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Classical Beat
Posted at 12:12 AM ET, 04/18/2011

Link: In Cologne, Stockhausen’s “Sonntag” finally gets a hearing.

An extra from Germany: In Sunday’s Washington Post, Seth Colter Walls offers an excellent appraisal of the belated and posthumous premiere of “Sonntag” (Sunday) from Karlheinz Stockhausen’s seven-part opera cycle “Licht,” at the opera house in Cologne. Stockhausen, once arguably the leading figure in 20th-century postwar composition, had gotten more and more eccentric, and less and less widely acclaimed, even before his comments on the attacks of 9-11 effectively made him persona non grata in the United States; indeed, his statement that the attacks were a great work of art effectively catapulted him back into a spotlight he had been away from for a long, long time.

The world premiere of “Sonntag,” three years after the composer’s death, also got headlines, at least in Germany; those who read the language can see other opinions in Die Zeit; Tagespiegel; Neue Zuercher Zeitung. It’s not something you’re likely to see at an opera house Stateside any time soon - it’s six hours long and narratively static, just for starters - but the presenters obligingly posted a few snippets on YouTube:

What are your thoughts on Stockhausen’s music, and his decline from mainstream fame to outsider status? Has anyone seen any other parts of the “Licht” cycle?

By and Seth Colter Walls  |  12:12 AM ET, 04/18/2011

 
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