PRINT March 2008


KARLHEINZ STOCKHAUSEN was a great pioneer of sound. He lived, produced, explored, invented, manipulated, and organized it with almost insolent energy and audacity. His ability to vibrate with sound was communicative, and he must be considered one of the preeminent voyagers in our acoustic adventure.

When electroacoustic music was in its infancy, Stockhausen created his brilliant masterpiece Kontakte (1958–60), deploying still-primitive means to open the way to the unheard-of, and to space. With the same radicalism, he seized any instrument or acoustic resource within his reach—whether the orchestra, as in his impressive Gruppen (1955–57); the piano (which he reinvented), as in the Klavierstücke; shortwaves, as in Kurzwellen (1969); or raw materials such as wood, as in Herbstmusik (1974)—using them as he pleased to create new universes. In this way, he made the most of his opportunities,

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