Stimmung at 40

9.12.08 7pm Valssaamo, Helsinki Cable Factory (Kaapelitehdas)

Helsinki Chamber Choir, prepared by Nils Schweckendiek
James Andean, sound engineer

“I like to compare him to Picasso for this century, because like him he's had so many periods. There are so many musicians who've made a whole career out of one of his periods. He goes one step ahead, discovers something that's never even been done before musically and by the time other people have even grasped it he's onto the next thing.”  Björk’s comment on the late Karlheinz Stockhausen sums up the huge achievement of this giant of post-war music, whose legacy is only beginning to be assessed. 

Six singers sustain a single chord for well over an hour, colouring it with overtone singing, divine names from the world’s different religions called out more or less at random, Stockhausen’s own quirky love poems, and powerful changes of intensity.  “A hippy campfire”, said the critics in Paris in 1968.  Yes, and much more.  This is music of great concentration, meditative, but with the unexpected only just around the corner.  It has to be experienced live – a record can’t begin to convey the atmosphere!

Karlheinz Stockhausen:

The work with them was exciting and efficient. They have a particular ability to adapt themselves to a different sound and aesthetic conception. Their flexibility and enthusiasm gave me the the possibility to work in-depth because of the individual human, vocal and musical qualities of each singer.
Dominique Vellard,
choral conductor
and singer