The debriefing that followed last Saturday’s TURNING POINTS: STOCKHAUSEN event was abundant! After the performances, the audience had the opportunity to sit in on a presentation by Jonathan Cross (Professor of Musicology at Oxford University); attend a Q&A with the London Sinfonietta, Jonathan Cross and musicians; try their hand at Mikrophonie I and meet with musicians informally at the bar.We were delighted to see such enthusiasm amongst our audience, and a big thanks to everyone for coming out on what was very wet evening indeed.
On entering the event space, people were handed a Stockhausen quiz that they could fill out throughout the evening, as they learnt about Stockhausen and attended performances of his works. Below, we have published the questions and answers to that quiz:
1. In what colour did Stockhausen dream? He dreamt of the string orchestra in Trans bathed in this colour light. It represented the idea of ‘good’ to him.
Answer in St Pancras Room talk: violet-red
2. In 1970 Stockhausen, along with an architect, constructed a completely spherical hall. It seated 550 people, who were then surrounded by loudspeakers, which projected sound in circles, lines and spirals amongst them. Where was this?
Answer in St Pancras Room talk: Osaka, Japan, at the World Fair
3. What is the last ‘live’ instrument played in Kontakte?
Answer in Hall One performance: snare drum with brush
4. How many individual units are there in Piano Piece XI?
Answer in St Pancras Room talk: 19
5. How many implements are used to resonate the tam tam in Mikrophonie I?
Answer on the night: 50-65
6. What is the title of Stockhausen’s famous 1955 essay, which attempted to uncover the relationship between rhythm and pitch?
Answer in foyer (chapter 4): …how time passes…
7. A 1969 performance of Stimmung was disrupted by young composers, in protest at this ‘too authoritarian music’. Which now famous Dutch composer challenged Stockhausen to defend himself?
Answer in St Pancras Room talk: Louis Andriessen
8. What does ‘stimmung’ mean in English?
Answer displayed in foyer (chapter 6): Trick question!
‘Stimmung’ is a German word whose meaning is difficult to render in English. Stockhausen himself suggests it can denote ‘tuning’ or ‘true intonation’. But it also has implications of ‘attuning’, as well as ‘mood’, ‘feeling’, ‘atmosphere’ and ‘spirit’. Stockhausen’s work entitled Stimmung (1968) explores all these aspects. In the most basic sense, the work is concerned with tuning, in that it presents just a single well-tuned chord across its c.70-minute duration, sung by six singers. It is, in fact, the ‘pure’ sound of harmonics above a fundamental B-flat, that is, it presents the harmonic ‘spectrum’ of that sound. Clearly it was a product of his analysis of sound in the studio.