* 2021 Stock * Karlheinz Stockhausen – “Sirius” eight-channel electronic music and trumpet, soprano, bass clarinet, and bass is a music-theatre composition by Karlheinz Stockhausen, composed between 1975 and 1977. "It begins with a slowly emerging hum - like a disturbance in the wiring of your sound equipment -; then evolves into a murmur of great timbral depths, finally releasing itself into a spinning, swooshing, disturbing sound of higher frequencies in the foreground, panning between the speakers in an ominous descent, cutting through your skull, slowing down rapidly and coming to a halt, while the deep humming sound continues, until a second spinning occurrence appears, and a third, and a fourth, after which the murmur ceases and the last spinning sound slows down in slow-motion revolutions and stops. That is the beginning of Stockhausen’s “Sirius”, utilizing a special rotation loudspeaker and electronic tape to visualize the descent and landing of spaceships from Sirius.
A bass voice then commences in deep registers, calling out: “I am North! – and thus begins the presentation of the four soloists and their characters. (...)
Stockhausen’s composition “Sirius” can be characterized – on one level – as a visual and musical representation of the year, of the annual cycle, (but it is of course much more than that!) and the characters or occurrences we might ascribe its different parts. Michael Kurtz writes in his “Stockhausen – A Biography”: “The four soloists represent the four seasons, times of day and points of the compass, the four elements, the four stages in the growth of plants (seed, bud, blossom and fruit), as well as man, youth, woman and beloved.” Kurtz goes on to say that “Sirius” can be considered Stockhausen’s attempt at “a modern mystery play clothed as a science fiction story”. The musical basis for “Sirius” rests with the 12 formula-melodies from “Tierkreis”, whereas the tape part’s melodies originate in the four seasons, represented exclusively by the four “Tierkreis”-melodies “Aries”, “Cancer”, “Libra” and “Capricorn”. Depending on when the performance takes place, it starts with the appropriate section after the “Presentation”; i.e. “Capricorn” in the winter, “Aries” in the spring, “Cancer” in the summer and “Libra” in fall. The Summer version is recorded on these CDs, so it starts with “Cancer” and continues with “Libra” “Capricorn” and “Aries”. The tape part – excellently realized in exciting displays - differs, too, depending on which version is performed. The tape part was realized by Stockhausen at the WDR studio in Cologne during a two-year period of great strain. Such was his workload at the outset, that he at one time fainted, and had to spend a week in hospital, where he fasted. During that fast he absorbed a vision about how the work should evolve, and took it from there. (We might also recall that Stockhausen fasted in connection with conceiving “Aus den sieben Tagen”, even ordaining a four day fast in the performance instruction for one of the pieces of the work; “Goldstaub”) Stockhausen says about the electronic part: “By listening to this music, in particular to the Wheel, one perceives how the newly discovered means and structural possibilities of electronic music can awaken in us a completely new consciousness for revelations, transformations and fusions of forms, which would never have been possible with the old musical means, and become increasingly similar to art of metamorphosis in nature.”
" (Excerpt from Ingvar Nordin / Sonoloco extensive review)