Whether or not Stockhausen's seven-opera cycle Licht, of which Donnerstag was the first part to be completed, is the most ambitious musical project of our time, it undoubtedly provokes extreme reactions. Is it a display of pretentious egomania, or a profound spiritual odyssey? Not having seen the work in the theatre. I can only judge this recording on its own terms, and I have to confess that, despite a natural scepticism in the face of such elevated subject-matter, I found my original enthusiasm, expressed when the LPs were issued, rekindled and reinforced.
The first scene of Act 1 remains the hardest to come to terms with, its superimposed layers of material the most difficult to process aurally. For much of the rest of theRead more opera it's the complementary relation of solo and mass that registers, and there's also a complementary relation between voices and instruments, enabling Stockhausen to explore degrees of unanimity in ways which become riveting even to a listener with no clear idea of how this relates to stage realisation. The point in Act 1 scene 3 where the solo trumpet takes over from the solo tenor and the eventual integration of basset horn and trumpet in the purely instrumental music of Act 2 are only two of the most striking examples of this unanimity. And Act 3 crowns the work with its two satisfyingly complementary scenes, the first dominated by a powerful sense of community, the second by the intimate chant of Michael's final declaration of intent. Here the essentially melodic breadth and concentration of Stockhausen's music are heard at their most refined and intense.
Though the CD transfer has been made at a very high level the quality of sound, in which diverse 'live' and electronic layers need to be clearly distinguished and balanced, is superb. The instrumental Greeting and Farewell now frame the opera as they should, without being grouped together at the end, as they were on the LP set. But there are problems with the booklet. Although there is a complete list of tracks with titles at the front, the complete text is still not given, and the synopsis is rather too sketchy, with various track titles unexplained. The information included with the synopsis remains that provided with the LPs, including a reference to ''Side 8''. But the extensive production photographs remain, and whatever the drawbacks of presentation this reissue of what appears to be an utterly confident and commanding performance deserves a warm welcome and a strong recommendation.
Arnold Whittal, Gramophone [8/1988]
This reissue includes the full booklet with libretto. Read less
Works on This Recording
Donnerstag aus Lichtby Karlheinz Stockhausen Performer:
Paul Sperry (Tenor),
Matthias Hölle (Bass),
Robert Gambill (Tenor)
Cologne West German Radio Chorus,
Hilversum Radio Chorus,
Hilversum Radio Orchestra
Period: 20th Century Written: 1978-1980; Germany
Average Customer Review: ( 2 Customer Reviews )
Listen and SeeOctober 8, 2013By Marina Y. (Richmond Hill, NY)See All My Reviews"At Lincoln Center this summer, I saw and listened to K. Stockhausen's Michaels Reise um die Erde. It was beautiful in all regards. After this event I bought this CD and was able listen to his music from the very beginning to the very end. The only regret I had was that I wanted to see it too. I think that Stockhausen;s music benefit from staging (as the composer suggested). Unfortunately, I was unable to find a DVD with a recording of the opera. Only photos are available and they are intriguing."Report Abuse
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