Stockhausen recording GOLDSTAUB, Kürten, 1973.
(color-enhanced image from CD booklet)
No. 26: AUS DEN SIEBEN TAGEN (From the Seven Days) (1968)
15 "intuitive music" text compositions
for electroacoustic ensemble (unless otherwise specified)

Also: MUSIK FÜR EIN HAUS ("Music for a House")

     During a period of personal domestic upheaval, Stockhausen found himself alone and depressed, but was still inspired (triggered in part by Satprem's book, "Sri Aurobindo, or the Adventure of Consciousness") to create 15 compositions which consisted mainly of verbal instructions or spoken text.  No notes or rhythms are given, and the performers are expected to channel music from a higher sphere (possibly the "supra-consciousness") based on the text instructions.  This kind of "free composition" was a kind of natural next step from his previous works.  The use of aleatoric or freely-distributed rhythm and structure was something Stockhausen had used as far back as in ZYKLUS and MIXTUR, and the idea of using words as descriptive imagery was used in MIKROPHONIE I.  During the evolution of his 1960's electroacoustic touring group (with Aloys Kontarsky, Harald Bojé, Johannes Fritsch, Alfred Alings and Rolf Gehlhaar), Stockhausen had also been increasingly using "plus-minus" notation to govern live interaction between performers (PROZESSION, KURZWELLEN). 

     The "intuitive music" concept removed the aleatory, external contributions of shortwave radio signals and exchanged them for poetically-tinged, self-directed, self-generated impulses.  Most of the text instructions begin with some simple instructions ("play a vibration...") and then are refined with nature-based images for use in interaction with the other performers.  Many times they end with a kind of meditative or poetic image ("sound turns to gold"), which Stockhausen actually intends to be taken literally (for example, through intense concentration and squinting of the eyes, certain colors can be generated in the mind's eye). Despite some of the abstract or poetic imagery, Stockhausen is clear to state (from the Darmstadt New Music Summer Courses in 1968), "I do not want a spiritualist seance - I want MUSIC!", and also: "...not indeterminacy, but intuitive determinacy!" (as reported in “Musik für ein Haus”, Fred Ritzel).

     From a purely compositional standpoint, the text instructions have certain connections with the previous "plus-minus" works, in that they often ask for cooperative imitation or gradual transformation of one sound structure into another.  However, since there is no notated score, the actual time of occurence and frequency of these actions/interactions is left up to the performers, which makes the performances more organic in some ways.  On the other hand, the sudden cooperative (synchronous) moments which occur in the scored pieces are here left up to how well "tuned" the performers are with each other.  For this reason I would assume that these works would require a long period of performers "getting to know each other" through playing the previous "plus-minus" works, but oddly enough, for the premiere recordings, Stockhausen chooses to mix members of 2 previously established groups, one of which (the "Paris group") had never previously recorded the "plus-minus" works.  It's possible that this was for practical reasons, since reportedly (in Michael Kurtz' Stockhausen biography) the regular Stockhausen Group members were at first skeptical of these text-based pieces (though apparently Stockhausen's pedagogical skill was eventually able to "convert them into believers").  Also, the introduction of these "outsiders" simply helps differentiate these recordings from PROZESSION, KURTZWELLEN, etc...

Versus Free Improvisation
     One of the main tenets of "intuitive music" is to avoid all recognizably idiomatic music - that is, music derived from pre-existing styles, even global folk music idioms (with the possible exception of ANKUNFT, which has "play...even written music of any sort" as part of its text score).  Intuitive music (assuming it is entirely based on Stockhausen's 2 sets of intuitive texts) also generally avoids obvious melodies and instead concentrates on "vibrations", which on the 1969 recordings seem to result in dynamically rising/falling drone textures, periodic rhythms, and evenly-distributed statistical forms ("points").  Melodies are not prohibited, but it's very rare that an ensemble motif has more than 2 or 3 notes.   

     Some of these performances have commonalities with "free improvisation", a genre/style which developed more or less from the free jazz scene of the 1960's.  Free improvisation however, typically has no instructions or text at all, and does not specifically prohibit exploration of pre-existing musical styles (though it generally does its best to avoid sounding like anything "traditional").  Melodic material and "solos" are far more prevalent in free improvisation than in Stockhausen's intuitive music recordings.  The main thing that intuitive music and free improvisation do have in common is real-time cooperative composition using non-traditional musical textures.  Also on a larger structural level, performances tend to have structural patterns such as beginning softly, building to 1 or more climaxes, and then concluding with a coda-like quiet section, etc... 

Cologne Group, Paris Group, Kürten Group
(from CD booklet)
     As with the other works recorded by the 1960's Stockhausen ensemble, the unique choice of instrumentation greatly influenced the outcome of these compositions (which is true of course, for most pieces of music, but here it's an especially important element).  The Stockhausen Complete Edition CD box includes 15 performances of 12 of the 15 text pieces.  The first 14 were recorded in Darmstadt during the last 5 days of August 1969 by a pool of players made up of the Cologne-based "classic" Stockhausen Group combined with Vinko Globokar's "Free Music Group", a Paris-based, somewhat jazz-inflected, improv group including Michel Portal, Jean-François Jenny-Clark, Jean-Pierre Drouet, and Carlos R. Alsina.  A good introduction to the classic Stockhausen Group can be found on the PROZESSION page, which includes pictures of the electronium and the amplified tam-tam (amplified giant metal disc).

     Aside from the compositions themselves, this pooling of musicians from classical and jazz (and Indian percussion) backgrounds makes for an interesting combination, with Stockhausen himself making very important aural (and physical) contributions as a kind of absurd, mischievous instigator. 

Aloys Kontarsky (piano), Johannes Fritsch (viola), Alfred Alings, Rolf Gehlhaar (behind tam-tam), Vinko Globokar (trombone), Stockhausen (mixing desk) from a 1969 performance in the Darmstadt school gymnasium
(from CD booklet)
     It's fairly obvious that here the personalities of the players themselves contribute more to the substance of this work than, say, in a typically-notated instrumental work.  It might be worth quoting some of Stockhausen's own remarks on each of the original Kürten players (from a 1969 sketchbook, and transcribed by Richard Toop in "Stockhausen's Secret Theatre - Unfinished Projects..."):

Rolf Gehlhaar : "broadest spaces, surfaces, sustained bases, long durations"
Alfred Alings : "best translator"
Johannes Fritsch : "best transformer and dreamer"
Harald Boje : "best dynamic force, irritant, stirrer"
Aloys Kontarsky : "motor, battery, energy outlet, and "brain" (coordination, construction, technique)"

     On a group level, he notes:
     "Ever more apparent: each sound takes the others in another direction, diverts, converts.  
One danger: too often, doing something that engages one or more of the others, and distracts them from what they are doing.  Too Much is the temptation: we must learn to listen more to one another; if one person is doing something beautiful, or on the way to finding it, don't disturb him, but keep quiet, or join in so imperceptibly that the other person doesn't notice, or else feels supported, animated."

     The sound mixer (and spatial projectionist) acts as...
     "...a listener who amplifies hidden vibrations. He must be more than a music-maker, a connoisseur.  He must be a seismograph registering those vibrations which, once they have set a soul vibrating, give it courage, and move it to fly to heaven." 

     Below, Rolf Gehlhaar shares his own impressions on the chemistry of this "classic" group:
     Important also were the personalities of the players; here too there was a good balance.
     Aloys Kontarsky (Piano) - ebullient, confident, authoritative, forceful, and humorous - possessed the almost unbelievable skill to sum up even the most complex timbre in a 4-7 note chord. He always seemed in control of his own situation, constructing and deconstructing along intelligible lines with clear independent goals, and yet almost always willing to participate in a 'joint venture'. His playing was as elegant as his speech and often as jocular as one of his favourite expressions, "Gesund muss es sein und flott muss es gehen! (It's got to be wholesome and take off.)"
     Harald Bojé (Electronium), on the other hand, - reserved, quiet, quick-witted, flexible, chimerical, sinuous, and quietly enthusiastic - was a steadfast individualist who did not easily submit to synchronous ensemble antics. Although he often precipitated intense implosions, he usually bailed out just before things got too hot, ending up grumbling somewhere in the depths or screeching balefully in the stratosphere. He represented the entropic force that every ensemble needs.
     Alfred Alings (Tam-tam) - solid, persistent, reliable, unsophisticated, patient, supportive - generally set the moderate, but often majestic pace which made room for everyone else. Establishing simple and predictable broad guidelines were his strengths.
     Johannes Fritsch (Viola), truly a virtuoso on the amplified viola - humorous, versatile, adaptable, resourceful, even-tempered, and seemingly indifferent - had a vast range of timbres which allowed him to blend easily with the more 'abstract' sounds of the tam-tam and the Elektronium. On the other hand, he would often employ straight, classical string playing in order to absorb the piano sounds and take them to meet their more distant cousins.
     And then, of course, there was myself (Tam-tam) - stubborn, insistent, experimental, renegade, purposeful, ambitious, - tending to search out unoccupied temporal and timbral domains, to pull others in my direction, to structure time independent of duration, representing the anti-entropic force that every ensemble also needs.
 from Leap of Faith: Personal Biography of PROZESSION

      The last piece on the CD set, GOLDSTAUB, was performed and recorded 3 years later at Stockhausen's home in Kürten by Stockhausen and a third group of collaborators (Péter Eötvös, Herbert Henck, and Michael Vetter). All of these players would in the future go on to record (or conduct) many other important Stockhausen works as well.
The inside of a cuckoo clock.  It's possible that in the pieces where Stockhausen is credited as playing "cuckoo flute" that he made sounds using something like this.  Sometimes a kalimba-like texture is heard, so perhaps the upper "panes" were used to make those textures?
     In the texts below while "transcribing" the sonic elements and interactions of each recording, I did not consciously review that piece's intuitive text score or Stockhausen's booklet notes before making the transcription. I thought it might be interesting as an experiment to see if what I perceived came close to the score instructions. In general it seems that it worked out well, and I didn't make any modifications to the verbal transcriptions even after reviewing the intuitive text. In the personnel sections, the Paris Group are in RED, and the Cologne Group (including Stockhausen) are in BLUE. SW means "Shortwave" (radio).

("Right Durations")
(20:19) Composed 68.05.07 / Recorded 69.08.26 (Recorded 1st)
     As the intuitive text score (below left) indicates, this piece frees the performer to play sounds at any time for as long as they want, as long as it feels RIGHT (particularly in relation to sounds occurring before, after and concurrently).

Sound Impressions: 
     This first recording features only the free jazz French players joining Stockhausen.  It sounds pretty much exactly as one would expect of free jazz musicians exploring contemporary classical techniques, with the trombone, bass and percussion being the dominant instruments. The organ chord at 13:35 is refreshing.  Stockhausen contributes bamboo flute and also adds the beginnings of what would later become large sections of spoken word...
play a sound
play it for so long
until you feel
that you should stop

again play a sound
play it for so long
until you feel
that you should stop

and so on

when you feel
that you should stop

but whether you play or stop
keep listening to the others

At best play
when people are listening

do not rehearse
 Vinko Globokar  Trombone
 Jean-François Jenny-Clark  Double-Bass
 Jean-Pierre Drouet  Percussion
 Carlos R. Alsina  Piano & Hammond Organ
 Michel Portal  Tenor Saxophone & Clarinet
 Karlheinz Stockhausen  Voice, Bamboo Flute
  • 0:08 - trembling percussion (rattles, metals, tom), some trombone swells/accents and string bowing - increasingly energetic, brief isolated Stockhausen verbal phrases
  • 5:32 - staccato/percussive dbl bass and trombone dialogue with increasing percussion
  • 7:17 - quiet, calm section, intermittent isolated piano, perc accents, high string bows
  • 8:35 - trombone growl drone with low rhythmic bass/perc accents, scraping
  • 11:05 - low organ drone, trombone tremoli, rhythmic wood hits, irregular metal percussion.  bamboo flute enters and dialogues w tbn.  Organ swells and then hits dissonant chord cluster (13:35)
  • 13:58 - raspy toneless brass, rhythmic pulses on organ, irregular metal perc and bass bowing - organ pulses stop and low bass bowing surfaces (~15:00)
  • 15:45 - bamboo flute signals a quiet section, dominated by trombone inner-lip "kissing" and tongue slap noises, irregular low pulses, interrupted by isolated sharp tom attacks. 
  • 18:25 - ends with high bowing, breathing noises, flutter-tongue trombone.  A metal strike signals an ending coda with metallic rubbing, pointillistic quiet tones (traffic noise)

(47:15) 68.05.08 / 69.08.28 
(Recorded 6th)
     This work was first performed outdoors in France concurrently with 3 versions of SPIRAL begun at different points of its duration.  UNBEGRUNTZ started at 6:30pm and "officially" ended at 10pm with the musicians wandering off into the forest.  However, the audience searched for the musicians in the forest for another 4 hours, and finally as the audience departed, Stockhausen instigated another 20 minutes of car horns improvising with each other as they drove off down the highway (from interview w Jonathan Cott).   
     This performance features Stockhausen reading from “On Yoga I” by Sri Aurobindo. Stockhausen randomly chose a passage, which ended up being Chapter XVII, “The Action of the Divine Shakti”, which he'd never read before.

Sound Impressions: 
     The first thing (and last thing for that matter) which strikes the listener is Stockhausen's recitation of the Aurobindo text.  This is the first instance (of many to come in this cycle) where Stockhausen does some kind of bizarre performance art, which I assume may be designed to embolden or inspire the other performers.  In any case, his dialogue with the SW radio announcer is pretty amusing, as well as his fast, breathless reading.  This piece also contains one of the 2 or 3 free jazz rave ups in the cycle.  Near the end a very cool and unexpected high pitched viola timbre is panned around the stereo space (somewhat similar to TELEMUSIK, which makes me suspect ring modulation might have been used). 
play a sound

with the certainty

that you have an infinite amount of time and space

Vinko Globokar  Trombone
Michel Portal Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
Jean-François Jenny-Clark  Double-Bass
Carlos R. Alsina Piano
Jean-Pierre Drouet  Percussion
Johannes G. Fritsch Viola 
(all references to viola imply amplification with a contact mike)
Karlheinz Stockhausen  Vocal Recitation, Rin Bowls, Siren-whistle, SW Radio, Viola manipulation
  • 0:07 - traffic, bell, thumps, SW?
  • 0:38 - Stockhausen recitation begins, various interjections (held tones, short figures, staccato, accents. SW radio) tabla rhythms (irreg. but becoming fairly rhythmic by 4:20)
  • 6:05 - slide/siren whistle, then a new percussion rhythm begins for a short time before fading out
  • 7:51 - fast and mumbly verbal recitation. melodic figures become high and low drones/glissandi
  • 11:15 - Stockhausen in dialogue with SW voice, all others droney or "points"
  • 12:13 - a bell/rin bowl signals very sparse Stockhausen recitations/noises alternating with faster reading, but soon becomes droney/moaning
  • 16:00 - Stockhausen recitation pauses
  • 16:30 - begins getting more turbulent (but still sound masses)
  • 18:20 - viola and sax dialogue on a unison pitch as trombone plays a muted solo
  • 20:30 - viola solo takes over from trombone, Stockhausen sound manipulation of high viola tones, then reeds begin free jazz crescendo rave up
  • 23:15 - French voices (SW) and Stockhausen recitation returns as a dialogue, jazzy climax subsides
  • 24:34 - tremolo/held tones interrupted by semi-synchronous outbursts
  • 28:03 - vocalizing trombone (?) and SW voice duo, then taken over by KS recitation
  • 29:49 - rhythmic viola/bass bowing in independent tempi, then breathing... others join in somewhat, clarinet plays ostinato pattern while trombone plays simple figures
  • 32:33 - high and low drones return, become slow bends (falling), figures
  • 35:45 - reed multiphonic drone enters, then high falling/whistling arpeggios (viola), Stockhausen chanting, Indian-style (?)
  • 38:10 - Stockhausen recites the text phrases in French, brief isolated sound masses
  • 39:25 - bell/rin bowl precedes a stereo viola "spiral"...  after a brief calm section, reeds return in a coda-like fanfare circling around harmony notes
  • 43:02 - quiet metal percussion with quiet isolated accents
  • 45:53 - sudden viola outburst with some French from Stockhausen before and after
  • 47:10 - traffic noise, bell/rin bowl, final viola cry

(25:06) 68.05.08 / 69.08.30 
(Recorded 11th)
     7 kinds of rhythms are listed, but they can be grouped into 2 basic kinds: periodic rhythm based on biological functions, and irregular rhythms based on changes in thought pattern (in other words, make a sound whenever a new thought surfaces).  The rhythm of the universe can be interpreted as star constellation shapes - Stockhausen references this kind of "point music" when trying to explain this rhythm to Kontarsky (" mean Webern!"). 

Sound Impressions: 
     By the time of this recording the German and French musicians had become much more accustomed to each other.  My favorite parts here are the electronium outbursts, which seem to leave the free jazz players puzzled somewhat.  Kontarsky's piano scale figure and later crescendo are also cool points.
play a vibration in the rhythm of your body
play a vibration in the rhythm of your heart
play a vibration in the rhythm of your breathing
play a vibration in the rhythm of your thinking
play a vibration in the rhythm of your intuition
play a vibration in the rhythm of your enlightenment
play a vibration in the rhythm of the universe

mix these vibrations freely

leave enough silence between them

Harald Bojé Electronium 
(all references to "electronium" imply use of additional effects such as volume pedal and reverb)
Aloys Kontarsky Piano 
Johannes G. Fritsch Viola
Alfred Alings, Rolf Gehlhaar Tam-tam
 (all references to "Tam-tam" imply amplified contact sounds such as in MIKROPHONIE I)
Karlheinz Stockhausen  Viola and Tam-tam manipulation
 (all references to "manipulation" imply modulation with high and low pass filters, as well as volume variation and spacial movement)
Vinko Globokar  Trombone
Michel Portal Flute, Bass Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
Jean-François Jenny-Clark  Double-Bass
Jean-Pierre Drouet  Tabla, Indian bells, etc
  • 0:07 - points/scales/drones/brief figures/periodic accents, eventually fading to isolated points, pulses, repeated notes
  • 4:35 - noisy scratching from strings with some brief wind figures, percussive but quiet noise accents mostly
  • 7:09 - electronium tremolo drone crescendo, joined by piano, changing tempo into a rhythmic figure, eventually fading to bells/rin bowls and a few sudden piano clusters
  • 10:44 - piano pulse in bass joined by percussion with some isolated wind/brass swells
  • 12:06 - loud piano scales begin, soon joined by other players
  • 13:37 - electronium bursts lead to high squealing drones/glissandi against rhythmic tabla and brass lip sounds, adding tentative wind figures, periodic bowing
  • 17:27 - drones/trills with short/long accents (sound masses)
  • 18:54 - falling figures, then rhythmic scratching, then rhythmic pulses in a piano/string tremolo crescendo
  • 20:25 - tremolo piano chords become slow periodic chords, winds dialogue, strings and percussion play drones and bends
  • 22:55 - piano stops rhythm, then all play quiet individual accents and drones
  • 24:31 - final electronium and viola outbursts

 (“Meeting Point”)
1st Version
(9:39) 68.05.08 / 69.08.27 
(Recorded 3rd)
     In this piece the "same tone" indicated in the text score is not a single pitch, but a "complex collective tone".  Stockhausen intends for the ensemble to migrate through various sound textures as a collective ensemble, with each member sonically proposing directions for the ensemble to follow (or ignore).  The collective sound tends to return to a default group instrumental coloration ("return to the same place").

Sound Impressions: 
     This is one of the shortest pieces, but is important as the first recording session where some members of the Cologne group joined the French players.
everyone plays the same tone

lead the tone wherever your thoughts
lead you
do not leave it, stay with it
always return
to the same place

Carlos R. Alsina Piano
Vinko Globokar  Trombone
Michel Portal Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet
Aloys Kontarsky Piano
Rolf Gehlhaar Tam-tam, Bamboo Flute
Karlheinz Stockhausen  Slide-Whistle, SW Radio, Tam-tam manipulation
  • 0:07 - isolated piano accents followed by quiet textures, muted brass, piano string plucks
  • 2:52 - becomes slow figures (sustained piano, brass), piano still dominates
  • 4:22 - irreg. piano tremolo begins,  leading to rising wind/brass gliss and sound mass crescendo (piano strings, tam-tam, slide whistle)
  • 6:17 - ensemble subsides, long figures with accents and ornaments
  • 7:25 - piano begins small interval melodic variations, flutes and winds join, interrupted by slide whistle(s)
  • 8:40 - low drone with one slide whistle accent
2nd Version
(15:29) 68.05.08 / 69.08.27 
(Recorded 4th)
Sound Impressions: 
     While the first version of TREFFPUNKT had some fine moments, it's this version where the 2 groups began to create real music together I think.  Kontarsky and Portal have a nice duet, and the final crescendo here has a more organic feel than the ones in the first version.
everyone plays the same tone

lead the tone wherever your thoughts
lead you
do not leave it, stay with it
always return
to the same place

Carlos R. Alsina Piano
Vinko Globokar  Trombone
Michel Portal Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet
Aloys Kontarsky Piano
Rolf Gehlhaar Tam-tam, Bamboo Flute
Karlheinz Stockhausen  Slide-Whistle, SW Radio, Tam-tam manipulation
  • 0:07 - loud intermittent accents and figures based on small pitch sets
  • 2:05 - figures become longer, soften
  • 3:48 - foreground figures return slowly, becoming stuttering notes
  • 5:07 - piano and clarinet dialogue in short phrases as tam-tam plays large sound masses
  • 6:27 - trombone swells, piano and clarinet fade out, piano begins tremolo which changes speed and after awhile becomes pizzicato
  • 8:35 - piano pulse/tremolo becomes low pitch, other instruments trill/swell intermittently, adapt the piano's rhythmic pulse somewhat, before losing energy
  • 10:36 - new sound mass begins, also anchored by piano tremolos and accompanied by swelling drones and multiphonics
  • 11:30 - 2-note figure in wind triggers repeating 2-note figure in piano, accompanied by colored noise textures, becoming wind multiphonics, growling, piano string scrapes, eventually fading away

 (“Night Music”)
(26:45) 68.05.08 / 69.08.31 
(Recorded 14th)
     This piece is somewhat similar to VERBINDUNG, but also includes the rhythm of dreaming.  Stockhausen writes that he described his attempts at investigating the rhythms of his dreaming to the players, but unfortunately doesn’t do that for the reader of the CD booklet or in the score!  Harald Bojé apparently wrote some texts on exactly how these abstract rhythms were interpreted, but I think leaving it to one's imagination is perfectly satisfactory.  Additionally, the concept of transformation is important here, as opposed to fading out and starting a new vibration (such as in VERBINDUNG).

Sound Impressions:   
     This grouping is basically the "classic" electroacoustic group with supporting bass and percussion.  Stockhausen's flute playing leads the players at times.  This is probably one of the classic group's finest recordings and has some inspired moments.  The piano chord "funeral march" near the end is very evocative.  Apparently they have some pretty strange dreams...  The beginning atmosphere of bird sounds is not explained in the CD booklet but fits perfectly with the theme.
play a vibration in the rhythm of the universe 
 play a vibration in the rhythm of dreaming 

 play a vibration in the rhythm of dreaming and slowly transform it
into the rhythm of the universe

repeat this as often as you can

Aloys Kontarsky Piano 
Harald Bojé Electronium
Johannes G. Fritsch Viola
Alfred Alings, Rolf Gehlhaar Tam-tam, flexatone, guero, Jew's harp, etc
Karlheinz Stockhausen  Cuckoo flute, SW Radio, Viola and Tam-tam manipulation
Jean-François Jenny-Clark  Double-Bass
Jean-Pierre Drouet  Drums, Percussion
  • 0:08 - bird sounds, low humming, high oscillations, SW static, isolated tom tom hits, scratching (basically high and low static textures)
  • 3:15 - owl-like hooting (cuckoo flute?)
  • 4:18 - piano begins playing staccato points, leading to a short section of electronium outbursts and loud rubbing noises
  • 5:40 - soft piano chords interrupted by sections of electronium/viola noise (cuckoo flute continues)
  • 7:13 - descending 3-note piano figure repeats, noise elements subside, then harmonization with cuckoo flute
  • 8:23 - high piano string scraping, low sound masses with isolated piano/electronium figures and accents
  • 10:59 - brief section of electronium croaking and burping
  • 12:09 - soft piano chords leading to brief noise crescendo
  • 13:14 - feedback drone with scratching textures, then a repeated, descending piano figure and viola crescendo
  • 15:02 - low electronium and piano accents, followed by violent viola bowing and fast piano chord tremoli, slowing down to quiet but dense textures
  • 16:34 - cuckoo flute leads a restrained tremolo tone which others also eventually join, swelling feedback surfaces
  • 18:01 - bowed tam-tam begins another rubbing/scratching sound mass build up, later with electronium and SW "Morse code" interruptions taking over (cuckoo flute dialogues w SW Morse code)
  • 20:43 - SW noise followed by periodic high electronium accents, leading to various periodic low pulses from piano, dbl bass, electronium, percussion
  • 22:01 - piano begins periodic chord pulse ("funeral march"), as electronium croaks below it and viola bows high pitches
  • 23:53 - sudden quiet section of sparse percussion and piano
  • 25:00 - low note piano/bass/perc. pulse begins, with viola noise accents, then piano cluster accents, fades out on tabla roll

1st Version
(30:27) 68.05.08 / 69.08.28 
(Recorded 7th)
     This text asks for 5 kinds of rhythms in abstract terms (limbs, cells, molecules, etc...).  Stockhausen assigned himself 5 kinds of sound sources to match the 5 vibration types (fast flute figures/glass & stone/box of sand/saliva & teeth noises/blowing and SW radio twiddling).  I personally don't see any specific correlation between the sound types and the vibration types, so perhaps it is arbitrary?

Sound Impressions: 
     The highlight of this is Stockhausen's contributions.  At first he seems a bit desperate, but by the end he seems kind of festive.  His playing the "cuckoo flute" is puzzling (as well as an electronium-like buzzing sound I can't quite identify), but I assume he is making kalimba noises with the panes of the cuckoo clock body, perhaps bowing it as well.  The harmonica sound may also be from the cuckoo flute.  Stockhausen pretty much dominates the proceedings here.
play a vibration in the rhythm of your limbs
play a vibration in the rhythm of your cells
play a vibration in the rhythm of your molecules
play a vibration in the rhythm of your atoms
play a vibration in the rhythm of your smallest particles
which your inner ear can reach

change slowly from one rhythm to another
until you become freer
and can interchange with them at will

Vinko Globokar  Trombone
Jean-Pierre Drouet  Drums, Percussion
Carlos R. Alsina Piano
Aloys Kontarsky Piano
Alfred Alings, Rolf Gehlhaar Tam-tam, misc
Karlheinz Stockhausen  Vocal Recitation, Cuckoo & Bamboo Flutes, SW Radio, Tam-tam manipulation, etc
  • 0:08 - low moaning sounds, small kalimba (cuckoo flute?), soon piano plays slow repeating 2-note figures, KS: "Downwards...Oh God help me", misc gasping, exhortations, tabla. 
  • 5:30 - "Downwards", piano accents, kalimba, muted brass vowels, abrasive bowing - "in the rhythm of our limbs..." somewhat desperately, followed by periodic kalimba notes
  • 8:05 - harmonica-like reed sound enters (cuckoo flute?), piano drones and tremoli, high and low tones drift through
  • 9:53 - "it's like sleep, like dream..."
  • 10:54 - vocal noises leads to harmonica/kalimba cadenza with piano tremoli and bowed drones, quiet but increasing density
  • 12:41 - "it's getting dark..." - scratching noises, then violent harmonica enters (low groaning throughout still)
  • 14:50 - quiet but busy percussive texture surfaces, with generally restrained harmonica, viola, etc.. 
  • 16:06 - modulating harmonica, then more kalimba accents, moaning muted brass multiphonics
  • 18:07 - buzzing electronium-like accents (or amplified harmonica?) slowly become longer, high figures, exhortations, clusters, climaxes and then subsides
  • 20:30 - brass and flutes dialogue with electronium-like buzz in foreground
  • 21:10 - Stockhausen - laughing, high piano figures, continued electronium-like buzzing joined by bamboo flute and Stockhausen singing, then low piano figures
  • 22:13 - trombone and electronium (or whatever) dialogue, metal percussion textures
  • 23:18 - "oh he is much lower than me! you're completely out of rhythm!", vocal lip noises duo
  • 24:24 - percussion hits lead to various accents
  • 25:26 - scratching bow noise becomes more and more dense
  • 26:40 - high plucked piano strings with droning bow scratching, leading to sparse percussive accents
  • 28:25 - percussive trombone tongue-slap (and tam-tam?) accents lead to a final climax, ending with fading bow scratch noise

2nd Version
(18:12) 68.05.08 / 69.08.28
 (Recorded 8th)
Sound Impressions: 
     This second version of ABWÄRTS has some nice interplay from the two pianists, and Stockhausen is somewhat more subdued here than in the first version.
play a vibration in the rhythm of your limbs
play a vibration in the rhythm of your cells
play a vibration in the rhythm of your molecules
play a vibration in the rhythm of your atoms
play a vibration in the rhythm of your smallest particles
which your inner ear can reach

change slowly from one rhythm to another
until you become freer
and can interchange with them at will

Vinko Globokar  Trombone
Jean-Pierre Drouet  Drums, Percussion
Carlos R. Alsina Piano
Aloys Kontarsky Piano
Alfred Alings, Rolf Gehlhaar Tam-tam, misc
Karlheinz Stockhausen  Cuckoo & Bamboo Flutes, SW Radio, Tam-tam manipulation, etc 
  • 0:08 - brief tam-tam intro suddenly leads to repeating 2-note (octave) piano figure and various accents from muted brass, percussion, hand clapping, chord clusters
  • 2:50 - final chord becomes muted brass drone, leading to chord cluster accents, piano string strikes
  • 3:58 - high piano ostinato against low piano chords, quiet but dense percussion
  • 4:56 - piano duo punctuated by glass and stone sounds, supported by subtle percussive tom rhythm
  • 6:32 - quiet brass tremoli begin
  • 7:30 - 2-note octave figure returns, high SW radio noise and scraped tam-tam intrude
  • 8:15 - bamboo flute begins drone/tremolo pitch (supported by light percussion clusters), eventually crescendos and is joined by piano and brass
  • 10:24 - muted low piano string figure begins with metal percussion accents
  • 11:10 - brief manipulated tam-tam "spirals", with brass squeals, joined by piano and perc accents
  • 12:16 - dueling piano tremoli, brass, tam-tam, drums increasing in intensity
  • 13:44 - SW voice intrusion signals single repeating piano strike rhythm and decreasing sound density accompanied by low bass pulses
  • 15:08 - bamboo flute begins tremolo again against percussive bass hits and a couple piano accents
  • 16:35 - fast clapping provoking accents from brass and piano, ending with fade out on "knocking" rhythm

(29:39) 68.05.08 / 69.08.29 
(Recorded 10th)
     AUFWÄRTS combines the "point music" of VERBINDUNG with the "smallest particle" vibration from ABWÄRTS (which is a personally chosen sound type) and creates a continuum between them.  AUFWÄRTS also has the special distinction of being included as an "insert" in STERNKLANG.

Sound Impressions: 
     This is basically the "classic" group with Globokar on trombone replacing the electronium.  The trombone adds vocal elements, while Stockhausen uses the rin bowl as a sound theme that runs throughout (perhaps as the rhythm of his smallest particle?)  
play a vibration in the rhythm of your smallest particles

play a vibration in the rhythm of the universe

play all the rhythms that you can
distinguish today between the rhythm of your smallest particles
and the rhythm of the universe
one after the other
and each one for so long
until the air carries it on

Vinko Globokar  Trombone
Aloys Kontarsky Piano 
Alfred Alings, Rolf Gehlhaar Tam-tam, misc
Johannes G. Fritsch Viola
Karlheinz Stockhausen  Rin Bowls, SW Radio, Viola and Tam-tam manipulation
  • 0:07 - rhythmic knocking becomes irregular dense high percussion with high thick bowed drones, varying in intensity, eventually percussion becomes rhythmic again
  • 4:32 - SW static and vocal noises (trombone?) enter, tempo slows
  • 5:40 - rin bowl continuous tremolo, piano entrance with periodic chord rhythm, decreasing frequency of attack, varying intensity
  • 8:00 - piano plays strings instead of keys for attacks, followed by soft textural noises (rin bowl continues)
  • 9:57 - muted trombone swells, soft, high piano string rhythm begins, viola begins slow bowing
  • 12:03 - rin bowls pause, long textures become accents, piano begins low strings repeating figure, building into dense sound mass, eventually dissipating
  • 15:20 - semi-periodic low trombone growl begins series of low accents/shapes in piano/strings, then suddenly accelerating and decelerating
  • 18:16 - piano begins rhythmic high chord/figure, increasing tempo, viola/perc follows, continues after piano drops out
  • 20:00 - sparse percussive section with rin bowl texture continuing, brief trombone and viola accents/tremoli enter
  • 21:47 percussive knocks decreasing in tempo, somewhat joined by trombone, etc...  Morse code SW static texture begins
  • 23:24 - trombone, piano, viola begin new phase of ensemble vibrations
  • 27:29 - rin bowl gradually fades out, with isolated sounds, notes from other players

(30:48) 68.05.09 / 69.08.29 
(Recorded 9th)
     In this recording Stockhausen wanted to use physical exertion as a way to reach "warmth that radiates".  He did this by hammering nails and sandpapering a piece of wood to different tempos.  With the sounds created by this activity he was able to induce "synchronicity of the players to a high degree...diversity, with rhythmic cadences with all kinds of syncopations and resolutions, distinct differences in tempo with pulses changing continuously and by leaps..."  He used a siren-whistle and car horns simultaneously, and sometimes synchronously with the hammering.  "The 'intensity' of my playing conveyed itself directly to the other players who related entirely to my acoustic-visual rhythms between the extremes of 'completely synchronous' and 'completely opposed'".

Sound Impressions: 
     The construction noises obviously dominate.  Stockhausen was successful in "heating up" up the playing environment, as evidenced by the free jazz flare ups that occur with the reeds.  The hammering and rasping is a kind of predecessor to industrial noise music perhaps...obviously this predates Einstürzende Neubauten.  As an aside, when Stockhausen first presented the intuitive texts to the Cologne Stockhausen Group, only Fritsch and Gehlhaar were immediately interested.  Fritsch here gives a fairly vociferous accounting of himself.
play single sounds
with such dedication
until you feel the warmth
that radiates from you

play on and sustain it
as long as you can

Michel Portal Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Flute, Saxophone
Jean-François Jenny-Clark Double Bass
Carlos R. Alsina Piano 
Jean-Pierre Drouet Percussion
Rolf Gehlhaar Tam-tam, misc
Johannes G. Fritsch Viola
Karlheinz Stockhausen  Construction sounds, car horns, Siren-whistle, Viola and Tam-tam manipulation

  • 0:08 - sawing/construction sounds, isolated accents (points),
  • 1:17 - Stockhausen hammering begins, soft low figures in winds, rhythmic metal percussion, louder accents and longer sound masses, siren calls
  • 4:24 - piano solo on top of slower masses, then dialogue of high reed sounds
  • 6:35 - high pitch unison harmony in reeds, eventually diminishing
  • 8:28 - simple flute figure begins, percussive bass bow bouncing enters, then a free-jazzy sax and viola duo
  • 10:53 - repeating piano note signals held sounds
  • 11:38 - held vibrations begin slow crescendo (led by viola)
  • 13:23 - high free jazz saxophone screeching begins, eventually becomes lower sound masses
  • 15:59 - hammering becomes scraping/sawing sounds, with quiet drones, tremoli, sparse figures, etc
  • 18:45 - hammering returns, sax and viola duo return
  • 19:18 - high pitched stereo "spiral" sounds with fiery free jazz skronk
  • 20:48 - repeating flute note signals slow bass and tam-tam textures, soon interrupted by short staccato reed/horn dialogue
  • 23:22 - Stockhausen (hammering, siren whistle, car horn) begins loud accents, replaced by recurring loud sax fanfare
  • 24:43 - sax fades out and rhythmic, raspy scratching noise begins to dominate again, with soft, low winds, later interrupted by a brief section of horn accents
  • 26:32 - long wind figures begin developing
  • 28:36 - bass clarinet and viola play a final climax, leading to sparse sounds broken by Stockhausen hammering, etc...

(“Set Sail for the Sun”)
(33:05) 68.05.09 / 69.08.30 
(Recorded 12th)
     The "harmony" referred to in the text means not only means tonal harmony, but also harmony of superimposed rhythms, dynamics (no covering up of other sounds), timbres (balance of noise and pitch, speed of timbre changes, mixture of vowel-sounds, etc…).  The instruction to reach a "gold" sound is surprisingly not meant to be poetic: "If when playing/listening to music, if one slightly closes the eyes and allows no images, no distracting thoughts to arise, then one sees in various stages of concentration: milky grey, warm red-violet, and finally a gold which is a gently shimmering fire.  And this is always a sign that harmony has been reached."

Sound Impressions: 
     This piece sounds like several cycles of "harmony" coalescing and then dissipating, usually based on a drone figure.  The recording features the entire pool of 10 players, and yet never gets out of control, which certainly makes it stand out from a typical large group free improvisation
play a tone for so long
until you hear its individual vibrations

Hold the tone
and listen to the tones of the others

- to all of them together, not to individual ones –

and slowly move your tone
until you arrive at complete harmony
and the whole sound turns to gold
to pure, gently shimmering fire

Michel Portal E-flat Clarinet, Basset horn, Tárogató, Tenor Saxophone
Vinko Globokar Trombone 
Jean-François Jenny-Clark Double Bass
Jean-Pierre Drouet Percussion
Carlos R. Alsina Piano
Aloys Kontarsky Piano
Harald Bojé Electronium
Johannes G. Fritsch Viola
Alfred Alings, Rolf Gehlhaar Tam-tam
Karlheinz Stockhausen  Viola and Tam-tam manipulation
  • 0:07 - isolated repeated piano chord, followed by low drones (electronium, bass, viola, etc)
  • 2:26 - piano string tremolo begins, increasing pizz bass and low brass accents
  • 3:23 - 3-note contrasting flute fragment surfaces, then piano tremolo, vocal humming, electronium buzzing,
  • 5:01 - muted brass leads to sparse dialogue with electronium, flute, sax and percussion
  • 6:27 - high isolated piano chords leads to swelling drone figures and tremoli
  • 8:22 - electronium plays high drones, joined by bowed tam-tam, flute with sparse piano and percussion accents, eventually reaching several climaxes
  • 10:30 - bass-led drone (bowing) begins, joined by bowed tam-tam, droning electronium, intermittent fast tabla figures and muted brass figures, leading to mostly muted textures
  • 14:20 - piano chord and subsequent tremolo begins new drone crescendo cycle, punctuated by low electronium croaks, eventually becoming dialogue of loud, isolated accents
  • 16:48 - drone cycle based on high oscillating pitches begins (bowing, tarogato, etc)
  • 19:14 - a new drone intrudes based on a low piano chord with some fast, high electronium textures, becoming generally high accents
  • 20:58 - solo growling brass dominates and generates a subdued, low drone-based structure
  • 22:47 - repeated low, muted piano bass note begins, joined by various held wind figures and resonant percussion strikes(gong-like), eventually punctuated by some reed blasts
  • 25:55 - piano, tam-tam and electronium create faster rhythm, which dissipates into sparse accents
  • 27:17 - electronium begins new oscillating drone texture, which is interrupted by staccato accents, and then piano tremoli.  Independent tremoli from various instruments compete to dominate resulting in multiple tremolo layers of various tempo
  • 29:27 - high viola and piano tremolo begins, which eventually outlasts the other tremolo figures
  • 30:53 - lyrical sax motif begins which is eventually joined by piano

(15:44) 68.05.09 / 69.08.27 
(Recorded 5th)
     This piece is a variation on ABWÄRTS' vibrations, except that instead of focusing on oneself, the player concentrates on the other players' activities.  The resulting recording "led, towards the end, to a passage, at times loaded with a sense of deathly annihilation, which is the most ecstatic I have ever heard."  Stockhausen also writes that this made him realize that "an expressly postulated communion...can unleash animal ferocity, demonic hubbub, the sternest struggle, aggressive trenchancy to the point of madness, and that war, struggle and annihilation are sublimated forms of 'communion'.  As if in mutual destruction, even extermination, the unifying spirit becomes free."

Sound Impressions: 
     This performance has the most in common with free jazz in my opinion.  As Stockhausen subtly intimates above, the climax is very "hot", and even among free-jazz blowouts, is quite breathtaking.  The unique element here is Stockhausen's own vocal stylings, which have a kind of "stream of consciousness" syllabic flow.

play or sing a vibration in the rhythm of the limbs of one of your fellow players
play or sing a vibration in the rhythm of the limbs of another of your fellow players
play or sing a vibration in the rhythm of the cells of one of your fellow players
… of another …
play or sing a vibration in the rhythm of the molecules of one of your fellow players
… of another …
play or sing a vibration in the rhythm of the atoms of one of your fellow players
… of another …
play or sing a vibration in the rhythm of the smallest particles that you can reach
of one of your fellow players
… of another …

try again and again
don’t give up
Michel Portal Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet
Vinko Globokar Trombone 
Jean-François Jenny-Clark Double Bass
Carlos R. Alsina Piano, Hammond Organ
Johannes G. Fritsch Viola
Alfred Alings, Rolf Gehlhaar Tam-tam
Karlheinz Stockhausen  Voice, SW radio, Glass with stones, Viola and Tam-tam manipulation
  • 0:08 - low hum with loud brass accents, creaking percussion, dissonant organ chords
  • 2:12 - small percussion (KS?) becomes very agitated, adds yelping vocals, starts a highly energetic section
  • 3:19 - piano enters and begins brief tremolos and short figures
  • 4:21 - loud flexatone sound, followed by brief intermittent accents and figures from all players, including more yelps and some mouthpiece vocalizations
  • 7:06 - tam-tam shimmer begins low bowing drone with sparse piano, brass, flute and vocal accents, soon building into an energetic dialogue, and then fading
  • 9:42 - quiet section with subtle rubbing/scraping sounds, eventually building into another extended energetic dialogue of barking and screeching (with agitated vocal babbling)
  • 13:21 - dense shrieking slowly dies down in waves, and then settles into small sparse noises and grunts 

1st Version
(24:40) 68.05.10 / 69.08.26 
(Recorded 2nd)
     It's takes a highly disciplined mind to think absolutely nothing, and for this reason the performances start out sparse and get denser as the "non-thinking" becomes easier.  Stockhausen aims to channel "supra-conscious" music in its purest form here without the dilution of everyday mental minutiae.  He speaks at length about this work in his British Lecture on Intuitive Music from 1972.  This is almost the opposite of the instruction to play in the rhythm of thinking in VERBINDUNG - instead of playing when a new thought enters, stop playing.

Sound Impressions: 
     Like some of the other text pieces, cycles of crescendi occur, separates by sparse sections.  This performance has some more vocal "instigation" from Stockhausen.  This was the 2nd recording completed and the 2nd recording with the French jazz group, and thus seems a bit more restrained than things would get in the later recordings.  Stockhausen's verbal exhortations are actually an interesting flavor, but as a player I'm sure that that must have been distracting...which was the point, I suppose ("I can't think with that racket going on!").
wait until it is absolutely still within you
when you have attained this
begin to play

as soon as you start to think, stop
and try to retain
the state of NON-THINKING
then continue playing

Michel Portal Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet
Vinko Globokar Trombone 
Jean-François Jenny-Clark Double Bass
Jean-Pierre Drouet Percussion
Carlos R. Alsina Piano, Organ
Karlheinz Stockhausen  Voice, SW radio, Slide whistle
  • 0:07 - sparse low brass/percussion grunts, soon joined by KS chanting (then shouting, yelping), becoming mixed with longer held textures by other players (swells/fades)
  • 1:37 - percussion rhythm quietly enters
  • 2:39 - Stockhausen "thing(k)...", loud multiphonics and growling brass accents
  • 4:05 - percussion rhythm stops, Stockhausen "nothing...thing", sparse sounds
  • 5:02 - load metal crash starts SW radio twiddling and low bass/sax figures, becoming high squeals
  • 6:34 - percussive/vocal flute begins, trombone growls, subtle percussion rhythm with player accents
  • 9:27 - percussion rhythm ends, sparse sounds followed by quiet dense sounds, again becoming longer wind/brass tones
  • 11:55 - climactic sound mass, followed by sparse sounds again, now with some piano chords intruding.  Ensemble slowly builds again in density as before (with Stockhausen vocal stylings and metal crashes) (longer than previous build up section).  After a loud sound mass, energy again diminishes into quieter long tones and piano tremoli
  • 17:18 - sparse quiet sounds (longer than previous sparse section), some SW radio noise
  • 19:20 - brass/wind sub-tones and low bass begin new crescendo, now also including organ and resonant metals
  • 22:18 - crescendo reaches climax with high pitches (slide whistle), shimmering/crashing metal, low bass, etc...
  • 23:52 - sudden change to low grinding sounds and high percussive snaps
2nd Version
(23:24) 68.05.10 / 69.08.31 
(Recorded 13th)
Sound Impressions: 
     The first version was recorded by the French free jazz players and this version is by the "classic" Stockhausen Group.  I prefer this one, it has some novel sounds even for the electroacoustic group.  I like that Kontarsky was uninhibited enough to start attacking the piano ("hand slams").  The "baby sounds" (which I think are actually viola) also jumped out for me.  This was the 2nd to last recording for the Darmstadt sessions.
wait until it is absolutely still within you
when you have attained this
begin to play

as soon as you start to think, stop
and try to retain
the state of NON-THINKING
then continue playing

Aloys Kontarsky Piano 
Harald Bojé Electronium
Johannes G. Fritsch Viola
Alfred Alings, Rolf Gehlhaar Tam-tam, misc 
Karlheinz Stockhausen  Voice, Viola and Tam-tam manipulation
  • 0:07 - sparse percussive sounds, soon electronium begins a drone figure, KS:"makama-maka", then some louder accents and low bass bowing joined by electronium
  • 1:49 - viola (or tam-tam?) begins semi-rhythmic bowing (col legno), then replaced by piano string tremoli
  • 3:43 - climactic section begins composed of trills, tremoli, accents, scraping, etc
  • 5:30 - mostly accents with less resonant textures, but soon builds again into held tones with busy metallic strikes and violent viola bowing.  Energy soon dissipates into increasingly sparse drones and loud accent figures
  • 8:48 - loud resonant piano sound mass resonates, followed by scraping/bowing noisy textures with brief breaks of high percussion (guero?).  Meanwhile piano proceeds through various isolated pitches, eventually in dialogue with other players, changing tempo
  • 11:42 - sparse, sometimes rhythmic, accents, with recurring BG truck noises
  • 12:51 - viola scraping begins slow crescendo in activity, eventually joined by tam-tam hits, piano tremoli, Stockhausen bellowing, etc... in a climax
  • 15:33 - energy dissipates into a soft, low oscillating drone, before building again, joined by periodic 2-note piano string figure
  • 17:30 - piano string plucking becomes denser, joined by other plucked sounds and harmonics before fading out
  • 18:28 - viola col legno with sparse accents from electronium, eventually joined by hand slams on piano body, leading to louder vocal vowel sounds
  • 20:17 - electronium begins irregular tremolo, joined by viola and piano
  • 21:10 - baby-like viola sound begins, calming the energy level into sparser accents with background rolling sounds (more traffic noise)
  • 22:37 - brief tam-tam cadenza (MIKROPHONIE I "peeping") precedes ending accents

 (“Gold Dust”) 
(53:20) 68.05.10 / 72.08.20 
(Recorded 15th)
     During Stockhausen's period of isolated depression while waiting for his wife to respond to overtures of reconciliation, he did not eat food or drink water (though he soon changed his mind and began drinking at least).  GOLDSTAUB's instructions obviously transcribe this "performance".  In the original, personal traversal of this piece, Stockhausen reports that hearing a piano note for the first time in 4 days was a cathartic experience, and the piano notes "sounded unprecedentedly spacious and long, like a rich rise and fall of vibrations, and just 'like gold dust'".  For whatever reason, this was not recorded by the Cologne or Paris musicians (Kontarsky in particular seemed to enjoy his repasts, as reported in notes to his Klavierstücke recording sessions).  A later generation of intuitive music performers would record this at Stockhausen's home in Kürten 3 years later.  Stockhausen recites from memory text from the book "The Sufi Message of Hazrat Inaya Khan, V2, Ch. VIII: Abstract Sound", which uses the word "HU" as an important flashpoint.  This word would go on to be used in other works such as INORI and in some scenes in LICHT.

Sound Impressions: 
     Late at night (starting at 11pm) and deep in the natural surroundings of Kürten's landscape, the atmosphere seems to have produced a performance with highly ritualistic overtones (which of course is only natural considering the preparations).  The climactic act of taking the bells outside of the room is both funny and moving.  The extreme spaciousness of the silences and the use of "found sounds" is a clear precedent to the post-millennial "electroacoustic improvisation" movement (also sometimes referred to as "lowercase", "eai", feedback improv, etc...).
live completely alone for four days
without food
in complete silence,
without much movement
sleep as little as necessary
think as little as possible

 after four days, late at night,
without conversation beforehand
play single sounds

 WITHOUT THINKING which you are playing

 close your eyes
just listen

Péter Eötvös Electro-chord, Keisu, Rin
Herbert Henck Voice, sitar, saucepan with water, bells
Michael Vetter Voice, hands, recorder
Karlheinz Stockhausen  Voice, conch shell, cowbell, keisu, rin bowls, jug and bowl of water, (Kandy drum), bells
  • 0:14 - sparse breathing, lip sounds, conch shell blowing from afar
  • 1:44 - intermittent hissing noise begins, gasping
  • 3:12 - electro-chord pluck (resonates), then reverse vocalization, more electro-chord plucks, various lip sounds
  • 5:43 - low vocalizing with overtones, creaking sounds, small objects, pops, now electro-chord pitches
  • 7:28 - HU, vocal overtone drones with rhythmic string plucking on sitar and electro-chord (somewhat STERNKLANG-like texture), joined eventually by loud conch blowing
  • 11:13 - metal keisu strike signals end of string rhythm, low vocals continued, "HU", then sparse hissing/breath noises
  • 12:59 - load string accent with rin bowl followed by silence and isolated words (...HU...HU...), then a rin bowl strike signals sparse high percussive vocal noises to enter, hand sounds, etc..
  • 15:50 - ringing metal sound signals slightly more frequent vocal drones/words, lip noise attacks, rin bowl sounds/singing, a few string accents, etc...
  • 19:56 - brief Stockhausen and Vetter (?) vocal duet punctuated by accents from metals, followed by some longer tones/noises/tremoli
  • 22:01 - multiple rin bowls create high harmony followed by small lip and movement sounds
  • 23:29 - loud conch shell sound mass triggers a sudden climax, with electro-chord playing various koto-like tones, splashing/poured water sounds, "Huma(n)"
  • 26:02 - fast lip sounds, waving cloth sounds(?).  "I am HU-ma...HU!"
  • 27:36 - sparse rin bowls ands sitar, eventually with isolated hand claps and vocal outbursts
  • 28:56 - low keisu resonance starts brief drone section ("Human...") broken by "HU"/"HUMAN" shouts, electro-chord
  • 30:31 - dense rin bowl cluster, followed by lip noises, resonating metals
  • 31:24 - keisu strikes begin a loud active section of rhythmic strikes and shouts, followed by more vocal overtone drones
  • 32:33 - Stockhausen begins reading text (?) accompanied by high vocal warbling (Vetter?) and low metal sounds, joined by plucked strings, texture becomes high and active but soft, low metallic bowl sounds (drone) eventually build with vibrato
  • 35:54 - metal percussion becomes more louder and frequent, then slow down again.  Eventually high, dense percussive/lip noises briefly surface again, before ending in a long quiet drone punctuated with rin bowls and vocal recitation
  • 39:13 - sudden high raspy drone enters (Vetter), eventually changing timbres a few times, also water sounds, conch shell, low electro-chord and metal bowl sounds sometimes surface
  • 42:38 - a few loud "thumps" are followed by a long quiet drone section with accents and short vocal overtone fragment
  • 44:46 - fast repeating metal strikes from 2 bowls break the calm surface.  With the rin bowls, sounds slightly like gamelan orchestra at times, but soon return to soft, low drone texture
  • 46:35 - "switch" sounds (whipping noises, later used in MUSIK IM BAUCH), water pouring, bells (low rumbling hum and bowl sounds throughout)
  • 48:30 - bells sounds reach a few loud accents, and then Stockhausen apparently opens the door and leaves the room ("HU....!") with bells circling around from outside, still intoning

Other Pieces:
OBEN UND UNTEN ("High and Low")
     In HIGH AND LOW, 3 actors (a verbally animalistic man, an angelic woman speaking words of an "exalted and devout nature", and an impressionable, mimicking child) are accompanied by instrumentalists who complement the either the male or female personas.  The male instruments should make "ugly" sounds (for example amplified tam-tam and viola), and the female instruments should have "pure" textures (such from piano and electronium).  After the man and woman interact from a distance for a long time (at least 40 min.), they dance together, still sometimes verbalizing and otherwise reacting with the musical instruments.

LITANEI ("Litany")
     LITANY, the 12th-composed intuitive text, is basically a kind of written speech or "manifesto" to his intuitive music collaborators, where he reviews his intentions up to KURZWELLEN, and then promises to lead them into a new way of playing - that is, receiving "vibrations from a higher sphere...not higher above us and outside of us, but higher IN US AND OUTSIDE.  This text was later used as the lyric content for the 1997 choral work, LITANEI 97, as well as in one of the background vocal layers to BASSETSU-TRIO (CAROUSEL), a portion of MICHAELION, the 4th Scene of MITTWOCH AUS LICHT.

ANKUNFT ("Arrival")
     "Give up everything, we were on the wrong track." 
     Stockhausen's last intuitive text "from the seven days" of isolation instructs the player to give up one's inhibitions and let one's soul radiate outwards from within, and following that, to let a "current" starting from behind the top of one's head enter the body.  Then... "play, at first single sounds.  Let the current flow through the whole instrument.  Whatever you want to play, even written music of any sort, begin only when you have done what I have recommended...  as long as you retain this consciousness, everything you will do will be right and good."  With this final text, Stockhausen seems intent to jump farther out from the intuitive music concept than before, and even allows notated music, as long as it's performed in the right state of mind.  The next group of intuitive music texts (FÜR KOMMENDE ZEITEN) would actually include a few notated rhythms and melodies with which to be inspired by.

MUSIK FÜR EIN HAUS ("Music for a House")
     Before AUS DEN SIEBEN TAGEN was "officially" recorded (and just a few months after they were composed), Stockhausen conducted a summer workshop for 14 composers and players at the Darmstadt New Music Courses in 1968 (including Rolf Gehlhaar, Vinko Globokar, and oboist Heinz Holliger (who would later premiere SPIRAL)).  At this workshop, Stockhausen gave his new intuitive texts out to these unsuspecting young composers, and asked them to create intuitive text compositions of their own (using AUS DEN SIEBEN TAGEN as a template).  Some of the participants apparently did not take the project seriously, including surprisingly enough, long-time collaborator Rolf Gehlhaar, who wrote, "Play with the certainty that the composer has enough money to cover all breakages".  However, enough texts were judged "worthy" to be used for performance. Stockhausen himself also wrote 5 new intuitive text compositions which would end up grouped in the later cycle FÜR KOMMENDE ZEITEN ("For Times to Come").

     At the end of the workshop a concert was held in which multiple rooms of a house held simultaneous performances of several of the student compositions, with varying numbers of players (Aloys Kontarsky, Harald Bojé, Johannes Fritsch and future HYMNEN participant David Johnson also arrived and took part).  This was the first exposure of the intuitive texts to the Stockhausen Group, and some of them were a bit apprehensive, though not actually skeptical for the reasons which might be expected.  For example, Harald Bojé seemed mostly concerned that there was not enough rehearsal time to achieve the kind of communal, telepathic communication necessary for intuitive music to work (Kurtz bio).

     The performance rooms were named "Vibratorium", "Sound Loft", "Zeng!", "Echo" and "Sound Box".  Each room had its own sound mixer, and all of the room sub-mixes were also fed to the "Sound Box" where a master sound mixer would remix all of the music occuring in the separate rooms to create a kind of "intuitive music sound salad" in all parts of the House.  Surprisingly, Stockhausen himself was never the "master mixer" in the Sound Box, but was actually too busy rushing around and handling/fixing the individual "room mixes".

     At the end of this production (which was generally a success), the workshop participants were asked to write about their experience.  The consensus was generally positive, with at least one composer inspired to continue writing more text pieces.  However, a few were critical, with one by Boudewijn Buckinx having the sentiment, "...Like Wagner, he is a genius.  He is also, at the same time, dangerous" (Stockhausen actually refers to this in the superb filmed British lecture on Intuitive Music).  In any case, a kind of sequel to this production would be realized in the following year with the work FRESCO and "Musik für die Beethovenhalle".

     AUS DEN SIEBEN TAGEN could be seen as the 3rd in a trilogy of "process music" pieces.  PROZESSION used pre-chosen Stockhausen works as source material to be developed, KURZWELLEN utilized shortwave radio signals as "input", and the intuitive texts use the "supra-conscious" as the generative element (SPIRAL, POLE and EXPO I consider to be children of KURZWELLEN).  Actually the idea of "input" as mentioned in the case for KURZWELLEN reminds me of the 2 inputs necessary for a ring modulation circuit.  In that scenario, one input source modulates the other input source and the result is literally the sum and difference of their parts.  In AUS DEN SIEBEN TAGEN the output is, of course, not quite so cut and dry, but the cooperative element certainly produces a kind of sum and difference social ecosystem in a way.

     Finally, the influence and importance of Stockhausen himself on these recording sessions cannot be overstated.  Many groups have performed these intuitive texts (and new performances seemingly surface on Youtube all the time), but none of them seem to display quite the "fanatacism" (and I mean that in the most positive way) that is found in these recordings.  Even without Stockhausen's very aural participation in these recordings (he sings or plays an instrument on all but 2 of these recordings), these works fearlessly represent Stockhausen at his most naked.

Wiki Entry
Clip of UNBEGRENTZ (YouTube LP rip) 
ES, live 1969 with Q & A
Stockhausen Lecture in 1972 on Intuitive Music (DVD)
Stockhausen Lecture in 1972 on Intuitive Music (Youtube clip)
Stockhausen on Music (transcripts of 1972 British Lectures, edited Robin Maconie) 
Instructions on the Interpretation of Intuitive Music (transcripts of rehearsal extracts w Stockhausen, hosted by Living Scores Learn) 
Stockhausen: Conversations With the Composer (Interviews by Jonathan Cott, 1974)
Stockhausen, A biography (Michael Kurtz, transl. Richard Toop, 1992)
Musik für ein Haus, Fred Ritzel (German)
The Haus That Karlheinz Built: Composition, Authority, and Control at the 1968 Darmstadt Ferienkurse (Mark Iddon)
AUS DEN SIEBEN TAGEN (from Serial and Nonserial Techniques ...Ch 5, 1981, Jerome Kohl, PDF)
Sonoloco Review
Personal account of performing GOLDSTAUB by Johan Boberg
Perfect Sound Forever:  Daniela Varela article on Intuitive Music
Logan K.Young essay on Intuitive Music, 2012
French production of OBEN UND UNTEN (Youtube clip) 
Le Car de Thon plays GOLDSTAUB 2008 (Youtube clip)
Le Car de Thon: Nos meilleurs Stockhausen (AUFWÄRTS, SETZ DIE SEGEL ZUR SONNE, ES, NACHTMUSIK) 
"Stockhausen's Secret Theatre - Unfinished Projects from the 60s and Early 70s " (Richard Toop, Perspectives on New Music 36.2)