Die 24 Stunden des Tages
March 25 & 26, 2016
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Met Breuer
The Cloisters

Program Notes by Joseph Drew

Taka Kigawa (organ), Amanda DeBoer (soprano), Eric Dudley (tenor)
March 26: 11 a.m. & 2:45 p.m. – The Cloisters, Fuentidueña Chapel

HIMMELFAHRT is composed for organ or synthesizer, soprano, tenor. It lasts about 36 minutes. The world premiere was given on May 5, 2005 (Ascension Day) in the Milan cathedral by Alessandro La Ciacero (organ), Barbara Zanichelli (soprano), Paolo Borgonovo (tenor), and Karlheinz Stockhausen (sound projection). HIMMELFAHRT was commissioned by Don Luigi Garbini for Artache.

HIMMELFAHRT (Ascension) begins the KLANG cycle with a stunningly difficult organ part which requires the right and left hands to sustain independent tempi for virtually the entire piece. The organist begins by playing nine bars at 50.5 beats per minute (bpm) with his right hand, and two bars at 45 bpm with his left hand. He pauses briefly to rattle a bamboo chime, before continuing on in the same vein. His hands do not get to share the same tempo until the 99th measure of the piece, and by that time, he has added 5 Japanese rin and 3 bell plates to his percussion battery.

The demands on the organist in HIMMELFAHRT are relentless. The soprano and the tenor stand by in virtual silence, perhaps agog at what the organist is managing to do with just two hands. Their text is brief, beginning with the kind of meta flourishes that populate so many of Stockhausen’s libretti. They sing, “KLANG…Music for the First Hour”, announcing the title of the cycle and the position of HIMMELFAHRT within it. Such self-referential moments are a beloved device for Stockhausen, as they help bridge the sometimes troublesome gap between his music and the listener. By directly addressing the audience, a sense of welcome prevails, instead of the bristly self-seriousness so often found in contemporary music.

The soprano and tenor piece together their text one fragment at a time. Their interjections are separated sometimes by a minute or more. As the piece progresses, the singers grow more coordinated, until they finally sing in harmony on the final stanza “Our voices praise you GOD GOD”. Their asynchronicity mirrors the dueling tempi in the organist’s hands. Prior to the ending, the organist has just two moments where his hands work in concert. In bar 99, the tempo for both hands is 134 bpm. In bar 301, the tempo is 101 bpm in both hands. In the final four bars of HIMMELFAHRT, the left hand settles into the right hands tempo of 67 bpm. The fact that these unison tempi are separated by roughly 33 bpm is perhaps a happy coincidence with the other primary subject of the text in HIMMELFAHRT.

After their introductory phrases, the soprano and tenor sing about the Feast of the Ascension, the day when Jesus arose to Heaven (traditionally believed to be in his 33rd year of life as a man). The singers hold fast to the hope implicit in the Ascension. They sing, “Death cannot be death” because “Jesus has ascended into Heaven”. The text then explicitly links Jesus with Saint Michael the Archangel, calling him “Son of God…Master of the Universe”.

Michael’s identity as the preincarnate form of Jesus is an overarching theme in Stockhausen’s LICHT (Light) cycle of seven operas. It is not an uncommon mode of thinking in Christian theology, but the reference to Michael as “Master of the Universe” indicates where KLANG is irrevocably headed in its final hours. In The Urantia Book, Michael is not only Jesus, but he is also the creator of the universe. As KLANG progresses, the influence of this book, which Stockhausen coyly used throughout LICHT, becomes increasingly overt, and that story will play out as these program notes progress.

The final concept of great importance in the libretto for HIMMELFAHRT is the sentiment that “GOD’s children ascend to Heaven with Music from KLANG”. Though Stockhausen was not composing sacred music, he did feel that his music could be used towards sacred ends by listeners who were open to it. This stanza is an invitation to the listener to come along with Stockhausen on a journey away from terrestrial concerns, with his music as the vehicle for the spirit.

June Han & Bridget Kibbey (harp), Joseph Drew (sound projection)
March 26: 7 p.m. – The Metropolitan Musuem of Art, Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium

FREUDE is composed for two harps. It lasts 38 minutes. The world premiere was given on June 7, 2006 in the Milan Cathedral by Marianne Smit and Esther Kooi. The work was commissioned by Don Luigi Garbini for ArtAche. The U.S. premiere of FREUDE was given by June Han & Bridget Kibbey at the Guggenheim Museum on May 2, 2010.
If the spirit has ascended during HIMMELFAHRT, what can it expect to find in Heaven? If centuries of Christian iconography have taught us anything, it surely must be that the ascending spirit will encounter angels playing harps. That is the tableau that Stockhausen presents his audience in FREUDE, the second hour of KLANG.

Yet, these angels do not strum placidly and sing coloratura delights. Instead, they assault their instruments with every technique imaginable. In the first moment of the score, the harpists trade hexachords, climaxing with a 21-second tremolo that winks at the strummed harps of Renaissance tableaus, and creates a wondrous blur of overtones. After a pause, they sing inverted melodies on the first line of their text, “Veni Creator Spiritus”. Next comes a quick reminder, in Italian, that this is the second hour of KLANG (“ora seconda”).

The second moment of the score puts the harpists in the fairly unusual position of playing dodecaphonic melodies that outline the 24-note tone row for KLANG. Stockhausen has immediately situated the harpists back in the milieu of his earliest serial works. As he did with LICHT, Stockhausen fondly looks backwards at his previous music and borrows from it liberally in KLANG.

FREUDE moves from moment to moment with the harpists constantly shifting both singing and playing techniques. Sometimes they strum the harp with a plectrum, sometimes they call their text out as if they have drifted too far apart on their clouds to hear each other. They cajole and lament and rejoice through the 24 moments of the score, exhausting nearly every angle of approach to the text.

Such an eclectic text setting is fitting for “Veni Creator Spiritus”, the traditional hymn of Pentecost. We are now 10 days removed from the Feast of the Ascension. Jesus has taken his body with him to Heaven, and yet, His Spirit returns in another form. The Paraclete comforts and succors the lonely souls, but at the same time, it brings this terrifying new power of alien speech. The “finger of God” touches the tongue and imbues it with tremendous power. Stockhausen uses all 24 moments of the FREUDE score to fully plumb the range of feeling in this compact text.

The Text of FREUDE:
NATÜRLICHE DAUERN (Natural Durations)
Yukiko Takagi (piano)
March 25: 6:15 p.m. – Nos. 5, 7, 12, 15–18, 20–22. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium
March 26: 3:30 p.m. – Nos. Nos. 9, 1, 19, 2, 6, 3, 8, 4, 13, 14, 11, 10 The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gallery
March 26: 6:00 p.m. – Nos. 22, 23, 24 The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium

NATÜRLICHE DAUERN is composed for piano, with Indian bells and rin. It lasts 120 minutes. The world premiere of No. 1 was given on February 23, 2006 at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in New York City by Philip Fisher. The world premiere of Nos. 2–15 was given on July 12, 2006 at the Stockhausen Courses Kürten. The world premiere of Nos. 16–24 was given on July 17, 2007 at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon by Antonio Pérez Abellán. No. 1 was commissioned by The New York Miniaturist Ensemble. Nos. 16–24 were commissioned by Luis Pereira Leal.
The spirit, having ascended in the first hour, and experienced angelic music in the second hour, is now confronted with what a truly incorporeal existence feels like. The surly bonds of time have lost their grip, and the reality of a world without time can be profoundly disorienting. NATÜRLICHE DAUERN meditates on this fundamental problem, preparing the mind for the paradox of existence in a spiritual plane that has no beginning and no end.

Stockhausen adopted this model from The Tibetan Book of the Dead, which he first used overtly in LUZIFERS REQUIEM (Lucifer’s Requiem) in his LICHT cycle. In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, the soul is most vulnerable immediately after death. The profound confusion of leaving the body makes the spirit susceptible to temptations that will lead to unpleasant destinations. The exercises in The Tibetan Book of the Dead are meant to prepare the spirit and it equip it with the strength to navigate this perilous moment.

So too is NATÜRLICHE DAUERN a series of exercises. Some are incredibly brief and technically feasible by even a beginner. Others are daunting challenges that require the utmost skill. The unifying theme in each piece is a different experiment with time., which was an overarching concern throughout Stockhausen’s career. In his earliest serial pieces and theories, he worked out a method of manipulating time through rhythm and tempi scales. His KLAVIERSTÜCKE (Piano Pieces) are virtuosic demonstrations of just how thoroughly these elements can be manipulated to radically reorient the listener’s perception of time.

Here, there are very few tempo markings. Instead, durations are more often determined by a variety of factors, like the decay of a rin or the length of the pianist’s breath. The most prevalent marker is the natural duration of the piano itself. The pianist simply lets one sound die away before moving on to the next. This technique was a favorite of Morton Feldman, who recalled Stockhausen once asking him, “What’s your secret?” Feldman replied, ““…sounds are very much like people. And if you push them, they push you back. So, if I have a secret: don’t push the sounds around.” Stockhausen, ever the micromanager, could not help but ask, “Not even a little bit?”

NATÜRLICHE DAUERN is a cycle within a cycle. Its 24 pieces could be seen as microcosms of KLANG. Stockhausen vowed in 1952 to write a cycle of 21 KLAVIERSTÜCKE over the course of his career. He finished 19 of them before embarking on NATÜRLICHE DAUERN. The piano was Stockhausen’s primary instrument, and his writing for the instrument is voluminous. While it is tempting to view NATÜRLICHE DAUERN as a summa of Stockhausen’s contribution to piano literature, the cycle is really embarking on something new. In the final piece of the cycle, No. 24, Stockhausen reprises much of the material from the previous numbers. He is reminding the listener of the new techniques he has applied to his piano music. In the preface to the score, he mused that he must be “on the right path to discover something generally new and valid.” Even as his 80th year approached, Stockhausen was always eager to cross over the horizon into new terrain.

No. 9

No. 15


HIMMELS-TÜR (Heaven’s Door)
Stuart Gerber (percussion), Rani Reid & Zoe Schuldenfrei (little girl)
March 25: 7:45 p.m. – The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium
March 26: 12:30 p.m. – The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium
3:00 p.m. – The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium
8:00 p.m. – The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium

HIMMELS-TÜR is for a percussionist and a little girl. It is 21 minutes long. The world premiere was given on June 13, 2006 at the Rossini Theatre in Lugo, Italy by Stuart Gerber (percussion) and Arianna Garotti (little girl). The work was commissioned by Massimo Simonini for Angelica.

The spirit, having left the temporal plane, now encounters an obstacle. The door to Heaven is firmly shut. Have the exercises of NATÜRLICHE DAUERN prepared the spirit to open the door? For almost twenty minutes, a lone percussionist tries his best to open the door.

Like the harpists and the pianists before him, he relentlessly varies his tactics. Stockhausen prescribes 14 specific moods for the percussionist to adopt as he assails the door: cautious, entreating, explaining, restless, demanding, dissatisfied, disappointed, waiting, reproachful, dancing, impatient, humorous, impudent, excited, and angry.

The door itself is a custom-built instrument not unlike the type that Harry Partch might build. It has 12 panels, each made of a different type of wood in order to produce a different sound. Their pitch is vague, but the timbre of the wood is ordered from lowest to highest on the door. In front of the door is a small wooden floor, which Stockhausen divides into four sections. The percussionist must play the four sections of the floor with his feet and the 12 panels on the door with a variety of beaters.

Stockhausen frequently writes such hybrid music and choreography notation in pieces like LICHT-BILDER (Light Pictures) and IN FREUNDSCHAFT (In Friendship). The level of detail in HIMMELS-TÜR approaches the punishingly dense notation for the dancer in EXAMEN (Exams) from the LICHT cycle, where 7 dynamic levels control vertical position and a 12-tone row determines horizontal position on a 66-part grid of the stage.

Stuart Gerber worked endlessly with Stockhausen to realize the piece, which came to him in a dream as did many of his works. For performances in the U.S., Stuart had another door built by the luthier D.J. Betsill. That door was scheduled to appear in New York City for the first time on October 30, 2012 at Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival. Unfortunately, that was the day that Hurricane Sandy made landfall, and the door sat in a Times Square parking lot, unseen by New Yorkers until now.

After the percussionist has exhausted himself and the limits of his technique, the door suddenly open for him. He walks through it and disappears. Through the open door comes the sound of Heaven, but as we have already heard, it will not be palliative harp music. In keeping with Stockhausen’s views about the early stages of the afterlife, the sounds that emerge from behind the door are a clangorous assortment of cymbals and gongs. Eventually, a siren pierces the air. This is the sound that God makes to the uninitiated. It makes no sense to recently human ears. Simply encountering the voice of God can be disorienting, as it was for Moses atop Mount Horeb, or even lethal, as it was for Bartleby in Dogma.

From the audience, a little girl emerges and walks onstage. She walks through the door and silences the cymbals and the siren. This striking ending in HIMMELS-TÜR was the first time that many people close to Stockhausen felt that his attention had firmly turned towards his next life. It seemed as if KLANG were turning into his own exercises for the soul, slowly preparing himself for the end of his mortal existence.
HARMONIEN (Harmonies)
Vasko Dukovski (bass clarinet), Marcia Kämper/Margaret Lancaster (flute), Joseph Drew (trumpet)
March 25: 5:30 p.m. – The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Modern & Contemporary Art (flute)
5:30 p.m. – The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Medieval Sculpture (trumpet)
5:30 p.m. – The Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Art (bass clarinet)
March 26: 3:00 p.m. – The Cloisters, Langon Chapel (flute)
4:45 p.m. – The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Arms & Armor (flute) 7:00 p.m. – The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium (trumpet)

HARMONIEN is for bass clarinet, flute, or trumpet. It is 15 minutes long. The world premiere of the bass clarinet version was given on … The world premiere of the flute version was given on July 13, 2007 at the Stockhausen Courses Kürten by Kathinka Pasveer. The world premiere of the trumpet version was given on August 2, 2008 in the Royal Albert Hall in London by Marco Blaauw. The trumpet version was commissioned by Roger Wright for the BBC Proms.

Having silenced the din of Heaven for the audience, the Little Girl and the Percussionist presumably continue on their way deeper into the mysteries of the afterlife, leaving the audience behind. In the silence of the opened door, a solo voice emerges playing simple melodies for the listener. After each lyrical phrase, the soloist repeats the notes in a different octave at a speed so fast that they start to sound like a vertical sonority, harmonies spun from melodies.

Stockhausen originally wrote HARMONIEN for Suzanne Stephens to play on bass clarinet. It was a continuation of an extraordinary collaboration that began back in 1975 with his first piece for her, “Laub und Regen” () from the delightful theatrical piece HERBSTMUSIK (Harvest Music). Over 30 years later, and many works for Stephens, their partnership continued into the Fifth Hour of KLANG.

He made slight alterations to the score, creating versions for Kathinka Pasveer to play on flute and Marco Blaauw to play on trumpet, two more longtime collaborators. The concessions to technique are slight, and the material differs very little between the three versions of HARMONIEN. The trumpeter introduces a refrain to the work, “Lob sei GOTT” (God be praised), which will have a lasting impact on the hours to come.

The simple music of HARMONIEN is a bridge between the temporal world of the audience and the world beyond HIMMELS-TÜR, a kind of a capella Bifröst. The Fifth Hour of KLANG ends the first phase of the cycle, and elides with the second phase, which relies almost exclusively on HARMONIEN as a source of its musical material.

Text of HARMONIEN for Trumpet:
Lob sei GOTTGOD be praised
Vasko Dukovski (bass clarinet), Margaret Lancaster (flute), Joseph Drew (trumpet)
March 26: 12:45 p.m. – The Cloisters, Pontaut Chapter House
2:15 p.m. – The Cloisters, Pontaut Chapter House

SCHÖNHEIT is for bass clarinet, flute, and trumpet. It is 28 minutes long. The world premiere was given on October 5, 2009 at the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon by Suzanne Stephens (bass clarinet), Kathinka Pasveer (flue), and Marco Blaauw (trumpet). It was commissioned by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

This particular configuration of instruments recurs quite frequently in Stockhausen’s music. His longstanding collaborations with clarinetist Suzanne Stephens, flutist Kathinka Pasveer, and his son, the trumpeter Markus Stockhausen, yielded dozens of works for them as individuals and in combination. The first work for this instrumental group was TIERKREIS Trio (Zodiac Trio, 1983). In LICHT, the group reappears in BASSETSU-TRIO (1997) and LICHT-BILDER (Light-Pictures, 2003). SCHÖNHEIT was the last appearance by this very familiar grouping in Stockhausen’s music.

The music of SCHÖNHEIT, and all of the subsequent Hours until No. 13, is almost entirely derived from HARMONIEN. The refrain that the trumpeter introduced to HARMONIEN (“Lob sei Gott”) is repeated as SCHÖNHEIT begins with four massive chords. The three musicians take up the first three phrases of HARMONIEN and play them simultaneously, creating a blur of familiar melodies. SCHÖNHEIT continues in this vein, rotating all of the sections of HARMONIEN throughout the trio of instruments.

There is a kind of crudeness to this method of polyphony that Stockhausen so often employed, where melodic layers are simply stacked atop each other, left to dangle and crash into each other without the usual care that is taken in traditional part writing. However, Stockhausen pushes and pulls the material throughout every trio in the second phase of KLANG. In one section, the players will play without coordination, in different tempi, ending at different times. In another, Stockhausen will introduce new material that compliments a passage from HARMONIEN and creates an easy synchronicity.

The effect this has is akin to a prism breaking white light into its constituent parts. The music of HARMONIEN is recontextualized throughout the trios of KLANG. It is assigned to new instruments, given different spatial alignments, put through endless transformations so that it always sounds new, while remaining familiar. In the LICHT cycle, Stockhausen used the same technique to spin one page of source music into nearly 30 hours of opera. Like Wagner before him, Stockhausen was a musical alchemist of the highest order.

The text of SCHÖNHEIT:
Lob sei GOTTGOD be praised
Carlos Cordeiro (bass clarinet), Michelle Farah (English horn), Marcia Kämper (flute)
March 26
12 p.m. – Met Breuer
3 p.m. – Met Breuer

BALANCE is for bass clarinet, English horn, and flute. It is 32 minutes long. The world premiere was given on August 22, 2008 at WDR in Cologne by ensemble recherche: Shizuyo Oka (bass clarinet), Jaime Gonzalez (English horn), and Martin Fahlenbock (flute). It was commissioned by WDR in Cologne, ULTIMA in Oslo, and the Musica festival international des musiques d’aujourd’hui de Strasbourg.

As a boy, Stockhausen loved to sit in the cathedral at Altenberg and watch the light change as the sun moved through the sky. The church was built by the Cistercian order, which preferred simple designs like clear windows instead of stained glass. That clear glass offered Stockhausen a better view of the sunlight as it changed character throughout the hours of the day.

Such subtle shifts are at the heart of the second part of KLANG. Stockhausen did not intend for these trios to be heard in order. Rather, he once remarked that the ideal way to stage KLANG was to have all the trios sounding in the different galleries of a large museum, where the audience could roam freely between them. This modular design is a common feature in his music, and it plays an important role in the final scene of LICHT where an orchestra and a chorus play simultaneously but in two separate rooms. In order to hear the entire work, HOCH-ZEITEN (High Times, 2002), one must listen to it twice in different rooms.

The trumpet is replaced by English horn in BALANCE. The blue green of the sixth hour turns into bright green in the seventh hour. The woodwind trio is a more normal configuration, but the bass clarinet and English horn are less standard instruments. The shifts during the second phase of KLANG are subtle, gradually leading the listener away from the starting point of HARMONIEN.

BALANCE ends as SCHÖNHEIT begins. The players speak a refrain in between sustained chords. The text has now shifted to “Gloria in excelsis Deo”. After speaking the final phrase in this short prayer, the three players launch into one last flurry of notes, which they play as they walk offstage and disappear from sight.

The text of BALANCE:
Gloria in excelsis Deo
et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis
Glory to God in the highest
and on Earth peace to men of good will /td>
GLÜCK (Bliss)
Bryan Young (bassoon), Michelle Farah (English horn), Kemp Jernigan (oboe)
March 25: 5:30 p.m. – Met Breuer

GLÜCK is for bassoon, English horn, and oboe. It is 40 minutes long. The world premiere was given on May 8, 2010 at the musikFabrik studio in Cologne by Edurne Santos (bassoon), Piet van Bockstal (English horn), and Peter Veale (oboe). It was commissioned by the MusikTriennale Cologne.

The first bars of BALANCE are the same as the final bars of GLÜCK. Stockhausen has created a plodding accompaniment where the English horn and bassoon play quarter notes as the oboe sings above them. Occasionally, the trio stops to announce, “GOTT ist Glück”. The material Stockhausen introduces in the KLANG trios becomes fodder for appropriation, just like the music of HARMONIEN. It will reappear again, but never the same way twice!

Before the fourth section of the piece, the players announce, “Notes to sounds to circulations to bliss”. This text fragment encapsulates Stockhausen’s serial method. The notes of HARMONIEN are sped up during the repetitions to a blur of sound. In the trios, when the three instruments play simultaneously, these blurs become even less distinguishable. Rotating the music of HARMONIEN around the trio accelerates the process of transmuting notes to sounds, and that can lead to bliss.

Everything can be ordered stepwise, somehow. Stockhausen devised scales for all kinds of things, from tempi and rhythm to the plants in his garden. Willhelm Ostwald’s color scale, devised in 1916, is the model for the colors assigned to the hours of KLANG. It is the kind of scale Stockhausen probably would have devised himself had it not already existed, as it moves methodically from blue to green to yellow to red and back again.

In GLÜCK, the flute and bass clarinet of BALANCE have rotated out and been replaced by other instruments from the double reed family. If the deliberate pace of composition in the first phase of KLANG had continued in the trio section, perhaps Stockhausen would have begun the piece with a theatrical episode, like a reed-making session, but something clearly happened after HARMONIEN was composed. The rate of composition increased dramatically, reaching a pace that was unfamiliar to Stockhausen. It is hard not to look at the similarity of the trios and conclude that Stockhausen was rushing to get things done, as if he had seen the date and time of his own demise.
The Text of GLÜCK:
Noten zu Klängen
zu Kreislauf
zu Glück

GOTT ist Glück
Notes to sounds
to circulations
to bliss

GOD is bliss
Caleb van der Swaagh (cello), Alexandrina Boyanova (viola), Ken Hamao (violin)
March 26: 12 p.m. – The Cloisters, Fuentidueña Chapel

HOFFNUNG is for cello, viola, and violin. It is 34 minutes long. The world premiere was given on August 31, 2008 at WDR by musikFabrik: Dirk Wietheger (cello), Axel Porath (viola), Juditha Haeberlin (violin). It was commissioned by the city of Cologne.

The last time Stockhausen got a string ensemble together, he put them in four separate helicopters to fly around while they desperately tried to coordinate with each other. HOFFNUNG allows the players to keep their feet on the ground, and it represents the first major timbral shift in the trios of KLANG. There is no hold over from the double reeds of GLÜCK.. Stockhausen leaps headlong into an entirely different section of the orchestra for HOFFNUNG.

The piece begins with the viola playing a protracted glissando from a low B to an E♭ in the adjacent octave. While Stockhausen has introduced this accompanying gesture in the previous trios, a string glissando to an interval of a diminished fourth is material straight out of the HELIKOPTER-STREICHQUARTETT (Helicopter String Quartet, 1992).

Unlike the previous trios, which always had slightly odd configurations of instruments, HOFFNUNG is a traditional grouping that plays easily together. The stops and starts of the KLANG trios flow more intuitively in the string trio. But, ever the imp, Stockhausen is not content to let them play together unmolested.

In their finale, Stockhausen deviates from the pattern of alternating long chords with spoken text. The violinist plays solo melodies between the chords. Something is not quite right. And the text is slightly different from the previous trios. Instead of a purely worshipful sentiment such as “God is bliss” or “God be praised”, Stockhausen has the trio say, “Thank GOD for the piece HOPE”. This self-referential, slightly boastful notion seems to upset the apple cart, and things break down completely on the final page of the score.

The violinist plays two questioning notes and waits. The cellist responds, as if urging him to rejoin the ensemble. The violinist tries out one last refrain from HARMONIEN, but things are not the same. The trio is not functioning as it once was, and in the final bar, the violinist gets up and walks away while playing a jaunty little melody that is new to KLANG. The cellist and the violist warily look on as their companion departs.

This sort of comic interlude is one of Stockhausen’s specialties. It is a comedy of manners that would be right at home in a Victor Borge or PDQ Bach sketch. The strange ending of HOFFNUNG also foreshadows what is to come in the next trio.
The Text of HOFFNUNG:
Dank sei GOTT
Danke GOTT für Das Werk HOFFNUNG
Thanks be to GOD
Thank GOD for the piece HOPE
Bryan Young (bassoon), Alexandrina Boyanova (viola), Vasko Dukovski (clarinet), Kemp Jernigan (oboe), Joseph Drew (trumpet), Chris McIntyre (trombone), Jay Rozen (tuba)
March 25: 7 p.m. – The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium

GLANZ is for bassoon, viola, clarinet, oboe, trumpet, trombone, and tuba. It lasts 40 minutes. The world premiere was given on June 19, 2008 by ASKO Ensemble in the Muziekgebous aan’t Ij in Amsterdam. It was commissioned by ASKO Ensemble.

GLANZ picks up where HOFFNUNG leaves off. The viola has traded her string partners for a bassoon and a clarinet. Like the wayward violinist before him, the clarinetist begins GLANZ on his own. He plays an extremely high melody before joining in with the trio for a sustained chord. Everyone chants, “Gloria”, but the clarinetist meanders off on another solo excursion. The trio eventually manages to get through the first line of their text, but before long, they are interrupted again.

This time, the two questioning notes from HOFFNUNG sound in the balcony, where an oboist has appeared for no reason. The bassoonist answers with the same rejoinder the cellist tried in the previous piece. Not satisfied with this response, the oboist repeats the notes twice as fast and adds two more for good measure. The bassoonist responds with a similar but not identical gesture. Their dialogue resembles the first attempts to communicate with the spaceships in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

After a third interjection by the offstage oboe, the trio gets fed up and snarls at him. He does his best to snarl back. The clarinet offers up a fragment of HARMONIEN, which the oboist seems to echo in delight before turning it into another crude interruption. Things continue in this vein until the oboist tires of the trio and plays himself off with the same jaunty melody that the violinist used to leave the stage in HOFFNUNG.

The trio gets back to business, but it does not take long for those same two questioning notes to appear again in the balcony. This time, they are played by a trumpet, and he has a companion of his own. A trombonist joins him with three questioning notes of his own. The two of them play a duet while the trio tries to shoo them out of the auditorium.

After seven operas where the trumpet represents Michael and the trombone represents Lucifer, and the two characters are nearly always at odds, it is hard to ignore the symbolism of these two particular instruments joining in the fun of GLANZ. Just after this knowing reference to Stockhausen’s LICHT cycle, all five musicians turn the clock back to Stockhausen’s earliest successes as a composer of so-called point music. Each instrumentalist plays just one note at a time in a melody that unfolds over the next several pages. Pleased with their coordination, the trumpet and trombone play one final duet before bidding the trio farewell.

Feeling undisturbed, the GLANZ trio proceeds with the rest of the piece. They rotate their HARMONIEN material as thoroughly as possible. They even manage to recite the rest of their text, and they seem well on their way to a peaceful conclusion when all of the sudden a tuba emerges on the stage. He ambles behind the trio, playing his own lumbering version of a HARMONIEN melody. The trio, as if resigned to yet another interruption, plays along. The tuba seems indifferent towards their accompaniment and continues his uninvited trek across the stage.

These extended inserts into the fifth trio of KLANG are in keeping with Stockhausen’s well-established practice. One of the many reasons he stands apart from his colleagues who also made rigorously controlled music is his recognition of the need for humor and unpredictability in music. Stockhausen’s inserts are a key ingredient in his music. They keep the stifling tendencies of serialism at bay.

The Text of GLANZ:
Gloria in excelsis Deo
et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis
bonae voluntatis
Glory to God in the highest
and on Earth peace to men of good will
good will /td>
Vasko Dukovski (basset horn), Carlos Cordeiro (E♭ clarinet), Carol McGonnell (bass clarinet)
March 26: 1:30 p.m. – The Cloisters, gallery

TREUE is for basset horn, E♭ clarinet, and bass clarinet. It lasts 30 minutes. The world premiere was given on May 8, 2010 at the KOMED in Cologne by Petra Stump (bass clarinet), Rumi Sota-Klemm (basset-horn), and Roberta Gottardi (E♭ clarinet). It was commissioned by the MusikTriennale Cologne.

The rotations in the second phase of KLANG are literally embodied by every trio. At key structural moments in each piece, the three players rotate clockwise to a new playing position. This movement echoes the rotations in HARMONIEN where the performer rotates on his axis once to the right, and two times to the left while playing a cumbersome combination of sextuplets and quintuplets.

There are rotations at every level in the trios of KLANG. The source material of HARMONIEN is rotated throughout each new configuration of musicians. Related instruments rotate into and out of groups. And the players themselves rotate around the playing area and on their own axis.

In TREUE, the clarinet from GLANZ is exchanged for a basset horn and is joined by two other members of the clarinet family. HOFFNUNG may be the most traditional grouping of the KLANG trios, but TREUE is by far the most homogenous. When the bass clarinet, basset horn, and E♭ clarinet play in harmony, it sounds like one massive and gorgeous organ. The resonance calls to mind the sublime beauty of the overdubbed basset horns in MONTAGS-GRUSS (Monday Greeting, 1988).

Just as with HOFFNUNG, the trio comes apart in the end, but this time its highest member stays put. The E♭ clarinet continues to play while the basset horn and bass clarinet abandon the piece. They leave the stage while quoting the parting duet of the trumpet and trombone from the balcony of GLANZ. The poor E♭ clarinet looks after them in dismay. He is left to play a quiet lament in his lowest register, alone on the stage.

The text of TREUE:
ERWACHEN (Awakening)
Jay Campbell (cello), Sam Jones (trumpet), Ryan Muncy (soprano saxophone)
March 26: 1:30 p.m. – Met Breuer, US Premiere

ERWACHEN is for cello, trumpet, and soprano saxophone. It is 30 minutes long. The world premiere was given on October 13, 2009 at the Saal henry Le Boeuf in Brussels by Dirk Wietheger (cello), Marco Blaauw (trumpet), and Marcus Weiss (soprano saxophone). It was commissioned by the Goethe Institute Brussels.

In ERWACHEN, the clarinets of TREUE transmute into a soprano saxophone, a distant relation. The trumpet reappears, and is joined by the cello. ERWACHEN reunites the three instrument families that have appeared in the trios: woodwinds, brass, and strings. The heterogeneous grouping signifies that the trios of KLANG have run their course. There are no more rotations left to make. The spirit is fully awakened and prepared to encounter what lies ahead.

Throughout the entire second phase of KLANG, the musicians are tasked with slipping in and out of time with each other. Very rarely does the music move in a steady, unified tempo. Players are always speeding up or slowing down, while getting louder or softer. Stockhausen was incredibly adept at using these fairly limited techniques to transform simple musical materials. He recognized that the same melody played on a cello and a trumpet will not have the same character. Add a different tempo or dynamic, and the material becomes stranger still.

For seven trios, Stockhausen has worked his alchemical magic to harvest four hours of music from the 15 minutes of HARMONIEN. Perhaps the trios were a quick-thinking solution to completing as much of KLANG as possible before he passed away. Perhaps it was the plan all along to rotate the music of the Fifth Hour so thoroughly. Presented as they are, in different rooms, in different buildings, Stockhausen’s intent becomes clear. The KLANG trios are like still lifes, painted at a different time of day, with a different light. Each is the same, yet the beautiful details differ.

The text of ERWACHEN:
Joseph Drew & & Rudolf Kämper (sound projection)
March 25: 5:45 p.m. – The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium
March 26: 11:00 a.m., 11:45 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:15 p.m., 4:45 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 8:00 p.m. – The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Grace Rainey Rogers Audtiorium

COSMIC PULSES is for 8-channel tape. It lasts 32 minutes. The world premiere was given on …. In … by…. It was commissioned by …The U.S. premiere was given on September 12, 2008 by Analog Arts at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. The N.Y. premiere was given on December 9, 2011 by Analog Arts at Issue Project Room.

COSMIC PULSES is a riot of sound. Its source material could not be simpler. A synthesizer plays loops of KLANG’s 24-note row. 24 different layers of loops are overdubbed on top of each other, and that is the only sound in COSMIC PULSES. A literal treatment of such pallid source material could be an exercise in drudgery, but Stockhausen always leavened his plans with the irrational and the unexpected.

He was an inveterate tinkerer who loved to fiddle with knobs. After all, this was his first major achievement as a composer. He was the first to cross the finish line with a completely electronic piece of music because of his patience with gadgets and a relentless zeal for refining crude source material into musical gold. This is the man who realized a sine wave could be made to sound like anything he wanted, so long as he was willing to spend hours transforming it through filters and modulators and painstaking tape splices.

The loops of COSMIC PULSES are subjected to the same transformations as the melodies of HARMONIEN. They are pushed and pulled through pitch transposition and tempo modulation. The most disorienting transformation is Stockhausen’s use of space. Each loop is sent whizzing through the air, never resting in a single channel for more than a moment. The ear cannot keep track of any particular loop, because it might first sound behind on the left and move through a half dozen different positions before it has run its course.

The music of COSMIC PULSES is an electronic iteration of the clangorous music that first sounded when Heaven’s Door was opened. Once again, the audience is reminded of the disorientation that accompanies the first brush with the afterlife. Reality is no longer bound by terrestrial limitations, and this can be a terrifying, disordering fact.

Stockhausen depicts such confusion through the dizzying spatiality of COSMIC PULSES, which surrounds the audience with 8 channels of sound, 2 on each side of the room. Stockhausen meticulously mapped out the movement of each loop. He had an interface custom-built to allow him to control the pace of these spatial modulations, because he was never content to let his form schemes automate his music.

Like HARMONIEN before it, COSMIC PULSES becomes the source material for the next 8 hours of KLANG. In each subsequent piece, 18 of the 24 layers are discarded. The much thinner texture allows solo performers to comment on a portion of the COSMIC PULSES tape.
Robert Osborne (bass), Joseph Drew & Marcia Kämper (sound projection)
March 25: 8:15 p.m. – The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, US Premiere
March 26: 2:15 p.m. – The Met Breuer

HAVONA is for bass and 8-channel tape. It lasts 25 minutes. The world premiere was given on January 10, 2009 at the Salle de Concert Olivier Messaien of Radio France by Nicholas Isherwood (bass) and Kathinka Pasveer (sound projection). It was commissioned by the Group de Recherches Musicales of the Institut National de l’Audiovisuel in Paris.

The titles in the third phase of KLANG came as something of a shock to those who were used to Stockhausen dismissing the notion that The Urantia Book had any influence on his music. The titles of Hours 14-21 are all place names from the book. Moreover, the libretti make explicit reference to the contents of The Urantia Book (1955).

HAVONA is designed as a kind of thumbnail introduction to one of the central conceits of the book, which is that we are not alone, and not by a long shot. Earth is known as Urantia in the book, and it is just one little planet in a universe of universes that has trillions of inhabited planets, all with intelligent beings who are at various levels of consciousness about the eternal reality of God.

After death, the spirit departs a planet and begins an epic adventure. It will visit other constellations and universes. It will visit billions of planets before eventually reaching the central universe of Havona, which surrounds the Eternal Isle of Paradise. At each stop along the way, the spirit learns new things about the true nature of the universe.

The bass sings a simple text that summarizes this attenuated journey. The spirit leaves Urantia (Earth) and heads towards the administrative center of the local universe. Jerusem is the planet that houses the headquarters for this 57-planet administrative center. A host of beings busy themselves with the day-to-day operation of this local universe, which is called Nebadon. There are ten million inhabited planets in Nebadon.

Nebadon belongs to a superuniverse called Orvonton. In The Urantia Book, Orvonton is the only named superuniverse out of the seven that orbit the central universe of Havona. The capital of Orvonton is Uversa.

Here, the libretto makes a slight mistake in its Urantian cosmology. Edentia is a stop that would precede Jerusem. It is the capital of the constellation that houses Urantia. A constellation, according to The Urantia Book, contains100,000 inhabitable planets.

Stockhausen preferred to focus on the more positive sounding names in the book. They are obviously thinly veiled allusions to earthly names like Jerusalem, Eden, or Urania, the muse of astronomy. Other names have much more negative connotations, like the name of that 57-planet hub of bureaucracy for Nebadon, which is called Satania.

The bass repeats his text three times, because who could be expected to understand all of this information in one hearing? Each repetition includes playful asides, like a vowel circle on the word Havona. The bass explains that Urantia is another name for Earth, and he playfully refers to the colored races of humanity described in The Urantia Book. In the book, here are five different races. Here, there are seven. Stockhausen explored this racial subtext in FREITAG (Friday, 1995), the fifth opera of the LICHT cycle.

In an early sketch for FREUDE, Stockhausen called the work GALAXIEN (Galaxies), indicating that he was always intending to head towards the space opera of The Urantia Book. He was not so enamored of its text as to be dogmatic about. He might have insisted once to his composition class that they must read the book in order to continue studying with him, but he freely admitted that he never read the entire thing. He borrowed liberally from The Urantia Book, but it merely added to his spiritual bricolage, which never really strayed all that far from the devout Catholicism of his childhood.

The text of HAVONA:

Deine Kinder streben Schritt für Schritt
lernen weiter durch UVERSA

und das große ORVONTON

über EDENTIA bis zu HAVONA

streben zum PARADIES

Seelen im Paradies studieren kosmische Musik


Deine Kinder streben Schritt für Schritt von
URANTIA (das ist unser Planet) Erde
lernen weiter durch UVERSA
Entfernungen sind das, die kein Mensch begreift
(aber trotzdem furchtlos weiter)

und das große ORVONTON 
über EDENTIA bis zu HAVONA

Hevene Hivini Hovono Huvunu HAVONA


Deine Kinder (schwarze, weiße, grüne, gelbe, rote, braune, blaue)
streben Schritt für Schritt
weiter durch UVERSA

(Hauptsitz ORVONTONS im Ring von sieben höheren Universitäten)
und das große ORVONTON

(siebtes Superuniversum mit dem Zentrum des Milchstraßen-Sternsystems)
über EDENTIA bis zu HAVONA

zentrales Universum kreisend um das PARADIES
Kern des siebten Superuniversums
HAVONA mit einer Milliarde vollkommener Welten
Your children aspire step-by-step
continue learning through UVERSA
and the great ORVONTON
reaching – via EDENTIA – HAVONA
aspire to PARADISE

souls in Paradise study cosmic music

Your children aspire step-by-step from

Urantia (that is our planet) Earth

continue learning through UVERSA

those are distances that no human being comprehends

(but nevertheless, fearlessly onward)
and through the grand ORVONTON reaching –
Hevene Hivini Hovono Huvunu HAVONA


Your children
(black, white, green, yellow, red, brown, blue)

aspire step -by-step

onward through UVERSA

(capital of ORVONTON in the ring of seven higher universities)
and the grand ORVONTON

(seventh superuniverse, whose centre is the Milky Way galaxy)
reaching – via EDENTIA – HAVONA

the central universe rotating around PARADISE


nucleus of the seventh superuniverse ORVONTON EDENTIA

HAVONA with a billion perfect worlds

Jeffrey Gavett (baritone), Rudolf Kämper & Marcia Kämper (sound projection)
March 26:
1:00 p.m. – The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, US Premiere
3:45 p.m. – The Met Breuer
ORVONTON is for baritone and 8-channel tape. It lasts 25 minutes. The world premiere was given on May 8, 2010 at KOMED in Cologne by Jonathan de la Paz Zens (baritone) and Kathinka Pasveer (sound projection). It was commissioned by the MusikTriennale Cologne.

ORVONTON is the patter song of KLANG. The poor baritone has to work through an astonishing amount of unforgiving text that mixes musicology with cosmology. Stockhausen pulled a similar trick once before in his work VORTRAG ÜBER HU (Lecture On Hu, 1974), which is a stylized lecture about the form and materials of another work altogether.

In ORVONTON, the baritone lectures the audience about the construction of COSMIC PULSES. He explains things like the basic tempo of Layer19 is 3.75 bpm. He natters on about how the music is constructed, even revealing that the pitch manipulations in each layer were executed by Kathinka Pasveer.

Pasveer was also tasked with gathering information about each Urantian place name in the final hours of KLANG. Stockhausen intended to use this information in his libretto, but Pasveer wearied of the 2,097 page book and its punishing denseness. Stockhausen took that as a sign that perhaps a series of homilies about The Urantia Book were not in the best interests of his music. That is how the baritone in ORVONTON ended up singing about tone rows and transpositions. Yet, amidst all his self-referential shenanigans, he reveals some important truths.

First, he is not from Earth. The baritone hails from Orvonton, where beings have a more sophisticated grasp of music. The Orvontonian baritone makes a coded reference to Stockhausen’s serial technique by calling himself a “number musician”. He jokes that whether or not this number music is beautiful depends entirely on who is doing the counting.

This is not the first time that Stockhausen has populated his music with aliens. They appear frequently in LICHT. His first overt depiction of aliens was in his electronic oratorio SIRIUS (1977), which begins with the thrilling sound of four flying saucers landing on Earth. After the four aliens emerge from their spacecraft, they sing and play music about the Zodiac before taking off again at the end of the piece in one of Stockhausen’s most audacious spatial illusions.

The scores for Hours 14-21 use a kind of shorthand notation that leaves a great deal of decisions up to the musicians. Stockhausen’s usual serial tempo and dynamic scales are largely absent. It is up to the performers to craft their own solution to the scores, much like the process music Stockhausen composed in the 1960s when he was touring and experimenting with non-traditional notation methods.

The baritone concludes his lesson with an explicit reference to Stockhausen’s insert technique, “number games need moments every now and then for the soul, that touch, astonish:
time stands still.” That last sentiment is the goal of every ascending spirit in The Urantia Book. The Eternal Isle of Paradise exists outside of time. This is the primary disordering event in spiritual life, the transition away from the eternity of God’s reality to the finite limits of a time-based existence. Stockhausen designed his music as a bridge that could help people enlarge their sense of time and begin to move beyond human conceptions of temporality.
The text of ORVONTON:
ORVONTON für Bariton.

ORVONTON, ich bin ein Bariton,

singe mit COSMIC PULSES Schichten
neunzehn zwanzig einundzwanzig.
ORVONTON siebtes Superuniversum

mit dem Zentrum des Milchstraßensternsystems.

Schicht neunzehn hat dreiundzwanzig Töne als Klangschleife. Beim Grundtempo 3,75 dauert jeder Ton 2 Sekunden,
die Schleife also 23 x 2 = 46 Sekunden.
Aber das Tempo wird in 9 Sequenzen gemäß Mustern von Hand
mit Accelerandi und Ritardandi variiert.
Schicht zwanzig hat neunzehn Töne mit Grundtempo zwei Komma neun!
Zwei Komma fünf Sekunden pro Ton, aber länger oder kürzer je nach Ritardando oder Accelerando, und manchmal plötzlich Stillstand. Schicht einundzwanzig mit neun Tönen im Grundtempo
zwei Komma drei, Tondauer drei Komma zwei Sekunden
 doch: bei den Tempovariationen wird manchmal ein zwölfmal schnelleres oder zwölfmal langsameres Tempo erreicht.

Schleifen neunzehn zwanzig einundzwanzig werden mit Glissandi transponiert nach den Mustern aufwärts oder abwärts nach Gefühl und mit Hand von Kathinka.
Variationen ziemlich frei von Dauern und Tonhöhen jeder Schicht.

Ich Bariton in ORVONTON, siebtes Superuniversum, Bariton in ORVONTON. In vierundzwanzig Momenten sing ich diese Erläuterungen der Komposition von ORVONTON.
 Jeder Moment schließt mit einer anderen Tonhöhe, hier mit D.
Jeder Moment hat eine eigene Zahl von Tönen in Gruppen, und auf dem letzten Ton jeder Gruppe halte ich länger an.
In diesem Moment sind die Gruppen sechs eins fünf zwei vier drei.

Die Tonhöhen meiner Melodien stammen alle aus der vierundzwanzigtönigen Reihe des Werkes KLANG;
nur beginnt jeder Moment mit einem anderen Ton,
um gemäß der Zahl der Einsätze auf dem richtigen Ton zu landen. Einzelne Töne sind oktavtransponiert, wie zum Beispiel dieses C, je nach Text mal unten oder oben.

Allintervalle in der Reihe, vierundzwanzig Töne in 2 Oktaven sind wie vierundzwanzig Stunden in Tag und Nacht,
und KLANG ist eine Miniwelt in ORVONTON.

Zahlen sind zu hören und zu zühlen.
 In Musik sind alle Töne, Intervalle, Gruppen, Zahlen
wie im Superuniversum.

ORVONTON ist die Mutter von NEBADON.
Unsere Musik ist geformt wie die Sterne des Superuniversums und auch des Universums, unseres Sonnensystems, unseres Planeten Erde.

Jeder Klang ist ein Universum.

Ob er aber schön ist, kann man an den Zahlen nicht erkennen:
es bestimmt wer zählt.
Vierhundertvierzig Hertz sind weder schön noch häßLich.
Schönheit Lebt.

Ein paar Orvontöner kennen schöne Zahlen,
die mit schöner Kunst gespielt werden:
Zahlen-Tonkünstler, Baritöner.

Kunstmusik ist nicht Tingeltangel,
ihre Zahlenspiele brauchen ab und zu Momente fürs Gemüt, die ergreifen, staunen lassen:

Zeit steht still.
ORVONTON for baritone.

 ORVONTON, I am a baritone.
I sing with COSMIC PULSES layers
nineteen twenty twenty-one.
ORVONTON seventh superuniverse

with the Milky Way Galaxy as its centre.

Layer nineteen has twenty-three tones as sound loop.
In the basic tempo 3.75 each tone lasts 2 seconds,
and therefore the loop lasts 23 x 2 = 46 seconds.
But in 9 sequences the tempo is varied manually
with accelerandi and ritardandi according to patterns.
Layer twenty has nineteen tones with a basic tempo of two point nine! Two point five seconds per tone, but longer or shorter according to ritardando or accelerando, and sometimes a sudden stand-still. Layer twenty-one with nine tones in the basic tempo
two point three, tone duration three point two seconds
yet: during the tempo variations sometimes a tempo is reached which is twelve times faster or twelve times slower.

Loops nineteen twenty twenty-one are transposed upwards or downwards with glissandi according to the patterns,
intuitively and manually by Kathinka.
Variations quite free of durations and pitches of each layer.

I baritone in ORVONTON, seventh superuniverse, baritone in ORVONTON.
In twenty-four moments I sing these explanations of the composition of ORVONTON.
Each moment closes with a different pitch, here with D. Each moment has its own number of tones in groups, and on the last tone of each group I halt for awhile. In this moment the groups are six one five two four three.

The pitches of my melodies all originate from
the twenty-four-tone row of the work KLANG;
but every moment begins with a different tone,
in order to land on the right tone, according to the number of entries. Individual tones are transposed up or down an octave,
as for example this C, according to the text.

All intervals in the row, twenty-four tones in 2 octaves are like twenty-four hours in day and night,
and KLANG is a mini-world in ORVONTON.

Numbers are to be heard and to be counted.
In music all tones, intervals, groups, numbers
are like in the superuniverse.

ORVONTON is the mother of NEBADON.
Our music is formed like the stars of the superuniverse and also of the universe, of our solar system, of our planet Earth.

Each sound is a universe.

But one cannot tell if it is beautiful by the numbers:
that depends on who is counting.
Four hundred and forty hertz is neither beautiful nor ugly. Beauty lives.

A few Orvontonians know beautiful numbers,
that are played with beautiful art: number-musicians, baritoners.

Art music is not honky-tonk,
its number games need moments every now and then for the soul, that touch, astonish:

time stands still.
Vasko Dukovski (basset horn), Joseph Drew (sound projection)
March 26: 11:15 a.m. – The Met Breuer, US Premiere

UVERSA is for basset horn and 8-channel tape. It lasts 23 minutes. The world premiere was given on May 8, 2010 at the Domforum in Cologne by Michele Marelli (basset horn) and Kathinka Pasveer (sound projection). It was commissioned by the MusikTriennale Cologne.

Stockhausen bestowed many gifts on the clarinet family through his collaboration with Suzanne Stephens. Chief among them is his vast expansion of the repertoire for basset horn. This instrument is like the cello of the clarinet family, able to boom in the low register like a bass and squeal in the stratosphere like an E♭ clarinet. Mozart and Richard Strauss were fond of basset horn, but no one has so thoroughly exploited this marvelous instrument as Stockhausen.

Hours 14-21 share a basic organizational pattern where the 24-note tone row of KLANG is used as a marker for 24 sections. (Three of the pieces have 25 sections). Each section centers on one note in the row, and the sections typically last 40-60 seconds. The 24-note row for KLANG is rotated and resectioned in the final phase of KLANG. The instrumental hours in KLANG’s third phase generally have less musical material than the vocal hours. The basset hornist in UVERSA must make shrewd decisions about how to shape each moment of his score.

In UVERSA, the basset horn begins on note 17 of the row and organizes his sections in the normal order of the row. In other pieces, the trichords of the tone row are mixed and matched, rotated and exchanged with each other like the synthesizer loops of COSMIC PULSES. Stockhausen’s imperative was never to follow abstruse intellectual rules that can grow predictable and stale. Within his system of serial organization, which seems so stale to most observers, Stockhausen found a great deal of freedom. It was like a coding language that he could use to manifest virtually anything his imagination desired.

The instrumental hours in the third phase of KLANG make liberal use of The Urantia Book through recorded announcements by Kathinka Pasveer that are mixed in with the swirling synthesizer loops. These announcements convey a great deal of information about the cosmology of the book. In UVERSA, Kathinka dives deeper into the organization of the super universe, something that was only hinted at in HAVONA.

She reminds the listener that UVERSA is the capital of the superuniverse ORVONTON. Then she gives a rough summary of the way each of the seven superuniverses are organized:
One system = 1,000 worlds One constellation (100 systems) = 100,000 worlds One universe (100 constellations) = 10,000,000 worlds One minor sector (100 universes) = 1,000,000,000 worlds One major sector (100 minor sectors) = 100,000,000,000 worlds One superuniverse (10 major sectors) = 1,000,000,000,000 worlds
The Urantia Book argues that these enormous groupings of planets are in need of an efficient administration, and that there are countless beings that tend to this very task. The book turns the angelic orders of Christian theology into a bunch of lovable bureaucrats who argue about procedure. In both systems, there is a heavenly host that looks down on humanity and tends to its needs, but in The Urantia Book, the guardian angels sometimes come across like the grey-suited pencil pushers in Brazil.

Kathinka recites some of the members of this divine order. Instead of archangels, seraphim, and cherubim, The Urantia Book gives us Creator Sons, Magisterial Sons, Trinity Teacher Sons, Melchizedek Sons, Lanonandek Sons, and Life Carriers. (A glossary of these terms is available here.) Each of these ranks of beings has very specific bailiwicks that help insure the orderly progress of the universe, and most importantly, assist ascending spirits on their journey towards Paradise.

In The Urantia Book, Lucifer’s rebellion begins essentially as an administrative dispute. That is what sets him into opposition with Michael, the conflict which drives so much of the drama in Stockhausen’s LICHT cycle. In his libretto for LICHT, Stockhausen wisely avoids the bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo of The Urantia Book, and simply appropriates key themes to generate his narrative. In KLANG, he puts the peculiar terminology of the book on full display as a way of mirroring his own fastidiousness.

The flagrantly uninteresting administrative system in the Urantian cosmology is not unlike the rigid serial systems that Stockhausen created to control his own music. Pieces like COSMIC PULSES require an enormous amount of calculation and organization that is of little general interest to the listener. Yet, without such planning, Stockhausen’s music could not take shape. In KLANG, Stockhausen gives us a peak behind the curtain of his wizardry.

The text of UVERSA:

Zentrum von ORVONTON


UVERSA in ORVONTON – eine Billion bewohnter
Planeten gelenkt aus UVERSA

einhundert Tausend lokale Universen

zehn Millionen Konstellationen von UVERSA

eine Milliarde lokale Systeme

in UVERSA Schöpfer-Söhne Michaele
Richter-Söhne UVERSAS

Lehrer-Söhne der Trinität

göttliche Melchisedek-Söhne, Väter der Konstellationen

Lanonandek-Söhne UVERSAS Systemsouveräne
UVERSAS Lebensbringer-Söhne

Helle Morgensterne UVERSAS

Leuchtende Abendsteme

UVERSAS Erzengel

Göttliche Ratgeber

Himmlische inspektoren

 Lehrer der Residenzwelten

UVERSAS Sternforscher-Kunst

Himmlische Künstler in UVERSA für das ganze
Studierende Besucher

Aufsteigende Pilger

Aufsteigende Sterbliche


Centre of ORVONTON
 UVERSA in ORVONTON – a billion
inhabited planets governed from UVERSA

one hundred thousand local universes
ten million constellations of UVERSA

a thousand million local systems

in UVERSA creator sons Michaels
magisterial sons of UVERSA

trinity teacher sons

divine Melchizedek sons,
fathers of the constellations
Lanonondek sons UVERSA’S system sovereigns
UVERSA’S life carrier sons
bright and
morning stars of UVERSA

brilliant evening stars

UVERSA’S archangels

divine counselors

celestial overseers

mansion world teachers

UVERSA’S star-student art

celestial artisans in UVERSA
for the entire superuniverse
student visitors

ascending pilgrims

ascending mortals

John Gattis (horn), Rudolf Kämper & Marcia Kämper (sound projection)
March 25: 7:00 p.m. – The Met Breuer, NY Premiere
March 26: 12:45 p.m. – The Met Breuer

NEBADON is for French horn and tape. It lasts 22 minutes. The world premiere was given on May 8,2010 at the Christuskirche in Cologne by Christine Chapman (horn) and Kathinka Pasveer (sound projection). It was commissioned by the MusikTriennale Cologne. 

In the first opera of LICHT, Stockhausen loosely dramatizes his traumatic childhood and grafts it onto the narrative arc of Michael from The Urantia Book. In the book, Michael comes to Earth as Jesus of Nazareth. His death and resurrection are the final steps in his quest to gain complete sovereignty over the local universe he created, which is called Nebadon. The book takes pains to make it clear that neither Urantia nor Michael are particularly unique in any way. Its cosmology is so vast that Michael of Nebadon, who becomes Jesus of Nazareth, is merely Creator Son No. 611,121. After all, each superuniverse contains thousands of local universes like Nebadon! 

The text of NEBADON invokes terrestrial observations of the universe with names like Orion and Antares. The Urantia Book explains that Nebadon orbits around Sagittarius. The book is a fairly naked attempt to marry modern science with the pre-scientific understanding that informs Biblical texts. Supposedly communicated by angels early in the 20th century, The Urantia Book offers a snapshot of scientific understanding from that time period. 

NEBADON’s music is some of the most static in the final phase of KLANG. Several of the sections in the score have just one or two notes. For a five-minute stretch in the middle of NEBADON, the horn player does little more than hold sustained notes. The imperative is for him to color these notes with very simple techniques like dynamic modulation and mute changes. 

This kind of playing is often quite challenging for musicians, who are used to moving from note to note in conventional phrases. When faced with a page of single notes and durations, it can be difficult to shift away from the traditional mode of music making. The metaphor here is unsubtle. The horn player is, like the ascending spirit, moving into an untimed existence. He is moving further and further away from the timescale of Earth, which is quite rapid compared to the slower timescales of the higher planets. 

We are four hours removed from COSMIC PULSES. Things have changed radically for the spirit. The enormity of the larger universe is becoming clearer by the moment. The static nature of the horn part in NEBADON reinforces the sense of a vastly expanded time scale. Stockhausen often relied on attenuation as a formal device in his music. In MUSIK IM BAUCH (Music in the Belly, 1975), he composed 12 melodies for the Zodiac signs and dispersed them throughout the piece in several different temporal layers. The slowest layer expands one of these brief melodies from under a minute to over a half hour. Stockhausen said, “You need the ears of a giant” to comprehend a melody this slow. He mused, “Future generations will really have to expand their perception in order to be aware of a melody which unfolds over such a long time.”
The text of NEBADON:
local Universe
zehn Millionen bewohnte Welten
im Super-Universum
und Zentral-Universum
Heiliges NEBADON
local Universe
ten million inhabited worlds
in the superuniverse
and central universe
rotates around SAGITTARIUS
Eric Dudley (tenor), Rudolf Kämper (sound projection)
March 25: 6:30 p.m. – The Met Breuer, US Premiere

JERUSEM is for tenor and 8-channel tape. It lasts 21 minutes. The world premiere was given on May 8, 2010 at the Christuskirche in Cologne by Hubert Mayer (tenor) and Kathinka Pasveer (sound projection). It was commissioned by the MusikTriennale Cologne.

The tenor has the least music of any performer so far in the hours since COSMIC PULSES. His music is less static than the horn player of NEBADON, but his piece is shorter, and his text consists of just 13 words. As the final hours of KLANG unfold, each piece gets shorter, because there is less time left in the COSMIC PULSES tapes. The higher layers are faster and shorter than the lower layers of HAVONA and ORVONTON.

As the spirit ascends through the layers of COSMIC PULSES, presumably getting closer to the infinity of Paradise, the actual tape music speeds up, instead of slowing down. This mirrors the realities of merkabah mysticism, which is the basic model for The Urantia Book. Higher planes of existence are harder to comprehend. Where one could almost transcribe the lowest layers of COSMIC PULSES in one listening, the upper layers are too frenetic sometimes to even comprehend as melodies.

As the synthesizer loops reflect the more complex material that the spirit is learning in the later hours, the tenor’s music is rather contemplative. He thanks God for the universes where ascending spirits can learn about and adjust to the greater realities of the afterlife. This joyous process of learning never ends, as indeed it did not for Stockhausen.

One of his favorite words to use while discussing his music was “discover”. He would often say that he discovered a new way of doing something while working on a piece. To neutral ears, this often sounds like a boast, which Stockhausen certainly loved to do. Most often, though, Stockhausen called things “discoveries” when he was excited about learning something new that he did not expect to find when he began. These personal discoveries may already have been known to other people, but for Stockhausen, they were new, and new knowledge excited him.

Even as he worked on KLANG, approaching his 80th year, he discovered new things that excited him. His curiosity was ceaseless. Even his death provided him with an exciting new idea. As his heart was failing, he began to breathe very slowly. He announced that he had discovered a new way of breathing that would inform all of his future music.
The text of JERUSEM:
GOTTES Schulen
ohne Ende
Freude zu lernen

GOD’s schools
without end
joy to learn
Amanda DeBoer (soprano), Rudolf Kämper (sound projection)
March 26: 4:15 p.m. – The Met Breuer, US Premiere

URANTIA is for soprano and 8-channel tape. It is twenty minutes long. The world premiere was given on November 8, 2008 at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London by Kathinka Pasveer (sound projection). It was commissioned by the Southbank Centre.

The final vocal hour of KLANG is a quite humorous text setting. The soprano plays with the word “rotations” for several minutes. She is referring to the swirling layers of COSMIC PULSES that orbit the listener, but she also is referring to the planets and universes of the heavens, which rotate around the Holy Trinity at the center.

LICHT is organized around another trinity of beings: Michael, Eve, and Lucifer. Stockhausen used these three personalities to generate the nearly 30 hours of his massive opera cycle. For him, that was more than enough material to work with. His serial technique could help him isolate, combine, and transform the three personages in ways that continued to surprise both him and his audience over the three decades that they appeared in his music.

It is worth noting that one of his first major forays into large scale dramatic music was MOMENTE (Moments, 1964), which also relied on a trinity of personalities to generate its form. The subject matter there was much more mundane, as the three people at the core of MOMENTE are the composer and his first and second wives.

The text of URANTIA:
Rotationen überall
Urantia im Kosmos
Vater Sohn und Heiliger Geist
Rotations everywhere
Urantia in the cosmos
Father, Son and Holy Ghost
Ryan Muncy (soprano saxophone), Rudolf Kämper (sound projection)
March 25: 5:00 p.m. – The Met Breuer, US Premiere

EDENTIA is for soprano saxophone and 8-channel tape. It is 19 minutes long. The world premiere was given on August 6, 2008 at the Rolf Liebermann Studio in Hamburg by Marcus Weiss (soprano saxophone) and Kathinka Pasveer (sound projection). It was commissioned by Norddeutsche Rundfunk.

The final piece in the KLANG cycle is titled after the planet which houses the headquarters of Earth’s constellation. Edentia sits at the center of 771 administrative planets, and its terrain resembles the Lake District, with thousands of rivers and streams flowing into countless lakes amidst green highlands. One side of the planet is a vast nature reserve. The other side is the administrative center, and it is organized into 70 different triangular sections, each focused on the affairs of a different sector of the constellation.

The most gleeful science fiction touch in The Urantia Book is the method by which ascending pilgrims travel between all these billions of planets on their outer space adventure. Seraphim grab the spirit and carry them between worlds. They land on a sea of glass. Local inhabitants love to gather to watch new arrivals. The Urantia Book hilariously asserts that the friction shields seraphim use to protect ascending mortals during interplanetary flight were mistaken by humans for wings.

The sea of glass in The Urantia Book also serves another very important purpose. It acts as a radio receiver for interstellar broadcasts. In the book, a favorite pastime is gathering at the sea of glass to hear dispatches from other planets. When Lucifer was tried and convicted for his rebellion against Michael, millions of people across the superuniverse listened in on the broadcast.

The piezoelectric properties of crystals are what allow shortwave radios to operate, and well before Stockhausen took up LICHT, this device was a prominent tool in his arsenal. He wrote several pieces that require a performer to transform signals received over a shortwave radio. One commonly heard signal on shortwave radios is Morse code, which is why the text of EDENTIA refers to “morsen”. Throughout KLANG, musicians are often instructed to repeat single notes as if they were playing Morse code.

In the final phase of EDENTIA, Kathinka recites the various techniques used by the musicians in the electronic pieces from KLANG: “trills…repetitions…tremolo…microintervals…groups of groups”. After each word sounds, the soprano saxophone performs a brief demonstration of the technique in question. Such didactic summaries are another recurring feature in Stockhausen’s work. They are intended to help the listener digest what he has heard, and Stockhausen often executes such exercises with great charm. The sonic footprint of EDENTIA is still so strange that listeners cannot be faulted for not realizing Kathinka’s recorded words are cuing the saxophone. If a listener solves this riddle, it can be a source of great delight.
The text of EDENTIA:
Die himmlischen Musiker morsen morsen morsen
spielen steile Glissandi
rote Punkte
in EDENTIA Dreiecke
Kreise Kreise
edentische Kreuze Kreuze
Glieder Glieder
Gruppen von Gruppen
gardens of GOD
resurrection halls
The celestial musicians Morse Morse Morse

play steep glissandi
red points
in EDENTIA triangles
circles circles
Edentic crosses crosses
limbs limbs



groups of groups
sine spirits
Marcia Kämper (flute), Rudolf Kämper (sound projection)
March 25: 7:30 p.m. – The Met Breuer, US Premiere

PARADIES is for flute and 8-channel tape. It is 19 minutes long. The world premiere was given on August 24, 2009 at the Laeiszhalle in Hamburg by Kathinka Pasveer (flute). It was commissioned by Norddeutsche Rundfunk.

The final piece in KLANG is also the last piece of music Stockhausen ever wrote for Kathinka Pasveer. Her voice is on the tape describing the music and performance instructions in finite detail. The flute part is even freer than those that came before it. The flutist can invent all kinds of articulations and connections between the notes.

Stockhausen always encouraged new interpretations, while struggling to balance the need for control in his music. He knew what he wanted, and he knew what he did not want. But, as Donald Rumsfeld might phrase it, Stockhausen also knew he wanted things that he did not know.

In the spring of 1968, he penned a series of text pieces with powerful instructions like, “Play a vibration in rhythm with the universe”. When he performed these works with other musicians, he did not want to hear recognizable patterns. So much of improvisation refers to pre-existing material, and if Stockhausen heard something like a quotation of another musical work, he would object. He did not want improvisation. He wanted intuitive music that would surprise both the listener and the performer. He wanted more discoveries, and many of his scores are designed to give the performer a set of expeditionary tools. The flutist in PARADIES must embark on her own journey of discovery and bring her findings to the audience.

In his writings, Morton Feldman recalled another conversation with Stockhausen about the nature of time. Stockhausen said to him, “You know, Morty – we don’t live in heaven but down here on earth.” As he beat on the table where they sat, Stockhuasen continued, “A sound exists either here – or here – or here.” Feldman concluded that Stockhausen “was convinced that he was demonstrating reality to me. That the beat, and the possible placement of sounds in relation to it, was the only thing the composer could realistically hold on to. The fact that he had reduced it to so much a square foot made him think Time was something he could handle and even parcel out, pretty much as he pleased.”

Stockhausen was preoccupied with time throughout his entire career. His most important theoretical work is titled, “How Time Passes”. He said once that his career from the mid-70s on has been one giant meditation on time. First came music for the year (TIERKREIS) and the seasons (SIRIUS), then came music for the week (LICHT), and eventually music for the day (KLANG). He predicted that next would come music for the minute, and later music for the second, and the microsecond.

Time consumes all such plans, and Stockhausen was never able to finish his music for the day. The final three hours of KLANG are a mystery. Perhaps they would have been about the Holy Trinity. Perhaps they would have been about life on Sirius, the destination he firmly believed he was headed for after his life on Earth.

Regardless, the music of KLANG takes the listener on an epic adventure that begins in the final moments of life. It takes us through the transition into the afterlife, and gives us a glimpse of one very particular vision of what eternal life will be like.

Perhaps the best summation of KLANG is a sentiment once voice by Stockhausen about his personal faith, “I am excessive and thirsty for and crazy about GOD and His worlds. Want to come along?” KLANG is the listener’s passport for the journey with Stockhausen to see God and His worlds. Like any tour leader, he favors certain destinations over others, but what we are left with is a deep and abiding sense of wonder and exhilaration at the prospect of what is to come after our lives on Earth have ended.
The text of PARADIES:
für Flöte
und elektronische Musik
21. Stunde aus KLANG
drei Schichten aus COSMIC PULSES neu gemischt
im PARADIES alle 24 Schleifen
24 Zeilen Noten für die Flöte
von 1 bis zu 24 Tonhöhen
der Urreihe
Queele aller Melodien
jede Zeile ein anderer tiefer Ton
Fragmente der Gruppen
Sprünge im ganzen Raum
Dynamik nach Maß
Artikulationen Frei
Legato oder Staccato
Pausen ad libitum
Tempo flexibel
pro Zeile ein Einschub
für die Phantasie
und das Spiel
und die Freude
für den Zauber
den ewigen GOTT
for flute
and electronic music
21st Hour of KLANG
three layers from COSMIC PULSES newly mixed
in PARADISE all 24 loops
24 lines of notes for the flute
from 1 to 24 pitches
of the original row
source of all melodies
each line, a different low note
fragments of the groups
jumps in the entire space
fitting dynamics
articulation free
legato or staccato
pauses ad libitum
flexible tempo
one insert per line
for the fantasy
and the play
and the joy
for the magic
the eternal GOD
KLANG has yet to receive much attention from scholars. The first comprehensive study of KLANG was published last year by Leopoldo Siano, and a few other musicologists have done some very probing analysis of specific sections of KLANG.

Kohl, Jerome. “Harmonies and the Path from Beauty to Awakening: Hours 5 to 12 of Stockhausen’s Klang“, Perspectives of New Music, Vol. 50, No. 1/2, 2012.

Siano, Leopoldo. Karlheinz Stockhausens Letzter Kompositionszyklus: Klang. Die 24 Stunden Des Tages. Wien: Verlag Der Apfel, 2013.

Toop, Richard. “Himmels-Tür: Crossing to the Other Side“, Perspectives of New Music, Vol. 50, No. 1/2, 2012.
KLANG Scores and CDs are available from the Stockhausen-Verlag.

KLANG on Wikipedia

Essays on KLANG by Albrecht Moritz:
FREUDE (pdf)
HARMONIEN (HARMONIES) and Trios, 2006-2007 (KLANG, Hours 5-12)

Essay on COSMIC PULSES by Ingvar Nordin.

Blog posts about KLANG by Ed Chang:
Hours 5-12
Hours 14-21