Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sirius Classical Music: Taking The Cosmos And The Last Half Of European Composer Karlheinz Stockhausen's Lifelong Creativity Seriously

"The whole movement [in America] toward a so-called pop art, in the visual arts as well as in music, I see as a disaster, really shameful for mankind, once orientated toward the highest, whose only goal in art was to glorify the divine and the cosmic spirit, and for whom everything in the human world was related to these invisible worlds. That this is now replaced, generally speaking, by garbage art, which celebrates material impermanence and decay, is a disgrace. It needs a tremendous mysticism to adore God through garbage; it is possible, but when you reach a point where images of a lipstick or hot dog have the same significance as the crucifix or Madonna in earlier cultures, it shows where a country is heading." – Karlheinz Stockhausen

"There are loads of people who'd say of Stockhausen's music after 1975 that he was adoring God through garbage. He just simply lost people and did precious few favors for himself. Every time he opened his mouth, there were more and more bizarre statements coming out. The showstopper was the claim that he was from Sirius, the binary star system that, at 9 light years distance, is one of our nearest interstellar neighbors.

Stockhausen was fond of saying that he could travel with his mind to distant places....

But his fascination with the cosmos was genuinely profound. He clipped any newspaper article he came across that had to do with space, especially the discovery of new stars. One of the things he was fond of doing was pronouncing prerequisites for musical education ('Every composer must spend time in an electronic music studio'), and after that book of photos from the Hubble came out, he became dead certain that every musician should look at it, because it 'is the best dictionary for musicians to compose by'.

Pedagogical theories aside, what matters to us most in this brief survey of his music is how this extraterrestrial fascination actually manifested itself in his work" ...

Composer and trumpeter Joseph Drew in ANABlog December 19, 2007

"This composite image shows the jet from a black hole at the center of a galaxy striking the edge of another galaxy, the first time such an interaction has been found. X-rays from Chandra (colored purple), optical and ultraviolet (UV) data from Hubble (red and orange), and radio emission from the Very Large Array (VLA) and MERLIN (blue) show how the jet from the main galaxy on the lower left is striking its companion galaxy to the upper right. The jet impacts the companion galaxy at its edge and is then disrupted and deflected, much like how a stream of water from a hose will splay out after hitting a wall at an angle."

Caption and image credit: (c) Chandra X-ray Center, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics 2007 via Marc Kaufman "Jet From Supermassive Black Hole Seen Blasting Neighboring Galaxy" Washington Post December 18, 2007. All rights reserved. With thanks.


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