The Passion of Karlheinz Stockhausen


“I view my entire life, my entire work, in such a way as to ask myself: “How, as you become older do you set about integrating everything that has previously happened?”  –Karlheniz Stockhausen

This month’s Art Forum has a nice feature remembering the work of Stockhausen:

When Stockhausen died on December 5, 2007, at his home in Kürten, Germany, his fame as a composer of startlingly original and uncompromising music—whether groundbreaking experiments in electronic sound, innovative manipulations of traditional instrumentation, or unorthodox approaches to the human voice—had long since peaked, and his work was perhaps spoken of more eagerly than it was performed. Moreover, his reputation had been irremediably if unfairly sullied by an oft-repeated comment he made at a press conference only days after September 11, 2001, calling the terrorist attacks “the greatest work of art” ever. Concerned that Stockhausen’s death was, as a consequence, largely remarked as a cultural curiosity, and seeking to offer a corrective, we turned to a diverse group with deep ties to his work: composers Robin Maconie, La Monte Young, Morton Subotnick, and Maryanne Amacher (all but one of whom attended Stockhausen’s famous seminar in Darmstadt); violinist Irvine Arditti and pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard (two important champions of the work of contemporary composers); and alternative singer-songwriter Björk. Together they reflect on the musical legacy of a man who must, by any accounting, figure among the most influential composers of the postwar era. Maconie, Subotnick, and Björk’s pieces appear below. For the rest, pick up the March issue of Artforum. Continue reading

The Rest Is Noise Officially Out Today

“There seems always to have been a ‘crisis of modern music,’ but by some insane miracle one person finds the way out. The impossibility of it gives me hope. Fast-forwarding through so many music-makers’ creative highs and lows in the company of Alex Ross’s incredibly nourishing book will rekindle anyone’s fire for music.”  — Björk

The Rest Is Noise reads like a sprawling, intense novel, one of utopian dreams, doom, and consolation, with the most extraordinary cast of characters from music and history alike.” — Osvaldo Golijov

I don’t know how many of you have been following Alex Ross and his incredibly informative blog about his upcoming book and everything important in the twentieth century music, but the book officially comes out today, so you can get yourself a copy and finally read it.

 You can read some excerpts here and here, and, of course, you can buy the book itself here!

Table of Contents: Continue reading