Sunday, December 16, 2007

Stockhausen beyond collage

What I'm trying to do, so far as I'm aware of it, is to produce models that herald the stage after destruction. I'm trying to go beyond collage, heterogeneity, and pluralism, and to find unity: to produce music that brings us to the essential One. And that is going to be badly needed during the time of shocks and disasters that is going to come. Models of coming together, of mutual love, of love as a cohesive force. I'm sure that if I'm in my best state, my music will have a unifying effect. (Karlheinz Stockhausen, from an interview originally published in Music and Musicians, May 1971)

I am not striving for a "synthesis" where everything is swallowed up in a gigantic mishmash. Quite the contrary. The characteristic structures must even be emphasized in the chosen context. I don't want to destroy anything. I want to preserve the autonomy of the individual phenomena within the polyphony achieved. Individual aspects of a creation are brought into relationship with other specific features. The idea isn't to obliterate existing music but rather to diversify its effectiveness. (From an interview on the composition Telemusik, 1968)

Serialism is just a way of thinking. As Schoenberg said, it establishes an equality of right between the different elements. But it doesn't mean levelling them out or making them all equal, a misunderstanding that you find reflected in much American music. Serialism tries to go beyond collage, beyond the multiplicity of things. It tries to find unity without destroying the individual elements, and that means to interconnect, to -- yes, to try to balance out the different aspects of sound. (Music and Musicians interview)

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