Thursday, April 16, 2015






 No. 62: FREITAGS-GRUSS (Friday Greeting) and FREITAGS-ABSCHIED (Friday Farewell),
together entitled WELTRAUM (Outer Space), Electronic Music of FRIDAY
(1991, 1992, 1994) [68'30" and 78' as separate parts, 146' in combined form]

Stockhausen 1991
Introduction: FRIDAY from LIGHT
     FREITAGS-GRUSS and FREITAGS- ABSCHIED are two halves of a single brobdingnagian electronic music work which is integrated into Stockhausen's opera, FREITAG AUS LICHT (FRIDAY from LIGHT).  FREITAG is the 5th-composed entry of his 7-part, 29-hour opera cycle LICHT (LIGHT), which itself is a massive work of cathedral-like proportions 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).

     FREITAG is the Day of Temptation where LUCIFER attempts to tempt EVE into joining his revolution against Heaven.  The main body of the opera, FREITAG-VERSUCHUNG (Friday Temptation) is divided into 2 Acts, but they are preceded and followed by "entrance" and "exit" works, FREITAGS-GRUSS and FREITAGS-ABSCHIED.  In a staged production, the Greeting is projected in the foyer and auditorium as the audience arrives, and the Farewell is projected in the foyer as the audience exits.   This electronic music is also used as 1 of the 3 simultaneous, elemental layers in FREITAG's main body.  The 3 layers are:
  • 12 SOUND SCENES, collectively known as PAARE vom FREITAG (Couples of Friday): electronic music interludes using electronically-processed male and female voice (with some concrete field recorded elements)
  • 10 REAL SCENES (FREITAG-VERSUCHUNG): vocal and instrumental music produced by the musicians on stage, and which presents the main dramatic arc
  • FREITAGS-GRUSS and FREITAGS-ABSCHIED: background electronic music, which is the same tape used for the audience arrival and departure
     Presented independently from the opera as WELTRAUM, the Greeting and Farewell are connected as one large electronic entity.  Here the music is projected as an 8-channel tape piece in a dark auditorium (such as a planetarium, as was used for the premiere), with a small moon or other night skyscape elements projected on the ceiling.  WELTRAUM is also sometimes played back in tandem with the 12 SOUND SCENES as an electronic work, in which case, it is labeled with the umbrella title ELEKTRONISCHE MUSIK mit TONSZENEN vom FREITAG aus LICHT (on CD 49 of the Complete Stockhausen Edition).

    The music of WELTRAUM (I'm just going to use it's independently-mounted title since it's easier to type) is basically an extreme elongation of parts of the LICHT super-formula.  It especially uses the melodic formulas for EVE and LUCIFER.  These formulas are only a minute long in their "native form", but in WELTRAUM they are stretched out to two and a half hours.  Because the actual notes are so long (resulting in a series of drones, basically), this gave Stockhausen the opportunity to explore a great variety of timbre and vertical harmony structures.  As usual, he comes up with a plethora of creative ideas to make this more than just a "stretched out" song.

FREITAG Form Scheme
     In order to describe the genesis of WELTRAUM, it's helpful to first describe Stockhausen's form structure design for FREITAG AUS LICHT, especially since this form scheme is basically the score for WELTRAUM.  The form scheme is drawn as a 7-staff polyphonic structure, which acts as a guide for the melodic values and rhythmic durations in FREITAG, both on a large and small scale.  For example, the entry and exit points for each of the REAL SCENES and SOUND SCENES are indicated above the staffs, and follow the major shapes of the form scheme melodic material (proportionately, that is, when the form scheme is stretched out to the combined length of the 2 Acts). The background electronic layer (WELTRAUM) uses all 7 layers shown in the form scheme, with 4 of them being especially useful if one wishes to use it to follow the work.  The other 3 layers are either unison harmonized elements, or are too hard to hear (at least for me).  To explain the form scheme, it's necessary to first describe the Friday segment of the LICHT super-formula, and how it is used in FREITAG AUS LICHT. 

     At above right, Stockhausen has drawn measures 12 and 13 of the 19-measure LICHT super-formula.  When Stockhausen mapped out the 7 operas of LICHT, he divided the 3-layer super-formula into "day sections", starting from Monday, with each day taking up 2 to 4 measures (a similar procedure is carried out for every scene of the entire 29-hour LICHT opera cycle). In the above drawing, the 1st staff is for the MICHAEL formula layer, the 2nd for EVE, and the 3rd for LUCIFER.  From here, I'll be referring to these 2-measure fragments as the MICHAEL Friday segment, the EVE Friday segment, and the LUCIFER Friday segment.  Above the staffs are the names of the 10 REAL SCENES which are somewhat arranged to fit the rhythms.  Below the phrase "und Doppelformel EVA-LUZIFER" are the first parts of the EVE formula and the LUCIFER formula.  These 2 formulas are shown below in their full form.

The EVE Formula.
(click to enlarge)
The LUCIFER Formula.
(click to enlarge) 

These first 3 graphics are combined in the full FREITAG form scheme shown below.
(click to enlarge, all images ©

Pg 1: layers 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7 (the 5th layer is empty for this first part and not shown)
Pg 2: layers 1-7
Pg 3: layers 1-7
Pg 4: layers 4-7 (1-3 are empty, since the MICHAEL Friday segment has a rest here)

     In this 4 page form scheme, layers 1-3 (top 3 staffs) use the rhythmic durations of the MICHAEL Friday segement.  The chords are derived from the central tones of the EVE and LUCIFER formulas.  The 4th layer is the EVE Friday segment, stretched out.  The LUCIFER Friday segment, also stretched out, arrives on Page 2, as the 5th layer.  The bottom 6th and 7th layers are the full EVE and LUCIFER formulas, respectively.

     The 2nd layer also has a long, continuous glissandi running through the MICHAEL Friday segment rhythm.  This is (as far as I can tell) a representation of the basset horn line of ELUFA, one of the REAL SCENES (for basset horn and flute).  ELUFA is created by combining (super-imposing) the EVE and LUCIFER nuclear formulas (simplified forms of the formulas) and inverting them (upside-down).  ELUFA has a much bigger role in the creation of the SOUND SCENES, and here in WELTRAUM, this rising/falling line is inaudible (at least to me), so further explanation will be in the REAL SCENES and SOUND SCENES pages.  In any case, the first hand-drawn 2-measure picture can be seen to be stretched both vertically and horizontally into the 4 page FREITAG form scheme (the initial drawing has its 1st layer vertically expanded into 3 layers).

     A narrative based on the recording on the Complete Stockhausen Edition CD 50 (1st and 4th disc) follows.  In the first and last columns below, the CD times are shown (on both sides for readability).  In order to get from the CD time of FREITAGS-GRUSS to the FREITAG form scheme time values for comparison, it's necessary to subtract 6 seconds (since the CD has a 6 second silent lead off).  In order to get from the CD time of FREITAGS-ABSCHIED to the form scheme time, it's necessary to subtract 5 minutes and 29 seconds.  In the 2nd column, an "M" indicates the appearance of a MICHAEL chord (occuring at proportionate times based on the MICHAEL Friday segment durations) which is usually very brief, and acts kind of like a "starburst" of high color.  The 3rd and 4th columns indicate events following the EVE and LUCIFER formulas (high and low register melodies, respectively) .  The 5th column summarizes the timbral layers (usually very high and/or noise-based) following the MICHAEL Friday segment, as well as the LUCIFER Friday segment.  The EVE Friday segment is not really audible until the swooping pitches on page 4, at which point it is included in the EVE column..  In the Farewell, I indicate many of the timbral changes in the bass part, but it may be more fun to just listen for them on one's own.

The Friday Greeting introduces stacked layers of sound and harmony.  The first half hour is slow, but contains a lot of timbral modulation.  The 2nd half is enlivened by extreme flanging of octave chords, as well as concrete sounds, such as kissing noises, water drops, laughing, counting, etc...
Time M EVE formula LUCIFER formula MICHAEL & LUCIFER Friday segments Time
0:07 M EVE formula opening 
arpeggiated phrase on Bb using
high register timbre tone,
10 secs each note
LUCIFER formula low bass notes on A,
every 23 secs
Begins with a rapid falling "wind" timbre, but afterwards remains at a held pitch, varying dynamics.
Additional layers:
high frequency vibrato with timbre modulation
(high frog sounds), 
intermittent low "moans",
scattered "wind chimes" (5:59), etc...

This combination of timbres continues throughout FREITAGS-GRUSS and continues for the first 15 minutes of FREITAGS-ABSCHIED.
1:11 M held Bb with oscillations (speeding up/slowing down) 1:11
rising to D 2:20
held D with oscillations (speeding up/slowing down) 2:46
3:19 M 3:19
6:31 M 6:31
(actually replaced by a high whine)
held crescendo on last note with rising overtones 8:39
fade in of slow trilled chord (audible at 9:57) 9:46
rest rise to high flanging tone 10:31
10:47 M Tone returns on Bb tremolo octave chord with overtone modulation 10:47
gliss up to D, followed by grace notes, short glissandi, ends with a short rest 11:52
rising bass triplets,
43 secs each note, some with grace notes
16:07 M very slow descending
filtered noise (chord)
held Db with high frequency pulsed filtering 21:27
drone on G with some swells 22:10
22:31 M 22:31
on Db with overtones 24:18
high chord - oscillating rest 25:43
Ab drone 26:26
G 26:47
rest 27:11
high chord - oscillating
(down to Db)
leaping, scalar phrase from Ab,
23 secs each note
to C 28:55
29:59 M to Db 29:59
to C 31:04
32:07 M kissing noises (tones fade out, replaced by high whine) 32:07
36:19 M tones phrase returns with high whine sometimes surfacing 36:19
rest 36:24
37:27 M 37:27
38:31 M 38:31
low falling gliss from C# 39:14
rest rushing, windy sound element 39:35
tones phrase reprise (echo) 40:35
counting ("eins…") w vocoder and pulsed filtering 40:45
41:43 M 41:43
41:59 M 41:59
water drops 43:51
 "eins" again low falling gliss from C# 44:55
47:03 M "angelic" chords, high noise band element fades in (48:12) octaves with overtone modulation (D#) 47:03
laughing with processed echo (ring modulation?), "angelic" chords, high whine 49:11
50:15 M 50:15
octave modulation (down to B) 50:58
laughing event 51:03
laughing event 52:07
laughing event 52:55
laughing event 53:27
laughing event (with "seagull" sounds) 53:43
laughing event ("Kaino") 55:03

octave modulation (up to D) 55:35
laughing event 56:39
"glockenspiel" sounds
57:43 M 57:43
58:47 M 58:47
high whine  modulates octave modulation (down to B) 59:30
rest low falling gliss with "crumbling" noise 60:55
panning on low subsonic G# (crumbling cont'd) 61:59
octave modulation (D#) G# fades out 63:03
64:07 M G# returns 64:07
octave modulation (B) 65:43
66:15 M grace note down to G# irregularly falling male voice 66:15

The LICHT Friday symbol.

The Friday Farewell begins slowly, reprising a few minutes from the Friday Greeting.  After about 10 minutes of variously articulated male vocal vowel sounds, the rest of the farewell is dominated by an irregular bass pattern, which undergoes constant tempo and timbre changes, as well as changing "satellite" effects.  In the last section of the Farewell, the male voice returns and counts in different timbres and attacks.
Time M EVE formula (and segment) LUCIFER formula MICHAEL & LUCIFER Friday segments Time
0:39 M grace note down to G# (repr.) descending male voice (repr.) Multiple layers:
wind timbre, high frequency vibrato with timbre modulation (high frog sounds), intermittent low "moans", scattered "wind chimes", etc... (as above)  

This combination of timbres continues from FREITAGS-GRUSS and continues for the first 15 minutes of FREITAGS-ABSCHIED.
irregularly falling triplets, 29 secs each note 2:47
3:51 M 3:51
1st falling male vocal buzz 4:55
2nd falling male vocal buzz 6:20
3rd falling male vocal buzz 7:45
8:07 M 8:07
falling male vowel sounds ("V") 9:11
10:15 M 10:15
11:19 M Brief ornament, then isolated pulses on G#  Bass attacks form a slowly rising, and then falling, interval, always returning to A#
(roughly A#, B, A#, C, A#, C#, A#, D, A#, C#, A#, C, etc…) 
12:23 M A held Rising/falling bass interval begins again, adds high echo element to upper tones 12:23
13:27 M Rising/falling bass interval begins again 13:27
vocal swoop  13:56
14:31 M bright chord (G# bass pulse pattern takes over, see column at right) Tempos and timbres for the remainder of this layer change for each box below (ie - empty boxes below still contain a tempo/timbre change, but I only describe some of the more <obvious> ones.  
For example, this section has a <metallic overtone element>.).   

In general, each tempo/timbre lasts 68 seconds each, and sometimes a high chord or brief falling gliss in the bass marks a new tempo/timbre section.

Additionally a different set of "atmospheric effects" is used in each section (intermittent swooping tones, "falling stars", high "ring tones", bell sounds, ring-modulated vocal tones, etc..), beginning from 14:48.  These stop when the counting at 54:31 begins.

Melodically, bass attacks form a rising interval, always returning to G# (picking up from the A# pattern at left).  This cycle increases until a full octave higher is reached. 
fast gliss to A falling from above Rising interval continues to increase to towards the octave, timbre changes, etc. 15:38
16:46 ""
17:54 The following descriptions in this column in parenthesis are indicated in the form scheme, but seem to be mostly inaudible here in WELTRAUM.
(descending phrase,
34 secs each beat.)
counting 1-5 ("eins…")
(3x each number, various effects, articulations)

21:19 (slow falling gliss)
22:27 (microtonal bends as glisses) (rhythmic ornamentation on F#) rising interval reaches F#,
continues up and hits octave G#
<more glissandi tails on notes>
23:35 fast gliss down to original G#,
Rising/falling bass interval pattern begins
25:51 Rising/falling bass interval pattern begins again 25:51
28:07 Rising/falling bass interval begins again
<add "vocal" timbre>
30:45 (gliss down to B) (held D) expansion reaches D, continues up 30:45
31:31 Rising/falling bass interval pattern begins again
<added high pitch harmonic timbre and as well as scattered electronic drum rolls>

A high bandwidth noise (chord) begins a slow rising/falling arc
(this from the MICHAEL layer).
32:48 <high harmonic removed from timbre> 32:48
33:24 (gliss up to B) 33:24
33:47 <beat groups are separated by high glissandi> 33:47
35:40 (gliss down to B) 35:40
36:03 End of MICHAEL chord arc. 36:03
37:11 rest  rushing noise w slow high chords
(attacks becomes very quiet, but expansion cycle continues)
38:19 (held 2nd F above middle C ) (repeated held notes on C, slowing down) Rising/falling bass interval pattern begins again (reaches C quickly)
<high echo element in timbre>
39:27 G# octave reached, decreasing intervals begin 39:27
40:01 fast rising gliss to B, then held
40:35 (microtonal bends on 2nd F above middle C) Rising/falling bass interval pattern begins again
<added "jaw harp" harmonic, oscillating high pulses swirl around>
42:51 Rising/falling bass interval pattern begins again
<added hollow metallic harmonic, swirling "cicada" timbre, intermittent high bell tones>
44:01 <sparse high frequency scalar pitches> 44:01
45:07 <high overtone added, subtle "bee" buzzing> 45:07
46:15 <sparse high chords begin> 46:15
47:23 <tinkly harmonic added> 47:23
48:31 fast falling gliss to held B
(MICHAEL layer)
51:55 held on 2nd F# cross-glissandi rushing noise begins (ends 54:30) 51:55
54:31 male vocal counting 1-11,
filter modulated
55:19 <parallel "bending" tones> 55:19
56:27 phrase centered on 2nd F# begins <crotale-like element added> 56:27
57:35 fast falling gliss to held B (echo of previous)
(MICHAEL layer)
58:43 Rising/falling bass interval pattern begins again
<add sub-harmonic percussion harmonic>
59:06 triplets on 3rd F above middle C 59:06
60:36 back to 2nd F# 60:36
62:29 held F#
64:23 Bass notes begin decelerating 64:23
68:45 Final bass note 68:45

Electronic Realization
     Stockhausen describes the electronic music below in this text from the CD 50 booklet (originally a single paragraph, I re-formated it as a bulleted list below):

In this electronic music, due to the unusually large temporal expansion of individual notes, I formed the interior of each individual note and its development as never before: 
  • microtonal movements of the pitches, interferences (beats) with gradual slowing down, speeding up, separations, unifications; 
  • expanding and contracting intervallic relationships to a reference note; 
  • choice of timbres only for the clarification of the notes, chords, note layers, glissandi, spatial movements composed according to the formula; 
  • painstaking forming of the dynamic curve of each note to emphasize its presence in the polyphony and to support the simultaneous notes; 
  • finely graded differentiations between notes, sounds, coloured noises of varying band widths; 
  • isorhythmic pulsation in different transitions from periodic to syncopated to irregular impulses; 
  • individual, clearly perceptible flight paths, forms of movement, speeds in space.
     Each of these formations can be seen and heard in the work as described in the Timeline above.  The spatial motion does not seem to follow any particular formula, but in any case the motions were applied after the tracks were created.

(artist drawing: NASA)
     Some of the synthesizers and samplers used by Karlheinz and Simon Stockhausen to generate the textures in FREITAG AUS LICHT (including WELTRAUM, of course) include the following:
  • Akai S 1000 samplers
  • Yamaha DX7 FD II-FD synths
  • Yamaha SY 99 synth
  • Roland D-50 synth
  • Casio FZ-1 sampler
  • Oberheim Matrix-1000 synth module
Some of the effects processors used include these units:
  • Eventide H 3500 harmonizer
  • Yamaha SPX 900 effects unit
  • Lexicon PCM 70 multi-effects unit
  • Art Proverb
  • EMS Vocoder
  • Roland SVC 350 vocoder
     In addition to the synthesizer/sampler-generated tones, the soprano voice part was performed by Kathinka Pasveer, and the male voice was performed by Stockhausen himself.

Sound Impressions 
     This almost totally-electronic work appears at first to be a "drone-piece", since the melodic elements change so slowly, making the changing timbres the initial focus.  However upon closer inspection, there is quite alot of "action" going on under the hood.  The Greeting and Farewell start off fairly leisurely, but after several minutes other "celestial objects" enter and provide a new narrative to follow.   The changing of timbres every 68 seconds in FREITAGS-ABSCHIED is quite a lot of fun to listen for.  Some of the timbre changes are very subtle, so these are a fun challenge to pick out.  The changing "satellite tones" and their unpredictable behaviors are equally fun to follow.  The slow expansion/contraction of the bass tremolo also provides a sense of tension, as if a rubber-band were being stretched and released (the microtonal bending of the tone certainly aids that impression).

     I'm not sure if this electronic music layer was created before or after the REAL SCENES and SOUND SCENES, but it must have been challenging to create a work which could stand on its own for almost 2 and a half hours, as well as provide a constant background "score" to the more foreground objects in the opera proper (without causing an overloaded sound atmosphere).  Though the formal design and organization of the sound materials is all due to Stockhausen, a good deal of credit should go to his son Simon Stockhausen, who programmed the many sound timbres employed in this work.  Simon also played an integral part of the creation of the sound timbres in OKTOPHONIE, and this makes WELTRAUM a kind of sequel to that work. 

Sound Samples, Online CD ordering: FREITAG AUS LICHT (opera, with FREITAGS-GRUSS & FREITAGS-ABSCHIED)
Purchase the Score (FREITAG - VERSUCHUNG)
Albrecht Moritz on WELTRAUM (very detailed, some excellent observations about the timbral flow)
FREITAGS-ABSCHIED (YouTube clip, timing does not match the CD timings above!)
Simon Stockhausen Homepage

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