Stockhausen - Questions and answers on Intuitive Music Pt 3



Question: What happens if you repeat a piece like ES in the coming weeks? Surely you must be bound, having once played in a certain way, to remember certain details and thus to play it similarly?



Stockhausen: No, I do not want to repeat anything.



Question: Do you think it would be completely different?



Stockhausen: Once you are on the track to follow intuition, you even try to abandon what you have learned ­ the features of the repetition, the mechanisms of the reproduction. Certainly a new realisation would be completely different.



Question: In your opinion, is it possible to revive the intuition of the people in the hall?



Stockhausen: You mean a feed-back with the listeners?



Question: With the listeners, yes. And that, in fact, completes the circle with the intuitive ­ also the meditative ­ with a



Stockhausen: Definitely. If there are people in a hall who emit bad waves, nothing works. And the stronger they are, the worse it goes. One feels very bad when one has a destructive public, or when certain elements in the public are simply in an antagonistic mood, emitting destructive waves against whatever is developing. In some places we had to just give up. The people didn't even know why; but we knew that it was not the right place to stay and to work on a process, I mean, to form something. Yes, the public becomes immensely important, but not in the sense that they sometimes imagine. The public thinks that it is a great thing, in emancipated society, that there someone is playing and that the others consume it. That it ­ the public ­ is to be fed with music ­ with my music, which is fixed once and forever, and namely in the traditional one-way information, the most extreme forms of which are records, radio and television.


Those who now wish to "critically" change these circumstances say, "Well, then you'll have to bring along whistles and stomp on the floor and jump around and talk with the musicians: everyone has to participate in the music and take part in the creative process!". Then the whole thing turns into something terribly primitive, because the people are neither innerly prepared, nor do they really want to form something extraordinary; they just want to manifest themselves and participate in a noisy event. So usually when these things have been done ­ and they have been variously tried out in recent years ­, little instruments were handed out, or it was announced that with the help of the voice, sounds would be made together. Sometimes, someone also gave entries here and there, or tried to articulate the whole thing. Or else there was simply no one, and what happened, happened. Within a few seconds, it normally turned into a very loud din, in which no one could hear himself any longer. And then it simply remained a loud chaos, until the people got tired out.


But there is a completely different method to participate in a new way. Sometimes you find it in Indian music. There, a small group of listeners sits around the players and "comments" using gestures and voice. The players are encouraged in a wonderful way by these signs of the listeners and respond accordingly. There is a communion between those who are listening and those who are playing. Then the separation between those who are helping to build the wave-creation with their inner generators, and the musicians who are plucking the strings, is no longer so important. One forgets about the physicality of the frantically active hands, feet or tongue. Then this incredible feed-back is reached between people who are together and similarly tuned in a wonderful way. When musicians play in the presence of such a public, the most extraordinary things can happen, precisely also be-cause of these people.



Question: Do you think it is possible ­ also for people who have no "higher knowledge" to make Intuitive Music?



Stockhausen: Yes, certainly. It is like falling in love with someone you did not know before.



Question: I would have thought that really good Intuitive Music very much depends on the individual members of a group knowing each other very well.



Stockhausen: As the gentleman has just said ­ that can also go wrong. Or, on the contrary, a new player can tremendously inspire. There is also a magnetism which suddenly attracts players to each other; they feel well tuned to one another. But sometimes it suddenly stops, and one feels, "Hm ­ I was mistaken, he can't, or I can't ­ we both can't". Generally it is best if the players know each other well.



Question: I would like to return to the relation of style and Intuitive Music. Isn't the last piece that you played for us recognisable in any way as a piece which you composed, as compared to another composer who also writes a text which gives rise to an intuitive performance? Are you not really trapped in some way by something which is recog-nisable as your piece of music and not that of another composer?



Stockhausen: Yes, there is something to that. It is impossible for people who ­ up to now ­ have played something that bore my name to think that I do not exist. The fact that they know I exist and that that which they are doing has something to do with my name, leads them to very specific things. There is no question about it: all the musicians have told me as much. As a name, I am a myth. There is a body, and this body has a tag: a name. When this body does not exist any more, the name will completely transform into a myth, together with all the things which have crystallised around it, including the many opinions and convictions about what it would have done, if it were still alive. There are many minds that have already made a complete picture out of me ­ a myth; and that myth creates something of itself. So I am a myth of myself ­ also to myself. But that means that I am not only interested in this particular body and its biography, because it is only one of many appearances, and the others are actually just as mysterious for me as the one I have now. Nor am I only interested in this one name. The name stands for something that manifests itself through me: that is all I know. Thus, whenever I do something, certain things should be right in the way I think they should be right: there is a certain integrity that manifests itself through me. It must be something with which I can completely identify. And the musicians who have worked with me ­ even those who read a score or an article of mine ­ feel something of this and strive to also achieve it. Even if I were just to say, "Play", I would have said it, as opposed to Mr. X having said it: that makes a decisive difference.


So, someone has come into the world with this myth, and it will remain for as long as people retain the myth or are possessed by that spirit. It is a spiritual force that manifests itself through one human being and affects many others. And this creates a world within the world: there is no question about that. Thus, no matter how "free" the playing instructions are, people will always say, "Well, I cannot help it, it sounds like your music". And even if I say that it is not my music, that I do not own any aspect of it ­ all that does not change anything, because all the works I have composed before are also contained in this one interpretation. They have encircled certain spiritual processes, musical processes.



Question: Do you think that in time, your music will be classified as classical music?



Stockhausen: It is really a pity, but as long as people want to also pigeon-hole music, yes. Namely, these pigeon-holes have a very special function, particularly in our society, because these classifications originate from people who classify themselves. This also holds true for people who classify themselves into the realm of "pop-culture". It is very difficult for people to get out of the "class" they want to belong to, because they are, in fact, innerly against all other classes as long as they stick to this system. Actually, that is ridiculous: I belong to that, to which I want to belong. A free man does not need to belong to any class. If someone says to me that I belong to a particular class, he thus really classifies himself, just by using for instance "classic" as a tag. It has economic and social reasons ­ classic people want to be in a classic society, classic employees in classic surroundings, they want to have a classic car, a classic suit and a "classy" partner these things have a lot to do with each other.


I am glad that the music is distributed on records ­ I then become fairly anonymous, just a "name" ­ and that it permeates all layers of taste and all classes. In this I have been very lucky, because my records are bought by pop fans, by lovers of classical music, by people who like modern music and also by people who enjoy oriental music or folk music. At least the record companies say that it is amazing ­ and they actually do not understand why It seems that the music I have produced breaks out of the realms of classification to an ever increasing measure: it does not fit into these pigeon-holes. But we'll see. Perhaps you are right, that in 50 years they may again say: "He is a classical composer".



Question: Let's say there is a musician who is highly trained, but knows nothing about the sounds you make otherwise, and you would give him this music to play. What do you think is going to happen? Have you ever tried it?



Stockhausen: He will play what he has heard before. It is really a very decisive turning point in the development of a musician, to break out of his whole environment, training, and technical mechanics. So a very conscious being is needed: he must know the music of the world. He must already be a world-wide informed mind, who has travelled in many countries, or heard records of the music of all other cultures, in order to avoid it all.



Question: Would you say that a musician who wishes to play a piece like IT must ­ by all means ­ know your music well before he can play IT?



Stockhausen: No, this does not necessarily have to be the case. My instinct tells me that ­ because of my instruction "Do not think anything ­ and then start to play" he would just try out the strings of his instrument, and would stop all the time because of the instruction that he should stop whenever he thinks something. I don't know: we would have to try it. The brain can function as a filter to avoid all stylistic clichés. When therefore, this musician thinks (because the instructions say after all "Do not think, and when you have attained the state of non-thinking, start playing") he can stretch this thinking-process to as long as he likes between the moments of playing . That is what we do when we play this piece. We listen to each other and when someone thinks "What strange stuff he is playing", he stops. Then he tries to return to the state of non-thinking once more and starts again. So thinking is not excluded: it is always active when one is not playing. The thinking acts as a kind of filter: when one thinks during the performance, one can be very critical of what one has played oneself or what the others are playing. And this thinking then conditions ­ after the thinking has been stopped ­ the entire manner of playing during the following phase of non-thinking.



Question: I feel that all of us here could stop our thinking and our emotions ­ the things that we are conditioned by, everything that is going on around us ­ to simply achieve a complete calm within ourselves. Then, what there is in each of us will be the same, and the only problem would be to wipe out all the conditions created in us by television, newspapers and advertisements. So, if one took a piece like IT to its logical end, then perhaps it would always sound the same, no matter who is playing it, no matter where it is heard. Since what we have heard is recognisably played by Stockhausen's musicians, I would like to ask if you also feel that you have not yet performed this piece as perfectly as it is actually written?



Stockhausen: Please, give us a chance. Just three years of musical history have elapsed since something like this has surfaced or even been seriously considered, and none of the musicians who have par-ticipated in this music has dramatically changed his life: that is a pity. They are all continuing to live more or less the way they did before. Nevertheless, all of them have changed to a certain degree, more or less, depending on their personality. It will take time. Not just with this generation but also with the one to come. I have great confidence in what will emerge from these seeds.


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