Sternklang (Star Sound), is "park music for five groups" composed in 1971 by Karlheinz Stockhausen, and bears the work number 34 in his catalogue of compositions. The score is dedicated to Mary Bauermeister, and a performance of the work lasts from two-and-a-half to three hours.
Sternklang is "park music", to be performed outdoors at night by 21 singers and/or instrumentalists divided into five groups, at widely separated locations. The sounds from each performer is separately amplified and projected over loudspeakers. "Sound runners" transport musical "models" from one group to another, while a percussionist stationed at a central position helps synchronise the groups to common tempos at ten points in the piece.The piece has been described as "a twilight fantasy … an extended outdoor Stimmung". From a technical point of view, it tackles and solves the problem of coordinating independent harmonic groups.
Although Sternklang was first conceived in 1969, it was only composed two years later, on a commission from Sender Freies Berlin. The first performance took place from 8:30 to 11:30pm on 5 June 1971, in the Englischer Garten of the Tiergarten, Berlin, near the Akademie der Künste.The performers were the Collegium Vocale Köln, an expanded version of Stockhausen's touring ensemble, Hugh Davies and his group, The Gentle Fire from London, and Roger Smalley and Tim Souster's ensemble, Intermodulation, from Cambridge. About four thousand people attended the performance. Despite the unusually difficult performance requirements, there have been a number of subsequent performances:
The two Bonn performances in 1980 had been planned for outdoor performance in the Rheinauenpark. The loudspeaker towers were scheduled to be set up in the park on 21 July, five days before the first performance, but by that time uninterrupted rain had been falling for a week with no improvement in sight, so the decision was made to relocate the performance indoors, into the large auditorium of the Beethovenhalle. Stockhausen found that there were certain advantages to an indoor venue (better auditory contact among the performers, improved control of the just tuning of the harmonies, etc.), and so decided henceforth to authorise such performances and drew up special instructions for those conditions. In connection with this extension of performance practice Stockhausen decided also that even a single group out of the five specified in the score, or any combination of two to five groups may perform freely selected excerpts from Sternklang in concert.
Sternklang creates a sense of "non-progressive or circular time by blurring complex relationships between pitch and rhythm based on the overtone series so that the structure is perceived as inexhaustible and thus appears static". Hz. In the first chord this functions as the ninth partial, in the second chord as the eighth partial, and so on to the fifth chord, where it is the fifth partial. Compositionally, the harmonic structure fluctuates between an extreme situation in which all five groups share the same chord and the opposite extreme where each group's chord is different.The entire composition is based on five just-intoned harmonic sounds, each containing eight tones corresponding to the second through ninth partials of the overtone series. One of these tones in each chord is the E above middle C, tuned to 330
The rhythms, tone colours, and pitch intervals in the "models" are directly derived from star constellations observed in the sky and integrated as musical figures.
The self-similarity of the time and pitch structures recalls the same composer's Gruppen .
At the Birmingham performance in 1992, the composer observed members of the audience:
They stayed a while at the same place to listen to a group, then moved away in the park in the direction of another group. As I walked from group to group … I began to encounter the same people. Those located in the central listening area did not remain there long, at most five minutes, then went toward a group—who knows what prompted them to choose this one over another?
The overall response of the audience attending was described by another observer:
for many in the park on Tuesday night the experience was unique and estimable: not a soul I talked to disliked it. Quite what came down to Earth that night as a result of this community endeavour has to be a matter of personal experience. At the very least those who brought this astonishing event to fulfilment can rest secure in the knowledge that they have given Birmingham a night unlike any other.
Licht (Light), subtitled "Die sieben Tage der Woche", is a cycle of seven operas composed by Karlheinz Stockhausen between 1977 and 2003. The composer described the work as an "eternal spiral" because "there is neither end nor beginning to the week." Licht consists of 29 hours of music.
Gruppen for three orchestras (1955–57) is amongst the best-known compositions of German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, and is Work Number 6 in the composer's catalog of works. Gruppen is "a landmark in 20th-century music. .. probably the first work of the post-war generation of composers in which technique and imagination combine on the highest level to produce an undisputable masterpiece".
Collegium Vocale Köln is a German vocal ensemble, founded in 1966 as a quintet when its members were still students at the Rheinische Musikschule in Cologne. It is directed by Wolfgang Fromme, who also sings tenor in the ensemble. They are best known as the group for which Karlheinz Stockhausen composed Stimmung in 1968, a work which they had performed more than three hundred of times throughout the world by 1986. The original impetus for the ensemble's founding, however, was an appearance by Alfred Deller at the Cologne Courses for Early Music, and the group has always performed both early and contemporary works.
Hymnen is an electronic and concrete work, with optional live performers, by Karlheinz Stockhausen, composed in 1966–67, and elaborated in 1969. In the composer's catalog of works, it is "Nr. 22".
Sirius: eight-channel electronic music and trumpet, soprano, bass clarinet, and bass is a music-theatre composition by Karlheinz Stockhausen, composed between 1975 and 1977. It is Nr. 43 in the composer's catalogue of works, and lasts 96 minutes in performance.
Trans is a composition for orchestra and tape by the German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, written in 1971. It is Number 35 in the composer's catalog of works.
Alphabet für Liège, for soloists and duos, is a composition by Karlheinz Stockhausen, and is Work Number 36 in the composer's catalog of works. A performance of it lasts four hours.
Jubiläum (Jubilee) is an orchestral composition by Karlheinz Stockhausen, work-number 45 in the composer's catalogue of works.
Dienstag aus Licht is an opera by Karlheinz Stockhausen in a greeting and two acts, with a farewell, and was the fourth of seven to be completed for the opera cycle Licht: Die sieben Tage der Woche. It was begun in 1977 and completed from 1988 to 1991, to a libretto by the composer.
Musik im Bauch is a piece of scenic music for six percussionists and music boxes composed by Karlheinz Stockhausen in 1975, and is Number 41 in his catalog of works. The world premiere was presented on 28 March 1975 as part of the Royan Festival. The performance was given by Les Percussions de Strasbourg in the haras in the town of Saintes, near to Royan. Its duration is roughly 38 minutes.
Zeitmaße is a chamber-music work for five woodwinds composed in 1955–1956 by German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen; it is Number 5 in the composer's catalog. It is the first of three wind quintets written by Stockhausen, followed by Adieu für Wolfgang Sebastian Meyer (1966) and the Rotary Wind Quintet (1997), but is scored with cor anglais instead of the usual French horn of the standard quintet. Its title refers to the different ways that musical time is treated in the composition.
Studie II is an electronic music composition by Karlheinz Stockhausen from the year 1954 and, together with his Studie I, comprises his work number ("opus") 3. It is serially organized on all musical levels and was the first published score of electronic music.
Harlekin (Harlequin) is a composition for unaccompanied clarinet by Karlheinz Stockhausen, named for the commedia dell'arte character Harlequin. It was composed in 1975 and is Number 42 in his catalogue of works. A shorter, derived work called Der kleine Harlekin is Number 42½.
Stop is a composition for orchestra by Karlheinz Stockhausen, work-number 18 in the composer’s catalogue of works, where two performing realisations are also found as Nr. 18½ and Nr. 18⅔.
Unsichtbare Chöre is an eight-channel electronic-music composition by Karlheinz Stockhausen. A component part of the opera Donnerstag aus Licht, it may also be performed as an independent composition, in which form it is designated "ex 49" in the composer's catalog of works.
Expo, for three performers with shortwave radio receivers and a sound projectionist, is a composition by Karlheinz Stockhausen, written in 1969–70. It is Number 31 in the catalogue of the composer's works.
Ylem is a composition by Karlheinz Stockhausen for a variable ensemble of 19 or more players, and is given the work number 37 in his catalogue of compositions.
Für kommende Zeiten is a collection of seventeen text compositions by Karlheinz Stockhausen, composed between August 1968 and July 1970. It is a successor to the similar collection titled Aus den sieben Tagen, written in 1968. These compositions are characterized as "Intuitive music"—music produced primarily from the intuition rather than the intellect of the performer(s). It is work number 33 in Stockhausen's catalog of works, and the collection is dedicated to the composer's son Markus.
Ensemble is a group-composition project devised by Karlheinz Stockhausen for the 1967 Darmstädter Ferienkurse. Twelve composers and twelve instrumentalists participated, and the resulting performance lasted four hours. It is not assigned a work number in Stockhausen's catalogue of works.
Musik für ein Haus is a group-composition project devised by Karlheinz Stockhausen for the 1968 Darmstädter Ferienkurse. Fourteen composers and twelve instrumentalists participated, with the resulting performance lasting four hours. It was not regarded by Stockhausen as a composition belonging solely to himself, and therefore was not assigned a number in his catalog of works.