Stockhausen Video

Check out this video from YouTube:

Watch for the tuba player (not sure who it is) one minute into this wild performance! There are five total clips featuring this performance of “Micheals Reise un de Welt” (Michael’s Journey) by Kalheinz Stockhausen. I don’t know what’s more interesting, the wild performance – including a live orchestra with trumpet soloist (Marco Blaauw) strapped to a gigantic rotating arm while moving all over the stage, above the orchestra – or how impressive it is to have memorized this avantgarde work.

This video excerpt is actually from an opera, described below by Thomas Ulrich:

On 25 and 26 August, the Cologne Philharmonie turned into an opera stage; a spectacular scenic performance of „Michaels Reise“ („Michael‘s Journey“) from the monumental opera cycle „Licht“ („Light“) by Karlheinz Stockhausen was staged. This event took place on the occasion of the composer’s 80th birthday…..

Stockhausen’s opera cycle “Licht”, in particular, is laid out genuinely grandly; it is a cycle of seven operas about the days of the week from „Monday“ to „Sunday“, 29 hours of music which the composer worked on for more than 25 years. The time journey through the week which the cycle sets off on is also a journey passing through the central issues of life which every man has to confront himself with, in which he has to prove himself – such a basic theme is attributed to every day, which Stockhausen takes from the traditions that are linked to the names of the weekdays: Tuesday being the day of war and conflict, Sunday being the day of praising the Lord etc. The three protagonists from the Jewish-Christian tradition move through these missions of man’s life: Michael, the archangel, who becomes a man in order to lead mankind to God; Eve as a representative of heavenly and earthly love; and Lucifer, the fallen angel, as an antagonist. “Licht” is a cosmic world theatre. Stockhausen does not intend to put an esoteric artistic product on the stage – rather, he communicates a message to his audience: Here is where your life is being negotiated. …


The remarkable thing about this act of the opera is the fact that it can do without singers – there are hardly any words spoken. All figures perform on the stage as instrumentalists: Michael as trumpeter, Eve as basset horn player, Lucifer as trombonist or tuba player. Still, it is an opera that we experience here rather than a trumpet concert, since the music is in itself imaginary, scenically laid out – it cries out for a lively staging. A Spanish director‘s team around the director Carlus Padrissa, which is linked to the Catalan theatre group “La Fura dels Baus”, has taken up this task with huge stage machines, a fast-paced movement direction and exciting video projections. What mattered to the team was to translate the 30-year-old work into the theatre language of today in order to open up new spaces, in the very spirit of Stockhausen. The production was premiered at the Wiener Festwochen (Vienna Festival Weeks) in May; there it turned out that the visionary and monumental intention in Stockhausen’s work was immediately grasped when the stage performance was shaped by theatre makers who intended to stage the astounding. But: Not only the powerful, sometimes even astounding element of Stockhausen’s tonal language is to come into its own but also the cheerful, tender and intimate moment – this is what this extraordinary music theatre evening intends to achieve. It was intended as a gift for Stockhausen‘s 80th birthday on 22 August 2008 – what a pity that the master, who died all of a sudden on 5th December 2007, couldn‘t witness any more how his work inspired a new generation of artists and musicians alike and found its way to the audience.

– Thomas Ulrich

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One Response to Stockhausen Video

  1. jodru says:

    The tubist is Melvyn Poore, originally from Australia and a longstanding member of musikFabrik:

    http://www.musikfabrik.eu/front_content.php?idcat=46

    Even though I played in the orchestra on this tour, I didn’t even fully comprehend what was going on until I watched this DVD. It was a tremendous production.

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