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STOCKHAUSEN, KARLHEINZ: Kurzwellen (1968)
An updated version of the ‘60s classic by Gerard Pape’s CSLI Ensemble presented, reportedly, to critical praise at the Stockhausen summer course at Kürten. Originally for 4 shortwave radios (one for each player), a giant tam-tam, an elektronium, piano and viola, in this version the tam-tam and the elektronum have been replaced (by Tibetan bowls and synthesisers) - and laptops have been added to replace the four original sound-projectionists. It must also be said that the shortwave environment is mere shadow of what it was back in the ‘60s. It’s a useful recording, especially for students and historians, because of the comparisons that can be made with the original and the conclusions that can be drawn from them; as well as having intrinsic interest - since it occupies an aesthetic niche that is neither historical nor fashionably contemporary, and makes a serious attempt to honour the score, with many successes. But to judge the work as Stockhausen conceived it, you have to go back the composer’s own 1968 WDR recording; it’ a different animal, from a different time.