Friday, November 28, 2014


Scene 1

Scene 2

Scene 3

Scene 4

Scene 5


2011 - from and_vfx blog
No. 77: LICHT-BILDER (Light Pictures)
3rd Scene of  
for tenor vocalist, trumpet with ring-modulation, basset-horn, and flute/alto flute with ring-modulation
(accompanied by video projection)
2002/2003 [~42']

          LICHT-BILDER (Light Pictures) is the 3rd Scene of Stockhausen's dramatic music work SONNTAG AUS LICHT (SUNDAY from LIGHT), which was the last-composed entry of his 7-part, 29-hour opera cycle LICHT (Light).  LICHT is a work for acoustic and electronic operatic forces, divided into the 7 days of the week (one opera for each day).  This opera cycle revolves around 3 archetype characters, MICHAEL, EVE and LUCIFER, and over the 29 hours each of these characters are introduced, come into conflict, face temptation and finally come into union.  The music is almost entirely based on a "super-formula", which is a 3-layered melodic-thematic representation of the 3 characters.  These formula-themes are together and separately threaded throughout the opera's vocal and instrumental fabric.  Story-wise, actors and narrative can (and often do) change from scene to scene, and the libretto text is sometimes made up of non-traditional grammar (or even purely phonetic sounds).

     SONNTAG (Sunday) is the Day of Mystical Union, specifically between MICHAEL and EVE.  The scenes in SONNTAG do not have a dramatic plot connecting them, instead the actual theme of union between the 2 characters is achieved through musical, visual, spatial and even olfactory means.  LICHT-BILDER is the 3rd scene of SONNTAG AUS LICHT.

     LICHT-BILDER was originally named "Venerations of EVA-Maria, 7 Healings, 7 Pictures of the Week Days", but was eventually changed to "Light Pictures", and it's main text instead became more concerned with describing "the essences of 7 large spheres of life" (each linked to a day of the week) and praising God.  The 7 days are characterized in 7 day-sections, with Thursday also divided into 7 subsections and Sunday into 4.  The vocal text of each of these sections begins with a different "veneration of God".  The MICHAEL/EVE unification aspect is represented by intertwining fragments of the MICHAEL and EVE formulas (melodic layers) from the LICHT super-formula.

     One of the main themes of LICHT-BILDER is "mirror reflections".  The interaction of the 4 players can be pictured as 2 people dancing, with their altered mirror reflections a few dance steps behind them.  In musical terms, the tenor vocalist's melodies are accompanied by the trumpet in a delayed and distorted imitation, and the trumpet is in turn immediately reflected by its own ring-modulation from the back of the auditorium (the delay time starts at 0 (unison), increases to a maximum delay and then returns to 0).  The bassett horn is accompanied by the delayed flute, which is also ring modulated (to be clear, none of these "delays" are through signal processing, they are actually scored). 

It might be interesting to consider that the whole idea of LIGHT PICTURES contains 
the retrograde character of photographs and also the perspective of pictures (delay scales).
 - Stockhausen

     The MICHAEL and EVE melodic formulas are chopped up and reordered backwards (retrograde), so these are also "reflection-melodies" (and the first time Stockhausen has used a retrograde form on the LICHT formula).  Finally, the melodic elements and vocal text are reflected in the movements of the soloists, which are also layered in forwards and backwards sequences.

Composition and Structure
     Like MANTRA and ZYKLUS, the architectural aspects of LICHT-BILDER are very interesting, but knowing them I think is not essential in order to enjoy the music (so it's just as well to just skip to my "Sound Impressions" at the end of this article).  But it does give alot of insight into how Stockhausen is able to grow an entire scene from just a minute's worth of melodic material.  In following the next paragraphs it's probably helpful to have my super-formula page handy...  (The following analysis is largely informed by Stockhausen's excellent 2005 Composition Course book on LICHT-BILDER).

Introductory Measures
     The layering of the stretched SONNTAG measures over the entire super-formula makes up the melodic material of the introduction (below on CD cover):
  • The bassett horn plays an augmented form of 5 measures (m.7-11) from the LICHT super-formula's MICHAEL layer.  Here I label this the "LICHT-BILDER from SONNTAG" excerpt (LBS) because Stockhausen temporally stretched the 3 SONNTAG measures (m.17-19) over the entire super-formula and then selected the corresponding LICHT-BILDER measures from the super-formula.
  • The flute plays the stretched MICHAEL layer (essentially 1 long pitch (F), but each measure here has different "approach" to the F).  I label this the "LICHT-BILDER from LICHT" excerpt (LBL) because Stockhausen compressed all 29 hours of LICHT on top of the super-formula and then selected the measures corresponding to the LICHT-BILDER scene from the super-formula.  This of course, is a very small excerpt - in fact, only 2 quarter notes.
  • The tenor sings the augmented LBS  EVE formula layer, but at the end joins the bassett horn (MICHAEL's LBS).
  • The trumpet plays the stretched LBL EVE formula, which hovers around G and G#.
CD Cover and introductory measures of LICHT-BILDER.
This fragment is also equivalent to the form scheme used to determine the
durations, transpositions and ring modulation tones of each day-sections.
     So just to reiterate, the very short LBL excerpt of the EVE and MICHAEL formulas is stretched out (through extreme augmentation) and layered on top of the LBS 5-measure excerpt.  The LBS excerpt comes from the middle of the super-formula because it's derived from an overlaying of only SONNTAG AUS LICHT (the 3 Sunday measures of the super-formula, m.17-19) stretched over the whole super-formula, and LICHT-BILDER is in the middle of SONNTAG.  The 2 quarter note long LBL excerpt (last 1/3 of m.17) comes from near the end of the full superformula because it's derived from an overlaying of all 29 hours of LICHT to get LICHT-BILDER (which is near the end of LICHT).  These 4 layers are all also slowed down to quarter-speed.

     The MICHAEL formula is also transposed down 3 steps, while the EVE layer is up 8 steps (this is because the MICHAEL LBL main note (F) is 3 steps up from the MICHAEL layer's initial note (D), and the EVE LBL main note (G) is 8 steps down from the EVE layer's initial note, C).  However, This is just another application of the super-formula to create contrast and variety and has nothing to do with "keys".

7 Days of the Week
     Stockhausen added up the first 7 numbers (from the 7 "days") of the Fibonacci sequence to get the value 53 (1 + 2 + 3 + 5 + 8 + 13 + 21).  He then divided the MICHAEL and EVE formulas into 53 connected fragments (the MICHAEL fragments are not always the same length as the EVE fragments).  Then he reordered these fragments in a backwards ("retrograde") sequence (fragment 53, 52, 51...3, 2, 1).

     On each day-section, the tenor and bassett horn take turns singing/playing these reordered fragments in a kind of overlapping dialogue, while their reflections (trumpet and flute) imitate them, at first in unison, but then falling farther and farther behind.  Eventually the reflections reach a maximum delay interval, after which they begin catching up to their partner.  There are roughly 4 cycles of this delay expansion and contraction in each formula traversal, and the cycles for the Tenor/Trumpet pair are not synchronous with the cycles for the Bassett Horn/Flute pair.  On some day-sections the Tenor/Trumpet pair plays the 53 EVE fragments and the Bassett Horn/Flute pair responds with the 53 MICHAEL fragments.  On other days the assignments are interchanged.  This "double delay-reflection" creates a 4-part polyphony which sometimes has elements of variation and canon structure.
Shown here are the last 4 measures of the MICHAEL and EVE formulas with Stockhausen's markings for LICHT-BILDER.
Green vertical dashes mark the 53 sections.  The numbers going from 0 up to 13 (or 20 for EVE) 
and then back down to 0 (reading right to left) are the delay values.
(from Stockhausen 2005 Composition Coursebook: Facsimile edition with sketches of LICHT - BILDER
Click to see the full LICHT super-formula with LICHT-BILDER markings)
     Each day-section also has a different register transposition for the MICHAEL and EVE layers, based on interval relationships between the initial pitches of the super-formula layers (in its original register, D and C) and 2 "guide scales".  The guide scale for the MICHAEL layer is the 3-step lower MICHAEL nuclear tone scale (16 notes, 1 for each section), and the guide scale for the EVE layer is the 13 main pitches from m. 7-11 in the MICHAEL formula (the 5-measure LBS excerpt, still 3 steps lower than the original).  EVE's guide scale is 13 notes because the 13th note is sustained for all 4 of Sunday's sections.  So, again, the transposition interval for each day-section comes from comparing each day's guide scale note with D (MICHAEL formula's first note) or C (EVE formula's first note). 

     For the Monday section, the Tenor/Trumpet pair starts with a pitch transposed (+m3rd) and augmented version of the 53rd EVE fragment.  The Bassett Horn/Flute pair responds with a similarly slowed and transposed (+m3rd) version of the 53rd MICHAEL fragment. The Tenor/Trumpet pair continue with the 52nd EVE fragment, the Bassett Horn/Flute the 52nd MICHAEL fragment, etc...  The Tuesday section has the same fragment sequences for the players, but a new transposition (EVE: +M6th/MICHAEL: -M2nd), the speed is faster and the delays are not the same exact intervals (though they still increase and then decrease).  The Wednesday section's main structural difference from the preceding patterns (besides tempo and transposition (EVE: +m2nd/MICHAEL: -m2nd) adjustments) is that the Bassett Horn/Flute pair starts, and the Tenor/Trumpet pair responds.  Thursday is divided into 7 subsections.  The Tenor/Trumpet and Bassett Horn/Flute couples take turns starting the subsections, but the duration of each is actually shorter than the original formulas, so some of the more "static" notes are skipped.  However each subsection has 11 dialogue pairs (11 "multi-fragments" each), and in each of the 7 subsections a different permutation of multi-fragments happens, each with their own register transpositions.
     Friday, Saturday and Sunday sections follow in similar fashion (each with their own tempo and pitch transposition modifications) and they are further described in the Stockhausen Courses 2005 Composition Class book (Facsimile edition with sketches of LICHT - BILDER)

Chloé L'Abbé (flute), Hubert Mayer (tenor), Fie Schouten (basset-horn), 2011
from and_vfx blog
Duos, Trios and Quartets
     Each of the day-sections also has duo, trio or quartet "inserts" where some voices briefly play in rhythmic unison. These unison parts were inserted in places where empty bars would result from the polyphonic arrangements of the fragments (for example during when the Bassett Horn/Flute pair is waiting while the Tenor/Trumpet pair play their fragment, or if the fragment has a rest).  The unison parts are derived from MICHAEL/EVE formula fragments. 
  • Monday - Bassett Horn & Flute Duos
  • Tuesday - Bassett Horn, Trumpet & Tenor Trios
  • Wednesday - Flute & Trumpet Duos
  • Thursday - Bassett Horn & Tenor Duos
  • Friday -  Bassett Horn, Flute and Tenor Trios
  • Saturday - Trumpet & Tenor Duos
  • Sunday -  Quartets
     In actuality there are many more unison duos than just these special inserts, since whenever the delay value is zero, the tenor and trumpet (or bassett horn and flute) automatically create a unison duo.  This happens 4 times (from 4 cycles) in each normal day-section.  Also most of the day-sections actually end in ensemble unison textures.

     Stockhausen had established that each quarter note in the LICHT super-formula (at tempo 60) is equal to 16 minutes in "real-time", so using this ratio the duration of LICHT-BILDER was initially calculated to be 32 minutes (the LBL excerpt is 2 quarter notes long).  The 32 minutes was divided into the 7 day-sections (proportional to 7 natural rhythmic divisions in the 5-measure LBS excerpt), and then the full MICHAEL and EVE formulas were speed-adjusted so that the 2 formulas would approximately fit each day-section.  The Thursday section is further divided up into 7 subsections with lengths proportional to a "MICHAEL rhythm" found in m.9 of MICHAEL's formula. 

Ring Modulation
     The trumpet and flute each get a different ring modulation "difference" tone in each day-section (ring modulation creates additional harmonies by adding and subtracting 2 different pitches - 1 is the acoustic pitch, and the other is played by a synthesizer).  The ring modulation difference tones for the flute are the notes of the MICHAEL nuclear tones (primary tone row of the MICHAEL formula).  The ring modulation tones for the trumpet are based on pitches from m.7-11 of the MICHAEL formula (the 5-measure LBS excerpt).  These are the same "guide scales" used to determine the formula transpositions.  In the Friday and Sunday day-sections the ring modulation tones from the MICHAEL and EVE formulas are exchanged, which increases dissonance in the reflected signals.

     The final step, and the most important, was to make this elaborate construction "musical". This part is not as simply explained :) as the above architectural structure, since it is more about adjusting rhythms and articulations to fit dramatic flow and balance.  In one of his British lectures Stockhausen implies that after all the sketch work is done, the actual realization of the notes and durations is where the "real work" begins.  Many of LICHT-BILDER's small-scale elements were adjusted when Stockhausen composed its full form, and further modified during rehearsals where he was able to immediately make adjustments to make the work more aesthetically interesting.  The melodic material is also altered to fit the soloists' movements (described below) through things like glissandi, augmentation and adding octave transpositions.

     The libretto sung by the tenor soloist is made up of non-grammatical words and phrases which praise God and correspond to the "essences of seven spheres of life".  The text for the beginning measures is "LIGHT PICTURES - 3rd Scene of SUNDAY FROM LIGHT".  The libretto continues as follows:
  • Monday (texts concerning stones, hills, water): PRAISE GOD - pyramids - stairs of stone - planet - rotations - fountain - avalanche - volcano - meteor - crater - whirlpool...etc.
  • Tuesday (texts concerning trees, plants, fruits): GLORIFY GOD - bellflower - common houseleek - rose bloom - daffodil - fir - golden chain - apple - snow-drop - nest spruce - lily of the valley - weeping willow...etc.
  • Wednesday (texts concerning animals): ALL ANIMALS REJOICE IN GOD - oyster - lion - lark - crab crayfish cribbily - zebra - bee - snake...etc.
  • Thursday is broken into 7 elements
    •  Water: Give thanks to GOD, rain - wasserfall waterfall - tau dew - comet komet - fog - cloud...etc.
    •  Earth: Give thanks to GOD, earth - plains - tundra - hillside - plateau - meteor...etc.
    • Air: Give thanks to GOD, air - draft - autumn storm - air shaft - wind tunnel - air pocket - tornado - hurricane...etc.
    • Ether: Give thanks to GOD, ether - crystal snow - space ship - moon - from east to west - prayer - rainbow - shooting star...etc.
    • Eros: Give thanks to GOD, Eros - Amor - Susani - cypress - fir tree - cedar - palm - ray of love - love - silver water - lingam yoni - caress - kiss...etc.
    • Fire: Give thanks to GOD, fire - sheet lightning - flame - blaze - glow - ashes - volcano...etc.
    • Pealing of Bells: Give thanks ringing of bells - Ave Maria - bell rope - pealing - sexton - church bells...etc.
  • Friday (texts concerning celestial bodies and star constellations): PRAISE GOD - Moon - Ursa Minor - Uranus - Phoenix - Phobos - Deimos - Sagittarius - Perseus...etc.
  • Saturday (human saints): PRAISE GOD saints - Mary - Elizabeth - Stephen - John - Peter...etc.
  • Saturday is broken into 4 sections: GOD in everything
    •  1 (houses of God, noble trees and animals): God's house - minster - dome - church - cathedral - mosque - cypress - fir tree...etc.
    • 2 (light, candle flame): candles - candlelight - eternal light - sunlight...etc.
    • 3 (the invisible, transcendental): invisible - holy - in prayer - presence...God's Day.
    • 4 (praying, Eva-Maria, LIGHT PICTURES - THOU): praying - glorifying - Mater - Ave - Sancta - Eva-Maria...GOD'S LIGHT PICTURES - THOU.

Live Performance
Marco Blaauw (trumpet), Hubert Mayer (tenor), Kathinka Pasveer (flute), Suzanne Stephens (basset-horn)
2004 Donaueschinger Music Festival World Premiere
(rehearsal photo Alain TAQUET)
     Each of the 4 soloists are amplified by speakers from above the stage.  The ring modulated signals from the trumpet and flute are projected from the rear of the auditorium, but at a lower volume than the stage speakers.  Up to 4 video screens (triangular in the premiere) are mounted above the soloists (though the content of the videos is left open).

     Like INORI and IN FREUNDSCHAFT (among many others), the soloists each have scored movements generally reflecting the melodic/rhythmic shapes being played or the text being sung. More specifically, each player has 53 movements per day-section (linked to the 53 formula fragments described earlier) with 9 movement types, with each section having a different type-distribution based on 7 permutations of the first 7 Fibonacci numbers.  These 53-movement sequences are then placed to fit with the melodic/thematic material (or the melodic material is adjusted to fit the movement).  The actual sequences change for each soloist and day-section based on different starting points and directions on a master sequence.  The movement types themselves are fairly open: go left, right, quick upward diagonal, rotate, etc...  The movement sequences for bassett horn and flute are in reverse of the sequences for tenor and trumpet (another reflection).

Beginning of Monday section.  The first measure is the 53rd EVE fragment (see previous sketch).  The 2nd measure is the 53rd MICHAEL fragment.  The 3rd measure is the 52nd EVE fragment, etc... The fragments are adjusted to match the movement sequences (see arrow markings).   The staff indicated by the "~" is the ring-modulation "difference tone".
Beginning of Tuesday section.  Same as above but note the changes of articulation to the fragments as well as the delayed reflections. 

Sound Impressions
     There are several ways to listen to LICHT-BILDER, but I personally like to hear it primarily as a dialogue between the tenor vocal and the bassett horn, with the slightly ring-modulated trumpet and flute being the Greek chorus (not to diminish their roles of course!).  The tenor and bassett horn seem to "con-verse" using the melodies of EVE and MICHAEL as language phrases, with each soloist learning and then later practicing his partner's language (this concept of meeting through language exchange extends as far back as the first LICHT opera, DONNERSTAG AUS LICHT).  The trumpet and flute re-learn and re-translate from the tenor and bassett horn. Alternatively, a listener can concentrate on the interaction between just the pair members (tenor and trumpet, for example) and appreciate the variations of the delayed imitations.  One could listen just to the tenor/trumpet lines, then to just the bassett horn/flute lines, and then to the quartet in total as a double delay dialogue.  On the CD recording the voices are arranged from left to right: trumpet - tenor - flute - bassett horn (just as in the photographs).

     Also, after one gets to know the EVE and MICHAEL formulas pretty well from the previous operas, it's very fresh to hear them in this backwards reordered form.  Since the melodic fragments are still intact, recognizable EVE and MICHAEL melodic motifs still surface, but in places which are unexpected (if one is very familiar with them from the previous operas).

     Another interesting thing here is that this scene actually encapsulates the 7 days of a week in a very true way.  Every day-section basically traverses the same retrograded MICHAEL and EVE melodic formulas from beginning to end, but each is also very different in the details.  A couple days like Thursday and Friday are "special days".  This is a good parallel with real life on a daily basis -  get up, go to work, have lunch, dinner, nightlife, sleep, enjoy a weekend break...  But every day is still different in the details (at least, hopefully!).

     For a more narrative-based appreciation of LICHT-BILDER, Albrecht Moritz' rundown (see link below) is excellent and points out lots of cool moments.  I didn't explore the text too much here, but it is covered in the LICHT-BILDER CD booklet as well as in the Moritz rundown and Stockhausen's introduction to the premiere(below).

LICHT-BILDER Sound samples, tracks listings and CD ordering 
Buy the Score
Stockhausen 2005 Composition Coursebook: Facsimile edition with sketches of LICHT - BILDER
Wiki Entry
Albrecht Moritz Rundown
Stockhausen's Introduction to LICHT-BILDER at the Rehearsals of the 2004 World Premiere
2004 Studio CCMIX Paris Premiere (excerpt)
2011 Musikfabric/Oper Köln SONNTAG Production
2011 Production Images and video from and_vfx
2011 Production Youtube clip
SONNTAG AUS LICHT in Rehearsal 1 (YouTube, German)
SONNTAG AUS LICHT in Rehearsal 2 (YouTube, English/German)
2011 SONNTAG AUS LICHT Production Dance Company Page

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Graphic Analysis of KLAVIERSTÜCKE III based on pitch, durations and dynamics
(Dieter Schnebel, Die Reihe V4, 1958)
No. 2: KLAVIERSTÜCKE I–IV (Piano Pieces 1 - 4)
1952 [total time for all 4 ~8']

     Like many children of his time, Stockhausen was forced to learn to play the piano as a child by his father.  In fact his grandmother sold a cow so that the family could have a piano.  Stockhausen, like most children, wasn't exactly keen to learn piano, but he eventually got good enough to the point where he was able to comfort wounded enemy soldiers in German hospitals during WWII with jazz standards.  Later in music conservatory he learned classical repertoire including Ravel, Schönberg, Bartok, Hindemith, etc...and actually did analyses of works by Bartok, Debussy and Webern.  When Schönberg's 12-tone technique came along (a method of creating non-traditional melodic variety), Stockhausen was fascinated, but it wasn't until he heard Messaien's initial experiments with serial organization of musical attributes ("organized chaos" of not just pitch, but also duration and dynamics) that he became galvanized into exploring this new frontier of abstract rhythm and melodic organization.

     (For an introduction of 12-tone music I invite you to read "How 12-Tone Music Works" from my Beethoven blog.)

     Stockhausen's first 4 solo piano pieces chart his early path from atonal, arrhythmic, non-thematic textures where each individual note/chord is treated as a motif ("point music") to works where notes with similar attributes are grouped together and treated as single objects.  Though these piano pieces are marked Opus 2, they actually precede Opus 1, KONTRA-PUNKTE, which would explore the next logical step of mixing points and groups in a kind of "shrinking orchestra" structure.

...the KLAVIERSTÜCKE I–IV were premiered at the 1954 Darmstadt Summer Courses 
by Marcelle Mercenier, and (were) transformed by the audience 
into an unusually vociferous whistling-concert. 
- Stockhausen

Avant-Garde Piano Music of the 50's (or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Serial Music)
     For most listeners, then and now, the piano music coming out of Europe (and America to a lessor extent) in the 1950s is pretty difficult to listen to.  After Beethoven and Brahms, people like Schönberg, Webern and Berg (the so-called 2nd Viennese School) began composing atonal works which used all 12 notes (instead of the usual 8) of a scale and tended to abandon the traditional concepts of melody-chord layers and sonata development form.  Many (most) of these kinds of works are still not accepted by the general music-loving public, even almost a hundred years later.  However the use of 12-tone "dodecaphonic" technique was basically a way for composers to "break out of the box" of late Romanticism, and these early masterpieces actually still had quite alot in common with late 19th century music.

     Stockhausen however, (inspired in part by Messaien) not only broke out of the box but threw it down the stairs.  As mentioned earlier, additional music elements such as duration, volume, and timbre were also "shuffled" (purposefully), along with the trend of democratizing the 12 scale notes.  However, when all of these elements were evened out with equal levels of seeming randomness (especially without repetition or traditional form structures), they created a texture which was closer to an image of a cloud of insects, and became described as "point music".  Stockhausen on the other hand was interested in more than just pitch democratization.  In a 1992 lecture about his  piano music, Stockhausen lists differentiation of dynamics (attack), expansion of (pitch) intervals and extremely long (or short) durations of sound (or silence) as things which interested him from the start.

     Stockhausen has published a very thorough musical analysis of how KLAVIERSTÜCK I is organized, but he's also in later lectures (including the above-mentioned 1992 one) given some more "audience-friendly" tips on how to appreciate this complex music (link at bottom).  One of the structural signposts to listen for is the silences.  During a silence the listener can take a breath and reflect on the phrase that just came before it.  The same thing could be said of long held tones.  The things to listen for include tone colors, especially when notes in a chord stop or start at different times (during a loud chord strike, some notes may be held and some dampened).  Shapes of melodies, dynamic changes from note to note, extreme register leaps - these can all be considered identifying motifs.

Of the many approaches to this music, one might pay particular attention to how and when pauses 
are composed, how different in length and degree of silence one feels them to be, depending on 
whether loud or soft sounds, dense or transparent note groups are heard before and after the pauses.
- Stockhausen, from a 1957 radio broadcast (Toop translation)

     Another excellent practice which Stockhausen recommends is to close one's eyes while listening and pretend to play the piano along with the music (like playing "air-guitar", but with piano).  I have to admit, it drives me crazy in live concerts when people try to "conduct" with the orchestra, but at home it's actually a great way to stay with the music.  Stockhausen recommends doing this at-home piano-miming many times ("hundreds of times"!) for a piece until it's actually almost "learned".  It may seem silly, but Piano Piece 3 is only 30 seconds long, so it's worth trying for half a minute.  Try to listen for melodic shapes, the frequency of single notes vs. chords, changing speeds, and the differences in loudness for each note. 

     Having said all of the above, I'll still try to summarize a few general concepts about each piece without getting too much into, in my opinion, largely unmissed analytical minutiae. In these 4 pieces Stockhausen basically pits "points" against "groups" and develops drama from their evolving relationship.  Each piece however is to be played as fast as possible.

(Piano: David Tudor)
     This piano piece was the last to be written and is inferred by Stockhausen to be the conclusion of Opus 2's journey from "points" to "groups".  It was written in just 2 days and probably flowed quite intuitively from his pen.  In fact, only when analyzing it after the fact did Stockhausen notice the symmetry he'd unconsciously incorporated into it.  The groupings are based on things like register, dynamic curve, melodic direction, tempo, chord elements etc...  Though it also has the chordal and contrapuntal elements of II and IV, it's notable for having several pauses and sustained chords which make it easier to identify these groups/structures.  Stockhausen considers these "breaths" as a structural step forward from previous more "homogenous" serial compositions.  To me, it also feels like it's speeding up and slowing down throughout and is generally the most "violent" of the 4 piano pieces.
     Interestingly, some people (such as author/composer Jonathan Harvey) disagree with Stockhausen's published analysis of the piece, and label the groups differently.  Harvey also describes it as being organized in 2 alternating sets of pitches (C to F and F# to B), with some expanded chords (such as bar 11's 9-note chord with 5 different dynamic markings - above).

    KLAVIERSTÜCKE II (2nd to be composed) is either built on 2 trichords (D, Eb, F and C, C#, D) according to Harvey, or a rotation of 2 pentachords according to Herman Sabbe.  In any case, the texture is more harmonic (chordal) than KLAVIERSTÜCK III and IV's more pointillistic designs, and features more 2 and 3-note tone clusters, as well as use of the sustain pedal to create large resonating harmonies.  Compared to IV, this has a more wistful feeling, and doesn't have as many jarring dynamic leaps.

    The first to be written (and probably the most analyzed), KLAVIERSTÜCK III is either built on a pentachord (A, B, D, Ab, Bb) (Harvey), or 3 tetrachords (D-F, F-G#, G#-B) (Robin Maconie).  I just know that this one has no left-hand "bombs" in the bass register.  Also I think it's Stockhausen's shortest composition at 32 seconds long.  If Opus 2 were a classical sonata, this would be the scherzo.

    Composed third, Harvey claims that KLAVIERSTÜCK IV is based on 3 notes (Db, C, F).  It obviously has more notes than that so I'm not quite sure how that works.  But it's generally accepted that this is the "contrapuntal one", and the 2 voices are identified by dynamic attack (in other words, one line is always loud, and the other line is generally quiet).  As a listener, I find it a very interesting exercise to follow attack intensity instead of the usual melodic line.  Another way to look at it is 2 couples having a conversation at the same time, with one couple being loud, and the other couple speaking softly (this analogy attempts to characterize both dynamics and note register for each line).  Robin Maconie also notes that each note in succession is followed by or preceded by a rest, which probably gives it that "point" feeling.  In any case my impression is that it still swings more than the typical pointillistic serial piano pieces of the era.

Live Performance
     Watching a live performance can be very instructive since seeing the pianist's fingers leaping from place to place on the keyboard gives a pretty good idea of the point/group dialogue. 
KLAVIERSTÜCKE I–IV (Vanessa Benelli Mosell at Stockhausen Courses, Kurten)

Sound Impressions
     These  piano pieces have been analyzed quite a bit.  In fact, an analysis of the different kinds of analyses (11 including the author's own) of KLAVIERSTÜCK III has actually been written.  However, I think there's sometimes a temptation for academics to miss the forest for the trees.  For most listeners the best advice is the one Stockhausen gave in a lecture about MANTRA - you don't need to know astrophysics in order to appreciate the stars at night.  Personally, I like to imagine these pieces as Stockhausen improvising on the piano.  That's not to say that the notes are strewn about cavalierly, but more that these pieces were executed with emotional weight (along with thoroughly premeditated objectives).  This 1st set of 4 piano pieces definitely hits me as being more raucous that his later, much longer piano pieces, which can be appreciated from other, more architectural angles.

Links and Sources
Stockhausen on the KLAVIERSTÜCKE (1955,1957)
Stockhausen's Own Analysis of KLAVIERSTÜCK I (1955, in French and English) 
Stockhausen on Piano Music (1992)
KLAVIERSTÜCKE I-XIV (Ellen Corver) Sound samples, tracks listings and CD ordering 
Buy the Score 
Sonoloco Review
Vanessa Benelli Mosell Rehearses Klavierstück IV with Stockhausen (Youtube, Italian)
KLAVIERSTÜCKE I-XI by Aloys Kontarsky (flac)
KLAVIERSTÜCK II Analysis (Schlüter, German PDF)
KLAVIERSTÜCK I Analysis (Takashi Matsudaira, Japanese)
Compositional techniques in the music of Stockhausen (1951-1970) (Kelsall, 1975)
The Music of Stockhausen (Jonathan Harvey) Amazon link
The Works of Karlheinz Stockhausen (Maconie 1976/1990) Amazon link

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Score Cover (©
No. 43: SIRIUS for soprano and bass vocal soloists, trumpet, bass clarinet and 8-channel electronic music
1975-77 [96']

Additional Works Generated (1977-1980):
No. 43 1/2 - ARIES for trumpet and electronic music [15']
No. 43 2/3 - LIBRA for bass clarinet and electronic music [33']
No. 43 3/4 - CAPRICORN for bass and electronic music [28'30"]

     The name "Sirius" probably first came to Stockhausen's attention while working on the "park music" work STERNKLANG (Star-Sounds).  Later he gave the name to his daughter Julika's dog, after which he found it recurring in dreams (including one which showed himself receiving a musical education on Sirius).   Around this time he was also commissioned to write a work to be premiered at Washington DC's Albert Einstein Spacearium (Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum) on July of 1976 (celebrating the American Bicentennial).  The Spacearium itself was a planetarium with a projector gifted by the West German government.

     This request presented Stockhausen with an opportunity to use 8-channel electronic music in the circular audience space, and present a work with the cosmic themes he had been having visions of.  To this end he took the 12 zodiac melodies of TIERKREIS and used them as formulas with which to conduct expansions and contractions of melodic pitch range and rhythm.  The structure of the work is based on the 12 months and 4 seasons of the year (later he would work with the 7 days of the week in LICHT, and the 24 hours of the day in KLANG).  Additionally, each of the directions of the compass was assigned an instrument as well as spiritual associations (explained in the "PRESENTATION" text).  The TIERKREIS "heads" for each soloist are as follows:
  • Bass - CAPRICORN (Winter)
  • Soprano - CANCER (Summer)
  • Trumpet - ARIES (Spring)
  • Bass Clarinet - LIBRA (Autumn)

Electronic Music vs Live Music
     One of the most fascinating elements of SIRIUS is the way Stockhausen used the then-state-of-the-art EMS Synthi 100 synthesizer sequencer to manipulate the TIERKRIES melodies (EMS was a synthesizer company co-founded by Tristram Cary, one of the early composers working on the British science fiction program Doctor Who).  The Synthi 100 was only able to store 3 melodic sequences at one time, but it was also possible to manipulate the melodies much more easily than the tape-splice methods used in his earlier electronic works (the last of which was HYMNEN).  The Synthi 100 however, did reveal itself to be a bit more time-consuming in other ways...

     One unique aspect of the Synthi 100 was it's ability to superimpose a melody's pitch sequence onto another melody's rhythm.  In other words, a CAPRICORN melody could be played with an ARIES rhythm (this process of "intermodulation" was first explored in TELEMUSIK).  It could also use melodic or rhythmic data sequences to control timbre or blend multiple melodies together (this blending is actually more like a creating a hybrid melody, rather than layering 2 melodies on top of each other).  In SIRIUS, Stockhausen was able to create "formant melodies", which are built from stacked layers of harmonics (and subtracting the fundamental note).  In other words, the upper and lower harmonics of a stable root note are varied in strength and proportiona to produce different "timbre melodies".  A formant melody could be layered on top of a long drone, or it could be created on top of a totally different melody.  The concept of formants actually goes as far back as GRUPPEN where Stockhausen expressed "formant-spectra" through rhythmic and orchestral means.

Synthi 100 right-most control panel.
At top left is the tempo joystick.
(Click to enlarge)
     The stored melody sequences could also be played back at different extreme speeds (without altering pitch) through keyboard and joystick controllers (see at right).  Pitch ranges of the melodies could be easily compressed or expanded electronically (as Stockhausen had done in MANTRA through painstaking calculations by hand for piano).  The idea of compressing the pitch ranges of melodies would later be further explored in Xi and YPSILON, where new microtonal instrument fingerings are used to realize the melodic compressions.

     Stockhausen programmed the sequences and "blends" into the Synthi 100 and then recorded them while controlling the tempo through the keyboard/joysticks in realtime.  In order to create an 8-track work, Stockhausen used a "rotation table", which was able to spin at speeds up to 12 times a second and was surrounded by 8 microphone inputs (some of the rotation motor noises were used as raw sound material in the Announcement background tape).  After the electronic music portion was completed, Stockhausen then wrote a realization score based on the created tape, and then added the final vocal and instrumental parts below the electronic music parts (see score sample several pages below).

     In contrast to the tape portion, the soloists' parts do not feature as much in the way of drastic tempo extremes or pitch range compressions (these aspects were well-handled by the Synthi 100).  Instead, their parts are designed much more thematically and the TIERKREIS melodies are possibly a little easier to pick out.  Duos, trio, quartets and solos are featured in different combinations, and in these arrangements superimposed layers do occur. The themes do undergo somewhat more "traditional" forms of transformation, such as melody fragmentation, inversion, ornamentation, etc...

Form Structure and Formulas
     SIRIUS has 7 distinct sections: PRESENTATION, the WHEEL (4 parts), the Bridge after the WHEEL, and the ANNUNCIATION.  Altogether a performance takes about an hour and a half, with the WHEEL being about an hour long.  For the DC premiere, the WHEEL section only included the Summer section.  The entirety of SIRIUS was only first premiered August 1977 at Aix-en-Provence in France.  The CD was recorded in May 1979.

     The low hum of a space mother-ship ends with the release of 4 "landings" by the 4 representatives of SIRIUS, with each arrival beginning on 1 of 4 high pitches and ending with low rumbles.

I am North - Earth - the Man.  
I am the night, the seed, winter ...Son of SIRIUS...
(sounds of breaking ice and snow)

Trumpet sounds, Bass continues:
Trumpet is East - Fire - the Youth.  
Trumpet is the morning, the bud...spring.
(sounds of fire crackling)

I am South - Water - the Woman.  
I am Midday, Summer, the blossom ...Daughter of SIRIUS.
(running water sounds)

Bass clarinet sounds, Soprano continues:
 Bass clarinet is West - Air - the Friend, the Beloved.  
Bass clarinet is the Evening, the Fruit, Autumn.
(wind sounds)

Bass/Soprano alternating phrases:
North - East - South - West:  We greet you Earthlings, children of this planet.
Earth - Fire - Water - AirWe renew your life.  
Man - Youth - Woman - Friend (& Beloved):  We ignite in you the joy of the senses.  
Night - Morning - Midday - EveningWe remind you of the diversity of the soul.  
Winter - Spring - Summer - AutumnWe preserve your undying hope.  
Seed - Bud - Blossom - FruitWe kindle your longing for the light of your home in the stars.  

We are messengers from SIRIUS, our mother Sun.  
Perceive in our music the sound of the Directions of Space - the Sexes - Seasons - Phases - Suns.  
May the music of SIRIUS be the felicitation to the pioneers on Earth and in Space. 
May a more divine mankind come out of your works...

As Spring, ARIES (w melody fragment)...comes out of Winter, CAPRICORN (w melody), Seagoat with Saturn...
As Winter comes out of Autumn, LIBRA (w melody), balance - air, winds - Venus...
As Autumn comes out of Summer, CANCER (w melody), Crab, Water, Moon...  
And as Summer comes out of Spring...

     A performance always begins with the PRESENTATION and ends with the ANNUNCIATION, but the WHEEL (the 4-part middle section based on CANCER, LIBRA, CAPRICORN and ARIES) begins on the the matching season the performance is being held in.  So, if a performance takes place in the summer, the WHEEL sequence begins with CANCER (this is the version on the recorded version).  During the 4 sections of the WHEEL, the 4 main TIERKREIS melodies overlap, just as in real life the seasons do.  CANCER, LIBRA, CAPRICORN and ARIES are the primary melodies, though the remaining 8 zodiac melodies from TIERKREIS do appear briefly.  After the 4th season, a "bridge" occurs, which repeats the first few minutes of the 1st season and then quickly leads into the ANNUNCIATION.  The vocal texts are all based on the 12 zodiac signs and follow this general sequence in the recorded Summer version:
     The simplified form scheme above for SIRIUS (from Stockhausen's Composition Course Book 2000 on SIRIUS) shows the temporal trajectories of the 4 main TIERKREIS melodies in the SOLOISTS' PARTS (above yellow line) and the ELECTRONIC MUSIC (Tape I and II, below yellow line). This is an extremely simplified chart, but gives an idea of the distribution of the 4 melodies. Melodies at the top of the page are higher register, lines nearer the bottom are lower register.  For the soloists' parts I couldn't always find the melody named in the diagram above, so either I missed it or this is an early sketch. The color highlighting was done by me to help see the different melodies in the electronic music, which generally follows the above graphic.

Top voice melodies for the 4 main Tierkreis melodies in SIRIUS.
     The below "listening guide" is likely not perfectly accurate, but even if I missed a TIERKREIS melody, it should give an idea of the changing melodic fabric.  The electronic music descriptions are from the SIRIUS score, which Stockhausen annotated to some degree, and which I summarized (from 3 tracks).  I didn't identify any unnamed melodies since they are a bit hard to hear sometimes - maybe at a later date.  The left column sequence numbers are not from the score, they are just for ease of reading, and the time indications are relatively accurate, but some transitions are obviously "fluid".  If listening to the electronic music version, the timings may be off by up to 9 seconds.  If no voice is indicated for the zodiac melody then assume upper voice.  The TIERKREIS melodies in WHITE SHADOW are the 8 guest melodies not directly related to the 4 seasons.  Images of the 12 TIERKREIS melodies (upper voice) can be found at the TIERKRIES fansite (from which the above excerpts were copied).
CANCER (Summer)

Soloists' Parts
Electronic Music (subtract ~8" from timing)
1 Ending of PRESENTATION 0:00
2 Sopr/Tpt & Bass/BsClr loosely play ARIES fragments (both upper and lower voices) 0:08 ARIES in 2 layers: one normal, and one which immediately becomes slow, percussive, high tones.  
(For the next 6 minutes, the normal ARIES layer becomes more and more compressed (through interval shrinkage) over 13 cycles into the range of a semi-tone, and then eventually into a G note.  The slow ARIES will slowly transform into CANCER in a couple minutes.)
CANCER (a 3rd layer) is high/very fast (0.4 secs/cycle), with a slow ritard
3 Bass changes to narration, remaining trio plays ARIES fragments and variations 0:33 CANCER slows down, becomes recognizable as a melody, gradually becomes ARIES.  CANCER as "colored noise" added to ARIES and then faded out.
4 Qrtt plays CANCER and ARIES fragments 2:12 Very slow ARIES to CANCER transformation in slow percussive high tones track
5 Bass returns to narration alternating with CAPRICORN, rem. trio slows on ARIES improvisations 3:05 CANCER becomes recognizable in slow percussive high tones track.
ARIES/CANCER rhythm (slow to fast) but in small pitch range (3:46).   
ARIES with CANCER formants (timbre formula) (4:59). 
CAPRICORN expands melody, becomes dominant (5:20).
6 Sopr/Tpt & Bass/BsClr CANCER (both voices)(loosely) 6:04 ARIES/CANCER rhythm with CANCER formant and CAPRICORN melody.
CANCER midrange melody follows soloists.  
The initial ARIES is now fully interval-compressed to a single G (a bass hum comes and goes (~7:00)).
7 Bass/BsClr play CAPRICORN, Tpt plays ARIES, Sopr plays CANCER 7:44 CAPRICORN melody range shrinks into a G note, becomes an ARIES pulse drone formant (8:23).
8 (rest) 8:33 ARIES formant drone fades out to low volume
9 Bass returns with announcement of LEO, Tpt fades in w long tones 9:00 Fast ARIES/CANCER rhythm returns, high ARIES melody, dynamic swells
10 Sopr/Tpt & Bass/BsClr play LEO (both voices) 9:55 ARIES melody range shrinks
Formant drone swells
11 Sopr begins adding narration, Bass/BsClr play sparse figures in dialogue w Sopr, 
Tpt adds "morse code" rhythmic pulses
10:27 CAPRICORN unfolds from compressed register rhythm
12 BsClr & EM join in LIBRA, Bass sings low long tones 11:36 Low LIBRA melody enters.
ARIES/CANCER rhythm and compressed CAPRICORN melody
13 Bass joins BsClr/EM in LIBRA 12:17 Slow, low percussive tones begin.
14 13 PAUSES (POSES) with freely repeating fragments of LIBRA, CANCER, CAPRICORN (and ARIES?) 12:39 Slow, low percussive tones during pauses, CAPRICORN melody w CANCER formants during non-pauses
15 Sopr/Tpt & Bass/BsClr play VIRGO (both voices) 15:24 Slow, low percussive tones only
16 silent pause 16:18 pause
17 Bass narrates, rem. trio loop melody fragments (CANCER) with rests 16:30 CAPRICORN/CANCER changing "with high formant melody".   
CANCER melody with ARIES/CANCER rhythm (later becomes octaves).   
Low CAPRICORN melody swells.   
Fast CAPRICORN becomes fast ARIES.
18 BsClr plays LIBRA variations, Bass comments w CAPRICORN, Tpt comments w ARIES, Sopr comments w CANCER 18:12 Slow changes from ARIES to CAPRICORN to ARIES (CANCER continues w irregular rhythm)
19 BsClr LIBRA solo cadenza w large register leaps 20:20 Rotating single tones (like church bells) going from 16 to 32 layers of cycles, then fading out.
20 END 24:30

LIBRA (Autumn)

Soloists' Parts Electronic Music
1 Sopr/Bass play CANCER (both voices), Tpt & BsClr play LIBRA 0:00 CANCER w ARIES-CAPRICORNrhythm w slow changes in high register 

CANCER-LIBRA melody in low register
2 Sopr/Tpt play CANCER (both voices), Bass/BsClr play LIBRA 0:28 CANCER and LIBRA melodies sync w soloists
3 Tpt changes to LIBRA (high voice), Bass/BsClr play LIBRA (both voices), Sopr stays w CANCER 0:52
4 Bass/BsClr play LIBRA (high), Tpt/Sopr play LIBRA (low) 2:04
2:42 LIBRA in low octaves enter, 
high drone tones appear
6 Bass/BsClr and Sopr/Tpt duos alternate LIBRA figures, increasing in speed 3:10 EM gradually becomes louder
7 Qrtt plays mutated LIBRA with pauses 4:14 Long tones layer increases in density
8 Qrtt plays SCORPIO 5:08 LIBRA continues below high drones
9 Bass becomes narration, Tpt & BsClr fight, Sopr begins to fade out 6:26 Drones continue
LIBRA briefly high/fast, then very low/slow again
10 Bass & BsClr play SAGITTARIUS (w Tpt commentary), Sopr rejoins 7:07 LIBRA (w pitch bending), 
High drones continue
11 Qrtt joins rhythmically in SAGITTARIUS, with rests and held notes 7:59 LIBRA - fast transformations, figure mixtures, and tempo changes of CANCER & CAPRICORN rhythm
12 Rest, then BsClr (LIBRA) dialogues w Bass (CAPRICORN), then Sopr (F long tones), Tpt (short figures), loosely joined rhythmically in CAPRICORN 9:33 LIBRA becomes CAPRICORN in complex low timbre w mixed rhythms (~10:00)
13 Bass narrates, Sopr intones, BsClr plays LIBRA, sparse Tpt interjections 11:28 CAPRICORN/LIBRA accelerating ("growling"), long tones layers continue
14 Sopr narrates alt. w. long tones ("LIBRA - Watch out!"), then Bass and BsClr join EM melody in fast CAPRICORN fragment 12:50 LIBRA (parallel minor 2nds), 
then CAPRICORN, changing registers
15 Sopr - long tones, Tpt joins in slow tempo 13:31 Fast register dialogue, w high drones cont'd
16 Sopr: "Oh my God! LIBRA are you alright?" 14:00 LIBRA drops in register
17 Qrtt joins in slow LIBRA, Tpt holds pitch and joins rhythmically 14:11 LIBRA sync w soloists
18 Qrtt joined loosely in LIBRA 14:50 Synced w BsClr
19 Qrtt drones with dynamic volume envelopes  15:37 Changing drone timbres
20 Qrtt ends,  Soprano slowly whispers "CAPRICORN" 16:30 wind noises 
21 END 18:15


Soloists' Parts
Electronic Music (subtract ~9" from timing)
1 Tpt, Bass, BsClr drone combinations with rests 0:09 CAPRICORN in 3 layer chord
2 Bass sings CAPRICORN w EM, others drone w. some trills or tremoli 0:40 Drone layers added

Low CANCER melody w CAPRICORN rhythm enters, glittering overtones
3 Bass slow, rem. trio intermittently joins 1:45 Low CANCER melody slows down
Growling drone enters with high formant
4 Qrtt long tones/trills in combinations 3:20 Drones, slow low tones
high formant melody (CAPRICORN)
5 Soprano (CANCER) suggests "We all come together in the middle and there we play the tune of AQUARIUS.  Come LIBRA, ARIES come, CAPRICORN - faster" 4:50 Low drone w CAPRICORN formant melody, 
Slow, high, chirping CAPRICORN melody enters
6 (soloists move to center of auditorium, EM only) 5:47 Low drone begins reducing in volume
7 Each plays fragment of AQUARIUS 6:21
8 Tpt/BsClr and Sopr/Bass play AQUARIUS voices 6:50
9 Soprano and Bass dialogue in AQUARIUS 7:18 Drones "change speeds"
10 Tpt/BsClr and Sopr/Bass play AQUARIUS voices (repr.) 7:57 CAPRICORN formant melody fades in and out,
chirping CAPRICORN melody continues
11 Qrtt plays individual fragments 8:25
12 Tpt, Sopr, BsClr play PISCES 8:49
13 Tpt, BsClr (GEMINI inverted?) play dialogue ("amorously") 9:25 Rapid volume changes in drone layers
14 Bass adds drone 9:59
15 Sopr joins drone 10:25 Low CAPRICORN chordal melody enters
16 Qrtt drones in combinations 10:34 Low CAPRICORN chordal melody accelerates 
Low and high percussive long tones
17 Qrtt together: "Striving for Light, Son of mother sun SIRIUS…" 13:34
18 END 13:40

ARIES (Spring)

Soloists' Parts
Electronic Music
1 Bass & BsClr drones, but Soprano intones text, Tpt fades and comments intermittently 0:00 A 3-part ARIES harmony melody with CAPRICORN rhythm begins, with brief, sudden accelerated moments.  This soon becomes a fast, dense, multi-layered "noise-band" timbre.  As CAPRICORN and CANCER rhythms are added (soon followed with their melodies), the loop gains speed and density, becoming "noisier". 
At the same time, low drone chords fade in and out in the lower register.
2 Tpt solo based on ARIES 2:21 High ARIES fragments intermittently slow down (and surface) out of the top voice of the 3-part harmony, as the below noise band (melodies CANCER/ARIES/CAPRICORN) contract and ascend in a slow gliss.
The lowest layer drone chords fade out.

The high ARIES melody eventually stops speeding up and stays at the slower (audible) speed (2:47)
3 Tpt & Sopr join in ARIES (top voice), Bass & BsClr join in ARIES (bottom voice) 3:08 Continue as above.
4 Qrtt long tones 3:38 (High ARIES continues.)
Noise drone reaches A, with a "glittering" timbre, still increasing in speed
5 Trumpet drone solo w slow ad lib dynamics 3:59 High ARIES fragments begin to have intermittent accelerated moments, eventually going back to high speed as before.
Drone in A begins accented pulses on hybridized CANCER, ARIES and CAPRICORN rhythms, then become stable
6 Trumpet ends, EM drone only 6:05 High ARIES loop fades out.
Drone layer on A fades out, then returns with 2 new layers: a LIBRA formant melody layer in the middle, and below that, a lower drone layer (6:45). 
7 Tpt returns 7:34 The high A drone begins to develop accent pulses.
The lower drone layer has microtonal "jumps", and then follows the LIBRA formant melody layer above it
At the end a subtle high formant melody is added (LIBRA).
8 Qrtt plays TAURUS (loosely) 8:54 High LIBRA formant melody, pulses in A and LIBRA below it continue.
9 Tpt solo (short) 9:24 Pulses in A become more distinct.
10 Qrtt plays TAURUS lower voice (loosely) 9:31 Pulses in A begin to have gaps.
11 Tpt solo 10:01 High LIBRA formant syncs with ARIES melody (which is slowly expanding from the pulses in A) and fades out
12 Sopr/Tpt & Bass/BsClr plays GEMINI (both voices)(loosely) 11:08 ARIES (from the pulses before) continues to expand with glissandi, but sometimes with intermittent very fast figures
The lower LIBRA formant melody sometimes jumps into the middle register
13 Tpt solo on GEMINI 11:38 ARIES calms down a little

LIBRA eventually fades out
14 Qrtt plays ARIES 12:40 ARIES - syncs w soloists
15 Bass/BsClr long tones, Sopr solos on ARIES 13:06 ARIES w Soprano
16 Qrtt plays ARIES 13:30 ARIES - sync w soloists, synchronous formants
17 Bass/BsClr quarter notes ("march"), Sopr plays whole notes, Tpt solos on ARIES 13:55 follows Tpt
18 Sopr/Tpt & Bass/BsClr plays ARIES (both voices) 14:17 follows Tpt & Sopr, doppler effect from rotation
19 END 14:41

Bridge after ARIES (0:00-4:00 same as CANCER)

Soloists' Parts
Electronic Music
1 Sopr/Tpt & Bass/BsClr plays ARIES fragments (both voices, loosely) 0:00 ARIES (2 tracks, 1 normal, 1 immediately becomes percussive long tones).
CANCER track high/very fast, slow ritard
2 Bass changes to narration, trio plays ARIES fragments and variations 0:25 CANCER becomes recognizable as a melody, gradually becomes ARIES.  CANCER as "colored noise" added to ARIES and then faded out.
3 Qrtt plays CANCER fragments polyphonically 2:04 Very slow ARIES to CANCER transformation in slow percussive high tones track
4 Bass returns to narration alternating with CAPRICORN, trio slows on ARIES improvisations 2:58 CANCER rhythm added to primary ARIES track, pitch range shrinks
5 Qrtt intones together 4:03 Additional long tones layers added with dynamic changes.
6 "Thanks giving" 4:25 ARIES/CANCER rhythm (slow to fast) but small pitch range (down to major 2nd).  ARIES with CANCER formants (timbre formula). 
7 END 5:15

     This section has a text which was written by Jakob Lorber, a 19th Century Christian "mystic" (and former musician) who heard "voices" and wrote them down thinking they were from God.  The text is apparently the voice of Jesus Christ explaining that he is God incarnated on Earth, and of all the planets of the local universe (of which SIRIUS is the center), he chose Earth to become human on.  He declares that he will raise children on Earth similar to himself who will "rule the entire infinite" alongside him.
     The 4 messengers from SIRIUS then return to their planetary landers, which then returns to a Mothership, which flies away into space.

Soloists' Parts
Electronic Music
1 Bass narrates Lorber text 0:00 Long tones continue from Bridge
0:10 Piano enters w PISCES fragment
3 Quintet (w piano tape) polyphonic, loosely PISCES, Bass speaks in PISCES rhythm 0:18 Piano plays PISCES fragments
Background drones rise
4 Quintet plays AQUARIUS (both voices) loosely), Bass speaks in AQUARIUS rhythm 1:35 Piano plays AQUARIUS
5 Qrtt final syllable long tones 2:00 Piano ends, rumbling begins
2:18 Each player returns to their surface ship (glassy tones)
3:11 EM hum only
3:29 Each surface ship flies back into space to the mothership (reverse of Presentation)
9 END 6:55

Beginning of the "pauses" in Cancer (section 14 in the above guide).  
The top 3 staffs are the electronic music tracks, and below them are Trumpet, Soprano, Bass Clarinet and Bass vocal.  
(each page usually has 2 lines - 2x7 staffs).
Live Performance
     SIRIUS is designed to be mounted in a circular or square auditorium with the audience facing towards the center.  The 4 soloists are on high podiums located in 4 opposite sides of the space.  At one point during the CAPRICORN section they converge in the center of the room.  The soloists are also costumed with colorful space-themed fabrics and perform various gestures (sometimes INORI-based).  The space above the audience has a projection of a night sky (or is a night sky if the space is outdoors - obviously a mid-afternoon performance could be a bit awkward!).

Additional Works Generated: 
ARIES for solo trumpet and electronic music (1977-80) [15']
Rough representation of the ARIES, CANCER, CAPRICORN and LIBRA ELECTRONIC MUSIC elements as described below.
The narrative below is somewhat simplified from the above tables, but with an expanded explanation of the electronic layers.
------------------------------ Electronic Music ------------------------------ Time Trumpet
Low drone chords fade in and out in the lower register. A 3-part ARIES harmony melody with CAPRICORN rhythm begins looping, with brief, sudden "fast" moments.  The rhythm gradually becomes ARIES.
This soon speeds up to become a fast, dense, multi-layered "noise-band" timbre (with intermittent "slow" moments).
CAPRICORN and CANCER are then (re-)added to the mixture.  The loop gains speed and density, becoming "noisier" and begins to ascend in a slow gliss (from around 1:30)
0:00  After a phrase from the end of ARIES (last page of CAPRICORN),
 Tpt plays a monody (Soprano part) with interjections from the original Tpt layer
The lowest layer drone chords fade out.  Rising noise band levels off at 2:28, and begins shrinking in bandwidth (with CANCER/ARIES/CAPRICORN melodies surfacing at times).

High ARIES fragments intermittently slow down (and surface) out of the top voice of the 3-part harmony 2:21 ARIES

ARIES melody slows down to audible speed 2:47
Noise band reaches and holds on an A drone, with a "glittering" timbre and fast rhythm oscillations, slowing down 3:34 ARIES long tones
Fragments begin to have intermittent accelerated moments 3:59 Drone w slow, ad lib dynamics
Drone on A begins accented pulses on hybridized CANCER, CAPRICORN and ARIES rhythms, then becomes a held pitch

ARIES fragments going back to high speed as before.  Eventually it fades out. 5:07

Drone on A begins a slow decrescendo 6:14 pause
Lower drone layer enters LIBRA formant melody ("like wind - filter with pure overtone intervals")

Drone on A fades back in 6:47
The lower drone layer has microtonal "jumps", and then becomes a LIBRA layer with the layer above it (at right) The high A drone begins to develop accent pulses.

LIBRA formant melody (combined from the previous 2 layers) 

ARIES gradually returns
A very quiet (pppp), high LIBRA formant melody is added. 8:54 TAURUS
The high A pulses SLOWLY expand in pitch range (to eventually becomes the ARIES melody) LIBRA formant syncs with ARIES melody and fades out

9:52 pause, and then ornamentation ("development intermezzo")
Expansion into recognizable minor 2nd intervals (with glissandi), sometimes with intermittent fast moments, and continuing on to the full ARIES melody intervals
11:08 GEMINI

ARIES calms down a little, begins syncing with Tpt 12:00
12:43 ARIES with variations

CAPRICORN for solo bass vocalist and electronic music (1977) [28'30"]: 
includes CAPRICORN, Bridge after CAPRICORN (using ARIES opening, taking the Soprano part) and Annunciation
Rough representation of the CANCER, CAPRICORN and ARIES ELECTRONIC MUSIC elements as described below.
The narrative below is somewhat simplified from the above tables, but with an expanded explanation of the electronic layers.
------------------------------ Electronic Music ------------------------------ Time Bass
(1st time)

0:00 Held, single pitch tones: "Cancer...Aries...Libra, I am coming."
Low drone chords CAPRICORN
(2nd time) with "glittering" formant melody
Drone chord

in CAPRICORN rhythm

in CAPRICORN rhythm

Low drone layers expanded, growling, becoming rougher 

High CANCER formant melody continues, eventually becomes... 1:29 Slow
Rhythm begins to slow down, until becoming long held tones, then with volume fluctuations 2:58
3:20 Long tones/trills 
Low drones, sometimes with irregular accents, fluctuating volume continues

CAPRICORN formant melody (overtones, like a frog)

4:38 "Capricornus..."(proposal, pause)
Very slow, isolated high metallic CAPRICORN tones

Soft formant melodies (overtones), sometimes like CAPRICORN 5:27
(slowly begins as fragments)

formant melody (like wind) 6:44
drones begin slow rising gliss 7:07
Drones with Accents

CAPRICORN chordal melody, with chord intervals shrinking from 4ths to 3rds, increasing tempo 10:24 "Capricorn…sea goat..." 
(very slow syllables)
CAPRICORN chordal melody, with chord interval a 6th 12:02
Partials surface

1 layer of CAPRICORN becomes ARIES melody layer (in unison with CAPRICORN layer) 12:33
13:34 "Striving for Light, Son of mother sun SIRIUS…"
Bridge Begins (beginning of ARIES repeated)
Low drone chords fade in and out in the lower register. A 3-part ARIES harmony melody with CAPRICORN rhythm begins looping, with brief, sudden "fast" moments.  This soon speeds up to become a fast, dense, multi-layered "noise-band" timbre (with intermittent "slow" moments).  As CAPRICORN and CANCER rhythms are added (soon followed with their melodies), the loop gains speed and density, becoming "noisier".  The noise band begins to ascend in a slow gliss (from around 1:30)
0:00 Bass intones text: "Phoenix man, winter-night, night of Christ shows the heaven's firmament..."
Rising noise band levels off at 2:28, and begins shrinking in bandwidth (with CANCER/ARIES/CAPRICORN melodies surfacing at times). High ARIES  fragments intermittently slow down (and surface) out of the top voice of the 3-part harmony 2:21 "Come, Aries!"

ARIES melody slows down to audible speed 2:47
3:08 ARIES (top voice)
Noise band reaches and holds on an A drone, with a "glittering" timbre and fast rhythm slowing down 3:34 Long tones, with overtone vowels matching EM
ARIES fragments begin to have intermittent accelerated moments. 3:59
4:25 Overtones end,
"Friends, we stop the Wheel.."
Drone in A begins accented pulses on  hybridized CANCER , ARIES and CAPRICORN rhythms, then become a stable pitch.
Annunciation drone chords fade in.
The ANNUNCIATION follows as in SIRIUS above.

LIBRA for solo bass clarinet and electronic music (1977) [33']:
2nd half of CANCER (10'14" to 24'29"), then entire LIBRA (18'10")
Narrative condensed from the main table:
Bass Clarinet
Electronic Music (subtract ~8" from timing)
Sparse figures 10:14 Drone swells 
10:27 CAPRICORN unfolds from compressed register rhythm
LIBRA 11:36 Low LIBRA melody enters.
CANCER rhythm and compressed CAPRICORN melody
12:17 Slow, low percussive tones begin.
13 PAUSES (POSES) with freely repeating fragments of LIBRA 12:39 Slow, low percussive tones during pauses, CAPRICORN melody w CANCER formants during non-pauses
VIRGO 15:24 Slow, low percussive tones only
Silent pause 16:18 pause
CANCER fragments with rests 16:30 CAPRICORN/CANCER changing "with high formant melody". 
CANCER melody with ARIES/CANCER rhythm (later becomes octaves). 
CAPRICORN melody swells. 
CAPRICORN becomes fast ARIES.
LIBRA variations 18:12 Slow changes from ARIES to CAPRICORN to ARIES (CANCER continues w irregular rhythm)
LIBRA solo cadenza w large register leaps 20:20 Rotating single tones (like church bells) going from 16 to 32 layers of cycles, then fading out.
END 24:30
LIBRA 0:00 CANCER w ARIES-CAPRICORN rhythm w slow changes in high register 
CANCER-LIBRA melody in low register
0:28 CANCER and LIBRA melodies sync w Bass Clarinet
2:42 LIBRA in low octaves enter,
high drone tones appear
LIBRA figures, variations with pauses 3:10 EM gradually becomes louder 
4:14 Long tones layer increases in density
SCORPIO 5:08 LIBRA continues below high drones
6:26 Drones continue
LIBRA briefly high/fast, then very low/slow again 
SAGITTARIUS (adding some LIBRA) 7:07 LIBRA (w pitch bending),
High drones continue
7:59 LIBRA - fast transformations, figure mixtures, and tempo changes of CANCER & CAPRICORN rhythm
LIBRA becoming dominant 9:33 LIBRA becomes CAPRICORN in complex low timbre w mixed rhythms (~10:00)
11:28 CAPRICORN/LIBRA accelerating ("growling"), long tones layers continue
12:50 LIBRA (parallel minor 2nds),
CAPRICORN, changing registers
13:31 Fast register dialogue, w high drones cont'd
14:00 LIBRA drops in register
LIBRA - slow 14:11 LIBRA sync w Bass Clarinet
14:50 Synced w Bass Clarinet
Drones with dynamic volume envelopes  15:37 Changing drone timbres
16:30 wind noises 
END 18:15

Sound Impressions
Markus Stockhausen in SIRIUS
     SIRIUS was a very difficult listen the first time I ever heard it - in fact I didn't really like it much for years.  The electronic music timbres generated by the EMS Synthi 100 are somewhat colder and less "classic" than those in favorite works like KONTAKTE or TELEMUSIK, and the melodic material of the soloists sounded a bit unfocused and basically all over the place - however this was before I had heard the 12 TIERKREIS melodies.  After absorbing the 12 zodiac melodies (which in my opinion is almost a necessary prerequisite to fully appreciating SIRIUS) the crystalline beauty of SIRIUS's 7-layer polyphony revealed itself.

     Stockhausen packed alot of concepts and techniques into this work, many stemming from his experiments in melodic pitch compression/expansion (MANTRA), extreme melody to pitch tempo manipulations (KONTAKTE) and timbre sequence melodies (INORI).  All of this material is embedded in a science fiction cantata sung/spoken in oddly-mannered English (with brief passages in German and a brief bit of Italian).  Some people have compared SIRIUS to the work of Sun Ra, another composer with a "cosmic backstory", but SIRIUS has a very rigorously structured musical fabric, and is not connected to jazz improvisation at all.

     After analyzing the work, SIRIUS has personally become much more enjoyable (though there were definitely moments during my research where I was a bit frustrated and wondering where this was going).  In order to learn to differentiate all the moving parts of SIRIUS, it's very helpful to listen to the soloist's versions of ARIES, LIBRA and CAPRICORN ("additional works generated"), since there are only up to 4 layers in those works and it's much easier to follow the melodic manipulations.  It is also possible to obtain the electronic music of SIRIUS by itself - though the CD is a bit expensive.  In any case, SIRIUS may seem cacophonous on first listen (and maybe even the first 5 listens..10 listens?), but once one learns the "language" of SIRIUS, the work truly shines as one of Stockhausen's most ambitious and well-structured works. 

EMS Vocoder in foreground, Synthi 100, with keyboard controller, at the WDR Electronic Music Studio repository space.
     As far as the electronic music goes, there are many moving layers to appreciate, both from close up and far away, and when the piano enters during the ANNUNCIATION, it's a pretty emotional, almost cathartic moment.  However, I'm still not exactly in love with the Synthi 100 timbres (and neither were the producers of Doctor Who, who scrapped a new theme song using them), so perhaps one day a new realization of the electronic score using a modern granular synth would make the work even better.  It's also worth mentioning that Stockhausen held a contest in 2002 for electronic music composers to use new sample timbres (provided by Stockhausen himself) to create a multi-layered, multi-tempo version of SAGITTARIUS.  That sounds like it could be the first steps to creating a new realization of SIRIUS...

     I can't help but add one more Doctor Who reference here, but another interesting connection between Stockhausen and the science fiction program was that one of the early music performers on the show, Tristan Fry, would later go on to record and release his performance of ZYKLUS.

Sound samples, tracks listings and CD ordering:
Stockhausen on the Electronic Music of SIRIUS
Albrecht Moritz Rundown
Sonoloco Review
Interview with Synthi designer Peter Zinovieff (2015)
EMS Synthi 100 Brochure (PDF)
EMS Synthi 100 Restored 2006
EMS Synthi 100 Restored (Melbourne)
SIRIUS Youtube clip
Discovering Electronic Music (1983)
What the Future Sounded Like (The Story of EMS, 2006)