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Karlheinz Stockhausen

Karlheinz Stockhausen is widely regarded as one of the most influential composers of the postwar era. He has moved through many different stages in his career, but his widespread use of electronics throughout his work has had a lasting impact on the classical, avant-garde, and electronic music communities. Born in 1928, Stockhausen began studying composition in 1947 in his native Cologne, Germany, where he developed long-range serial compositions. Stockhausen's first major interest in electronics came during a 1951 trip to Paris to study under Olivier Messiaen. In 1956, after returning to Cologne, Stockhausen released Gesang der J?nglinge, his first electronic music breakthrough as well as one of the first tape-loop works ever created. Four years later, he unveiled Kontakte, one of the first compositions to mix live instrumentation with pre-recorded material. Throughout the rest of the 1960s he worked almost exclusively with electronics, using a combination of live orchestration, microphones, electrical filters, sine-wave generators, and ring modulators in pieces like Mikrophonie I and II and Mixtur.

The tracks presented here come from 1970's Mantra. Reinhard Oehlschlagel writes, "There is one thing that probably no one who was present at the world premiere of Mantra in Donaueschingen, Germany, on Sunday evening, October 18, 1970, was aware of: Mantra is a key work in the development of Karlheinz Stockhausen's music...More than twenty years after its premiere, Mantra occurs as Stockhausen's first "Formelkomposition," and therefore as a keywork to almost all of his following pieces...The basis of the piece is twelve-tone motive, where every note has a specific duration, rhythmic value and intensity." At times, the music is very sparse, but the sounds are fascinating. Mantra follows a rather rigid formula in which each of the thirteen sections acts as a microcosm of the work as a whole.