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Stockhausen, Karlheinz

Historic First Recordings of the Klavierstucke I-VIII & XI

Stockhausen, Karlheinz: Historic First Recordings of the Klavierstucke I-VIII & XI (Hat [now] ART)

Originally conceived as a cycle of 21 solo piano pieces, composer Karlheinz Stockhausen only completed a section of these Klavierstucke works, eventually transforming the series for synthesizers and electronic instruments; Hat Hut now restores the original recordings from the 50s by the pianist Stockhausen dedicated some of these pieces to: David Tudor.

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product information:

UPC: 752156017226

Label: Hat [now] ART
Catalog ID: Hat[now]ART172
Squidco Product Code: 26695

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2018
Country: Switzerland
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
Recorded at WDR Funkhaus, in Koln, Germany on September 19th, 1958 (tracks 9-12), and September 27, 1959 (tracks 1-8), by Heinz Oepen, and Otto Tomek.


Karlheinz Stockhausen-composer

David Tudor-piano

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Artist Biographies:

"Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928-2007) composed 376 individually performable works. From 1977 to 2003 he composed the cycle of operas LICHT (LIGHT), The Seven Days of the Week, which comprises about 29 hours of music. All of the seven parts of this music-theatre work have had their staged world premières: DONNERSTAG (THURSDAY) in 1981, SAMSTAG (SATURDAY) in 1984, and MONTAG (MONDAY) in 1988, all three produced by the Teatro alla Scala in Milan; DIENSTAG (TUESDAY) in 1993 and FREITAG (FRIDAY) in 1996, both at the Leipzig Opera, SONNTAG (SUNDAY) in 2011, at the Cologne Opera. With MITTWOCH (WEDNESDAY), the Birmingham Opera Company presented the last day of the LICHT heptalogy on Wednesday, August 22nd 2012.

After LICHT, Stockhausen intended to compose the hours of the day, the minute and the second. He began the cycle KLANG (SOUND), The 24 Hours of the Day, and until his death in December 2007, he composed the 1st Hour HIMMELFAHRT (ASCENSION) to the 21st Hour PARADIES (PARADISE).

Karlheinz Stockhausen started composing in the early 1950s. Already the first compositions of "Point Music" such as KREUZSPIEL (CROSS-PLAY) in 1951, SPIEL (PLAY) for orchestra in 1952, and KONTRA-PUNKTE (COUNTER-POINTS) in 1952/53, brought Stockhausen international fame. Fundamental achievements in music since 1950 are indelibly imprinted through his compositions: The "Serial Music", the "Point Music", the "Electronic Music", the "New Percussion Music", the "Variable Music", the "New Piano Music", the "Space Music", "Statistical Music", "Aleatoric Music", "Live Electronic Music"; new syntheses of "Music and Speech", of a "Musical Theatre", of a "Ritual Music", "Scenic Music"; the "Group Composition", polyphonic "Process Composition", " Moment Composition", "Formula Composition" to "Multi-Formula Composition"; the integration of "found objects" (national anthems, folklore of all countries, short-wave events, "sound scenes", etc.) into a "World Music" and a "Universal Music"; the synthesis of European, African, Latin American and Asian music into a "Telemusic"; the vertical " Octophonic Music".

Stockhausen's entire oeuvre can be classified as "Spiritual Music"; this becomes more and more evident not only in the compositions with spiritual texts, but also in the other works of "Overtone Music", "Intuitive Music", "Mantric Music", reaching "Cosmic Music" such as STIMMUNG (TUNING), AUS DEN SIEBEN TAGEN (FROM THE SEVEN DAYS), MANTRA, STERNKLANG (STAR SOUND), INORI, ATMEN GIBT DAS LEBEN (BREATHING GIVES LIFE), SIRIUS, LICHT (LIGHT), KLANG (SOUND).

At nearly all world premières and in innumerable exemplary performances and recordings of his works world-wide, Stockhausen either personally conducted, or performed in or directed the performance as sound projectionist.

In a spherical auditorium conceived by Stockhausen, most of his works composed until 1970 were performed at the Expo '70 world fair in Osaka, Japan, for 5½ hours daily for 183 days by twenty instrumentalists and singers, there by reaching an audience of over a million listeners.

In addition to numerous guest professorships in Switzerland, the United States, Finland, Holland, and Denmark, Stockhausen was appointed Professor for Composition at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne in 1971. In 1996 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Freie Unversität Berlin, and in 2004 received an honorary doctorate from the Queen's University in Belfast. He is a member of 12 international Academies for the Arts and Sciences, was named Honorary Citizen of Kuerten in 1988, became Commandeur dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, received many gramophone prizes and, among other honours, the Federal Medal of Merit, 1st class, the Siemens Music Prize, the UNESCO Picasso Medal, the Order of Merit of the State of North Rhine Westfalia, many prizes from the German Music Publisher's Society for his score publications, the Hamburg BACH Prize, the Cologne Culture Prize and, the Polar Music Prize with the laudation: "Karlheinz Stockhausen is being awarded the Polar Music Prize for 2001 for a career as a composer that has been characterized by impeccable integrity and never-ceasing creativity, and for having stood at the fore front of musical development for fifty years.""

-Karlheinz Stockhausen Website (

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"David Tudor was born in Philadelphia, PA, in 1926. He studied with H. William Hawke (organ, theory), Irma Wolpe Rademacher (piano) and Stephan Wolpe (composition and analysis).His first professional activity was as an organist, and he subsequently became known as one of the leading avante-garde pianists of our time. Tudor gave highly acclaimed first or early performances of worksby contemporary composers Earle Brown, Sylvano Bussotti, Morton Feldman, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Christian Wolff, Stephan Wolpe, and La Monte Young, among others.

Tudor began working with John Cage in the early fifties, as a member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and with Cage's Project of Music for Electronic Tape. Tudor gradually ended his active career as a pianist, turning exclusively to the composition of live electronic music.

As a composer, Tudor chose specific electronic components and their interconnections to define both composition and performance drawing upon resources that were both flexible and complex. Tudor was one of four Core Artists who collaborated on the design of the Pepsi Pavilion for Expo '70, Osaka, Japan, a project of Experiments in Art and Technology, Inc. Many of Tudor's compositions have involved collaborative visual forces: light systems, laser projections, dance, theater, television, film. Tudor's last project, Toneburst: Maps and Fragments, was a collaboration with visual artist Sophia Ogielska. Tudor's several collaborations with visual artist Jacqueline Monnier included the development of a kite environment installed at the Whitney Museum (Philip Morris, NYC) in 1986, at the exhibition "Klangraume" in Dusseldorf in 1988, and at the Jack Tilton Gallery in New York City in 1990. Other collaborators have included Lowell Cross, Molly Davies, Viola Farber, Anthony Martin, and Robert Rauschenberg.

Tudor had been affiliated with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company (MCDC) since its inception in the summer of 1953. In 1992, after CageÕs death, Tudor took over as Music Director of MCDC. Merce Cunningham has commissioned numerous works from Tudor, including Rainforest I (1968); Toneburst (1974); Weatherings (1978); Phonemes (1981); Sextet for Seven (1982); Fragments (1984); Webwork (1987), Five Stone Wind (1988), Virtual Focus (1990); Neural Network Plus (1992); and most recently Soundings: Ocean Diary (1994) for what was John Cage's last conception, Ocean.

David Tudor passed away on August 13, 1996 at his home in Tomkins Cove, NY."

-David Tudor Website (

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track listing:

1. Klavierstuck I 2:51

2. Klavierstuck II 1:26

3. Klavierstuck III 0:39

4. Klavierstuck IV 2:14

5. Klavierstuck V 5:00

6. Klavierstuck VI 16:20

7. Klavierstuck VII 6:50

8. Klavierstuck VIII 2:00

9. Klavierstuck XI/1 7:00

10. Klavierstuck XI/2 9:36

11. Klavierstuck XI/3 8:35

12. Klavierstuck XI/4 7:02

sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Stockhausen calls his piano pieces his "drawings", the pieces in which he sketches out ideas without the added color complexity of instrumental timbres. More significantly, in these early pieces you can hear a composer grappling with the challenge of electronic sound, looking for "envelope curves" that will allow the old medium to compete with the new. As played by David Tudor in this historic recording, the piano gives its answer to the synthesizer. David Tudor is without question one of the premier figures in the performance of new music since the middle of this century. As a pianist, Tudor gave highly acclaimed first performances of works by contemporary composers Pierre Boulez, Earle Brown, Sylvano Bussotti, John Cage, Morton Feldman, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Christian Wolff, Stephan Wolpe, and La Monte Young, among others. As a composer, Tudor chose specific electronic components and their interconnections to define both composition and performance drawing upon resources that were both flexible and complex."-Hat[now]ART

"This is an important reissue because it restores to the catalogue the first recordings of Stockhausen's Klavierstücke - made in the late 1950s - by one of the pianists, David Tudor, to whom the composer dedicated some of the earliest of these core works. Originally conceived as a large cycle of twenty-one piano pieces, Stockhausen never completed them - and over the decades they transformed from works for conventional piano into ones for synthesizer or electronic instruments, increasingly influenced by his Licht operas. As with Boulez, some of the works went through substantial revision - especially VI - and the cycle as it stands is also notable for some marked differences in scale: Some of these works last less than a minute; others are vast, traveling geometric distances of forty minutes in length.

Stockhausen has described his Klavierstücke as his "drawings". In a sense, this has always struck me as an interesting description because it partly suggests incompletion - though what one really sees in these works is evolution - much as you experience in the drawings of da Vinci, for example - to the extent that by 1991, when he composed No. XV, completed long after Tudor had ceased performing as a pianist, he had abandoned the piano as an instrument altogether. But that evolution is clearly notable in the very early Klavierstücke as well: the notation and irrational rhythms of No. I, criticised by Boulez, among others, at the time, grow into something more precisely patterned by No. IV, a piece that Boulez seems to have admired.

It's probably the case that the Klavierstücke, whilst remaining seminal piano works, have been surpassed by other composers in several contexts. The irrational rhythms of the Stockhausen pieces have certainly been advanced since: The 'nested' irrationals that preface Ferneyhough's Opus Contra Naturam, 'split irrationals' that you get in Finnissy's 11th Verdi Transcription from Macbeth, or Cage's Music of Changes or some of the music of Nancarrow, for example. The rapid metronome markings, the tone rows, the complex dynamics (notable in IV where you get one line that is ff and the other that is pp) are still difficult, but are more manageable than a work like Finnissy's English Country-Tunes.

It's certainly true that Tudor's landmark recordings have aged well, even in the context of their sound which was done in the WDR studios in Köln, Germany. Stockhausen didn't write these pieces in chronological order - even No. I of the cycle was composed last of the first quartet of works - so there are gaps in what Tudor managed to record in 1958 and 1959. There is no Klavierstücke IX and X, for example, neither of which appeared until 1961 (but there is an XI): IX was premiered by Aloys Kontarsky, and X, which was to have been premiered by Tudor, but he didn't have time to learn the work, ended up being premiered by Frederic Rzewski (who also made the first commercial recording of the work in 1964, a performance which has been released on Wergo 67722, coupled with Stockhausen's Zyklus).

Stockhausen's constant revision of some of the Klavierstücke means that Tudor's September 1959 recording of VI (which went through four revisions) is of the March 1955 version - not the version we hear today which adds considerably more published material dating from 1960 and 1961. In one sense this is a little unfortunate since the 1961 Klavierstück VI might well be the most interesting of the cycle - it's the second longest (in its complete form it runs to just over forty minutes; the Tudor 1955 version is a little over sixteen minutes) but it's the monumental nature of the landscape that Stockhausen creates which provides the challenge of this work. It's at times enormously craggy, like a vast Alpine rock face, with a spectrum of tempo changes that is sometimes bewildering. Tudor's recording of No. VI is what it is - but it's nevertheless a missed opportunity, and one that would never have materialised because Tudor all but ceased playing the piano after 1961 to concentrate on composition and teaching.

The other important recording on this disc is his performance of XI - indeed, any pianist's recording of XI is important because of how Stockhausen conceived it. No performance of XI will ever be identical and none will ever be repeatable; each is a unique pianistic experience because of its polyvalent structure. In part it resembles Feldman's Intermission 6, though it really has much more in common with Cage's 4'33 (which Tudor had given the premiere of). Klavierstück XI is highly random, and unpredictable in a way that Stockhausen never matched in the rest of this cycle. A bit like a labyrinth, the pianist begins with any one of nineteen fragments then proceeds to whichever next one he chooses until each fragment has been played three times when the performance ends. As experimental music, it's an interesting concept - and Tudor gives four different interpretations of the piece, each of different lengths, each utilising different meters and textual rhythms, to demonstrate the plausibility of unpredictability in the work.

David Tudor's importance as an early interpreter of Stockhausen's piano music still serves as a benchmark for many pianists today. His career was infuriatingly short - but his pianism was distinctive, and he dealt with complexity with extraordinary clarity. These are definitive recordings - if not, surpassed, then certainly matched by inspirational pianists like Kontarsky, Henck, Chen and, most recently, Liebner who have recorded some, or all, of the pianistic Klavierstücke."-Marc Bridle, MusicWeb Interational

Get additional information at MusicWeb International
Related Categories of Interest:

Hat Art
Compositional Forms
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Solo Artist Recordings
New in Compositional Music

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