Label: Alga Marghen
Genre: Sound Art
2004 release. Four previously unreleased realizations of Karlheinz Stockhausen's "Zylus" (different recordings than the one featured on the Columbia LP Electronics and Percussion -- Five Realizations. Recorded 1959-68. The term "New York School" refers to a circle of composers. "Zyklus" was written in 1959 and is one of the first solo pieces to utilize such a large number of percussion instruments (twenty-one). When Max Neuhaus first started to play this piece there were only three percussionists in the world who could play it. Stockhausen's idea was that a performer would play the piece spontaneously, making its complex decisions on the fly. No one played it this way; it was too difficult. Everyone wrote out his own version of the score and played from it. Coming from the world of jazz, Neuhaus decided he wanted to take up the challenge of playing it spontaneously. At that time percussionists generally played only one instrument at a time. Playing 21 simultaneously was unheard of. Neuhaus quickly realized that the only way to do it, in fact, was to think of all them together as just one instrument, one multi-surfaced bank of timbre. Neuhaus decided to travel to Europe and go to Darmstadt where Stockhausen was teaching. He wanted to talk to him about the piece. Stockhausen was interested in the idea that the 21 instruments had to be physically formed into one instrument and that so much work had been done already. So he offered Neuhaus the big opportunity to perform "Zyklus" on the first American tour. Stockhausen came over to New York to hear Neuhaus play, but he wasn't satisfied with the improvisation version. It was too long. Neuhaus was determined to teach himself how to do it for this tour. He had another six months. He got down to seven minutes; and he was still improvising, not writing it out. He was ready to play that piece, and played it like nobody had ever heard it before. Each of these four recordings is a document of a true solo performance, one person and two hands, with no additional live help and no overdubbing. This CD also offers four different kinds of beauty, four proofs that the latitude that Stockhausen allowed, when capitalized on by a performer with creative imagination, could validate Stockhausen as a composer and an entire aesthetic of freedom and control. This edition includes a 12-page booklet with original photos of both official concerts and performances for invited audiences, Max Neuhaus' own comments on the original score and an editorial note by John Rockwell.