[this is unedited and unformatted email: I didn't have time to do anything with it but post it just now, and given that stockhausen's people have asked the statement to be suppressed, I feel it's necessary to broadcast it as widely as possible...]
From: aaron kernis
Date: Wednesday, September 19, 2001 2:18 PM
Subject: Fwd: Composer creates storm describing attack on US as 'work of art'
I can think of no more eloquent indictment of modernist thought than the enclosed. JC (John Corigliano)
Subj:Composer creates storm describing attack on US as 'work of art'
Date:9/19/01 1:59:56 AM Eastern Daylight Time
Tuesday, September 18 10:30 PM SGT
HAMBURG, Germany, Sept 18 (AFP) -
Composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, 73, has roused indignation in Germany for describing last week's catastrophic airplane assaults on New York as "the greatest work of art ever."
The renowned contemporary composer, who was speaking to journalists in Hamburg late Sunday, immediately retracted the remark and asked them not to report it.
But as a result of what he said, two concerts featuring Stockhausen which were to be given Tuesday and Wednesday were cancelled by the organisers of a music festival at the request of the local cultural authorities and festival sponsors.
Hamburg's general director of music, Ingo Metzmacher, had invited the composer to stage performances of his own works at the current Hamburg music festival.
The German news agency DPA said the composer had quit Hamburg, greatly upset by the affair.
In a statement issued by the music festival organisers, Stockhausen said he had been asked whether characters in his work, such as Lucifer, were historical, and that he had replied "they are always contemporary, for example Lucifer in New York.
"I recalled the destruction of art. Any other words outside of this context have no relation to what I meant," he insisted.
Hamburg culture senator (minister) Christina Weiss said the composer's reported remark was inexcusable, given the grief and mourning in the United States.
"Out of feeling for the political culture of the city and the federal republic, the concerts had to be cancelled," she said.
According to DPA, the composer, who had been asked about the attacks on the United States, said: "What happened there is -- they all have to rearrange their brains now -- is the greatest work of art ever.
"That characters can bring about in one act what we in music cannot dream of, that people practise madly for ten years, completely fanatically, for a concert and then die. That is the greatest work of art for the whole cosmos.
"I could not do that. Against that, we, composers, are nothing."
Subj: Stockhausen Out of Context
Date: 9/19/01 10:10:33 AM Eastern Daylight Time
There is another report circulating this morning that the composer was quoted out of context.
From: "Frank J. Oteri" <email@example.com>
Subject: FW: Stockhausen's response
Date: Tue, Sep 18, 2001, 5:39 PM
Very Important follow up to an earlier email I sent out today
(Thanks to Steve Smith)
Subject: Stockhausen press conference in Hamburg, Germany
Statement by Kathinka Pasveer to Jim Stonebraker
September 18, 2001 evening
Stockhausen is not yet at home.
I was at the press conference in Hamburg.
Being asked by journalist, if MICHAEL, EVE and LUCIFER were historical figures of the past, he answered that they were existing now.
For example, LUCIFER in the attack of New York.
After more questions about this he said "that for a musician it seems like rehearsing ten years for one concert and then killing oneself and 5000 people. The whole planning looked like the greatest piece of art of LUCIFER."
Naturally Stockhausen is shocked - like everybody else - by the horror of this terrible event and cannot understand it.
The journalist (for BILD) has completely twisted Stockhausen's words out of context and used it against the Hamburg Festival of New Music.
Kathinka Pasveer - Stockhausen-Verlag
Stockhausen's comments during the Hamburg interview were delivered in the context of a metaphoric line of questioning. He provided an allegorical answer to an allegorical question.
Anyone who knows Stockhausen can tell you that he is a compassionate and thoughtful person. The journalist who spewed forth this unconscionable poison should immediately retract his untruthful reporting and publish an apology to Stockhausen.
I live in the US and we have suffered through this cowardly and hateful attack on our nation by terrorists. As a loyal and patriotic American, I can tell you that Karlheinz Stockhausen is not the kind of man to condone terrorism in ANY form.
On September 13 Kathinka Pasveer sent me a thoughtful fax from Karlheinz, Suzee Stephens (who is American) and herself that said "We all follow the tragedy in the USA and pray for you all. So terrible."
The reporter who wrote this rubbish for the sake of his own financial and professional gain should be condemned by the public for his sensational lies and promptly fired by his employer.
James Stonebraker, Webmaster
St. Louis, Missouri USA
Subj: The Plot Thickens (More Stockhausen follow up from Musical America.com
Date: 9/19/01 1:55:33 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: FW: more Stockhausen follow up from Musical America.com
Date: 9/19/01 1:05:52 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Peggy Monastra)
Stockhausen Opens Mouth, Inserts Foot By Paul Moor MusicalAmerica.com
September 19, 2001
BERLIN - Ever since the music of Karlheinz Stockhausen burst upon the international avant-garde scene soon after World War II ended in 1945, he has occupied an unshakable position as one of the trinity that includes Pierre Boulez and Luigi Nono. Never noted primarily for humility, Stockhausen, now 73, has since then almost turned himself into an independent state, with a personal Website www.stockhausen.org that omits
nothing except perhaps the aroma of incense. Since Monday he has his foot so firmly in his mouth that this week's outrageous faux pas could possibly do to his career what Cab Calloway's swinging "The Star-Spangled Banner" long ago did to his: come close to destroying it.
Hamburg's brilliant Generalmusikdirektor Ingo Metzmacher, long a champion and friend of Stockhausen's, wanted to adorn Hamburg's current music festival, sponsored by the admirable weekly newspaper Die Zeit, with four concerts of Stockhausen's music, with the composer in charge, as the festival's high point. But Stockhausen himself torpedoed all that at a press conference Monday when a journalist's question elicited one of the most grotesquely tasteless and inappropriate statements concerning terrorism from any quarter since last week's calamity in New York and Washington.
Fortunately, Hamburg's Norddeutscher Rundfunk recorded what the master said, and it pulls the rug completely out from under subsequent attempts to disassociate himself from what demonstrably did emerge from his mouth. Those attempts include an UPPER-CASE STATEMENT hastily posted on his Website by one of his most dedicated acolytes, amounting only to a feeble sort of "What he really meant to say" addendum that has little bearing on the recorded documentation.
The announcer on a Sender Freies Berlin radio program obliged to deal with the story found Stockhausen's text so repulsive he prefaced it with these words: "I must honestly confess that I find it very hard to quote Stockhausen's own words here, which you can read today everywhere in the newspapers, but it is indeed important in order to show how blind the ivory tower can make [one], and how fatally Esoterik [the German term for New Age, occultism, etc.] sometimes connects itself with irresponsibility." He also referred to Stockhausen's "hardly exceedable cynicism and horrifying arrogance."
The Anglophone edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung carries this report from its staff member Julia Spinola:
"Asked at a press conference on Monday for his view of the events [in New York and Washington], Stockhausen answered that the attacks were 'the greatest work of art imaginable for the whole cosmos.' According to [the tape transcript], he went on: 'Minds achieving something in an act that we couldn't even dream of in music, people rehearsing like mad for ten years, preparing fanatically for a concert, and then dying, just imagine what happened there. You have people who are that focused on a performance and
then five thousands people are dispatched into the afterlife, in a single moment. I couldn't do that. By comparison, we composers are nothing. Artists, too, sometimes try to go beyond the limits of what is feasible and conceivable, so that we wake up, so that we open ourselves to another world.'"
Some journalists present reacted galvanically. When one asked whether Stockhausen equated art and crime, he replied: "It's a crime because those
involved didn't consent. They didn't come to the 'concert.' That's obvious. And no one announced that they risked losing their lives. What happened in spiritual terms, the leap out of security, out of what is usually taken for granted, out of life, that sometimes happens to a small extent in art, too, otherwise art is nothing.'
The Zeit Foundation and Hamburg's Cultural Senator Christina Weiss reacted even more galvanically, almost immediately calling Stockhausen's scheduled appearances "no longer acceptable" and canceling all four concerts.
The reaction of Stockhausen's pianist daughter Mariella, who lives in Berlin, reveals more than merely this week's tensions; she has had no contact with her father for the past two and a half years. Berlin's Tagesspiegel quotes her as saying she will never again appear under the name
Stockhausen, and that if her father equates crime and art, she calls that "fascistic." She also regards his subsequent excuses as "an expression of cowardice."
The Tagesspiegel also sought the reaction of composer György Ligeti, who accuses his colleague of having "placed himself on the side of the terrorists. If he interprets this treacherous mass murder as an artwork, then unfortunately I must say he belongs confined to a psychiatric clinic."
Stockhausen left Hamburg yesterday for his home near Cologne, in what the
press describes as a "bad [schlimm] psychic state."