATHINKA completes the elaborated EVE formula, she meows: "SALVE SATANELLI", with euphoniums droning in the background:
"…and chin against tongue can dance…"
|2 dotted half notes
(w Piccolo flute ending &
|Wailing low brass figures,
alto trombones decelerating, as KATHINKA plays a
final solo (and disappears back down the throat of the giant face).
(includes XVII's original sketch material)
|Bowl bell/Tam tam
|22||0:46||XIX||"... You cannot - in harmony - turn your face towards the LIGHT"||(75.5, tempo obscured by drone texture)||After a loud percussion strike, low brass (Groups 9 and 10) play drones based on A.|
|Groups 1-10||All groups play their signature dances.|
|24||2:48||"If you have tried out your
10-part face in all dissonances and grimacing rhythms, it will decay, empty
(counting 1-5, 1)
"...before it resurrects on SUNDAY..."
"...in the realm of souls invisible to human eyes."
|multiple tempos (obscured by sparse texture)||Groups 9 & 10||Groups 9 and 10 play soft held chords, as metal percussion punctuates LUCIFER singing with the LUCIFER formula.|
|25||1:00||original tempo||Groups 1-10||All groups play their signature dances.|
|26||0:53||Ending||Full Orchestra||All groups play unison in a final triumphant fanfare based on the Nuclear tones of MICHAEL, EVE and LUCIFER (3 layered Nuclear formulas with altered rhythms)|
|28||9:38|| Ending V2: Strike
(starting from XIX)
|Orchestra slowly grinds to a halt during the final tutti and strikes.|
- Quickly lower/raise the head and body and hold
- Slowly lower/raise the head and body and hold
- Jerk to the left/right/diagonally
- Sway back and forth diagonally
- Resume normal position
|LUZIFER stilt-dancer in front of the giant face-shaped brass/wind band at La Scala, Milan, 1984|
RIGHT-EYEBROW-DANCE for clarinets, bass clarinets, percussion, synth [35']
This arrangement actually incorporates most of the sections of LUZIFER's TANZ, with some sections simplified and shortened. LUCIFER's vocal part is played by bass clarinet and some of the bridge tutti jams are omitted. The RIGHT CHEEK DANCE goes directly into the TIP OF THE TONGUE DANCE (featuring a clarinet solo instead of a flute), and so the WINGS OF THE NOSE DANCE (drums), UPPER LIP DANCE, and TEAR DANCE are skipped. After a cadenza, the clarinetist shouts "SALVE SATANELLI" and then transitions into the CHIN DANCE (skipping most of the RIBBON DANCE). It's very interesting to hear the ways Stockhausen manages to orchestrate the bridge tuttis with the reduced dance layers.
LEFT-EYE-DANCE for saxophones (soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, bass), percussion (metal), synth [20']
The arrangement for LEFT-EYE-DANCE was a commission enabled by the Vandoren reed company and a French saxophone ensemble in 1985. In contrast to the other dances, it actually mostly expands upon only it's namesake dance, with the soprano sax taking the most active line. A few measures of the RIGHT EYE and RIGHT EYEBROW dances surface from time to time (rising staccato scale, low fast scalar figure). Each sax group gets a highlighted section (kissing noises for the alto saxes, etc...) and the pauses from the original version are augmented with metal percussion and synth. An ensemble tremolo section (repeated pulses of toneless notes) in the last 3rd of the work is followed by brief baritone and percussion solos. After a series of glissando interruptions to the main dance rhythm, the baritone (later joined by bass sax) slowly plays the complete LUCIFER formula. The ensemble soon finishes with a decisive unison figure. The table below uses timings from the recording of LINKER AUGENTANZ on Stockhausen Edition CD 105. On this recording the Bass, Baritone and Soprano saxophones are on the left, and the Tenor and Alto saxophones are on the right.
|0:07||1||Fragmented theme elements|
|1:38||61||Main Theme/Structure: Soprano plays complete melody (L Tues limb, etc...), supported by Tenor/Bass (MICHAEL Tue limb) and Alto (EVE Tue limb). Texture gradually disperses.|
|3:30||131||Main theme returns in soprano, but ensemble slower, softer|
|4:18||161||Alto begins irregular kissing noises|
|5:20||201||Main Structure returns in Soprano, Altos stop kisses, become rising staccato motif (RIGHT EYEBROW dance)|
|5:43||213||Polyphony changes, Baritone adds RIGHT EYEBROW dance|
|6:15||229||Various solos, becoming brass pauses|
|7:01||253||Main Structure returns, adding RIGHT EYEBROW rising scale, rising harmony|
|7:37||271||Cadence chord phrase, followed by increasing use of toneless notes|
|7:56||281||Main Structure returns, alto kissing sounds returns, fast passages from Bari/Tenor, colored pauses (synth)|
|9:08||309||Pause, reducing tempo, then kissing, etc...|
|9:56||341||Brass toneless blowing/kissing (synth melody featured)|
|10:45||367||Bari solo (MICHAEL Nuclear formula)|
|11:37||397||Rhythmic breath accents, then Bari 2nd solo over synth trill (12:04), perc interlude (12:27)|
|12:51||421||Main Structure variation: mixture of noise and pitched figures with long swooping glissandi/scales|
|13:58||461||Bari 3rd solo (LUCIFER formula) supported by Bass sax and perc. accents|
|16:15||493||Final Reprise of Main Theme Structure|
|17:24||533||Final cadence phrase|
WINGS-OF-THE-NOSE-DANCE for percussion, synth or as percussion solo [7'30"]
In this version of the featured percussion dance of LUCIFER's TANZ, the percussionist also adds 33 EX ("extra") sounds, which he chooses from samplers or additional instruments such as thunder sheets, steel spiral springs, etc... In the version on Stockhausen Edition CD 79, Simon Stockhausen played synths (covering the brass chordal parts, alternating from right to left generally) and used a Yamaha DX 7 II-FD, Roland D-50, Casio FZ-1 sampler and a Roland SVC-350 vocoder. The percussionist also sings LUCIFER's vocal text. Sections XII A and XII B are covered, including a trumpet sample quote from the piccolo trumpet entrance (the beginning LUCIFER nuclear formula stutter). In the section for PROTEST, the texture becomes slower and droney, some vocoder is used and more samples are deployed. Afterwards, the synth plays the horn parts for the UPPER LIP DANCE, ending with another brief trumpet sampler quote from the beginning of the piccolo trumpet cadenza and some metallic spring noises.
UPPER-LIP-DANCE (PROTEST) for piccolo trumpet, trombone/euphonium, 4 or 8 horns, 2 percussionists, or as solo for piccolo trumpet [14'30"]
This extract from LUCIFER's DANCE (like the original version) requires a Bb piccolo trumpet with a 4th valve as well as 3 different mutes (wawa, plunger, cup). It starts out with sparse metallic percussion and euphoniums, after which the piccolo trumpet enters (along with the French horns), starting with Section XII B, repeated and expanding the LUCIFER Nuclear tone sequence in double note melodic figures, and continues until the departure of the piccolo trumpet part in the staged version. At one point the trumpeter must play while lying on his back, and Stockhausen gives instructions on when to "drain the trumpet" in the score.
TIP-OF-THE-TONGUE-DANCE for piccolo flute, 2 euphoniums or synthesizer, percussionist, or as solo for piccolo flute [9']
The extracted TIP-OF-THE-TONGUE-DANCE also includes the RIBBON DANCE and CHIN DANCE. It opens with a brief "Prelude" (based on the ending of the TEAR DANCE) with euphoniums/synths, before the piccolo flautist (and optional Ribbon Dancer) appears and begins a solo based on elaborations of the EVE formula. During the 14 phases/letters of the RIBBON DANCE (each signaled by a double or triple-hit crotale note), the piccolo points in different directions like the hands of a clock. The euphoniums/synths play their 5-note falling/rising scalar dyad figures with timbres including toneless blowing, tongue clicks, "kissing sounds", or tandem vocalizing, as the piccolo employs flutter-tongue, embouchure note-bending, percussive vocalizing and other exotic colored sounds.
In the Cadenza section, the euphoniums/synths play long suspended chords and the percussion rests, while the piccolo flautist sings a falling glissando against a held piccolo tone, before crying "SALVE SATANELLI" through her flute. In the "Departure" (CHIN DANCE), gongs and cymbals return and soon the euphonium briefly plays the melody from LUCIFER's bass vocal text, as the flautist and Ribbon Dancer move off the stage, still playing fragments from the EVE formula.
CHIN-DANCE for euphonium, percussion, synth (or alto trombones, baritones, tubas in place of synth) [10']
The premiere of the independent version of the CHIN DANCE (for euphonium, percussion and synth) was performed 4 times while on a river ferry, both at the riverbank and in the middle of the Salzach river, which had torches lit along its riverbanks. This version features the glockenspiel playing the piccolo "departure" solo for the first 50 measures (with the euphonium playing the short LUCIFER vocal line). After a long, loud fermata and a slow euphonium phrase, the drums become more active with the euphonium playing the main falling/rising figure from the TIP OF THE TONGUE DANCE. The synth player sings LUCIFER's vocal parts. At measure 104 another fermata occurs, after which the drums calm down and the euphonium plays the complete LUCIFER formula. Afterwards, the previous section (with drums) is reprised, followed by a reduced version of the original staged ending (a unison fanfare figure based on the Nuclear tones of MICHAEL, EVE and LUCIFER (3 layered Nuclear formulas with altered rhythms)).
Saturday Greeting/Lucifer's Greeting for 26 brass instruments and 2 percussionists 1984 [8']
This opening Greeting is a kind of "dark fanfare" to the opera SAMSTAG AUS LICHT. Some of the other LICHT opera Greetings are employed more as electronic ambient music to "set the mood" as the audience arrives (for example in MONTAGs GRUSS and FREITAGs GRUSS), but SAMSTAG's Greeting is clearly an ominous "call from the depths", embellished with ritualistic tolling bells and low, menacing brass. In live performance there are 4 groups arranged around the audience, and each group is assigned one of the LICHT formulas to create a slow 4-layered polyphonic fanfare/overture (compositionally, this piece is loosely based on Section VII-XI of Scene 3's LUCIFER's TANZ, since both utilize the same measures from the LICHT super-formula). The table below describes the melodic material used by the 4 "surround-sound groups" during this haunting prelude.
(with 2 tubular bells)
|Repeating cycles of front-to-back chordal "calls", with chord-melody intervals growing wider step-wise from a major 3rd to a major 7th. 6 times, one or both ends play a repeating oscillating figure. The work ends shortly after a faster oscillation.||LUCIFER Maj7th head motif|
|2 alto trombones,
(with 2 gamelan gongs)
|RIGHT||6 trombones||Repeating cycles of a 3-note rising/falling octave figure (with a rising parallel low interval in each cycle) paired with several swooping glissandi notes.||EVE formula segment|
|LEFT||4 tubas||Repeating cycles of a falling 6th interval and scalar figure in different permutations, slowing down (increasing pauses in between).||
MICHAEL formula segment
Not yet premiered/unpublished:
No. 53 Extract 1:LINKER AUGENBRAUENTANZ (LEFT-EYEBROW-DANCE) for flutes, basset-horn(s), percussion, synth
No. 53 Extract 4:RECHTER AUGENTANZ (RIGHT-EYE-DANCE) for oboes, English horns, bassoons, percussion, synth
No. 53 Extract 5:LINKER BACKENTANZ (LEFT-CHEEK-DANCE) for trumpets and trombones, percussion, synth
No. 53 Extract 6:RECHTER BACKENTANZ (RIGHT-CHEEK-DANCE) for trumpets and trombones, percussion, synth
LUZIFERs TANZ is one of Stockhausen's most fun orchestral works, possibly second only to ORCHESTER FINALISTEN in that regard. The staging has lots of over-the-top elements, and LUCIFER himself is almost like a carnival barker shilling for freaks at a sideshow. The dances themselves are strangely hypnotic, and the fact that they are represented by writhing and jerking orchestra members makes the whole affair into an absurd grotesque. Some of the dances definitely have a sense of portending doom, but yet are still kind of "bluesy", in a twisted way. However, some of the humorous aspects are unavoidably lost I think, when just listening to the CD without the visuals. To be honest, the first time I heard LUZIFERs DANCE and saw the images of "Lucifer" and his skeletal ribbon-dancer I was a bit perturbed by the darkness of it all (also at that time I was unaware that the painted bat-face was actually a detail from a Botticelli painting). After one learns more about the staging however, one is able to "get" Stockhausen's sense of dark humor.
The additional extracts of the individual dances are great chamber pieces, and provide a lean and revealing look at the micro-frameworks of the dances. One of the hurdles to appreciating contemporary classical music is sometimes the lack of easily identifiable rhythmic figures, and Stockhausen solves this by making his LICHT super-formula "limbs" into hypnotic dance "grooves".
Finally, the opening fanfare, SAMSTAGs GRUSS, is one of my favorite brass works (by any composer) and is a perfect opening gesture to this Janus-faced comedic/Luziferian opera. In general, LUZIFERs TANZ is a perfect introduction to the later works of Stockhausen, and SAMSTAG AUS LICHT as a whole is one of my favorites of the 7 LICHT operas.
Sound samples and CD ordering:
- LUZIFERs TANZ and SAMSTAGs-GRUSS (staged)
- RECHTER AUGENBRAUENTANZ (RIGHT-EYEBROW-DANCE) for clarinets, bass clarinets, percussion,synth
- NASENFLÜGELTANZ (WINGS-OF-THE-NOSE-DANCE) for percussion and synth
- OBERLIPPENTANZ (UPPER-LIP-DANCE) for piccolo trumpet, euphonium, horns, percussionists
- OBERLIPPENTANZ (UPPER-LIP-DANCE) for solo piccolo trumpet
- ZUNGENSPITZENTANZ (TIP-OF-THE-TONGUE-DANCE) for piccolo flute, euphonium, synthesizer, percussionist
- ZUNGENSPITZENTANZ (TIP-OF-THE-TONGUE-DANCE) for solo piccolo
- KINNTANZ (CHIN-DANCE) for euphonium, percussion, synth
- LINKER AUGENTANZ (LEFT-EYE-DANCE) for saxophones, percussion, synth
Stockhausen on Opera (Interview with Jerome Kohl)
The Saxophone Works of Karlheinz Stockhausen (Bunt, PDF thesis)
Albrecht Moritz on SAMSTAG AUS LICHT
Albrecht Moritz on LUZIFERs TANZ
Concert Review (2008)
LUZIFERs TANZ (Youtube clip)
SAMSTAG AUS LICHT Staging 2013 (photos)