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Phil Dewey

Stockhausen has been among the leading avant-garde figures in German music since the 1950s. In spite of material difficulties, he studied in Cologne with Frank Martin and was subsequently strongly influenced by attendance at Darmstadt, where summer sessions contributed largely to the development of new music. He went on to study with Messiaen in Paris. Parallel to his work in electronic music, he explored the human element in performance, moving from total serialism, in which every aspect of a piece is controlled by a predetermined serial pattern, to a more flexible approach.


The numbering of Stockhausen's works allows his earlier compositions the numbering of fractions, with his Kontre-Punkte of 1952 as the first whole number, No. 1. A varied and fascinating series of compositions includes Stimmung for electronically treated voices, Mantra, for two pianos, woodblocks and crotales, the result of a visit to the Osaka World Fair, at which his music was featured. Zyklus has an important part in modern percussion repertoire, while work continues on Licht, a project divided into seven days and involving dramatic use of instrumental performance. The size of this work, calculated to reach completion in 2002, is characteristic of the composer's Wagnerian tendencies.

Instrumental and Vocal Music

Of particular interest in the development of Stockhausen's ideas is Gruppen, first performed in 1958, and using three orchestras surrounding the audience. Use of short-wave radio occurs in Hymnen, Spiral and his celebration of the bicentenary of




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