Orchester der Lucerne Festival Academy
Karlheinz Stockhausen IV
Modernism in music was unleashed by a ritual: Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. And a ritual brought it spiritual awareness: Karlheinz Stockhausen’s INORI. As in a deep prayer everything is derived from a single formula and everything aspires towards one formula. Both its secret and the route to finding this lie in the music. The gestures of prayer that are carried out by two dancers were assembled by the composer from a variety of religious practices and ordered as a chromatic scale. This makes them an integral part of the musical score and not something applied from the outside. Sound and gesture, audible and visible signals come from a single source and are the expression of a joint process. Stockhausen did not write religious music in the sense of recording or reiterating a doctrine. But it is religious in its concern with transcendence – one that is shared by art, science and metaphysics. For John Cage the decisive artistic criterion was “if you celebrate it”.
This evening completes the Musikfest 2018. It highlights a panorama of the music and art of the 20th century. Karlheinz Stockhausen occupies a significant place within this with his sharp intelligence, his advanced thinking and his desire for transcendence. Various different tendencies were combined in his work and numerous impulses came from out of it – including provocations. “The essence of my music is always religious and spiritual: the technical side is simply explication.” (Stockhausen)