Aus den sieben Tagen
Aus den sieben Tagen (From the Seven Days) is a collection of 15 text compositions by Karlheinz Stockhausen, composed in May 1968, in reaction to a personal crisis, and characterized as "Intuitive music"—music produced primarily from the intuition rather than the intellect of the performer(s). It is Work Number 26 in the composer's catalog of works.
The seven days of the title were 7–13 May 1968. Although this coincided with the beginning of the May 1968 protests and general strike in Paris, Stockhausen does not appear to have been aware of them at the time. These texts were written at Stockhausen's home in Kürten during the first five of those days, at night or late in the evening (Stockhausen 1978, 149 and 529). During daylight hours, including the remaining two days, Stockhausen wrote “many poems,” as well as reading Satprem’s book on Sri Aurobindo, and experienced “many extraordinary things” (Stockhausen 1978, 528–29). Some of the poems appear in Stockhausen 1971, 368–76.
The first of the pieces to be officially premiered was Es, performed in Brussels on 15 December 1968 on a concert of the Rencontre de Musique Contemporaine, by the Stockhausen Group, joined by Michel Portal, Jean-Pierre Drouet, and Jean-François Jenny-Clark. Setz die Segel zur Sonne followed, as part of a concert at the Théâtre National Populaire, Palais de Chaillot in Paris, on 30 May 1969 (Stockhausen 1971, 123). However, an earlier, unofficial performance of both Es and Treffpunkt, by the Arts Laboratory Ensemble with Hugh Davies and Stockhausen at the potentiometers, took place on 25 November 1968 in London, as part of the Macnaghten Concerts (Kurtz 1992, 169). Unbegrenzt was first given 26 July 1969 during the Nuits de la Fondation Maeght in St Paul de Vence, by Guy Arnaud, Harald Bojé, Jean-François Jenny-Clark, Jean-Pierre Drouet, Johannes G. Fritsch, Roy Hart, Diego Masson, Michel Portal, Michael Vetter, and the composer (Stockhausen 1978, 114). An "ill-fated" performance of the theatre piece Oben und Unten was attempted in Amsterdam at the Holland Festival on 22 June 1969 (Stockhausen 1978, 123; Kurtz 1992, 171). Goldstaub was only performed for the first time (though without an audience) for the DG recording made at Stockhausen’s house in Kürten on 20 August 1972, by Péter Eötvös (electrochord, keisu, and rin), Herbert Henck (voice, sitar, cooking pot with some water, two small bels, ship bell), Michael Vetter (voice, hands, recorder), and the composer (voice, conch horn, large cowbell, keisu, 14 rin, jug and key with water, kandy drum, pellet-bells on a strap) (Stockhausen 1978, 146, 150).
Other notable performances include the 1969 Darmstadt Ferienkurse, when the groups that had just finished the recordings for DG performed eleven of the texts in four public seminars, on 1–4 September in the Städtische Sporthalle am Böllenfalltor (Kurtz 1992, 173; Stockhausen 2009, 195), and at the 1972 Shiraz Arts Festival, where a day of "Music in the City" on 7 September featured several component pieces of Aus den sieben Tagen performed at various places in the inner city from dawn to dusk (Kurtz 1992, 188; Stockhausen 1978, 158).
Often regarded as meditation exercises, all but two of these texts nonetheless describe in words specific musical events: "I don't want some spiritistic sitting—I want music! I don't mean something mystical, but rather everything completely direct, from concrete experience" (Stockhausen, quoted in Ritzel 1970, 15). Despite the manner of notation, Stockhausen's approach remains essentially serial:
In his cycle FROM THE SEVEN DAYS Stockhausen attempts to find musical answers to such fundamental questions regarding the conditions of a harmonious interplay of spirit and matter, which correspond to his serial process thinking and to the maxims of the experimental production of the sound material by composing temporally ordered pulses. . . . As a composer he wants to mediate between the extremes rather than to just follow the preconception of a linear development from the fragmentary and dissonant to the whole and harmonious. (Peters 2003, 226)
The fifteen constituent pieces are:
- Richtige Dauern (Right Durations), for ca. 4 players
- Unbegrenzt (Unlimited), for ensemble
- Verbindung (Connection), for ensemble
- Treffpunkt (Meeting Point), for ensemble
- Nachtmusik (Night Music), for ensemble
- Abwärts (Downward), for ensemble
- Aufwärts (Upward), for ensemble
- Oben und Unten (Above and Below), theater piece, for a man, a woman, a child, and 4 instrumentalists
- Intensität (Intensity), for ensemble
- Setz die Segel zur Sonne (Set Sail for the Sun), for ensemble
- Kommunion (Communion), for ensemble
- Litanei (Litany), for speaker or choir
- Es (It), for ensemble
- Goldstaub (Gold Dust), for ensemble
- Ankunft (Arrival), for speaker or speaking choir
The most detailed text is the central one, Oben und Unten, which gives instructions for three actors and a group of instrumentalists. Twelve of the other pieces describe musical processes or states, in three different general types, and the remaining two, Litanei and Ankunft are more in the nature of manifestos, to be read aloud either by a single speaker or a speaking choir (Kohl 1978; Bergstrøm-Nielsen 1997). In 1997, Stockhausen made a performing version of the former text, under the title Litanei 97, for a speaking choir with occasional sung interjections.
Between 1968 and 1971, Stockhausen composed a companion set of 17 text pieces, titled Für kommende Zeiten (For Times to Come). These pieces are:
- Übereinstimmung (Unanimity), for ensemble
- Verlängerung (Elongation)
- Verkürzung (Shortening)
- Über die Grenze (Across the Boundary), for small ensemble
- Kommunikation (Communication), for small ensemble
- Intervall (Interval), for piano four-hands
- Ausserhalb (Outside), for small ensemble
- Innerhalb (Inside), for small ensemble
- Anhalt (Halt), for small ensemble
- Schwingung (Vibration), for ensemble
- Spektren (Spectra), for small ensemble
- Wellen (Waves), for ensemble
- Zugvogel (Bird of Passage), for ensemble
- Vorahnung (Presentiment), for 4–7 interpreters
- Japan, for ensemble
- Wach (Awake), for ensemble
- Ceylon, for small ensemble
- Bergstrøm-Nielsen, Carl. 1997. "Festlegen, Umreißen, Andeuten, Hervorrufen: Analytisches zu den Textkompositionen von Karlheinz Stockhausen." MusikTexte: Zeitschrift für Neue Musik no. 72 (November): 13-16. Reprint. English translation by the author, as "Fixing/Circumscribing/Suggesting/Evoking: An Analysis of Stockhausen’s Text Pieces", [www.stockhausensociety.org Stockhausen Society website], 2006. (Accessed 24 February 2010).
- Kohl, Jerome. 1978. “Intuitive Music and Serial Determinism: An Analysis of Stockhausen’s Aus den sieben Tagen.” In Theory Only 3, no. 2 (March): 7–19. [Revised reprint http://www20.brinkster.com/improarchive/jk_7t.htm]
- Kurtz, Michael. 1992. Stockhausn: A Biography, translated by Richard Toop. London and Boston: Faber and Faber. ISBN 0-571-17146-X.
- Peters, Günter. 2003. "Kosmischer Rhythmus: Formprozeß und Philosophie in Karlheinz Stockhausens Intuitiver Musik AUS DEN SIEBEN TAGEN " / "Cosmic Rhythm: Formal Process and Philosophy in the Intuitive Music FROM THE SEVEN DAYS of Karlheinz Stockhausen." In: Günter Peters. Heiliger Ernst im Spiel – Texte zur Musik von Karlheinz Stockhausen / Holy Seriousness in the Play – Essays on the Music of Karlheinz Stockhausen (bilingual edition, German and English), 63–96/199–32. Kürten: Stockhausen-Stiftung für Musik.
- Ritzel, Fred. 1970. Musik für ein Haus. Darmstädter Beiträge zur Neuen Musik 12. Mainz: Schott.
- Stockhausen, Karlheinz. 1971. Texte zur Musik 3. Edited by Dieter Schnebel. Cologne: Verlag M. DuMont Schauberg. ISBN 3-7701-0493-5.
- Stockhausen, Karlheinz. 1978. Texte zur Musik 4. Edited by Christoph von Blumröder. Cologne: DuMont Buchverlag. ISBN 3-7701-1078-1.
- Boberg, Johan. 2002. "Through the Eye of the Golden Needle: Personal Experiences of Stockhausen’s GOLDSTAUB". Translated from Nutida Musik/Tritonus 2002:4.
- Bojé, Harald. 1978. "Aus den sieben Tagen: 'Text'-Interpretationen". Feedback Papers, no. 16 (August): 10–14.
- Frisius, Rudolf. 2008. Karlheinz Stockhausen II: Die Werke 1950–1977; Gespräch mit Karlheinz Stockhausen, "Es geht aufwärts". Mainz, London, Berlin, Madrid, New York, Paris, Prague, Tokyo, Toronto: Schott Musik International. ISBN 978-3-7957-0249-6.
- Fritsch, Johannes, and Richard Toop. 2008. "Versuch, eine Grenze zu überschreiten … Johannes Fritsch im Gespräch über die Aufführungspraxis von Werken Karlheinz Stockhausens". MusikTexte no. 116 (February): 31–40.
- Kurtz, Michael. 1988. "Aus den Sieben Tagen: Points de vue biographique et historique sur les compositions-textes de mai 1968". In Karlheinz Stockhausen (programme booklet). Paris: Contrechamps/Festival d'Automne à Paris (Archive from 21 November 2008, accessed 7 December 2013).
- Nakaji, Masatsune. 1994. "Karlheinz Stockhausens Intuitive Musik: c'est Le Dispositif Chaosmique de Transformation”. Genesis (The Bulletin of Kyoto University of Art and Design) vol. 1. HTML versions 1995.
- Stockhausen, Karlheinz. 2009. Kompositorische Grundlagen Neuer Musik: Sechs Seminare für die Darmstädter Ferienkurse 1970, edited by Imke Misch. Kürten: Stockhausen-Stiftung für Musik. ISBN 978-3-00-027313-1.
- Wilms, Holger. 2000. "Wie kommt der Kosmos in den Konzertsaal? Karlheinz Stockhausen im Gespräch". A Tempo 6 (June).