|DONNERSTAG AUS LICHT|
REISE UM DIE ERDE
3rd Act of DONNERSTAG AUS LICHT
THURSDAY FROM LIGHT)
for tenor, soprano, bass vocal soloists, trumpet, basset-horn, trombone, 2 soprano saxophones, elec. organ or synthesizer, choir, orchestra, tape (UNSICHTBARE CHÖRE) 1980 [78']
No. 50 1/2 [50']
No. 50 1/2 extract 1 for trumpet, trombone, elec. organ or synthesizer, 1 percussionist [13']
No. 50 1/2 extract 2 for 2 soprano saxophones or other instruments [4']
No. 50 1/2 extract 3 for tenor, bass, elec. organ or synthesizer (trumpet, trombone, 1 percussionist) [11']
Work No. 189/Opus 50 2/3 extract 3 for tenor, trumpeter, dancer, Hammond organ or synthesizer, tape [28']
(THURSDAY FAREWELL (MICHAEL's FAREWELL) Work No. 50 3/4 for 5 Trumpets [11-30']
MICHAELs HEIMKEHR (MICHAEL's Homecoming) is the 3rd Act of Stockhausen's dramatic music work DONNERSTAG AUS LICHT (Thursday from Light), which was the first-performed 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 act to act and the libretto text is sometimes made up of non-traditional grammar or even purely phonetic sounds.
DONNERSTAG is about MICHAEL's experience as a human being on Earth, and the celebration of his return to the heavens. Act 3 opens with FESTIVAL, where the protagonist MICHAEL returns to the stars (SIRIUS) and is greeted by EVE, who gives him 3 gifts. Unfortunately the antagonist LUCIFER has hidden a "devil" inside one of the gifts, and MICHAEL is engaged in a "dragon fight". In the 2nd scene, VISION, MICHAEL describes LUCIFER's history and explains his own experience and purpose on Earth. The opera DONNERSTAG AUS LICHT concludes in DONNERSTAG's ABSCHIED (Thursday Farewell) with 5 trumpeters playing the MICHAEL melody-formula over the rooftops of the opera house square as the audience departs.
The below table gives broad descriptions of the musical events which occur in this Act (based on the divisions found on Stockhausen Edition CD 30). A more detailed musical analysis (with formulas, text and photos) follows farther down the page.
Scene 1 - FESTIVAL:
MICHAEL is portrayed here in 3 simultaneous incarnations: a tenor vocal soloist, a trumpeter, and a male dancer (mostly inaudible on CD, obviously). EVE is portrayed by a soprano vocal soloist, a bassett-horn player, and a female dancer. LUCIFER later enters as a bass vocal soloist, a trombonist and a shouting "devil-dragon".
A background tape is present throughout the scene, consisting of a multi-tracked acapella choir singing extracts from religious texts as well as tongue clicks (with a brief looping clarinet ensemble section in the middle) with the title UNSICHTBARE CHÖRE (INVISIBLE CHOIRS). This 8 track tape is the same material from MICHAELs JUGEND, except that the channels are reversed. This reversal is echoed by the upside down shadowplay in Scene 2: VISION (this interesting insight from "Stockhausen and the Serial Shaping of Space", Paul Miller 2009). 5 mixed choirs and 5 orchestral groups are spaced equidistantly on the stage.
This scene is primarily characterized by declarative pronouncements from Eve and Michael, with each verbal fragment backed by block chords based on mixtures of choir and orchestra. After the formal Hymn of Greeting, Eve presents three Gifts to Michael. The 1st Gift is characterized by mixed choir forces carrying the exchanges. In the 2nd Gift, the choirs engage in colorful and chaotic aleatory figures, but this section is interrupted by the arrival of the Old Lady. The 3rd Gift contains a "Devil-dragon", whose arrival prompts a trumpet-trombone "dragonfight". Finally, Michael and Lucifer have their first real confrontation in the LICHT saga (verbally at least, and supported by their avatar solo instruments).
When Eve (soprano) sings, she is shadowed by basset-horn and the forces listed below.
When Michael (tenor) sings, he is shadowed by trumpet and the forces listed below.
|1||Hymn Of Greeting||Descending ensemble chords lead to start of choir tape, Eve's greeting.|
|2||Eve with winds.|
|3||Eve with choir, string/bell accents.|
|4||Michael with brass swells.|
|5||Eve with violins.
Michael with muted brass.
|6||Eve with flutes/perc./ Michael with brass.|
|7||Meditation||Michael w perc, ascending tremolo strings
Sustained male choir/string texture.
|8||1st Gift: 3 Plants||Eve with orchestra/perc, supported by taped tongue clicks.|
|9||Michael with low figures (beginning Michael theme).|
|10||Michael (ending Michael theme).|
|12||Female choir supported by flutes, synth, strings.|
|13||Female choir supported by
flutes, synth, strings continued.
Eve loosely shadowed by bassett-horn and trumpet.
|14||Male choir with orchestra.|
|15||Electric organ enters, male choir with orchestra, strings.|
|16||Michael & Eve with choir & orchestra.|
|17||Arc Of LIGHT||Michael & Eve with choir & orchestra leads to low frozen texture.|
|18||2nd Gift: 3 LIGHT Compositions||Choir begins hissing (later also tongue clicks).
Eve with orchestra & organ drone.
|19|| 1st LIGHT Composition
Chaos Out of Colors
|20|| 2nd LIGHT Composition
Suns out of Chaos
|Eve w. aleatory choir, looping clarinet tape begins.|
|21||Michael w muted brass/perc, looping clarinets.|
|22||Michael w tape flashbacks from MISSION.|
|23||Eve shadowed by winds and perc.|
|24|| 3rd LIGHT Composition
Pt 1: Moons
|Eve with subdued aleatory choir and orchestra.|
|25||Pt 2: Moons & Glass Pictures||Eve with choir/orchestral/organ accents and figures.|
|26||Pt 3: The Starry Firmament||Male war hymn tape and aleatory choir/orchestra drones begin.
Eve & Michael dialogue (some TIERKREIS fragments) over an organ drone.
Percussive walking stick sound, toy tank, organ cadence and Old Woman's entreaty.
|27||Isolated choir/orchestra accents (Old Lady departs). Organ cadence.|
|28||Choir/flute accents with metal perc.|
|30||3rd Gift: The Globe||Eve/basset-horn w. pizz accents.
Hushed choir w. tense pizz. accents begin.
Lucifer Dragon enters (counting).
Tap-dancing trombonist and trumpeter begin battling in accents.
|31||The Dragonfight||Tap-dancing trombonist and
trumpeter battle, urged on by choir exhortations/winds.
Dragon falls with falling glissandi.
|32||Trumpet and trombone aggressively play LUCIFER formula, joined by orchestra & choir.|
|33||Boys' Duet||Soprano saxophone duo.|
|34||Michael's accents interrupt the sax duo.|
|35||Argument||Messenger & Lucifer (laughing) approach from a distance.|
|36||Michael & Lucifer dialogue supported by muted trumpet & trombone (organ & tubular bells). Fade out.|
Scene 2, VISION:
MICHAEL (still in his 3 incarnations of tenor, trumpet and dancer-mime) explains LUCIFER's origins. He then explains why he took on a human form and experienced the pain and joy of growing as a human. This vocal and trumpet duet also features 7 VISIONS ("shadowplays") which act as aural "time-windows" into his Earthly existence and subsequent return to the Heavens. He ends THURSDAY FROM LIGHT by proclaiming his love for Mankind.
|1||(Michael soliloquy beginning)||Michael tenor & trumpet,
supported by organ drones.
No Invisible Choir/brass drone tape is employed for this Scene.
|7 Shadowplays||Taped excerpts from previous scenes surface.|
|5||1. CHILDHOOD||KINDHEIT opening excerpt.|
|6||2. MOON-EVE||MONDEVA middle excerpt (brief).|
|7||3. EXAMINATION||Excerpt from end of EXAMEN.|
|8||4. MICHAELs JOURNEY||A few measures from each the 7 Stations of the Earth.|
|9||5. CRUCIFIXION||CRUCIFIXION excerpt (clarinet duo, trombones).|
|10||6. ASCENSION||Trumpet and bassett-horn trilling excerpt from end of ASCENSION.|
|11||7. HOMECOMING||Ending sequence of FESTIVAL's 1st Gift, Arc of Light, lead up to DRAGONFIGHT.|
|12||(Michael soliloquy conclusion)||Subdued/reflective Michael tenor & trumpet, supported by organ drones. Fade out.|
Structurally, FESTIVAL is based on 33 chords which are drawn from a single statement of the LICHT superformula (especially the MICHAEL formula). This statement ends just before the ARGUMENT scene. By comparing the shape of the MICHAEL formula with the shape of FESTIVAL, matching scenes can be somewhat identified (for example, the colored pause in the 3rd measure of the MICHAEL formula appears to be expressed as the "Meditation" at section/chord 7, and measure 7's "colored noise" is probably the "Arc of Light" in section 17).
Detailed Synopsis with Formulas, Text and Images
The detailed analysis/descriptions below are based on the original score, and so not all elements may be present on the actual CD recording.
(Section # in parentheses if different from CD track #)
|Stage action||Soloists' text (abridged)||Choir/Orchestra/Tape||CD Time|
|HYMN OF GREETING|
|1||EVE's 3 incarnations greets MICHAEL's 3 incarnations||
EVE & Choir: MI-KA-EL...
|EVE bassett-horn and orchestra
play 11 descending chords. Winds and
strings maintain Eb & C drone.
INVISIBLE CHOIRS begin singing polyphonic religious texts
|2||EVE: Welcome, Son of love.
||Throughout the scene, EVE's
dancer and bassett-horn incarnations shadow the EVE soprano vocal.
Here, winds follow EVE as well.
of God, Guardian spirit of Man's LIGHT…
(MICHAEL nuclear formula)
|5 choir groups (w different
orchestra groups) alternate following EVE's vocal (MICHAEL nuclear
formula), ending with group tutti phrase.
Tremolo strings throughout.
|4||MICHAEL: Thank you, friends of
||Throughout the scene, MICHAEL's
dancer and trumpet incarnations follow
MICHAEL's tenor vocal.
Here, the trumpet is bolstered by additional brass.
|5||EVE: SIRIUS composed this hymn
for you. Don't you like it?
|Violins follow EVE, trumpets
shadow MICHAEL. Brass/winds
Descending tremolo strings.
|6||EVE: Holy be your work,
MICHAEL: Thursday - Feastday of MICHAEL's incarnation....Returned!
|Flutes and perc. follow
Muted tremolo strings enter.
|Let us make our Light one, to renew the Days of the Earth.
|Ascending tremolo strings.
Choir: subdued humming
Orchestra holds frozen chord
|8||EVE gestures towards 3 plants (above)
||EVE: Gifts for your return,
Love in the plant world.
Magnetic Nature grows up to Light, brings forth wisdom.
|INVISIBLE CHOIRS: tongue
Various orchestra groups enter and depart with each text line.
|9||MICHAEL dancer traces the
branches of the 1st plant in a 3-pointed line
MICHAEL dancer traces the branches of the 2nd plant in a 2-pointed line
|MICHAEL: Descending - then
curving upwards again - form from Light.
Rising and persistent - form from Light. Melo…
|Pitches 1-3 of the MICHAEL
nuclear formula, supported by brass and pizz. strings.
Pitches 4 & 5 of the MICHAEL nuclear formula
|10||MICHAEL dancer traces the branches of the 3rd plant in a 4-pointed line||Sloping, drooping form - out of bright
||Pitches 6-9 of the MICHAEL
|11||MICHAEL dancer conducts the choir FEMALES in the same line as with the 1st plant||FEMALE CHOIR: A descending -
then curving upwards again - form from Light.
Supported by strings.
|12||MICHAEL dancer conducts the choir FEMALES in the same line as with the 2nd plant||Rising and persistent form out of light -
Supported by flutes, synth, strings
|13||MICHAEL dancer conducts the
choir FEMALES in the same line as with the 3rd plant
EVE & MICHAEL dancers gesture towards the 1st plant
EVE & MICHAEL dancers gesture towards the 2nd plant
EVE & MICHAEL dancers gesture towards the 3rd plant
EVE: Love, sinking into the kingdom of plants, then stretching upwards to the light.
Magnetic Nature grows up to the light.
Light sinks into the shoots of the plants, brings wisdom forth.
|Sloping, drooping form - out of bright
Supported by winds and strings.
EVE shadowed by bassett-horn and trumpet
|14||MICHAEL dancer conducts the
choir MALES in the same line as with the 1st plant
MICHAEL dancer conducts the choir MALES in the same line as with the 2nd plant
|MALE CHOIR: A descending - then
curving upwards again - form from Light.
Rising and persistent form out of light: Melo…
|15||MICHAEL dancer conducts the
choir MALES in the same line as with the 3rd plant
EVE and MICHAEL dancers stand facing the 3 plants
|Electric organ enters, then strings.
Sloping, drooping form - out of bright intelligence.
|16||EVE, MICHAEL, Choir: Beauty as splendid as the Light - as brilliant as the rays of the Sun.||
Supported by full ensemble.
A wonderful ARC OF LIGHT appears in the sky.
|EVE, MICHAEL, Choir: Of the Light - of the brilliance of the rays of the Sun.
Choir: low humming, orchestra holds chord
GIFT - 3 LIGHT COMPOSITIONS
|18||EVE: 3 compositions of LIGHT for
MICHAEL's homecoming created by "Mary Bauermeister"...
CHAOS OUT OF COLORS
|CHOIRS: "SSS…" (rhythm
of MICHAEL formula)
- irregular clicks interrupting
Ensemble follows EVE.
Organ drone in background.
|19||1st LIGHT Composition:
Chaos Out of Colors
1st of 3 action-paintings of dripping colors (or video projection) is created on a rotating disc.
|CHOIR (aleatoric, freely):
Ensemble generally droney with some low pizz. glissandi strings
|20||2nd LIGHT Composition:
Suns out of Chaos
Suns emerge in the chaos of colors.
|SUNS OUT OF CHAOS||CHOIR (aleatoric, freely):
"Healing... like dew..."
Tape: 2 looping clarinets (from MONDEVA)
|21||MICHAEL: The pains and afflictions will vanish from Mankind.||Looping clarinets, MICHAEL shadowed by brass and low perc.||1:04|
|22||MOON-Eve, You Star-Woman…||Trumpet & basset-horn duo from MICHAEL's REISE (MISSION) briefly
Strings irregular, staccato, harmonics
|23||EVE: The 3rd Composition of light…||EVE shadowed by winds and perc.||0:22|
|24||3rd LIGHT Composition: Pt 1:
||MOONS - Children of the planets
MOONS - mirror of the Sons
|CHOIRS freely and individually
sing the word "MOONS" in multiple languages
Orchestra plays individual notes of varying lengths, rests and glissandi
|25||3rd LIGHT Composition: Pt 2:
MOONS & GLASS PICTURES
MOON-children - MOONS of glass, glass-lenses, glass Sons, MOONS…
|Choir accents on EVE's
Brass and synth/organ accents, strings ascending/descending tremoli
|26||3rd LIGHT Composition: Pt 3: THE
Zodiac constellations light up in the sky on each count of the INVISIBLE CHOIRS
An old woman with a cane makes her way to the stage.
EVE dancer launches a wind-up toy tank at her.
|EVE and MICHAEL (alternating text fragments with melodies from TIERKREIS):
AQUARIUS the water-carrier…
PISCES - two fishes in movement…
ARIES - ari...
TAURUS - bull - middle of spring, feminine…
GEMINI - the airy twins, mobile like Mercury
CANCER - water, Moon
LEO the lion, fiery solar spirit...
VIRGO - the virgin, clarity from Mercury
LIBRA - the scales, Venus, air, winds...
SCORPIO - water in the storm...Mars, Pluto
- the archer arrow SAGITTARIUS - fiery like Jupiter's knight on horseback
CAPRICORN - the goat with Saturn, Earth, man of Earth, man...
AQUARIUS - winter spirit...
OLD WOMAN: Come back home all of you!
|INVISIBLE CHOIRS (males): Sings
German song "Once I had a comrade…" (counts from 1 to 13)
(Slowly counts from 1 to 13)
Orchestra holds quiet drone with aleatory trumpet syllables
CHOIR: (aleatoric individual syllables of zodiac names), voiceless percussive syllables
Only electric organ drones with vibrato
|27||The old woman leaves.
||CHOIR (rotating groups and
tutti): There...is...no...more..."home"…even angels are forever on
Orchestra accents on each syllable with muted string drone and synth/organ background
|28||CHOIR (faster, higher):
There...is...no...more..."home"…even angels are forever on the
INVISIBLE CHOIRS: The heavens shall rejoice…
A large terrestrial globe rolls onto the stage..
|CHOIR (tones held with dynamic
envelopes): There...is...no...more..."home"…even angels are forever
on the move.
INVISIBLE CHOIRS: and the Earth exult…
Strings alternate tremolo arco and pizz.
GIFT: THE GLOBE
|When the MICHAEL dancer opens the globe a little black devil (LUCIFER
dancer from KINDHEIT) jumps out and wriggles on the floor.
The devil gives MICHAEL a small blue globe, who then passes it off to the choir members.
The devil is offended by this and attacks the MICHAEL dancer, but the MICHAEL trumpet defends him.
A trombonist dressed as a toreador enters and engages the trumpet. The devil hops around and transforms into a Dragon.
The Dragon prepares to attack the MICHAEL dancer.
|EVE: As a 3rd gift for your
return, this terrestrial globe as a memento of your journey around the
DEVIL: (counts numbers from LUCIFER formula)
|Bassett-horn follows EVE and orchestra adds punctuations.
Pizzicato string rhythms...
Choir & strings: drone with slight vibrato
CHOIR: The Devil in the core of the Earth…(humming with accents)
Choir and strings trill.
Tap-dancing trombonist and trumpeter begin battling.
|The MICHAEL trumpet and dancer
fight the LUCIFER Dragon and trombone.
MICHAEL stabs at the Dragon 14 times (trumpet gliss up or accents on notes of the MICHAEL nuclear tones). On stabs 11-14 the trombone glisses down.
MICHAEL takes the orchestra conductor's baton and stabs the Dragon a 15th time in the heart with it (where it sticks). But the Dragon still tries to get up several times.
|Frenzied duo of trumpet and
tap-dancing trombone (reminiscent of trumpet/tuba fight in MICHAEL's REISE,
STATION 6). The trumpet matches the
MICHAEL dancer's lunges.
CHOIR: (screams, whispers and shouts of excitement and encouragement).
Winds and el. organ drone (becoming trills).
The trombonist and choir play/sing glissandi as the Dragon struggles to rise after being stabbed.
|MICHAEL dances in triumph as the
Dragon still struggles to rise.
EVE tries to pacify the fighters and makes 3 Magic Gestures (with glissandi).
|EVE: MICHAEL, LUCIFER - it's too
frightening! Satan's Dragon is struck!
||Trumpet and Trombone
aggressively play LUCIFER formula (with all "colored" tones
CHOIR: And he shall open the gates of Paradise.
(KNABENDUETT): 2 Soprano saxophonists stand up and entrance everyone with their light-hearted playing. Everyone else "freezes" as if under a spell.
|Soprano saxophone duo
Everyone holds long tones.
MICHAEL leads EVE and the Choir: Children of clouds rejoice! The wild animals allow themselves to be led by children - angels play - and then rejoices EVE & MICHAEL
|Soprano saxophone duo continues.||0:59|
|A tenor messenger arrives and
warns of LUCIFER's trouble-making.
At the same time LUCIFER enters the auditorium and ascends to a balcony in the audience.
The trombone and Dragon slink to the side of the stage.
|MESSENGER: MICHAEL! LUCIFER
again creates problems!
LUCIFER: MICHAEL fool! Human fool! Returned…to make fun of your brother! (laughs)
|MICHAEL dismisses the EVE
characters and the choir.
EVE and choirs depart singing: LUCIFER again creates problems.
MICHAEL: Scoffer! You have seduced all of Satania with your false freedom.
LUCIFER: And you let them worship you as my successor, in the name of a Father of the Universe - who doesn't exist.
MICHAEL: You have corrupted your wisdom through your intelligence! You reigned over the holy mountain of God, 607 inhabited worlds, and you GAMBLED IT ALL AWAY! You have been a terror for 200,000 years, but no longer! (MICHAEL makes the Cross of St Andrew in front of his chest).
LUCIFER: How often do you want to reenact MICHAEL's YOUTH, your JOURNEYS AROUND THE EARTH, how many more FESTIVALS before his crippled children are redeemed?
MICHAEL (MICHAEL formula): Stop! Can't you let us just once celebrate a feast in peace?!
LUCIFER: This experiment with Man sickens me! Disgusting reincarnation machine to Heaven! Too much time has been wasted - the entire plan of the sons of Paradise of an ascent through death is totally perverse! You are a naive fool... fool... fool... fool...
|INVISIBLE CHOIRS: Sopranos and
Altos sing repeating polyrhythmic patterns.
EVE and choirs depart while singing: LUCIFER again creates problems.
All musicians depart except organ and tubular bells.
Trumpet supports MICHAEL's dialogue, trombone accents LUCIFER'S text.
|London, 1985 (© www.karlheinzstockhausen.org)|
|1||MICHAEL as tenor vocalist,
trumpeter and dancer are on the stage.
The dancer's left arm and hands reflect the tenor part, as the
dancer's right hand and arm reflect the trumpet part.
LUCIFER, the most noble among the angels rebelled when Man was created. He assumed the guise of the serpent and took part in the creation.
|The MICHAEL singer sings the
MICHAEL formula stretched over the duration of VISION.
The MICHAEL trumpet plays the LUCIFER formula staccato, but slowly transforms into the MICHAEL formula over 15 cycles (based on the 15 notes in the MICHAEL nuclear tones).
Electric organ plays drone figures throughout.
|2||For a universal era, Gabriel has bound the
Dragon LUCIFER in chains..and banished him into the Earth's core.
Since that time the sons of Light fight against the sons of Darkness.
|Trumpet shadows MICHAEL tenor.
Quiet percussive trumpet notes.
(these whispered/toneless sequences are the expanded "colored silences" from the MICHAEL formula)
I - spirit of the spirit MICHAEL - have become Man. I wished to know what it means to be a Man...I have known his suffering, his pettiness, his absurdity - his innocence, his joy, his happiness.
Quiet percussive trumpet notes.
|4||(whispered, sung, and
You have heard and seen me…
the voice as Tenor -
the instrument as Trumpeter -
the body as Dancer.
I have experienced the…
(Trumpet shadows MICHAEL tenor, etc...)
Scenes from THURSDAY FROM LIGHT are projected on a screen (upside down) as shadows. These are 7 VISIONS of 7 moments from MICHAEL's life. MICHAEL as tenor and trumpet provide commentary, as synth swells dynamically.
|5||Shadowplay 1 CHILDHOOD
Beginning excerpt from KINDHEIT is seen & heard as shadows. The word "MELODIES" lights up, with letter M highlighted.
|...MELODY of CHILDHOOD with
MOTHER & FATHER.
|6||Shadowplay 2 MOON-EVE
Excerpt from MONDEVA is seen and heard as shadows.
The word "INTENSITY" lights up, with letter I highlighted.
|…INTENSITY of love through
||("MOON-EVE from the 12th star…")||0:36|
|7||Shadowplay 3 EXAMINATION
End of EXAMEN is seen and heard as shadows. The word "CHROMATICISM" lights up, with letter C highlighted.
|…CHROMATICISM of the soul
|8||Shadowplay 4 MICHAELs JOURNEY
1-6 measures from beginnings of each the 7 stations are seen and heard as shadows. The word "HARMONY" lights up, with letter H highlighted.
|…HARMONY of the languages on my
JOURNEY AROUND THE EARTH.
|9||Shadowplay 5 CRUCIFIXION
Excerpt from CRUCIFIXION with 2 clarinets and 2 trombones is seen and heard as shadows. The word "AUDIOGRAMMAR" lights up, with letter A highlighted.
|…AUDIOGRAMMAR of the emotions
in the CRUCIFIXION.
|10||Shadowplay 6 ASCENSION
Trumpet and bassett-horn trilling excerpt from end of ASCENSION is seen and heard as shadows. The word "ECSTASY" lights up, with letter E highlighted.
|…ECSTASY of polyphony in the
|11||Shadowplay 7 HOMECOMING
The ending sequence of FESTIVAL's 1st Gift is seen and heard with shadows of the 3 plants. The word "LIGHT" lights up, with letter L highlighted. The highlighted letters of each of the 7 lighted words form the word MICHAEL.
The lead up to DRAGONFIGHT is replayed as shadows.
The wonderful arc of Light from FESTIVAL returns. 3 smaller concentric circles slowly appear 1 by 1 in the center of the arc.
The words and lights disappear except for the 3 concentric circles.
|…the LIGHT of the
...at my HOMECOMING.
|("Beauty as splendid as the Light - as brilliant as the rays of the
|12||MICHAEL as tenor vocalist, trumpeter and dancer approach the front edge of the stage.||(clear whisper)
LUCIFER, the Prince of Light, never wished that an angel should lower himself…to be incarnated in a dark human body. LUCIFER despises the world of men - that is why LUCIFER creates problems.
|(Trumpet shadows tenor.)||1:21|
|13||(tonelessly, then again softly)
And yet I became a man for one day, to live in ignorance...only suspecting...
As a child from a human mother's womb, to grow, to learn, to strive...to invent games with sounds which move the souls of angels - that is the meaning of THURSDAY from LIGHT.
|14||(tonelessly, then again
I became Man...to bring celestial music to humans, and human music to celestial beings, so that Man may listen to God, and God may hear his children.
|15||The MICHAEL characters step
The MICHAEL dancer beckons to the audience in invitation, after which all 3 MICHAEL incarnations bow and signal the end of THURSDAY FROM LIGHT.
|And I know that many of you will laugh at
me when I sing to you...
I have fallen eternally in love with Mankind,
with this Earth and her children -
in spite of LUCIFER,
in spite of Satan,
in spite of everything…
|Trumpet plays completed MICHAEL
Synthesizer drone fades out.
Faint sounds of THURSDAY FAREWELL can be heard coming from outside the hall.
(Thursday Farewell (MICHAEL's Farewell) Work No. 190/Opus 50 3/4 for 5 Trumpets [11-30']
At the end of DONNERSTAG AUS LICHT, as the audience departs, 5 trumpeters play from the rooftops surrounding the opera house entrance. Each trumpeter independently and freely (aleatorically) plays a chosen segment (fragment) from the MICHAEL nuclear formula (which has 5 segments), slowly with free pauses in between. They stop in the order of the segments in the original formula.
DONNERSTAGS-ABSCHIED at Lincoln Center New York 2013 (brief excerpt)
(Dragon Fight) Work No. 186/Opus 50 1/2 extract 1 for trumpet, trombone, elec. organ or synthesizer, 1 percussionist (saxophone duo optional) [13']
This is an extracted quartet version of DRACHENKAMPF which can be performed as a self-contained concert piece. Originally coming at the climax of FESTIVAL, here it begins with the "There is no more home..." choral moment (CD track/Section 27), immediately after the Old Woman leaves, and ends with "Children of clouds rejoice!" (CD track 34/Section 33), just before the tenor messenger arrives to signal Lucifer's arrival and the beginning of ARGUMENT. In this version, the organ/synth player takes on the orchestra, choir (using his voice) and saxophone parts (if no saxophone is present). The trumpet part combines the original trumpet, soprano and tenor soloists, and soprano choir parts. A Japanese rin, gong and sound plate are used for percussion. In the beginning, the organist wears a mask of Death. When the trumpeter and trombonist arrive for their duel, the organist screams encouragement. After the LUCIFER trombonist collapses, the organist pulls off his Death mask to reveal an angelic face. After a 2-part organ solo he laughs sarcastically and pulls off the "angelic" mask, revealing a normal face underneath.
(BOYS' DUET) No. 50 1/2 extract 2 for 2 soprano saxophones or other instruments [4']
This saxophone duo is an isolated chamber piece originally coming after the Dragonfight in FESTIVAL. Basically, this duet uses melodic elements from the MICHAEL formula and creates a series of parallel and contrapuntal variations. The work has the following structure (CD timings from Stockhausen Complete Edition CD 78):
|0:02||1.1||3 sets of variations, each beginning with brief, unison fast figures in contrasting pitch directions, followed by contrapuntal dialogue|
|2:54||2.1||5 variations, more heterophonic than polyphonic, each time ending in trills|
Below: Soprano Saxophones: Antonio Felipe & Tomás Jerez, Musikene. October 2012
MICHAELs HEIMKEHR, like Act 1 (MICHAELs JUGEND) of DONNERSTAG AUS LICHT has a fair amount of text, and is a bit tough to really appreciate on initial plays (especially without understanding German). However, after some deliberate listenings, the many layers come into focus. The INVISIBLE CHOIRS play a larger, more audible role, and arguably contribute more to the drama than in Act 1. The sheer density of an 8-track choral tape with 5 live choral groups and 5 orchestral groups make it difficult to fully absorb this Act on a recording, so a live performance is the best way to experience it My favorite parts are the first greeting sequence (which has a great epic feel to it) and the Dragon Fight, with its tap-dancing, trombone-playing, toreador-defended Dragon. In photos of the two productions of MICHAEL's Homecoming, the 3 Light Compositions seem to be video-projections. I would be very curious to see a version with the alternate "action-painting" staging.
To fully enjoy LICHT it's helpful to learn the MICHAEL, EVE and LUCIFER formulas (and their simplified nuclear formulas). These melody-themes are the real characters of LICHT. The MICHAEL and EVE formulas are pretty clearly laid out in MICHAELs REISE (MICHAEL'S JOURNEY ROUND THE EARTH), and LUCIFER's formula is presented strongly in track 32 (Section 31) of FESTIVAL.
Some of the exposition in ARGUMENT and VISION may seem to be a bit excessive, but as set-up for the rest of LICHT's 29-hour length it's necessary, and this amount of text rarely occurs again. In the end, DONNERSTAG AUS LICHT is an extraordinary multi-disciplinary accomplishment and sets the stage for more excitement in the next installment of LICHT: SAMSTAG AUS LICHT, LUCIFER's Day of Death.
Sound samples, tracks listings and CD ordering:
Scores for DONNERSTAG AUS LICHT
English Libretto (PDF)
DONNERSTAG AUS LICHT Wiki
Sonoloco Review of DONNERSTAG AUS LICHT
Albrecht Moritz on DONNERSTAG AUS LICHT
UNSICHTBARE CHÖRE Wiki
DONNERSTAGS-ABSCHIED on Youtube
The Saxophone Works of Karlheinz Stockhausen (Bunt analysis of KNABENDUETT, PDF thesis)