CD 11-26: Live Electronics, Intuitive Music

The Stockhausen Edition
Complete CD Series
Serial Music: Points to Groups 
Moment Form
Electronic & Tape Music
Live Electronics
Intuitive Music
Formula Form
KLANG (& Text CDs)

     The best, most efficient way to hear Stockhausen's works is through his official record label and publishing house. The Stockhausen Edition CDs are meticulously assembled with often voluminous booklets in English and German, filled with sketches and other documentary artifacts. Almost all of the recordings originally released on Deutsche Grammophon, Wergo, Nonesuch and other labels were reacquired by Stockhausen, and then remastered and repackaged under the Stockhausen Edition catalog. Under the control of the Stockhausen Foundation, Stockhausen's recorded works will never go "out of print", making all of them available to the public. The Stockhausen Edition CDs are organized mostly in historical order, although some volumes are focused on particular categories of chamber works (flute, winds, synth, trumpet, percussion, etc...), some concentrate on different renditions of a single composition, and some are new recordings of older works.

     Brief descriptions of each CD follow with links to the relevant analysis pages on the main site. All performances conducted and mixed by Karlheinz Stockhausen unless otherwise indicated. All of these discs can be purchased online through the Stockhausen official store (which this site has no official affiliation with). For historical purposes, I'll also include relevant original LP covers from previous releases.

Live Electronics, Intuitive Music, Formula Form

     Stockhausen Edition CDs 11-26 are covered on this page (see the links in the table above to navigate to the other CD guides, or go to the "complete listing"). These start off with exploratory works for live electronics, performed by his touring electro-acoustic ensemble, "Group Stockhausen". Besides the open/variable form "plus-minus" and "intuitive" works, Stockhausen also explored the world of harmonic overtones in STIMMUNG and STERNKLANG. However, in the 1970s, he returned to more determinate (traditionally-notated) works, which led to large-scale constructs built up from thematic "formulas", such as found in MANTRA and SIRIUS (with formulas derived from the TIERKREIS melodies). Below is a listing of the CDs covered on this section with quick-access links.
21: YLEM

11 contains two works which feature electro-acoustic live ensembles. PROZESSION employs open/variable forms on "quotes" of older Stockhausen works, while CEYLON (an intuitive music piece from FÜR KOMMENDE ZEITEN) is driven by rhythmic hand drums and ring-modulated piano.
  • PROZESSION (PROCESSION), version with tam-tam (Christoph Caskel), electrochord (Peter Eotvos), electronium (Harald Bojé), piano (Aloys Kontarsky), filters, potentiometers (Stockhausen), rec. June 27, 1971.
  • CEYLON for electronium (Harald Bojé), camel bells with triangles and synthesizer (Péter Eötvös), ring-modulated piano (Aloys Kontarsky), tam-tam (Joachim Krist), and Kandy drum (Stockhausen), rec. Apr 4, 1975.

Original DG release

Original Chrysalis release

12 features STIMMUNG, in which 3 male and 3 female vocalists use text material based on "sacred words". An open form structure allows the creation of vocal overtones on a static harmony, resulting in a constantly-evolving, multi-layered canon-like texture.
  • STIMMUNG (TUNING) for 6 vocalists (1968)
    • Stimmung (Paris Version) feat. Collegium Vocale Köln, rec. 1969.
    • Stimmung (Paris Version) feat. Collegium Vocale Köln, rec. 1982.
DG release
DG release

13 features Stockhausen's electro-acoustic touring group transforming and interacting with shortwave radio transmissions.
  • KURZWELLEN (SHORT-WAVES) (1968), feat. Aloys Kontarsky (pno), Alfred Alings (tamtm), Rolf Gehlhaar (tamtm), Johannes G. Fritsch (vla), Harald Bojé (electronium), K. Stockhausen (filters), rec. April 9, 1969.
The original DG release had 2 versions (1968, 1969) split over 4 sides. Stockhausen Edition 13 includes the 1969 version, whereas Edition 61 pairs the 1968 version with LITANY 97.

14 is a box set of 7 CDs containing "intuitive music" pieces (open/variable form electro-acoustic textural odysseys, keyed off of text-based scores) and features members from "Group Stockhausen" (Aloys Kontarsky (pno), Alfred Alings (tamtm), Rolf Gehlhaar (tamtm), Johannes G. Fritsch (vla), Harald Bojé (electronium), K. Stockhausen (filters)) and Vinko Globokar's "Free Music Group" (Vinko Globokar (tb), Michel Portal (reeds), Jean-François Jenny-Clark (db), Jean-Pierre Drouet (perc), and Carlos R. Alsina (pno/orgn). Recorded 1969, except for GOLDSTAUB (1972).
    • RICHTIGE DAUERN ("Right Durations").
    • UNBEGRENZT ("Unlimited").
    • VERBINDUNG ("Connection").
    • TREFFPUNKT ("Meeting Place") (2 versions).
    • NACHTMUSIK ("Night Music").
    • ABWÄRTS ("Downwards") (2 versions).
    • AUFWÄRTS ("Upwards").
    • INTENSITÄT ("Intensity").
    • SETZ DIE SEGEL ZUR SONNE ("Set Sail For The Sun").
    • KOMMUNION ("Communion").
    • ES ("It") (2 versions).
    • GOLDSTAUB ("Gold Dust"), recorded 1972.

DG Box set release

Harmonia Mundi release

DG box

DG release

DG release

Chandor (bootleg?)

DG release

15 features solo and duo open/variable form compositions for live electronics and shortwave radio, recorded Apr 18, 1971.
  • SPIRAL for a soloist, feat. Péter Eötvös (Electrochord, synth, radio)
  • SPIRAL for a soloist, feat. Harald Bojé (Electronium, radio)
  • POLE (POLES) for 2, feat. Péter Eötvös & Harald Bojé.
EMI Electrola release.

16 contains Stockhausen's first mature "formula" piece, MANTRA, in which a piano duo essentially "explodes" a meticulously-notated and articulated melody theme, and enhances it with subtly-applied ring modulation.
  • MANTRA for piano duo with crotales and ring modulators (1970), feat. Alfons and Aloys Kontarsky, rec. June 10-13, 1971.
Original DG release

17 is a relatively contemporary recording of some intuitive music pieces from Stockhausen's second collection of text scores, recorded by the Ensemble for Intuitive Music Weimar (Michael von Hintzenstern (piano/harmonium), Matthias von Hintzenstern (cello), Hans Tutschku (synthesizer), Daniel Hoffmann (trumpet)) on May 28, 2005.
    • VERKÜRZUNG ("Shortening")
    • WACH ("Awake")
    • INNERHALB ("Inside")
    • ANHALT ("Halt")
    • WELLEN ("Waves")
    • VORAHNUNG ("Presentiment")

18 features a "roaming" studio recording, documenting the five spacially-separated electro-acoustic chamber groups of STERNKLANG, a harmonically-modulating piece structurally similar to the all-vocal STIMMUNG. Some soloists are also highlighted in the mix as they "migrate" from one group to another. This 2 CD recording features members of the English new music groups Intermodulation and Gentle Fire, as well as Annette Meriweather (vox), Harald Bojé (synth), Michael Vetter (vox, recorder), Markus Stockhausen (tpt, synth) and Suzanne Stephens (clr, synth), etc.
  • STERNKLANG (STAR SOUND): Park Music for five groups (1969-71), rec. June 24-26, 1975.
Original DG release

19 contains two recordings of the enigmatic orchestral work TRANS, which highlights sometimes "comic" soloists playing against a backdrop of percolating winds and slowly-modulating strings.
  • TRANS for orchestra (1971)
    • World première live recording, feat. the SWR orchestra conducted by Ernest Bour, rec. Oct 16, 1971.
    • Studio recording, feat. the Saarland Radio orchestra cond. by Hans Zender, rec. Jan 1974.
Original DG release

20 documents a cycle of 12 mystical male-female vocal duets based on traditional American Indian song texts.
  • AM HIMMEL WANDRE ICH (IN THE SKY I AM WALKING) (1972), feat. Helga Hamm-Albrecht and Karl O. Barkey, rec. Feb 23-25, 1977.
Original DG release

21 features 2 performances of the open-form work YLEM, which musically portrays the birth and death of the universe through the progressive motion of handheld instruments through a performance space (or in this case, the stereo field).
  • YLEM for 19 players/singers and 4 shortwave radios (1972), feat. the London Sinfonietta, rec. Mar 21, 1973.
    • YLEM, Take 3
    • YLEM, Take 2
     Prior to this release, an additional take of YLEM had not been previously released on LP or CD.
Original DG release

22 is a large scale work for orchestra which portrays the "formation" of a theme, one parameter at a time (rhythm - dynamics - melody - harmony - polyphony). Essentially, slow-moving sound masses in the beginning evolve into dramatic, complex gestures by the end. Two dancer-mimes are listed as "soloists", but obviously they can't be heard on the CD.
  • INORI, Adorations for orchestra with one or two (dancer-mime) soloists (1973-74), feat. the SWR Baden-Baden orchestra with Suzanne Stephens on rin and Maria Bergmann on piano, rec. Sept 7-11, 1978.
Original DG release

23 is a semi-theatrical choral work, with the second half accompanied by orchestral background textures. The melodic vocal elements here have a somewhat humorous, folk-like feel to them.
  • ATMEN GIBT DAS LEBEN (BREATHING GIVES LIFE) (Choir Opera with orchestra) (1974/77), feat. NDR choir (rec. Feb. 9, 1979) and the NDR orchestra (rec. April 1977). 
Original DG release

24 contains the first appearances of the popular "Zodiac" melodies, which are 12 surprisingly lyrical themes which have been arranged in different forms over the years. Here, they are realized as wind-up "music box" melodies, and then exploited in a theatrically-involved percussion sextet.
  • TIERKREIS (ZODIAC) for 12 music boxes (1975)
  • MUSIK IM BAUCH (MUSIC IN THE BELLY) for 6 percussionists and music boxes (1975), feat. Les Percussions de Strasbourg, rec. Feb 5-7, 1977.
Original DG release
Original DG release (back)

25 features the clarinet and dance of woodwind player Suzanne Stephens. These two pieces for soloist are each based on a single "formula" theme, but with elements and "limbs" of the theme expanded and transformed at length in different textural explorations. An over-arching narrative theme enfolds the works in a dramatic scenario.
  • HARLEKIN (HARLEQUIN) for clarinet (1975), rec. Feb. 15/16th, 1978.
  • DER KLEINE HARLEKIN (THE LITTLE HARLEQUIN) for clarinet (1975), rec. Feb. 17th, 1978.
Original DG release

26 is a massive electro-acoustic work with four soloists (trumpet, female soprano voice, bass clarinet, and male bass voice). The live soloists perform against a tape consisting of layers of whirling electronic sequences generated by the EMS Synthi 100 synthesizer/sequencer. The thematic material of all of the parts is derived from the 12 melodies originally introduced in TIERKREIS (CD 24), so familiarity with those melodies is very helpful to fully enjoy this piece (although not mandatory). The electronic music layers (isolated from the soloists) can be found on the 8 disc set of CD 76.
  • SIRIUS (electronic music with trumpet, soprano, bass clarinet, bass, 1975-77), feat. Markus Stockhausen (tpt), Boris Carmeli (m vcl), Annette Meriweather (f vcl) and Suzanne Stephens (bass clarinet). Electronic music created from July 1975 to March 1977, soloists rec. May 7-13, 1979.
Original DG release