Saturday, January 5, 2008

Finally Stockhausen

I had dinner with Bunnywhiskers last Friday and she has asked me to do a Stockhausen tribute on her radio show sometime in the next few weeks. I'll talk about finding a brand spanking new and pristine copy of Klavierst├╝ck X in a sheet music store (now long gone as so many are) in downtown Los Angeles in the heady froth of the late 70s and immediately dashing home and cutting the fingers off some gloves to work my way through it, slowly, page by page, chordal glissando by painful chordal glissando, joyously drawing blood along the way. I'll tell her about the post-fire sale at the Tower Records at Berkeley in the early 80s where I was able to buy almost the entire DG Stockhausen catalog in white disco LP jackets (but I envied Everett Shock's copy of Sirius with the naked picture of the dear alien himself). And then the Tierkreis melodies - the music-box versions primarily - which sent me along the route of my own music box manipulations. And Momente, the LP I played every day while reading The Golden Bough, although isn't there something odd about listening to a fixed recording of a polyvalent piece of music, getting to know that particular performance so well that hearing the modules in a different order seemed wrong?

Which, since we are starting on a wander, reminds me of my sophomoric and adolescent pseudo-intellectualism where, having been force-fed the Wittgensteinian bologna about the lack of meaning of a private language, I took my recently purchased but yet unlistened-to copy of Daphnis and Chloe and played it for months at 45 RPM so when I finally heard the piece played normal-like, I would have a true private experience. Yes?

But do we all know Stockhausen's origin myth? I happened to see the original quote from the master of Darmstadt on Anablog, and here 'tis:

"I think that the culture of this planet has been mainly formed by visitors from Sirius, especially in the time between 9000 and 6000 B.C...I think that our main sources of present-day culture, as decadent as it may be in most parts of the planet, stem from visitors from Sirius whose main representatives were Isis and Osiris. Through a series of revelations which were at first quite nebulous, but have become more clear during the past few years, I know (as little as I know about details) that I have come from Sirius, myself."

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