Thursday, September 17, 2009
Stockhausen's Kontakte with the Ensemble Offpsring
Last night I attended the 9th Totally Huge New Music Festival for the Western Australian premier performance of Karlheinz Stockhausen's Kontakte by members of Ensemble Offspring.
The program began with some forgettable works by Pimmon (Paul Gough) and other members of Ensemble Offspring, but the actual Stockhausen piece was fan-bloody-tastic. The pre-recorded electronic work was piped into the room in four corners, while Bernadette Balkus on piano and percussion pieces and Claire Edwardes on everything percussive (and some strange uses of those at that!)played live - and energetically too! They'll never get fat and unfit, I can tell you.
Old fashioned music man that I am, I enjoyed the cohesiveness of it and the connectivity of disparate sounds from a multitude of instruments, building a musical narrative framework - in direct contrast to Stockhausen's stated intention. Maybe his theory came to life in pieces after this. The programme notes, by Damien Ricketson (co-artistic director of Ensemble Offspring), say 'Kontakte is also noted as an example of Stockhausen's "moment form": a concept of structuring time that largely negates a narrative reading of music. Moment form focuses on the present moment and rejects music as a sequence of linear cause and effect relationships.'
In what time I have in the next couple of days, I will listen to other Stockhausen works (on CD) with this in mind.
Thanks to Tos Mahoney and Tura New Music for organising this festival - in a strange place for a New Music Fest - the WA Museum!