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Stockhausen, part 2

sat 22 jun 2019

Opera of the month – Karlheinz Stockhausen- Donnerstag aus Licht- Opera 20th century
The German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928-2007) is an icon of both post-war classical music and opera, although his operas have always been given less attention that his other work. That is not justified. The greatest achievement in his opera oeuvre is without doubt ‘Licht: Die Sieben Tage der Woche’, a cycle of seven operas that he composed between 1977 and 2003. If I have to choose one work from the cycle it is ‘Donnerstag aus Licht’ from 1980. This opera had its première in 1981 in Italy. Although the public was enthousiatic, the reviewers were unimpressed and much of the criticism was directed at Stockhausen himself. The music was considered to been acceptable but visually it did not meet expectations. The final result was considered to be symptomatic of his pretentions. A few years later, opinions had changed and there was appreciation for the mystical, sublime and enriching aspects of the opera.

It has to be said, Stockhausen’s music has always divided opinions both during his lifetime and since his death. But you should give it a listen, you won’t be disappointed.
The following recording is recommended: Karlheiz Stockhausen- Donnerstag aus Licht- recorded in 1980, and issued by DG in 1988 (4CDs) (DG4233 792) with the Dutch Radio Chamber Orchestra, the West-German Radio choir and the Ensemble InterContemporain led by Karlheinz Stockhausen and with Robert Gambill, Annette Meriweather, Matthias Hölle and others.
Luc Nijs – Opera in de 20th century