Gruppen! Stockhausen! And why you should care…

When I was tapped to start writing for Consequence of Sound, they asked me to contribute an article if there was ever any “big news” in the new music world. To be honest, there really isn’t all that much excitement. There’s no classical equivalent to the Kanye twitter feed, or the romances that fly through the gossip mills. The NY Philharmonic or the BSO or the LSO don’t break up. Sure, sometimes a conductor gets canned, but really, that’s not that big of a deal.

So, last week when the NY Phil announced that its new season would conclude with Stockhausen’s Gruppen, a piece to be performed by three orchestras set up around the periphery of the Park Ave. Armory with the audience in the middle, I figured that actually was big news.

But why should the average person care? Stockhausen isn’t easy to listen to – even I find his music a bit obtuse and inaccessible (the electronic stuff, at least – I think his Klavierstücke are incredible). But I remembered the first time I heard Stockhausen live, at a performance in 2005 of his Gesang der Jünglinge, the seminal electronic piece from 1954. I was blown away by the live sound diffusion orchestrated by the Harvard composition professor of electro-acoustic music, Hans Tutschku. Music was flying all around me, seemingly through me, diagonally, coming from behind, echoing around me. It was trippy, it was amazing. So I’m excited to hear whether Gruppen can do the same thing with acoustic instruments. If the performance is good and spot on, it will be an equally mindblowing experience. Which is why you should go…

For more of my thoughts on this announcement, see my editorial below:

via Insight: NY Philharmonic to perform Stockhausen’s Gruppen… in 2012.

Consequence of Sound is a New York- and Chicago-based, worldly influenced music blog that seeks to cover the music world as it has never has been covered before. Features news, reviews, mp3, and festival outlook.

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~ by Jake on February 17, 2011.

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