Karlheinz Stockhausen 1928-2007

Karlheinz Stockhausen died on Wednesday 5th December at his home in Kürten, Germany. He was one of the most important figures in modern classical, avant-garde and electronic music.

I was lucky enough to see him in Glasgow in April 2005 when he performed two lengthy pieces at the Tramway as part of that year’s Triptych weekend. Both were recent compositions that used drone and found sound, weaving them into a mesmerising aural sculpture. It was funny afterwards to see groups of balding, bearded men who looked like they’d just jetted in from a conference of quantum physicists all queueing to have CDs signed, like teenaged girls at a McFly gig. Stockhausen was a figure who commanded that kind of devotion.

I’m sure there will be many much more erudite obituaries written for the man over the next few days by people far more qualified than me. But I feel privileged that I was able to see one of the true giants at work.


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