In memoriam Karlheinz Stockhausen (August 22, 1928 – December 5, 2007)
It is a challenge to be both a dreamer and a doer. Dreamers are often led to inaction by confrontation with the everyday realities of the world. Doers, in focusing on their actions, frequently compromise or lose their dreams. Any successful human endeavour requires some combination of dreaming and doing, but there are few human beings who are both strong dreamers and strong doers as intensely and with such integrity as Stockhausen was.
Stockhausen had great dreams and uncompromising visions regarding his art, and he strived to make them come true – against all obstacles – with an extraordinarily focused, tenacious, disciplined work ethic which patiently and tirelessly paid attention to the little everyday details that can make the realization of dreams so demanding and arduous. With burning intensity he lived as much in the here and now of the everyday moment as in his grand visions. This trait central to Stockhausen's personality has been an inspiration for my personal life.
Stockhausen was a composer of immense stature. His music shows both supreme mastery of traditional compositional craft and radical compositional innovation, translated into a uniquely diverse body of works that are of a tremendous sonic and structural originality, from the beginning to his last works. To me his music is a constant source of joy and expansion of mind; it is awe-inspiring not just in its concepts but also in the execution of the smallest compositional details.
Stockhausen was not just a great composer, he was a genuine human being. His warmth and depth of character as well as his enthusiasm in our personal conversations and exchange of correspondence will always remain a fond memory.
Stockhausen had written in the program note to the world premiere of HIMMELFAHRT (Ascension): "I pray to Saint Michael, that I may someday ascend – like Jesus did – into Heaven which, like music, is invisible." May he now enjoy the eternal, glorious vision of God.
Albrecht Moritz, December 2007