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Other Planets: The Music of Karlheinz Stockhausen Paperback – April, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Scarecrow Press (April 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810853566
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810853560
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,419,388 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

...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. (Musical Times)

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. (Reference and Research Book News)

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. (CHOICE)

...Maconie often does say shrewd and penetrating things. He has a nice way with metaphor...There are many good things in this book... (BBC Music Magazine)

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 reactionsof 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 wayswhich...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 characterizationleads 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 (Tempo)

Stockhausen's chief chronicler... (Alex Ross The Rest Is Noise)

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. (Tempo)

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. (The New Zealand Edge)

...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. (La Folia: Online Musical Review, April 2007)

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... (Gramophone)

An invaluable and exhaustive study of a giant in western music. (John Harper)

...great fun to read, and full of provocative nuggets of information...a useful guide. (Times Literary Supplement)

a lucid study... (The New Zealand Herald)

A piece-by-piece guide to the composers music, and an absolutely essential reference. (Artsaha!)

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. (New Zealand Books, Fall 2008)

The sheer amount of information is of immense value....The book provides an invaluable foundation for further research on Stockhausen. (Oxford Journal, February 2009)

About 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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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By scarecrow VINE VOICE on January 26, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For some time now there's been little published in English on Stockhausen, Maconie's work here makes up for lost time, You can however study with Stockhausen himself if you rather not simply read a book,that real-life, real-time reality fixes seems to be the "buzz" now. You can be a "Survivor" yourself after spending time with Stockhausen and his incredible approach to making music/art/time/space/timbre/mists/clouds/lines/texts; he offers courses each August in Kurten a suburb of Cologne.

Maconie studied with everyone in the European avant-garde,and has been there for premiere performances and knows both sides of the fence, the theoretical/conceptual and performative,and has wonderful insights into not only where certain works are situated within Stockhausen's creative evolution, but the performance problems, and responses to current or latter day reality.
The work here is organized situated around concepts,"polarities","revolution", "aleatory", "Contacts" "Uncertainty" or more functional items as "rhythmic cells",(dealing with early Boulez and Messiaen's concepts) of organizing musical moments(Stockhausen came to abandon this way of thinking in the early Fifties with the first four :klavierstuck: wirtten in Paris),or "Temperaments", as the use in electronic music as "Studie" :Gesange der Juenglinge:.

Chapters come to be like galaxies,"mists" where Stockhausen's music circles revolves around,like layers/swirls of functions,working premises. Maconie traces the breaking off points as well as realms of innovation,which can take odd turns as his ongoing disinterest in strings for example,(violins, cellos)culminated as the subverted "Helikopter Quartet".Strings, here the Arditti Quartet in motion flying away from each other.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mikhail Lewis on October 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is a great way to convince oneself that Stockhausen (and Maconie) shouldn't be taken seriously. Maconie opens the book by introducing his main problem: his intention was to show where Stockhausen's pieces came from, however the composer doesn't believe in causality (cause and effect) and was thus unwilling to help him. While this was funny at first, hundreds of pages in this difficulty becomes tedious. Maconie replaces actual comparison and demonstration with bare assertion and simple alignment, mentioning things next to each other without actually demonstrating a connection. Left without any explanations from the composer for decades of work the author seeks his own explanations from the writings of Stockhausen, contemporary music, events, and art, and his own obsessions. These include Cocteau's Orpheus and contemporary rave culture including "dangerously" loud music and drug use. Though the back of the book says, "Maconie wisely avoids technical analysis," I would have appreciated some.
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Stockhausen's responses are patient, insightful, and against all odds, illuminating. Genius and "pushing the envelope" are often met with disdain. His achievements are above reproach.
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