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Karlheinz Stockhausen: Carré

  • for 4 orchestras and 4 choirs (4 conductors)
  • vlamtorchester: 3 3 4 3 - 6 4 4 1 - perc(9), hp, pno, alto sax, t.sax, bar.sax, bass tpt, cymb, vln.I(8), vln.II(8), vla(8), vc(8)
  • Duration: 36’
  • Instrumentation details:
    2 fl, Afl, 2 ob, c.a, 3 Kl, bass cl, alto sax, tenor sax, bar.sax, 3 bs - 6 hr, 3 tpt, tpt(D), bass tpt, Atbn, 2 t.tbn, bass tuba, bass tuba - perc(8), vib, cimb, hp, pno, vln.I(8), vln.II(8), vla(8), vc(8)
  • Choir: 4 Kammerchöre zu je 8 oder 12 Stimmen
  • Composer: Karlheinz Stockhausen
  • Remarks: orchestra and singers are placed on four stages behind the audience

Work introduction

Carré is dedicated to the former director of “Das Neue Werk”, Herbert Hübner. A 4-track tape recorder was used during the dress rehearsal to make a 4-channel recording, from which I made a 2-channel stereo version, which was released on record by Deutsche Grammophon. The first sketches were made in aeroplanes towards the end of 1958 during a six week American tour, where I spent a long time flying every day. I experienced above the clouds the slowest rotes of change and the broadest expanses of space.

The score was worked out in 1959 in collaboration with my assistant at that time, Cornelius Cardew, who notated it with me according to my plans, drawings, daily instructions and corrections.

A large orchestra of 77 musicians is divided into four groups, each with approximately the same instrumentation. Each orchestra-group includes a mixed chorus of eight or twelve singers. Voices and instruments combine to make a homogeneous sound mixture. The phonetically conceived text was composed according to purely musical criteria. Only here and there do names of children, women and friends appear.

The programme notes for the premiere read in part: “This piece does not tell a story. Each moment can stand on its own. One must take ones time if one wishes to absorb this music. Most of the changes take place very discreetly INSIDE the tones. I hope that this music may afford a little inner stillness, breadth and concentration; the consciousness that we have much time if we take it – that it is better to come to oneself than get beside oneself, for the things that happen need someone to happen to; someone has to catch them.” (Karlheinz Stockhausen)


World première

Hamburg (DE)
Michael Gielen

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