Other Planets

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Overview

The German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen was arguably the most influential figure of the European postwar avant-garde, and unquestionably the most elusive and enigmatic musical thinker of a generation that includes Pierre Boulez, John Cage, and Luciano Berio. His radically new electronic and instrumental music converted Igor Stravinsky to serialism in the 1950s, and has continued to inspire young composers for over fifty years. This present volume draws on over forty years of the author's close study of Stockhausen and functions as a catalogue raisonee of Stockhausen's complete output. With plentiful citations from the history of radio, film, and sound recording, as well as from contemporary science and technology, the book is laid out in strictly chronological order and contains unusually ample commentary on the composer's sources of inspiration. Each composition is also fully documented within the text, giving full information of each work's publisher, catalogue number, instrumentation, duration, and authorized compact disc. Any listener will benefit from this work and American music lovers in particular will find it an invaluable guide to the ongoing debate and rivalry over the sources of abstract expressionism and the avant-garde.

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Editorial Reviews

The Rest Is Noise - Alex Ross
Stockhausen's chief chronicler...
La Folia: Online Musical Review
...Maconie's exploration of all things Stockhausen is a winner....this new book offers greater nuance and—delightfully—earnest criticism....Maconie has done amazing work.
New Zealand Books
His commentary was remarkably attuned not only to the physical presence of the canvas, but also to its otherworldly harmonies....Maconie- as writer as well as speaker- is an immensely practical, at times demanding, yet persuasive guide to both the world around us and the "other planets" contained therein.
Oxford Journal
The sheer amount of information is of immense value....The book provides an invaluable foundation for further research on Stockhausen.
April 2007 La Folia: Online Musical Review
...Maconie's exploration of all things Stockhausen is a winner....this new book offers greater nuance and—delightfully—earnest criticism....Maconie has done amazing work.
John Harper
An invaluable and exhaustive study of a giant in western music.
Times Literary Supplement
...great fun to read, and full of provocative nuggets of information...a useful guide.
Fall 2008 New Zealand Books
His commentary was remarkably attuned not only to the physical presence of the canvas, but also to its otherworldly harmonies....Maconie- as writer as well as speaker- is an immensely practical, at times demanding, yet persuasive guide to both the world around us and the "other planets" contained therein.
February 2009 Oxford Journal
The sheer amount of information is of immense value....The book provides an invaluable foundation for further research on Stockhausen.
Tempo
We might be forgiven for assuming that it is a third edition of the 1976 original. But this is not the case. 'Other Planets' is, in most essential respects, new. It is also remarkably fresh and comprehensive....Crucially, for anyone disposed to assume that Stockhausen has for a quarter of a century been a shadow, if not a parody, of his former self, Maconie should make you think again....Maconie's criticism is especially potent for being so precise in matters of technical chapter and verse, the reactions of a musician who has as good an idea as anyone of the composer's working methods....Another strength is that, although the narrative is chronological, Maconie takes considerable pains to trace connections and associations, musical and cultural, in ways which...overall, bring a plausible coherence to what might otherwise have been a disjointed narrative. Stockhausen is represented as the product of a time when radio, cinema, and surrealism were dominant cultural influences, and this core characterization leads to many striking and illuminating analogies....Above all, Maconie wishes to characterize Stockhausen not simply as a composer, but as a teacher, after the holistic, utopian ethos of Friedrich Froebel. The book ends with a tour de force in the form of 140 pages on 'Licht', which offers a gripping traversal of the cycle's strengths and weaknesses…[and] a masterly contextualization of the work's character and quality. Maconie rarely puts a foot wrong....Other Planets is a remarkable achievement, and essential reading for all concerned with the present and future of serious music as something intricately involved in wider cultural currents.
Musical Times
...well done...Stockhausen has been such an extraordinary figure within the musical world of the last 50 years—variously a musical scientist, a psychic astronaut, and a neo-Wagnerian megalomaniac—that we need to know much, much more.
Reference and Research Book News
A composer of avant-garde electronic and instrumental music, Karlheinz Stockhausen is one of the most elusive and enigmatic musical thinkers of his generation. Organized chronologically, this volume catalogs Stockhausen's complete output and identifies the sources of his inspiration. Each composition is fully documented with information on publisher, catalog number, instrumentation, duration, and authorized compact disc recording.
CHOICE
In the past, one could argue that books written by devoted disciples (such as Maconie) would find their strongest audience primarily in other true believers. The present volume, however, can be read with pleasure for its insightful comments on a host of topics—philosophy, poetry, German responses to Nazism, and the music of Boulez, Berio, Cage, Reich, Riley, et al. Stockhausen himself is omnipresent, of course, and the text is peppered with quotations from the composer's writings. As always, these can be brilliant, perceptive, arrogant, silly, mystical, infuriating, or incomprehensible. But the context of such comments can now be seen in sharper focus. A fascinating book containing many gems. Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.
BBC Music Magazine
...Maconie often does say shrewd and penetrating things. He has a nice way with metaphor...There are many good things in this book...
Tempo
We might be forgiven for assuming that it is a third edition of the 1976 original. But this is not the case. 'Other Planets' is, in most essential respects, new. It is also remarkably fresh and comprehensive....Crucially, for anyone disposed to assume that Stockhausen has for a quarter of a century been a shadow, if not a parody, of his former self, Maconie should make you think again....Maconie's criticism is especially potent for being so precise in matters of technical chapter and verse, the reactions of a musician who has as good an idea as anyone of the composer's working methods....Another strength is that, although the narrative is chronological, Maconie takes considerable pains to trace connections and associations, musical and cultural, in ways which...overall, bring a plausible coherence to what might otherwise have been a disjointed narrative. Stockhausen is represented as the product of a time when radio, cinema, and surrealism were dominant cultural influences, and this core characterization leads to many striking and illuminating analogies....Above all, Maconie wishes to characterize Stockhausen not simply as a composer, but as a teacher, after the holistic, utopian ethos of Friedrich Froebel. The book ends with a tour de force in the form of 140 pages on 'Licht', which offers a gripping traversal of the cycle's strengths and weaknesses…[and] a masterly contextualization of the work's character and quality. Maconie rarely puts a foot wrong....Other Planets is a remarkable achievement, and essential reading for all concerned with the present and future of serious music as something intricately involved in wider cultural currents.
The Rest Is Noise
Stockhausen's chief chronicler...
— Alex Ross
The New Zealand Edge
New Zealand composer and musicologist Robin Maconie has written a meticulously researched biography of the man many believe to be the world's greatest living composer, German electronic music pioneer Karlheinz Stockhausen. Maconie is regarded as the world authority on Stockhausen, and his book Other Planets: The Music of Karlheinz Stockhausen is the result of 40 years of studying his work.
Gramophone
Books about Stockhausen have not been scarce, but an up-to-date and not overly technical study of his music was certainly needed: this one fits the bill admirably....an ideal overview...
The Times Literary Supplement
...great fun to read, and full of provocative nuggets of information...a useful guide.
The New Zealand Herald
a lucid study...
Artsaha!
A piece-by-piece guide to the composers music, and an absolutely essential reference.
Choice
In the past, one could argue that books written by devoted disciples (such as Maconie) would find their strongest audience primarily in other true believers. The present volume, however, can be read with pleasure for its insightful comments on a host of topics—philosophy, poetry, German responses to Nazism, and the music of Boulez, Berio, Cage, Reich, Riley, et al. Stockhausen himself is omnipresent, of course, and the text is peppered with quotations from the composer's writings. As always, these can be brilliant, perceptive, arrogant, silly, mystical, infuriating, or incomprehensible. But the context of such comments can now be seen in sharper focus. A fascinating book containing many gems. Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810853560
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/28/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 592
  • Product dimensions: 1.22 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 6.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Robin Maconie is a New Zealand-born composer and musicologist who has studied with Olivier Messiaen and Karlheinz Stockhausen.

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Table of Contents

Part 1 In Place of a Foreword Part 2 Preface Part 3 Acknowledgments Part 4 Introduction: On Telling the Truth Chapter 5 1 Formation Chapter 6 2 Early Works Chapter 7 3 Polarities Chapter 8 4 Rhythmic Cells Chapter 9 5 Music on Tape Chapter 10 6 Watching Time Chapter 11 7 Meyer-Eppler Chapter 12 8 Temperaments Chapter 13 9 Aleatory Chapter 14 10 Revolution Chapter 15 11 Contacts Chapter 16 12 Theater Chapter 17 13 Uncertainty Chapter 18 14 Process Chapter 19 15 Anthems Chapter 20 16 Figures Chapter 21 17 White Space Chapter 22 18 Findings Chapter 23 19 Rites Chapter 24 20 Stagecraft Chapter 25 21 Allegories Chapter 26 22 Mysterium Chapter 27 23 Donnerstag Chapter 28 24 Samstag Chapter 29 25 Montag Chapter 30 26 Dienstag Chapter 31 27 Freitag Chapter 32 28 Mittwoch Chapter 33 29 Sonntag Part 34 Bibliography Part 35 Index Part 36 About the Author

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