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« For Beethoven's Birthday | Main | Stockhausen's Funeral »

New Stimmung!



At Last! A new recording on Harmonia Mundi of Stockhausen's STIMMUNG (1968) just arrived in my mailbox! The last recording, by the British Singcircle appeared in 1983. This new release, with Paul Hillier and the Theatre of Voices, sounds quite different than that earlier recording in many ways. It's referred to as the "Copenhagen version", because Theatre of Voices has taken residence in Copenhagen. 

For one thing, the sound quality is excellent. The pace is much slower, much more meditative. It runs 78 minutes while the Singcircle performance is eight minutes shorter.

And the best thing is the program booklet with Paul Hillier's wonderful notes. Hillier was one of the singers in the Singcircle performances.

The blurb on the cover says: Paris, 1968: with the premiere of Stimmung, Stockhausen redefined the very notion of what vocal music is. This series of sonic sequences, entirely built on the overtones of B flat in multiple combinations, embraces new musical techniques and explores the inner world of speech and song. Paul Hillier, a specialist in contemporary vocal repertoire, proves in his new recording that this milestone of 20th-century music is still as relevant as ever.

I couldn't agree more. This is a significant work from that period, and now in a new and fresh recording and interpretation.  I first heard it in Paris in 1971 performed by Collegium Vocale (the "Paris version") and was immediately transfixed. I still am.

Below is a picture I snapped at the October 1971 performance by Collegium Vocale I attended at the Theatre de Ville, Paris.

Stimmung, Paris, October 1971 photo by me 

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