Improving the practice and performance of contemporary music

Instructions on the Interpretation of Intuitive Music

The Stockhausen Stiftung kindly provided permission to publish this documentation with transcriptions of recorded rehearsals for ‘Intuitive Musik’ with Karlheinz Stockhausen himself in 1991 (May 18-20) and 2005 (May 25-27) with the Ensemble für Intuitive Musik Weimar (EFIM). The texts are compiled by Martin Zingsheim. The 1991 text has been translated by Jayne Obst. Copyright Stockhausen-Stiftung für Musik, Kürten,
The rehearsals in 2005 took place about a quarter of a century after the intuitive music, the two cycles FROM THE SEVEN DAYS and FOR TIMES TO COME, were created and composed. In the following text, Karlheinz Stockhausen’s basic thoughts on the performance of the pieces reflect his aesthetic ideas and interpretations of the performance instructions in the year 2005. These must not necessarily coincide with the composer’s premises and objectives in the years 1968 to 1970 (e.g. in regard to the planning of time, determinations and later corrections).
Review of the seven CDs with the recordings of FROM THE SEVEN DAYS:
The recording of the pieces took place during one week in Darmstadt, during which up to two long texts (up to ca. 40 minutes for one piece) were recorded in one day. “The spontaneity often has a freshness that cannot be achieved if it is repeated.” In 2005, Stockhausen rehearsed a very “rationalised” interpretation with the EFIM, which had performed the texts in the preceding years based on the specific “atmosphere” that was evoked by the respective text. When listening to the realisations, it must be obvious that the music is perhaps not notated but it is composed, and it is not “pure surges of emotion”.