Mark J. St. Hilaire's Remarks to Stockhausen-Verlag on CD 17.1
I'm only now just getting the chance to write to you to tell you how much I've been enjoying the new FUR KOMMENDE ZEITEN recordings!! I first listenened to it late on the evening I had last written to you. Since it was late, I was planning to hear only the first selection. But I was immediately captivated, so I had to hear the whole CD through the midnight hour, which seemed to add to the magic--for your information,
I heard Hymnen for the first time at 2:00 to 4:00 in the morning back in the summer of 1976!! So there is something to be said about late hour listening when you're not tired. Intuitive Music is a very special kind of music, and extremely demanding to perform. It requires, as you know, well trained and highly sensitive and attuned musicians who are totally committed to acting as transistors.
Faithful adherence to Stockhausen's texts can bring about beautiful results, as CD 17.1 clearly demonstrates--these musicians are extraordinary!! There is complete organic consistency throughout the whole CD, and not just through the individual pieces alone. This is a virtue that I generally find with the Stockhausen Edition CDs, that even though you will find individual pieces that can be heard separately, taken as a whole the CDs make up a wonderful program organically arranged, almost like a larger work with the indiviual pieces constituting the sections (I purposely avoid the word movements).
The extended dream-like reverberations in WACH beautifully realize the text, with its abrupt end giving the impression of suddenly coming out of a waking dream. This realization stands comparison with Boje, Caskell and Eotvos beautiful realization recorded in December 1971 at the EMI Studios in London--incidentally, this recording along with JAPAN, POLE and EXPO was released by EMI in the 1970s as a 2-LP set. Now out-of-print, this set remains one of the most beautiful recordings of 'live' electronic music to have ever emerged on LP!! The recordings of POLE and EXPO make great companions to the alternative realizations made by the same artists 8 months earlier for WDR (Stockhausen Edition CD 15). I am grateful that such a group (EFIM) exists today, affirming that good intuitive music lives on! The utopian spirit of the late 60's and early 70's which brought forth Intuitive Music has been transplanted to the 21st century, with a new kind of transparency characteristic of the Stockhausen of Sonntag aus LICHT!
I will treasure these recordings along with CDs 14 & 15! There's a wonderful passage in Jonathan Cott's Conversations with Stockhausen: "We are all transistors in the literal sense. Waves arrive, antennae receive them, and the so-called high fidelity system plays them back as directly as possible without distorting them too much. And a human being is always bombarded with cosmic rays which have a very specific rhythm and structure, and they transform his atomic structure and by that his whole system. And if we're too much involved with our personal ego, desires, interests, people, whatever it is, then these rays become focused on us as individuals with our tiny private problems. But when we more and more forget ourselves--I mean try to make ourselves pure in the state of reception and transmission--then this current passes through. And if you then have a special talent...then you can use what you have in order to concretize what comes through you, and then that communication is possible. You become a focus. The current goes through you, and then it goes to the others through you".
Intuitive Music is a heightened awareness of this fact, and Stockhausen's Texts dare the gifted musician to shed the cloak of complacency worn by far too many musicians.
THANK YOU FOR MORE STOCKHAUSEN MAGIC!! My Best To You All!
Mark J. St. Hilaire.