ENGEL-PROZESSIONEN

SONNTAG AUS LICHT
Scene 1
LICHTER- WASSER

Scene 2
ENGEL-PROZESSIONEN

Scene 3
LICHT- BILDER

Scene 4
DUFTE-ZEICHEN

Scene 5
HOCH-ZEITEN


Farewell
SONNTAGS-
ABSCHIED

(photo: Klaus Rudolph, SONNTAG AUS LICHT 2012 Cologne)
Nr. 76, ENGEL-PROZESSIONEN (Angel Processions)
for choir (a cappella)
(2000) ['40]

Introduction
     ENGEL-PROZESSIONEN (Angel Processions) is the 2nd Scene of Stockhausen's dramatic music work SONNTAG AUS LICHT (SUNDAY from LIGHT), which was the last-composed "day" of his 7-part, 29-hour opera cycle LICHT (Light).  LICHT is a 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).

     SONNTAG (Sunday) is the Day of Mystical Union, specifically between the characters MICHAEL and EVE.  The scenes in SONNTAG do not have an obvious narrative arc connecting them - instead, the actual theme of union between the 2 characters is achieved through musical, visual, spatial and even olfactory means.

     In ENGEL-PROZESSIONEN, the setting is a hall lined with a mixed choir along the rear and side walls (a "Tutti Choir"), singing slow, quiet tones and aleatoric syllables.  Promenading through the audience are 7 singing "Angel Choirs" (choir groups of 4 to 6 singers).  The 7th Angel Choir, the Angels of Joy, also sometimes sings from the balcony.  During the Scene, the 7 Angel Choirs sing in various combinations during 7 sections labelled "Phases" (which are also each subdivided into 7 "Waves").  At the end, each Angel Choir proceeds up the middle of the hall and converges, bringing irises and lilies to form a mountain of flowers.

The Tutti Choir
     To the left, right, and behind the audience, are choir singers who sing quiet sustained notes from 4 melodic layers derived from the LICHT super-formula.  These layers (the MICHAEL and EVE segments of the Sunday "day fragment" and part of the Tuesday & Wednesday day fragments) were obtained from overlaying the LICHT super-formula over the duration of the opera SONNTAG AUS LICHT (for more on this technique see LICHT-BILDER and DUFTE - ZEICHEN).  In addition to the held tones, the tutti choir also softly repeats (aleatorically) the first syllable of the name of each Day Wave ("Mo", Tue", "Ve", etc...).  In general this background choir is very quiet and can only be perceived as a kind of harmonic "haze" (though the Stockhausen Edition CD includes the Tutti Choir by itself on a separate disc for further appreciation).

The 7 Angel Choirs
      Each Angel Choir sings in 2 layers (2-part polyphony), with the upper voice derived from the EVE formula and the lower voice derived from the MICHAEL formula.  The distribution of the voices and main language used in the text for each Angel choir is as follows:  

Angels of: Water Earth Life Music Light Heaven Joy
Day: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
2-part Polyphony: 3T
3T
3S
3S
3A
3A
3S
3T
3B
3B
3A
3B
SA
TB
Language: Hindi
(Indian)
Chinese Spanish English   Arabic African (Kiswahili) German

     ENGEL-PROZESSIONEN is arranged as 49 sections ("Waves") grouped in 7 "Phases" of 7 Waves each, and one Angel Choir is usually featured in each Wave.  The text of each Wave uses 1 of 7 languages as well (since each Angel Choir sings in a different language).  In addition to their featured sections, the 7th Angel Choir, the Angels of Joy, often sing as accompanying "guest" soloists during the other Angel Choirs' Waves.  The Soprano and Tenor from the Angels of Joy (who also should be the soloists in LICHTER-WASSER) demonstrate special hand gestures for each Day to each of the other Angel Choirs, who imitate them.

     Each time an Angel Choir is featured, it uses a variation of the same text.  In other words, in each Angel Choir's Wave repetition, the text is reorganized/re-phoneticized, the MICHAEL/EVE melodic formula segments are different, and articulation is usually different.  Since the theme of SONNTAG AUS LICHT is "mystical union", the polyphonic EVE and MICHAEL layers of each Angel Choir gradually meld together as the Scene progresses into a homophonic texture at the end.

Form Structure
Stockhausen Edition CD 67 Cover.
www.karlheinzstockhausen.org)
     The structural organization of ENGEL-PROZESSIONEN is shown on the CD cover above.  There are 7 Phases of 7 Waves each.  In each Phase, the order of the Angel Choir Waves is different, but the Angels of Joy are always in the final 7th Wave.  The diagram shows the sequence of Angels for each Phase with the letter in each row standing for the language (I = Indian Hindi, C = Chinese, S = Spanish, etc...).  Below each language letter is a number in a colored diamond, which is only the number assigned to that Angel Choir, and is not related to the row it's in.  As mentioned previously, the members of the Angels of Joy also often sing soloistically with the other Angel Choirs during many Waves (singing in the native language of the featured Angel Choir).  These are indicated in the diagram by the circled letters "So", "Al", "Te", and "Ba" (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass).  The added soloist(s) are reflective of the characters featured in that Day of LICHT (for example, the 2nd Phase, Tuesday, features guest Tenor and Bass soloists, which reflects the War between MICHAEL and LUCIFER).  In the Waves of the 6th Phase, 1 member of each of the Angel Choirs sings as an additional "soloist".  In the 7th Phase, the Angels of Joy alternate with each of the other 6 Angel Choirs.

Aleatoric Angels
     During each Phase, an Angel Choir sometimes "continues on" after their featured Wave, singing different varieties of aleatoric textures, such as quietly repeating melodic fragments, slow glissandi,  passages of text on single pitches, etc... (the type of aleatoric texture is usually derived from the Angel Choir's assigned language).  This is indicated in the cover diagram by horizontal dashed lines.  For example, in Phase 1, the first Angel Choir (Water) continues singing isolated "Hindi" syllables after it's featured Wave is over, and continues for the rest of that Phase.  In Phase 2, the Angels of Earth add "Chinese" aleatoric melodies for Waves 2-7, and the Angels of Water join with "Hindi" syllables during Waves 5-7.  Each of these aleatoric textures are very complex and unique, and require close headphone listening to fully be appreciated on the CD recording.  They can be summarized as such:
  • Phase 1: Angel Choir 1 continues with aleatory Hindi pitches for Waves 2 (with Monday gesture)
  • Phase 2: Angel Choir 2 sings Chinese from Wave 2-7 (Tuesday gesture) and Angel Choir 1 adds Hindi from Wave 5-7 (Monday gesture)
  • Phase 3: Angel Choir 3 (Spanish chanting, Wednesday gesture), 2, and 1 overlap (from Waves 2, 4 and 6)
  • Phase 4: Angel Choir 4 (English, Thursday gesture, from Wave 2), 1 (from Wave 3), 2 (from Wave 5), 3 (from Wave 7)
  • Phase 5: All groups sing in various combinations of harmonies with the EVE layer of each Wave
  • Phase 6: From Wave 2, a growing number of Angels join in a constant, breathy Eb drone.
  • Phase 7: No aleatoric layers, all groups harmonize at the end

Narrative
      One of the most fascinating things about ENGEL-PROZESSIONEN is the way the Angel Choirs move about in space.  The below table may be useful to chart this movement for the stereo version found on Stockhausen Edition CD 67.  The initial placement of a choral voice on the CD is indicated in the "stereo placement" columns, though often times the voice(s) will slowly move left or right during the Wave.

PHASE 1 (Monday)
In the beginnings of Waves 3 through 7, a "colored noise" texture appears in the EVE layer, which is later picked up at the end of each Wave by the MICHAEL layer ("tsch" lip-smacking sounds, "kissing noises", tongue-clicks and finger-snaps, etc...).
In the 1st and 4th Waves the Soprano soloist (representing EVE, since Monday is EVE's Day) is very coloratura (almost hysterical).
The Alto announces "SONNTAG AUS LICHT" just before Wave 2 begins. 
Wave Angel
Choir
Trk Dur.
Stereo Placement of
Angel Choir and Soloist (SATB)
  - - - LEFT - - - - CENTER - - - - RIGHT - - -

Aleatory Layers
(In addition to Tutti Choir)
1 Water 
(Hindi)
1 0:58


S
3T
3T







2 Earth
(Chinese)
2 0:45





3S
3S


Angels of Water (Tenors) begin Hindi long held syllables
3 Life
(Spanish)
3 0:44



3A
3A




4 Music
(English)
4 0:54
3S
3T
S





5 Light
(Arabic)
5 0:51






3B
3B
<-

6 Heaven
(Kiswahili)
6 0:46

3A
3B
<-






7 Joy
(German)
7 0:56

B
T
A S



PHASE 2 (Tuesday)
In Waves 1 through 6, the EVE layer uses tremelo on most syllables, while the MICHAEL layers are generally simpler.  Additionally in Wave 3, both layers soon harmonize in 4 sections of consonant/vowel textures.  
Waves 5 and 6 end on colored noises.  The Tenor and Bass are very boisterous in the 1st Wave, since Tuesday is the Day of War between MICHAEL and LUCIFER.
Wave Angel
Choir
Trk Dur.
Placement
Aleatory Layers
1 Earth
(Chinese)
8 0:31


B T
3S
3S






2 Music
(English)
9 0:33
3S
3T
->


T
(brief)




Angels of Earth (Sopranos) begin Chinese fragments w bends
3 Heaven
(Kiswahili)
10 1:43
3A
3B
<->







4 Water 
(Hindi)
11 0:38




3T
3T



5 Life
(Spanish)
12 0:42



3A
3A




Water Tenors cont.  Hindi short syllables
6 Light
(Arabic)
13 0:42
3B
3B
<-




7 Joy
(German)
14 0:40
T
B
A S




PHASE 3 (Wednesday)
In this Phase, the Bass, Tenor and Alto members of the Angels of Joy are emphasized in each Wave (singing in rhythmic harmony but often in polyphony), while the featured Angel Choir of each Wave sings slower supportive tones.  This special trio reflects the cooperation between MICHAEL, EVE and LUCIFER in Wednesday from LIGHT.
The Phase ends with rising tutti kisses.
Wave Angel
Choir
Trk Dur.
Placement
Aleatory Layers
1 Life
(Spanish)
15 0:24
BTA 3A
3A









2 Heaven
(Kiswahili)
16 0:23
BTA 3A
3B





Angels of Life (Altos) begin Spanish chanting on single pitches
3 Earth
(Chinese)
17 0:23
BTA
3S
3S





4 Light
(Arabic)
18 0:20
3B
3B
ATB
->




Earth Sopranos cont. Chinese fragments w bends
5 Water 
(Hindi)
19 0:24

ATB
->
3T
3T


6 Music
(English)
20 0:39

ATB
<-
3S
3T

Water Tenors sing Hindi chords
7 Joy
(German)
21 0:40
SA
TB


3S
3T




PHASE 4 (Thursday)
In this Phase, the top EVE layer in each Wave generally concentrates on "colored" or consonant noises 
(notably, whistling in Wave 3), while the MICHAEL layer is more melodic.  The additional soloist is a Tenor, since Thursday is MICHAEL's Day.
Waves 3 and 4 end with Bass and Soprano chants (with total pauses by all other vocals).
Wave 5 ends in a dialogue between the 2 layers and a pause in most background layers.
Wave 7 ends in a harmony phrase.
Wave Angel
Choir
Trk Dur.
Placement
Aleatory Layers
1 Music
(English)
22 0:51
T

3S
3T








2 Water 
(Hindi)
23 0:36

T



3T
3T

Angels of Music (Sopranos and Tenors) begin English syllables as chords connected by glissandi

3 Light
(Arabic)
24 1:12

3B
3B






Water Tenors sing Hindi parallel layers of chanting

4 Earth
(Chinese)
25 1:08



3S
3S




5 Heaven
(Kiswahili)
26 1:06



3A
3B




Earth Sopranos sing Chinese slow falling gliss with isolated syllables
6 Life
(Spanish)
27 0:44

3A
3A






7 Joy
(German)
28 1:12





BT AS
Angels of Life (Altos) begin Spanish (held overtone chord)
PHASE 5 (Friday)
In each Wave of this Phase, the MICHAEL layer is in harmony with the EVE layer
but more ornamented (rhythmically subdivided).  Each Wave usually ends in a fully harmonized figure.
Wave 4 features a delayed Kiswahili Bass solo in the second half after a wavering, clicking texture.  As the Friday Phase (Day of Temptation between EVE and LUCIFER), this section features a passionate Bass and Soprano dialogue in Waves 4 through 6.
Wave Angel
Choir
Trk Dur.
Placement
Aleatory Layers
1 Light
(Arabic)
29 0:33


3B
3B


(S) (B)
All Angel Choirs are in various harmony combinations (not aleatory) with a featured Angel Choir's EVE layer, often adding beat accents or syncopation.  















2 Life
(Spanish)
30 0:28
3A
3A




(S) (B)
3 Water 
(Hindi)
31 0:33



3T
3T
(B)

(S)

4 Heaven
(Kiswahili)
32 1:41

(B)
3A
3B

(S)

Bass solo
(at 0:44)


B


(S)

5 Music
(English)
33 1:06

B

3S
3T
S

6 Earth
(Chinese)
34 1:06
3S
3S
(B)
->



S (B)
7 Joy
(German)
35 0:50





SA
TB

PHASE 6 (Saturday)
In this Phase, the EVE and MICHAEL layers begin to harmonize more than ever. 
In Waves 1-6, 1 member of each Angel Choir becomes a "soloist", creating a 3-part harmony.
The rhythms are much slower than before and the aleatory elements are replaced by a growing drone on Eb.  This is the Saturday Phase, which normally should feature LUCIFER as a soloist, but here he is represented by groups of unison Bass vocalists instead.
Wave Angel
Choir
Trk Dur.
Placement
Aleatory Layers
1 Heaven
(Kiswahili)
36 0:36


B
3A
2B






2 Light
(Arabic)
37 0:39

(3B)
B
3B
2B
->




From Wave 2, a growing number of Angels gradually join in a building, breathy Eb drone.















3 Music
(English)
38 0:40

(9B)

S
2S
3T
->


4 Life
(Spanish)
39 0:39
(9B) A
3A
2A
<-

(3T)

5 Earth
(Chinese)
40 0:37

S
3S
2S
->






6 Water 
(Hindi)
41 0:40



T
3T
2T




7 Joy
(German)
42 0:37


BTAS


PHASE 7 (Sunday)
The EVE and MICHAEL layers are in similar rhythms, sometimes more rhythmically subdivided.
The Angels of Joy sing an "announcement" Wave (in German) before each Angel Choir's Wave.
The Phase ends on an almost total harmony, as befits the day of "Mystic Union".
Wave Angel
Choir
Trk Dur.
Placement
Aleatory Layers
1a Joy
(German)
43 0:26


BTAS


(Tutti Choir lining the walls only)
































1b Heaven
(Kiswahili)
44 0:26

3A
3B
->





2a Joy
(German)
45 0:25


BTAS


2b Light
(Arabic)
46 0:25




3B
3B
->


3a Joy
(German)
47 0:25


BTAS


3b Music
(English)
48 0:29





3S
3T
<-

4a Joy
(German)
49 0:30


BTAS


4b Life
(Spanish)
50 0:27
3A
3A






a5 Joy
(German)
51 0:32


BTAS


5b Earth
(Chinese)
52 0:32

3S
3S





6a Joy
(German)
53 0:29


BTAS


6b Water 
(Hindi)
54 0:31



3T
3T




7a Joy
(German)
55 0:35


BTAS


7b Joy
(German)
56 0:34


BTAS



Sunday
from
Light
57 2:10
homophonic tutti
(sometimes briefly polyphonic)


Staging
     Each Angel Choir wears a different colored costume to indicate their specific Day.  During ENGEL-PROZESSIONEN, the Soprano and Tenor from the Angels of Joy impart day-specific hand gestures (sometimes from the balcony) at the beginning of each Wave to the Angel Choirs and Tutti Choir, who imitate them.  When an Angel Choir is singing an aleatory part, it gets a separate Day hand gesture and makes special additional movements (steps, spins, etc...). 

Sound Impressions 
      ENGEL-PROZESSIONEN beautifully continues the theme of "mystical union" begun in LICHTER-WASSER (the 1st Scene of SONNTAG AUS LICHT) as the 2 melodies slowly, teasingly come together over 49 formula-based Wave "moments".  The Angel Choirs effectively portray this gradual blending in 7 different languages which adds a colorful variety to the kinds of blendings.  What begins as a sometimes jarring polyphony in the 1st Wave eventually becomes a beautiful homophony by the end of the Scene.

     The spatial movement is very unique in that the actual sources of the sound (the choirs) can be seen and heard to be moving around the hall, throughout the audience.  In LICHTER-WASSER, the melodies moved around without apparent movement by being passed from instrument to instrument, but in this Scene, they are visibly moving (though much slower).  Like the 4th Bridge of LICHTER-WASSER, a "3rd dimension" is added when the Angels of Joy sometimes sing from the balcony. Additionally each of the 7 Phases has its own "process" through which 7 Waves are navigated.  The 7 Phases essentially make 1 large "procession" from duality to unity.

Links
Sound samples, online CD ordering
Ordering the Scores
Wiki Entry
2011 Musikfabric/Oper Köln SONNTAG Production
Klaus Rudolf Photos
2011 SONNTAG AUS LICHT Production Dance Company Page
SONNTAG AUS LICHT 2011 Review (Deutche Welle) 
Suzanne Stephens' Advent 2002 Report on the Premiere Performance (with photos)
Al Moritz' Impressions from the premiere 
Audio clip of the premiere broadcast on radio (YouTube clip)
Moritz Review 

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