Stockhausen Towers over 20th Century; Karlheinz Stockhausen May Have Been the Enfant Terrible of Avant-Garde Music but the Beatles Still Found Room for Him on the Cover of Sgt Pepper. as He Nears His 70th Birthday Christopher Morley Looks Back on a Career Rooted in Wartime Suffering

By Morley, Christopher | The Birmingham Post (England), August 20, 1998 | Go to article overview

Stockhausen Towers over 20th Century; Karlheinz Stockhausen May Have Been the Enfant Terrible of Avant-Garde Music but the Beatles Still Found Room for Him on the Cover of Sgt Pepper. as He Nears His 70th Birthday Christopher Morley Looks Back on a Career Rooted in Wartime Suffering


Morley, Christopher, The Birmingham Post (England)


Venerable he might be, but old he's not, even though the birth certificate says he was born on 28 August 1928. Karlheinz Stockhausen reaches his threescore years and ten while still retaining a questing young man's vision in his approach to composition.

His years as an iconoclast may now be successfully behind him, but he remains at the forefront of innovation, experimenting with language and technology with all the zest of a youngster let loose in a wonderland of sound.

Perhaps Stockhausen is enjoying an extended youth now because his own actual adolescence was spent in such horrific circumstances. His father, a secondary-schoolteacher, was obliged to join the Nazi party in the early 1930s; deeply religious, as, too, wa s his son, Stockhausen senior suffered inwardly when morning prayer was replaced by the invocation "Heil Hitler".

In 1941 Karlheinz's mother, a manic depressive for nearly ten years, became a victim of the Hitler regime's "euthanasia policy". In 1943 his father went to the front as an officer (he never returned, probably killed in Hungary).

Stockhausen himself earned pocket-money as a firewatcher, and was later drafted as a stretcher-bearer and medical orderly; his own descriptions of the sights he witnessed are sickening and unforgettable.

After the war he combined study with manual work to support his stepmother and young sisters. To finance his musical studies - he had always been fascinated by sound, not least from the radio's magical box - he took countless jobs, sold home-made black m arket cigarettes and spent his nights playing the piano in clubs and cafes.

Stockhausen's substantial list of published compositions dates from 1950. Right from the start his works reveal a close interest in structure, texture, cohesion and interplay, and for a while they followed the strictly ordered tenets of serialism.

During the early 1950s he worked alongside Pierre Boulez, studying under Messiaen in Paris and experimenting in Pierre Schaeffer's influential electronic music studio. His experience there led to the invitation from the West German Broadcasting Corporati on to become co-director of its new studio for electronic music, a post he took up in 1953.

Passing through a period when electronic sound-sources served as compositional ends in themselves, the composer/ performer in apparent total control, he came to the realisation that, with no influence over how the audience actually received the sounds (d ependent both upon the placing of the loudspeakers and the listener's own position), a virtue could be made of spatial opportunities.

So there arose a sequence of works for comparatively conventional media, deployed in unconventional ways. Most spectacular of these is perhaps the Gruppen of 1955-57, three orchestras and three conductors interacting upon each other. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Stockhausen Towers over 20th Century; Karlheinz Stockhausen May Have Been the Enfant Terrible of Avant-Garde Music but the Beatles Still Found Room for Him on the Cover of Sgt Pepper. as He Nears His 70th Birthday Christopher Morley Looks Back on a Career Rooted in Wartime Suffering
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.