Karlheinz Does Dallas

OMG! Stockhausen in Dallas? An interesting review:

See this review by Scott Cantrell.

It was the 1960s again for an hour Sunday night.

Missed that. Must've been watching baseball.

Six robe-clad figures sat on a circle of pillows in a dim crypt, swaying and chanting arcane sounds. Occasionally the name of a deity – Osiris, Artemis, Wotan – would surface from the oohs and aahs, wah-wahs and luh-luhs. Strands of erotic German poetry wafted on rising and falling slides of pitch.

It was...in a crypt? Oh, figuratively, like the way it was the 1960s again. I get it.

We lacked only fumes of patchouli and pot smoke.

Dude, you live in Dallas. Head on down to the Winedale Tavern on Greenville Avenue. (I know a guy.) It's not far from the theater...

Figure 1: Winedale Tavern, Dallas

This was, however, a legal affair: a concert presented by Dallas' modern-music group Voices of Change, at the Undermain Theatre in Deep Ellum. And the sound effects, all produced by amplified live singers, were artifacts of a work called Stimmung, by the late German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen.

Figure 2: Voices of Change

Figure 3: Stockhausen

In a performance organized by University of North Texas composition professor Joseph Klein, the singers were sopranos Heidi Dietrich Klein and Tracey Deen, alto Katrina Burggraf-Kledas, tenors Kevin Sutton and Ryan Lungwitz, and bass Tim Johnson. Dr. Klein gave a fast-talking introduction to the work and managed the amplification.

Sounds awesome!

(Here is a link to an excerpt from Stimmung for you.)

Stockhausen, who died last December at age 79, was one of the agents provocateurs of post-World War II music. Stimmung, composed in 1968, was something of a signpost of the avant-garde.

All true.

The vocal sounds are, you might say, life imitating art, or at least the artifice of electronic music, in which Stockhausen was a pioneer. But the piece is also an example of aleatory music: the performers are given 51 musical gestures, plus the "magic names" (as Stockhausen called them) and poetry, to combine as the spirit moves.

"...as the spirit moves."? Is that a word-count filling way of saying "choice"?

Either hypnotic or maddening,

Why not both?

depending on your mindset, the piece lasted one hour. (Other performances have run closer to 70 minutes.) Although it's supposed to remain rooted in the note B-flat and its overtones, understandably it did drift here and there.

Understandably! Certainly.

Personally, I was glad to experience a work more often cited in music-history books than actually performed.

I am very, very happy to read that. Wait...what's that I hear? Is it...is it a "but" coming?



for this listener, its hour-long duration occasioned every stage of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Sounds like ol' Karlheinz has got your number, to me.

As Voltaire reportedly said of a late-in-life trip to a house of ill-repute, "Once a philosopher, twice a pervert."



Empiricus said...


The anecdotal source from:


Sator Arepo said...

Yeah, I got that. How does it apply to the story?

Empiricus said...


David Rakowski said...


You used to be a lot funnier.

I stopped reading y'all quite a while ago, but I do return sporadically to see if you ever screw in the courage to drop your anonymity. I guess not yet. Cheers.

Empiricus said...


Yo. What's the deal? If you know who we are (and I think you do; it's kinda easy to conclude -- especially...), why do you care so much? I'll be willing to admit who I am if this project had any beneficial (career-wise) effects. But it doesn't (and we don't want them to). If, on the other hand, our anonymity somehow lessens our "point," beef, then fine -- my name is Jean. Jean I-want-better-Dialogue the Third, Esquire. You can also call me Danny (my middle name).



Empiricus said...

P.S. Our names don't matter in the grand scheme of our proposed dialog. If you want credentials, then...

...I like not-sucky etudes.

How's that? (Yeah! You're in!)