Issue Project Room
Friday, December 9, 2011
8:00 PM

All-Stockhausen Program:
“Trompete” aus Orchester Finalisten
Cosmic Pulses (NY Premiere)

Joe Drew, trumpet & sound projection

Cosmic Pulses is the last piece of electronic music that Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928-2007) ever wrote. It was commissioned by the Dissonanze electronic music festival in Rome, and it was premiered there five months before the composer’s death.

The piece begins the second half of Stockhausen’s unfinished Klang (Sound) cycle, which features a piece of music for each of the 24 hours in a day. Cosmic Pulses is music for the 13th hour, and all of the remaining hours in the cycle use partial mixdowns of Cosmic Pulses as an electronic accompaniment for live performers.

The piece is a dense thicket of sound which lasts for just over a half hour. The audience is surrounded by a square of 8 sound channels (2 on every side). Each channel also includes a subwoofer, making the listening experience more like a sonic roller coaster than a normal concert piece. It is unlike anything else in Stockhausen’s body of work.

The concert begins with one of Stockhausen’s early masterpieces, Telemusik (1966). Written while the composer was in Japan, the piece is in Stockhausen’s modulated collage style, where eclectic samples are run through various processes to create a finished piece. His source material centered on samples of ethnic music from around the world.

“Trompete” (Trumpet) is an excerpt from Orchester Finalisten (Orchestra Finalists), which is the second scene from Mittwoch aus Licht (Wednesday from Light). The scene features a series of orchestral auditions by a procession of soloists. The soloists perform to a tape accompaniment which is almost pure collage. The source material range from elephants trumpeting at each other to children making cannonball splashes in a pool. The tape is a wonderful demonstration of Stockhausen’s playfulness.

Joe Drew has specialized in Stockhausen’s music for over a decade, having traveled to K├╝rten frequently to study with Stockhausen’s original interpeters. In 2008, he was the principal trumpeter on musikFabrik’s touring production of Michaels Reise um die Erde (Michael’s Journey Around the World) from Donnerstag aus Licht (Thursday from Light). He presented the US premiere of Cosmic Pulses that same year in Omaha. Joe is currently a doctoral fellow at NYU Steinhardt, and he is also the founder and director of Iron Composer.