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Theatrical elements and their relationship with music in Karlheinz Stockhausen's HARLEKIN for clarinet Marczak, Katarzyna 2009

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THEATRICAL ELEMENTS AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH MUSIC IN KARLHEINZ STOCKHAUSEN’S HARLEKIN FOR CLARINET  by  KATARZYNA MARCZAK  Mmus, Akademia Muzyczna w Krakowie, 1997 Mmus, Akademia Muzyczna w Krakowie, 1998  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULLFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  DOCTOR OF MUSICAL ARTS  in  THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES  (Music)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA February 2009  © Katarzyna Marczak, 2009  ABSTRACT In 1975, Karlheinz Stockhausen wrote HARLEKIN, an extremely challenging stage composition for a “dancing clarinetist.” The composition is a 45-minute-long stage piece, which the performer must play entirely from memory, while moving, dancing and acting according to the composer’s very precise directions. When approaching HARLEKIN for the first time, a clarinetist is forced to decode the score and to face many questions on various interpretive levels. Throughout the work there is an interaction between the dimensions of music and movement, one in which the two complement one another and the leading role shifts between them. Thus it is necessary to work out the movements with the same care and precision that is routinely expected when playing a musical score. While these movements are carefully described and/or notated in the score, movement by its nature cannot be notated as precisely as music. This gives rise to the performer’s biggest task when preparing HARLEKIN: interpreting and creatively realizing physical movements while playing the clarinet. This document is directed to the performer who wants to challenge herself with this exceptional piece and who is seeking help in understanding and interpreting its highly unusual score. It aims to help a performer answer some technical questions regarding physical aspects of the work’s performance, and to provide suggestions for interpretation. The main question, to which answers are sought, is how sound and physical movement are correlated at various points in the score, as a basis for deciding the approach to movement that the performer should take. In addition to attempting to understand the score in accordance with the composer’s intentions, as expressed in writings and interviews, this document argues that the prospective performer should return to the commedia dell’arte tradition as a means of understanding the Harlequin character, even though the composer does not appear to have been interested in pursuing this approach in much depth. As well, the document argues in general for the performer’s interpretive freedom, as against the rather more restrictive position taken by Stockhausen.  ii  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Abstract ……………………………………………………………………………………………ii Table of Contents ………..……………………………………………………………………....iii List of Figures …………….……………………………………………………………………..iv Acknowledgments ………………...……………………………………………………………..vi Dedication  …………………….………………………………………………………………..vii  CHAPTER I. Introduction. The aims and organization of the document  ……………………...1  CHAPTER II. Harlequin as a character in the Italian commedia dell’arte ………………….…..7 2.1 The origins …………………………………………………………………….…….7 2.2 Description and development of the character ……………………………….……...8 2.3 Stage movement tradition ……………………………………………………….....12 2.4 Harlequin in other forms of art: visual, dance, sculpture, mime, music, literature ....15 CHAPTER III. HARLEKIN by Karlheinz Stockhausen ………………………………………22 3.1 The origins of the piece and a general description of the score ………………...…22 3.2 Stockhausen’s idea of music and theatre …………………………………………...26 3.3 Harlequin’s formula and the work’s overall shape …………………………..…...35 3.3.1. Formula ……………………………………………………………………….35 3.3.2. The shape of the piece ………………………………………………….……..39 CHAPTER IV. Observations about movement in the work …………………………….……...56 4.1 Types of movement in HARLEKIN ……………………………………….………56 4.2 The character of Harlequin’s movements at each state of the piece ………………60 4.3 The role of physical movement in HARLEKIN ……………………………….…..72 4.3.1 Stockhausen’s philosophy and requirements concerning physical movement in his compositions ……………………………………………………….…...77  CHAPTER V. HARLEKIN’s influence and its place in today’s performing world …….…….82 5.1 Challenges for the performer ……………………………………………….……...82 5.2 A short comparison of the available performances of HARLEKIN ……….……....88 5.3 Interpretation vs. imitation in interpreting a score like that of HARLEKIN ………..98  CHAPTER VI. Conclusion  ………………………………………………………………….102  Bibliography …………………………………………………………………………………...104 Appendix  ……………………………………………………………………………………...107  iii  LIST OF FIGURES  Figure 2.1 Early masks of Harlequin (Lawner, 1998, 18) …………………………..........9 Figure 2.2 Harlequin, two drawings by M. Sand (Sand, 1915, cover and 65), and a photograph of Jean Börlin dancing as Harlequin in Claude Debussy’s 1919 ballet Box of Toys, in the Ballet Suèdois’s 1921 production (Lawner, 1998, 44) ………………………………………………………….10 Figure 2.3 Marco Marcuola, An Italian Comedy in Verona, 1772 (Lawner, 1998, 83)….13 Figure 2.4 Claude Gillot, Scene from “The False Coquette” (Lawner, 1998, 128) ……..16 Figure 2.5 Lodovico Ottavio Buracini, Harlequin (Lawner, 1998, 146)………………...17 Figure 2.6 Pablo Picasso, Three Musicians, 1921 (Lawner, 1998, 181) ………………...18 Figure 2.7 Early drawing and David Hockney, Harlequin, 1980 (Lawner, 1998, 192) …19 Figure 3.1 HARLEKIN formula scheme after H.Conen (Conen. 1991, 233) …………...36 Figure 3.2 HARLEKIN formula scheme, extended (Conen, 1991, 233) ……………….36 Figure 3.3 HARLEKIN formula in its clearest statement ……………………………….37 Figure 3.4 After Stockhausen’s diagram in the booklet for the CD …………………….41 Figure 3.5 Collection of all notes from HARLEKIN formula in the passage in “Dream Messenger” ………………………………………………………………….44 Figure 3.6 HARLEKIN formula presented for the first time as a whole ……………….45 Figure 3.7 Variation on HARLEKIN formula in “The Playful Constructor” ……..…….45 Figure 3.8 Fragmented formula in “The Pedantic Teacher” …………………………….47 Figure 3.9 HARLEKIN formula as a whole in “The Pedantic Teacher” ………………..47 Figure 3.10 The first occurrence of designed leg stomps ……………………………….48 Figure 3.11 Ornamented opening of the formula ……………………………………….48 Figure 3.12 Variations on the pitch content of the opening of HARLEKIN formula …...49 Figure 3.13 Misplacement of the gestures towards the pitches …………………………49 Figure 3.14 The whole formula presented with widened range of pitches in “The Roguish Joker” ………………………………………………………………………..50 Figure 3.15 The opening of “The Passionate Dancer” ………………………………….51 Figure 3.16 Short phrases in “The Passionate Dancer” …………………………………51  iv  Figure 3.17 Interval and rhythmical content of the original HARLEKIN formula in “dialogue with the foot” …………………………………………………….52 Figure 3.18 The HARLEKIN formula in “Harlequin’s Dance” ………………………...52 Figure 3.19 The last presentation of the formula in “The Passionate Dancer” ………….53 Figure 3.20 Passages at the opening of “The Exalted Spinning Spirit” …………………54 Figure 3.21 Formula emerging from the passages ………………………………………54 Figure 3.22 Long notes withdrawing the pitches of the formula ……………………….55 Figure 4.1 Gestures involving moving the whole instrument …………………………..56 Figure 4.2 “Normal” foot step ………………………………………………………….57 Figure 4.3 Heel-step ……………………………………………………………………..57 Figure 4.4 Gestures involving the whole body ………………………………………….58 Figure 4.5. Spiral: point indicates  at the end of the first line ………………………60  Figure 4.6 The lowest body position in HARLEKIN …………………………………..64 Figure 4.7 Designed misplacement of the gestures towards the pitches ……………….66 Figure 4.8 March-dance in “The Roguish Joker” ……………………………………….67 Figure 4.9 Harlequin’s coarse gag ………………………………………………………68 Figure 4.10 Dialogue with a foot ………………………………………………………...69 Figure 4.11 Harlequin’s dance …………………………………………………………..70 Figure 4.12 approximate path of spiral (number of loops is free) ………………………71  v  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS  My sincere gratitude goes to Dr. William Benjamin, who taught me how to think clearly and independently, and how to trust myself in my opinions. His help and support at every stage of my thesis were truly invaluable. I give special thanks to Cris Inguanti, for his enthusiasm and belief in me and all my projects, and for re-directing my approach to the clarinet. Many thanks also to Susan Bertoia, who generously shared her theatre experience with me. She opened the door into the fascinating world of commedia dell’arte for me and made me fall in love with it. And finally, much thanks goes also to the members of my committee involved in this research: Prof. Martin Berinbaum, Prof. Jesse Read and Dr. Richard Kurth, for their support and for understanding my needs at every stage of my work.  vi  I dedicate my work to Laurenda Daniells my inspiration for living  vii  I. INTRODUCTION. The aims and organization of the document.  Karlheinz Stockhausen is considered to be one of the main European composers of the second half of the twentieth-century. Among his many experimental and electroacoustic pieces, there is an interesting set of compositions written for his friend and muse, clarinetist Suzanne Stephens1. At the core of the set is HARLEKIN2, an extremely challenging 45-minute-long stage composition for a “dancing clarinetist.” When approaching HARLEKIN for the first time, traditionally-educated clarinetists are likely to be similarly provoked into questions regarding the score, which consists of precisely notated atonal (or loosely centric) music, annotated with very elaborate descriptions concerning stage movements. How should one realize all the composer’s musical directions while joining the specified body movements to the sounds in a convincing way, thereby turning the whole into an interesting stage performance? And what is the purpose of the movements and theatrical gestures that have been put into the score with such a great care? Given its extent and the detail in which it is prescribed, physical movement in this piece is obviously no mere visual ornament to the performance. As I will demonstrate in this document, the performer’s stage motions are integral to Stockhausen’s overall philosophy of modern music, and they also complement or strongly support musical content in some parts of the piece. While these actions are carefully described and/or notated in the score, as to type and in individual detail,  1  A list of Stockhausen’s compositions for clarinet is given in the Appendix, courtesy of StockhausenVerlag (www.stockhausen.org). 2 This way of notating the titles of Stockhausen’s pieces, in upper case, is used consistently in Stockhausen-Verlag, both in the scores and in written documentation. I will use this notation in my thesis.  1  movement by its nature cannot be notated as precisely as music3. This gives rise to the performer’s biggest task when preparing HARLEKIN: interpreting and creatively realizing physical movements while playing the clarinet. There is no video material, officially sanctioned and accompanying the score of HARLEKIN, as part of the work. Nevertheless, when I started working on this piece, I contacted Suzanne Stephens and asked her if she had video documentation of any of her performances. She was generous enough to send me a VHS tape with her performances from 1990 and 1992, of both KLEINE HARLEKIN (the short, reduced version of the work) and HARLEKIN itself. Searching on the internet, I had also found Marcelo Gonzalez, an Argentinian clarinetist, who had both works in his repertoire and kindly sent me a DVD of his performance of HARLEKIN. These materials were very useful for my preparation process, but I would no more describe them as essential for anyone who is studying the piece with a view to performance than I would say to any performer that she must listen to particular recordings of a standard work, useful as this is likely to be. HARLEKIN has been published in Stockhausen’s private edition, as a score with extensive verbal comments concerning performance practice. But since no VHS or DVD is included with the score, every clarinetist approaching the piece should feel free to study the score very carefully and develop her own performance practice, based on the information provided by the composer. The present document will, I hope, help a performer answer some technical questions regarding physical aspects of the work’s performance, and will provide suggestions for interpretation. My main interest is in the  3  The attempts to create a dance notation are known in ballet world and they can be grouped as methods using words, track drawings, stick figure (visual) systems, music note systems, and abstract symbol systems. See: Ann Hutchinson Guest, Choreo-Graphics: A Comparison of Dance Notation Systems from the Fifteenth Century to the Present (New York, London: Gordon and Breach, 1989).  2  question of how sound and physical movement are correlated at various points in the score, as a basis for deciding the approach to movement that the performer should take.  Approaching the score. There are many ways for the performer to approach a new score, but for simplicity’s sake I will contrast two that are obviously opposed, recognizing that a synthesis of these is possible. Later on, I will in fact advocate such a synthesis. In the first way, a performer takes a score and reads its contents carefully, interpreting it as best she can, without getting distracted from an intuitive reaction to the music by delving deeply into questions of style, history, the composer’s life and so forth. A second way is more academic: the performer searches every available source for information about the author, the piece, the style of composition and the relevant approach to performance practice. She listens to the other works of the composer, reads extensively and, in general, tries to acquire knowledge that will permit her to get closer to the composer’s intentions. Both approaches have strong and weak points. The first one tends to be very creative and to encourage individuality in interpretation. The musician works on the piece with a clear mind, unfettered by prescriptive information except insofar as it filters in via her exposure to specific traditions of the music’s performance practice and her general knowledge of musical history and culture. This approach works, in part, because a typical modern score provides enough detail apart from the pitches—by using signs for articulation, dynamics, and tempo, and manner of expression—to give a good indication the composer’s intentions. Everything else, all the un-notated elements, belongs then to the sphere of artistic interpretation, and is the performer’s responsibility. Yet, there is  3  always a risk, that by not knowing enough about the performance practice one may misinterpret some of the details, or miss a chance for understanding a piece better. Needless to say, the more historically remote the music, the less likely this approach is to be self-sufficient: for example, much Baroque music, because it makes some use of improvised detail and requires and understanding of ars oratoria or contemporary rhetoric, is difficult to approach without academic insight. And, to be sure, such insight often saves time and avoids wrong turns with any music. In the contrasting way of approaching a new piece, the performer looks for any information available concerning the piece and its composer. The natural starting point is the author, his style and philosophy of music. From there, one focuses on the composition and its background, and one listens to available recordings and compares them. In the case of a vocal piece, the musician researches the verbal element: translations, interpretations of the poem, the text’s historical background, and so forth. This “scholarly” method seems to be very attractive and honest, but it also carries some risk. By getting deeply immersed in historical matters it is easy to be confused by contradictory information and even misled by the temptation to apply information where it might have only minimal relevance, and in the process to lose focus on the music. As regards listening to various performances, particularly before one has formed one’s own ideas, it is all too easy to substitute reproduction of effect for personal authenticity, which ought, after all, to be a goal of all performing activity. In my opinion, both ways of interpreting music are worth applying in our lives as performers. The question is, when to emphasize the scholarly, and when the intuitive side4.  4  An interesting problem of authenticity arises here as well. Peter Kivy in his work, Authenticities. Philosophical Reflections on Musical Performance (Cornell University Press: Ithaca and London, 1995)  4  For Stockhausen’s HARLEKIN, I decided to begin with careful research. With such an unusual score, the only way of approaching the task of learning it seemed to be to discover anything that could help me with understanding the composer’s intentions. Also, the idea of being forced to move, dance and act on the stage while playing clarinet was so frightening, that I had to look for some help to organize my thinking in the initial stages. It seemed natural to begin with the Italian commedia dell’arte. Harlequin is one of the main characters in this style, and one does not need to look very far to associate him with it. What I needed though was more detail about commedia as a stage tradition, for example, the manner in which actors used masks, or their stereotypical ways of reacting, gesturally, in stock situations. I decided that I needed to work with someone versed in the tradition, and thus I signed on with the Vancouver actress and director Susan Bertoia as a personal movement coach.5 Rehearsing with Susan, while doing my own library research, helped me very much in understanding the nature of Harlequin and in appreciating in detail the manner of his appearance on stage. However, I do not know to what extent Stockhausen took the commedia dell’arte tradition into account when composing his piece. Obviously, the character of Harlequin was chosen deliberately. Comments in the score refer some significant dates from the genre’s history6, and most of Harlequin’s stage jokes reflect attitudes that are conventionally associated with him in the commedia’s traditions. But  recognizes authenticity as intention, sound and practice, and discusses the matter of compatibility between the composer’s intentions and the performer’s personal authenticity. However, in view of the limited space available in this document I will not develop this subject here. 5 Susan is an actress and director of Vancouver’s BellaLuna Theatre, a company that draws inspiration from current affairs and bases its style in the traditional, masked Italian theatre of commedia dell' arte. After receiving a BFA from UBC, she studied commedia dell’arte with Giorgio Strehler at Il Piccolo Teatro di Milano, and the Italian tradition of mask making with Donato Sartori in Padua. She also studied at the Dell’Arte School of Physical Theatre in the United States. 6 These comments are on the dedication page.  5  returning to Suzanne Stephens’ performance after developing what I thought was an authentic approach, via my reading and my rehearsals and discussions with Susan Bertoia, I began to notice a certain distance between Stephens’s interpretation and mine—to be discussed in the body of this essay. This may suggest that Stephens was not especially concerned to relate to the traditions of commedia. As I hope I have made clear, this in itself is an observation, not a criticism, and is meant less as a comment on her interpretation than as a partial explanation of how and why our results differ. Since my approach started with research into commedia, I will include in my document some of what I learned about Harlequin. I will also present in general Stockhausen’s ideas about music and movement and will provide an explanation of his technique of formula composition. Then, I will briefly analyze Stockhausen’s HARLEKIN from a performer’s perspective, since the formal construction of the piece is, as always, one key to interpreting it, both musically and theatrically. Following this, I will describe the stipulated physical stage movements and the interestingly changing correlation of music and motion, after which I will discuss the challenges for a performer posed by the score, with particular emphasis on the interpretation of prescribed motion other than that normally involved in playing the instrument. A brief comparison of three available performances (those of Suzanne Stephens and Marcelo Gonzalez, as well as my own) will follow. At the end, I will present some thoughts arising from my score study, research, and performance of HARLEKIN, focusing mainly on the relationships of sound and motion in the piece.  6  II. Harlequin as a character in the Italian commedia dell’arte  2.1. The origins. The character of Harlequin (Arlecchino) is one of the main figures of commedia dell’arte, the Italian improvised theatre, established around 1550, and developed over several centuries into one of the strongest and most influential styles of stage performance. The commedia was derived from street theatre and was performed at markets and fairs, for peasants and crowds of simple folk visiting such events. The characters of the commedia dell’arte represented archetypes. Harlequin is unquestionably one of the most recognizable ones. He belongs to a set of four central characters in traditional Italian plays: the Doctor (Dottore), Pantaloon (Pantalone), Harlequin and Brighella, the first two being the “vecchi” (older men), the latter, servants. The actors in these parts, on the one hand, usually wore masks that exaggerated the main features of the character and, on the other, limited their “acting” to very basic and clear body movements. Their masks, being associated through the ages with pure theatricality, indicated that the performance was true theatre, not a bare imitation of real life. The use of masks was of a great significance to the early performers. As Allardyce Nicoll writes, quoting Jacques Copeau:  The actor who performs under a mask, receives from this papier-maché object the reality of his part. He is controlled by it and has to obey it unreservedly … It is not only his face hat has changed, it is all his personality, it is the very nature of his reactions, so that he experiences emotions he could neither have felt  7  nor feigned without its aid. If he is a dancer, the whole style of his dance, if he is an actor, the very tones of his voice, will be dictated by this mask – the Latin ‘persona’ – a being, without life till he adopts it, which comes from without to seize upon him and proceeds to substitute itself for him. (Nicoll, 1963, 41)  2.2 Description and development of the character. The characters of commedia dell’arte had to be very defined and easy to distinguish from one another, and masks helped a great deal in this process. Harlequin is one of the most interesting and entertaining figures among those standard to the commedia. The best way of describing him is probably to start with his costume. Harlequin’s mask was usually dark, or even just black, with bushy hair at the eyebrows, and often had a black beard. Maurice Sand, in his book, The History of Harlequinade, quotes Marmontel, an author who in 1776 wrote an article on Harlequin:  This is at one and the same time the most bizarre and the most amusing character in the theatre. A Bergamese negro [sic] is an absurdity. It is probable that an African Negro was the first model of the character. (Sand, 1915, 59)  Harlequin’s costume was very much in keeping with his character as implied by the mask. It changed quite a lot over time, but always retained the idea of “patches” that at first were simply placed irregularly all over his pants and jacket. Harlequin’s jacket was generally loose and shabby, and his trousers quite tight. On the top of his mask we can see a bump – probably suggesting the result of being hit over the head by his master.  8  Figure 2.1 Early masks of Harlequin (Lawner, 1998, 18)  Harlequin habitually carried a “batocchio”, a simple baton stuck through his belt, which was worn very low on the hips. The patches on Harlequin’s outfit was gradually stylized and over the years (especially during the fine and polished seventeenth-century style) was transformed into a very characteristic regular pattern of triangles or lozenges, usually in three basic colors: red, green, yellow, and, occasionally, blue, separated by white lines (ribbons). It is this pattern that became Harlequin’s trade-mark, and made it easy to identify the character in later times, even in an extremely stylized costume.  9  Figure 2.2. Harlequin, two drawings by M. Sand (Sand, 1915, cover and 65), and a photograph of Jean Börlin dancing as Harlequin in Claude Debussy’s 1919 ballet Box of Toys, in the Ballet Suèdois’s 1921 production (Lawner, 1998, 44)  Harlequin is definitely an amusing figure. Many of his characteristics come from his physical attributes. He is, by nature, an extremely agile acrobat. Of course, not all the actors were equally skilled in terms of body suppleness, yet every one esteemed in the part was noted for his remarkable exhibition of physical flexibility. Harlequin is a dancer and a tumbler, and dance is certainly his native medium in the very early commedia dell’arte style. Over the sixteenth-century he transforms from a basic farm servant, a poltroon and a foolish peasant, into a more developed and entertaining character:  His character presents a mixture of ignorance, naïveté, stupidity and grace. He is like a mere sketch of a man, a great child visited by flashes of reason and intelligence, in all of whose capers and awkwardnesses there is something sharp and interesting. The model Harlequin is all suppleness and agility, with the grace  10  of a young cat, yet equipped with a superficial coarseness that renders his performances more amusing; the role is that of lackey—patient, faithful, credulous, gluttonous, always in love, always in difficulties either on his master’s account or on his own, afflicting himself and consoling himself again with the readiness of a child, one whose sorrows are as amusing as his joys. Such a part demands a great deal of naturalness and of wit, and a great deal of physical grace and suppleness. (Sand, 1915, 64)  This description summarizes wonderfully Harlequin’s main features. He is often associated with a young boy. If we go to a playground and watch eight- or nine-year old boys, we can form a picture of Harlequin in his pure state: quick movements; running fast at one minute, and freezing at the sight of an interesting bug or a piece of rock in the next; shouting to a comrade unpredictably; at first in constant intense motion, then lying down suddenly, completely exhausted; laughing crazily, and almost immediately switching into a sad or serious mood. Harlequin’s animal equivalents are the cat and the monkey, sometimes also the fox. It is quite easy to associate him with any of these, all being very supple and flexible, playful and protean in their emotional presentations. Towards the end of sixteenth-century, together with the changes in his costume, Harlequin underwent a subtle change of character. He remained joyful and entertaining, adhering to his cat-like manner and movements, but also became less simple, going “so far as to permit himself a certain wisdom”.1 But it was indeed the seventeenth-century during which his character filled out to a greater extent. “… Harlequin became witty and  1  Maurice Sand, The History of the Harlequinade (London: Benjamin Bloom, Inc., 1915), 65.  11  astute, an utterer of quips and something of a philosopher.”2 And this is how he remained in the public’s collective consciousness: a witty joker, occupying the triangle defined by clown, dancer, and mime.  2.3. Stage movement tradition. In thinking of performance practice in the commedia dell’arte one should not divorce the genre from its origins in fifteenth-century Italy. Commedia was supposed to be performed in fairs, at spacious market places, among the crowd and for the crowd. Thus, it is connected as well with fixtures of the public sphere: market charlatans, illusionists, and religious fanatics. As well, it is linked to the pre-Lenten Carnival in Venice. The style of playing – and more “playing” than “acting” – is an outdoor one, developed in the full light of a day. Commedia was addressed to the crowd of the piazzas and fairgrounds, as well as those in the streets, where people were spending the whole day on their feet, selling, buying, talking, eating, and, occasionally, also watching the shows provided on a dais located at some handy spot. The nature of the audience greatly influenced the style, one of the main principles of which was a close interplay with the audience, together with a great amount of improvisation. Those two features seem to define the early commedia in particular. The actors had to get immediate feedback from the listeners, to gauge and gain their interest. The rules were simple: the more interesting and entertaining the show was, the more money the performers would collect. Ensemble work was crucial to the commedia plays—a good actor never worked alone. Since most of the plot was improvised, the performers had to be extremely aware of each other’s stage presence, and had to react immediately to the situations created by their 2  Ibid., 65.  12  companions. We can speak of collective playfulness, together with mutual support: everyone had his or her role in the final product.  Figure 2.3. Marco Marcuola, An Italian Comedy in Verona, 1772 (Lawner, 1998, 83)  Another significant aspect of the early commedia style arose as a result of the use of masks. The plot of the play could not rely on any complicated psychological development of the personae. The masks remained the same, and after the play they were returned to their boxes unaffected by the play; the expression and the core of the mask  13  always stayed untouched. There was no place for catharsis, nor for any of the other elements of tragedy, in commedia performances. Wearing masks and acting in them was an art itself, and many generations of actors have learnt this craft. The mask was the actor’s face, a part of his body, his personality on the stage. The first thing an actor had to do was “let the mask do its work”, which meant allowing for the replacement of his own facial expression by “the gaze” of the mask. Acting in a mask requires constant consciousness about its characteristics, and not thinking one’s own expression will override it. Having a very limited expressive range, a mask has only “one eye”, and it is situated at the end of the nose. The whole rest of the body has to “follow the nose”, in whichever action is undertaken. The neck especially has a crucial role in making the actor’s body alive on-stage, replacing the minimal “natural” head alterations with the clear and exaggerated ones. Then, the whole body needs to make a sympathetic movement. Despite the significant role of stage movement in commedia dell’arte, there was a fundamental rule of the style: commedia plays were based on combining language with acting, not on pantomime alone. What may seem trivial in the surviving transcriptions had an enormous importance at the time of the early performances. Words and clever dialogue were the elements that distinguished true “commedia” from “buffoneria”. The performances were supposed to provide a tasteful entertainment, “well-balanced and sober, witty and not full of impertinent trivialities”.3 Clownish, rough episodes could occur, but the core of the comedy lay in a smart, yet entertaining blend of words and stage actions. Of course, this applied mostly to the early Italian performances, where  3  Allardyce Nicoll, The World of Harlequin: A Critical Study of the Commedia dell’Arte (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1963), 15.  14  actors on the stage were using the same language as the audience, differing only because of the dialects applied for particular characters (e.g. Harlequin and Brighella spoke Bergamese, Pantalone Venetian, Il Dottore Bolognese, Pulcinella Neapolitan, the Lovers Tuscan). After moving to another countries, at first to France, but later also to England, Germany, Russia, Denmark and the rest of Europe, the comedy troupes had to shift the balance into stage actions, while slowly developing performances in new languages. This was also the time (in the seventeenth-century) when commedia dell’arte became a stylized form, mainly at the French courts, and transformed from pure, street-type entertainment, into an elegant and smooth theatre form.  2.4. Harlequin in other forms of art: visual, dance, sculpture, mime, music, literature. The character of Harlequin became very attractive to artists practicing practically all forms of art. Thanks to his colorful and characteristic costume he became probably the most often portrayed figure of the commedia. Harlequin appears in numerous paintings, engravings and wood carvings, beginning with anonymous works of the sixteenthcentury, through the golden era of stylized picturesque characters of commedia dell’arte in the seventeenth-century, up to modern interpretations of his figure in twentieth- and twenty first-century. It is impossible to mention all the wonderful images of Harlequin, therefore let us have a quick survey through the most significant and famous ones. A selection of the most famous paintings opens with a series by Claude Gillot (1673-1722), namely his drawings (e.g., the marvelous scene entitled “The False Coquette”) and paintings (e.g., “Harlequin, the Greedy Soldier”, and “The Two  15  Carriages”). Gillot’s student, Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721) was simply obsessed with the commedia characters, and is known for creating a number of works dedicated to them. Especially charming are his “Gallant Harlequin” and “Harlequin, Emperor of the Moon”. Lodovico Ottavio Burnacini (1636-1707) contributed several watercolor sketches, interpreting commedia dell’arte themes in Baroque style. Among them there is a great portrait of Harlequin alone, and a representation of “Harlequin’s Chariot”, as a weird car pulled and ridden by commedia characters, with two Harlequins driving, seated atop of the chariot.  Figure 2.4 Claude Gillot, Scene from “The False Coquette” (Lawner, 1998, 128)  16  Figure 2.5. Lodovico Ottavio Buracini, Harlequin (Lawner, 1998, 146)  From the next century, it is necessary to mention two names. Giovanni Domenico Ferretti (1692-1768) painted a series of pictures, called “The Disguises of Harlequin” (1740-60), while the Flemish printmaker, Gérard-Joseph Xavery, created a set of seventeen prints dating from around 1710. The black-and-white prints present a whole fantasy story of Harlequin’s life, imagined by the artist; a story where Harlequin plays gender-switching games, giving birth to a baby, etc. Not surprisingly, the nineteenth-century forsook witty, entertaining Harlequin for the melancholy Pierrot. Romantic poets, painters, and printmakers found meditative and reflective (hallucinatory) Pierrot much more suitable to their visions and expressions. Pierrot became an emblem of Romanticism. Yet, there are several examples of significant  17  portraits of Harlequin at that time. It will suffice to mention the fundamental book on commedia dell’arte by Maurice Sand (the son of George Sand), with his own illustrations. A wonderful renaissance of Harlequin began at the start of the twentieth-century, especially around the French bohème and its avant-garde style of art and life. Commedia characters appeared in different ways in high and popular culture. A great devotee of this subject was, for example, Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), whose influential pictures “Family of Saltimbanques” (1905, with Harlequin having the artist’s own face), and “Three Musicians” (1921, where Pierrot plays clarinet, Harlequin plays guitar, and a commedia Monk holds a page of sheet music) show his deep interest in and great knowledge of Italian comedy.  Figure 2.6. Pablo Picasso, Three Musicians, 1921 (Lawner, 1998, 181)  18  There is also a beautiful portrait of Harlequin from 1919, painted by André Derain (1880-1954), presenting the character as a musician (with a mandolin), a very intimate and expressive image. A different side of Harlequin, one that gets back to his appearance in early commedia dell’arte style, emerges with the “Harlequin” from 1980, by David Hockney (b. 1937). His portrayed figure is again a joyful entertainer and an acrobat, performing on a colorful stage in a patched costume, evidently referring to the very early era of the comedy.  Figure 2.7. Early drawing and David Hockney, Harlequin, 1980 (Lawner, 1998, 192)  Of course, paintings are the most celebrated medium within the visual arts. But the motif of commedia dell’arte characters and particularly Harlequin can be tracked down in some other forms of art, for example Meissen and Copodimonte porcelain figurines from the eighteenth-century, produced in major porcelain factories across  19  Europe. In the medium of sculpture, the works of Juan Gris (1887-1927)—“Harlequin” from 1917—and Jacques Lipchitz (1891-1973)—a series of Harlequin statues from 1918—are especially worth mentioning. Italian comedy has also found its place also in several music works, particularly those with a theatrical component: opera and ballet. In terms of the latter, pride of place must be granted to the great choreographer Sergei Diaghilev and his Ballets Russes, founded in 1909. Probably the most entertaining Harlequin figure appears in Claude Debussy’s children’s ballet “La Boîte à Joujoux” (“Box of Toys”, 1919), but there is also the Pierrot-like character of Petrushka in Stravinsky’s famous composition from 1911, and a whole set of commedia figures in his Pulcinella (1920). In the opera world the most obvious example of applying the comedia dell’arte theme is “Arlecchino” (1914-1916), an Italian comic opera by Ferruccio Busoni, for which Picasso also designed the premiere’s costumes in 1917 in Venice. A little earlier is the famous “Ariadne auf Naxos” (1912) by Richard Strauss, with a notable role for a Harlequin (together with the other “zanni”: Scaramuccio, Truffaldino and Brighella). Yet, the most famous Harlequin – although disguised under another name – is Figaro from Beaumarchais’s play, immortalized in the operas of Giovanni Paisiello (“The Barber of Seville”, 1782), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (“La Nozze di Figaro”, 1786), Gioachino Rossini (“The Barber of Seville”, 1816) and Darius Milhaud (“La mere coupable”, 1966). Figaro is the perfect image of Enlightenment Harlequin, the smart and entertaining servant. In instrumental music we encounter Harlequin themes in pieces of Georg Philipp Telemann (“Ouverture burlesque” in B flat major), Robert Schumann (“Carnival” op.9, a  20  set of 22 pieces for piano solo), Lord Berners (“The Triumph of Neptune”); and in Karlheinz Stockhausen’s piece, arguably the most spectacular musical presentation of the character outside of the realm of opera. This condensed survey of Harlequin's place in the theatre tradition as well as in the other arts shows us the importance of the character in Western culture throughout the centuries. I found it almost impossible to understand the complexity of Harlequin as a stage figure without at least a basic knowledge of the historical data presented above. Starting with the early commedia dell'arte tradition, I proceeded to reflect on what I read about creative interpretation and character development by actors in later generations. I also acquired a technique of working with masks, and learned more about body awareness and stage behavior. All these factors merged into a strong foundation on which I built my own vision of Harlequin in Stockhausen's composition. I realized that it was crucial for the process of preparing my performance to study the big picture of Harlequin in history, in order to convey his behavior faithfully and in all its dimensions. I have also spent some time watching children play, and observing adult behavior in the street, experimenting on myself with different types of walks and body postures. But this personal experience would not have amounted to much had it not been based on a foundation of studying Harlequin in visual art and the ways he is represented in artists' imaginations. I then tried to reconcile the results of my careful research with Stockhausen's picture of the character as indicated by his directions in the score. The result was, I believe, an honest and creative performance.  21  III. HARLEKIN by Karlheinz Stockhausen  3.1. The origins of the piece and a general description of the score. Stockhausen first met clarinetist Suzanne Stephens in 1972, during the summer courses in Darmstadt. However, it was in 1974, when she joined a group performing his “Herbstmusik,” that they got to know each other well. Eventually, Suzanne became his partner and his muse, having over thirty pieces and significant parts of his theatre works written especially for her, to be played on clarinet, bass clarinet and basset horn. Suzanne was born in 1946 in Waterloo, in eastern Iowa, USA. She completed her education in the USA, France (Paris), and Germany (Hanover). But it was meeting Karheinz Stockhausen that changed her career as a performer and her life. From the moment she met the composer, she devoted her life almost entirely to performing his compositions, and preserving his heritage for subsequent generations of musicians and listeners. Stockhausen had already thought of writing a solo clarinet piece called “Harlequin” a few years before he met Suzanne. He visualized the English clarinetist Anthony Pay as its performer, but the project never came to fruition. When he met Suzanne, the idea of a stage theatre piece for clarinet became realistic, given her high technical abilities as a clarinetist, and incredible openness to new, challenging ideas. The piece was written in two sections: the first, from the beginning to the middle section, called “The Enamoured Lyric” (sic)1 was completed in the period April 13-19, 1975, in  1  The name used here comes from the score and appears in Suzanne Stephens’ translation into English of all notes and comments provided by the composer in German. The German version, however, reads “Verliebte Lyriker”, which should be rather translated as “Enamoured Lyric Poet”. In my document, I will  22  Agadir, Morocco and the second, from “The Pedantic Teacher” up to the end, on December 16-24 of the same year, on Corn Island, Nicaragua. Suzanne Stephens gave the premiere performance on March 7 1976, in the broadcasting auditorium hall of West German Radio in Cologne. On the dedication page of the score of HARLEKIN we can see Stockhausen’s annotation of Harlequin’s transformation from the sixteenth-century commedia dell’arte character into a modern musician. He writes:  ARLECHINO → 1570 → 1688 → 1792 → HARLEKINA → 1975 → Suzee Stephens  Below, there follows a quotation (in English): “Pleasure follows her unceasingly; she spreads joy and gladness everywhere. Laughter springs from beneath her very feet, and her ready satire offends no one, so merry are her quips …” This is a fragment taken from an English translation of “The Italian Comedy” by Pierre Louis Duchartre, and is a part of an anonymous verse written in 1688 and commemorating the death of one of the greatest actors to perform Harlequin in the  continue using the original name from the score, “Enamoured Lyric”, even if it seems to be the wrong translation.  23  seventeenth-century, Domenico Biancolelli.2 In his translation Stockhausen has changed the gender of Harlequin to a female one, with the obvious intention of celebrating the intended dedicatee. The dates mentioned by the composer highlight significant years in Harlequin’s history. They are: •  1570 – the year in which the character of Arlecchino was first mentioned in “scenari”  •  1688 – the year of the death, on August 2, of Domenico Biancolelli, the actor who gained international fame by creating the character of Harlequin  •  1792 – the year in which Susanna Haswell Rowson, American novelist, dramatist, poet, essayist, and editor, decided to go on stage and become an actress. “She could sing, act and dance. It may well be that her accomplishments as a dancer culminated in the performance advertised thus: “Harlequin Everywhere, or What Does It Signify … New Pantomime …Harlequin (being the first attempt of any female in America ) – Ms. Rowson”3 4  HARLEKIN is written for clarinet in B-flat, and it is notated in a very clear and traditional manner. The meter is inconsistent in the piece and is generally not indicated by time signatures, except for three lines on page 16, where they are given with big 2  In the original text we read: “Les plaisirs le suivoient sans cesse. Il répandait partout la joye et l’allégresse. Les jeux avec les ris naissoient dessous ses pas. On ne pouvait parer les traits de sa satyre; Loin d’offenser personne, elle avoit des appas.” (Duchartre, 1966, 155) 3 From a review of her performance of Feb 28, 1799, in Philadelphia. In Marian Hannah Winter, “American Theatrical Dancing from 1750 to 1800,” The Musical Quarterly 24/1 (1938): 58-73. Some sources identify 1792 as the year of the death of Carlo Goldoni, a celebrated Venetian playwright and librettist. He became famous for combining the model of Molière with characteristics of commedia dell’arte in his plays, and became one of the main contributors to the new form of opera buffa. 4 On November 23, 2008 I received the email from Suzanne Stephens in answer to my questions regarding the dates on HARLEKIN dedication page. According to her, Stockhausen used the years mentioned in The Italian Comedy by P.L.Duchartre, and the dates refer to the most celebrated Harlequins in history, namely Zan Ganassa, Domenico Biancolelli, Evariste Gherardi, and Lazzari (Duchartre, 1966, 155)  24  numbers above the clarinet part. In all other cases the durations of the bars is simply dictated by their rhythmic content. Tempo also changes constantly, reaching from the fastest ♪ = ca. 200, to the slowest  = ca. 36.  The only edition available is from the composer’s own Stockhausen-Verlag, and it consists of 46 pages in format A-3. The first half of the score consists of the composer’s extended description of the piece, in German, English and French5, and the translation to the two latter languages of all the German comments from the actual score. The pages in this section are marked with Roman numerals (twenty five pages), while the actual musical part has Arabic numeration (twenty one pages). Stockhausen’s introductory notes are divided into seven sections: a) Programme note – from December 1975, a very short general note about the piece. b) Second programme note – from a performance for children on May 30, 1976, in the Beethovenhalle in Bonn. This is a somewhat extended description of the composition, emphasizing particularly the theatrical aspect and written in relatively simple language, suitable for a young audience. c) Performance Instructions. Stockhausen includes here several performance requirements: his demand that the work be played from memory, an insistence on the careful preparation of dance/movement—he strongly advises having dance and mime lessons in advance—specifications of costume and makeup design, and suggestions of two secondary possibilities of performing HARLEKIN. These are: 1) playing purely  5  The English translation is provided by Suzanne Stephens, the French by Ralph Alexandre Fassey. It is necessary to emphasize here that all the English translations used in this document came from the original score, as they sometimes tend to be unclear and follow original German phrases too literally.  25  instrumentally, with a drummer realizing the dance rhythm on a tabla or similar drum6; and 2) having the clarinetist play only the music while a dancer performs with a “fake clarinet” in his or her hands. d) Description of the development. This section is similar to “Performance instructions”, but extended and written in a more technical manner, addressed to the performer. Stockhausen enumerates all seven sub-sections of HARLEKIN and explains the general idea of the music and the staging in each one. e) Explanation of the score – provides several strictly technical details for the clarinetist about notation, accidentals, realization of the breaths and the passage work, and a note about the Suzanne Stephens’ audio recording. f) Lighting. In three points and three additional paragraphs Stockhausen describes in detail his precise idea of the lighting setup for the performance. He adds also a sketch which illustrates it, together with the exact measurements (the strength of the lamps and size of the light spot on the floor, in meters) g) Duration of the piece, which should be approx. 43 minutes7  3.2. Stockhausen’s idea of music and theatre (ORIGINALE, INORI, HARLEKIN, etc.) HARLEKIN is not Stockhausen’s first theatre piece. There are several predecessors among composer’s works. One of his earliest experiments in blending different artistic media was inspired by Cage’s output, was his collaboration with Jaap  6 7  The score, p. VI. The score, p. VIII.  26  Spek and Cornelius Cardew.8 This is Originale (Originals), written in 1961, and described as “Musical theater with Kontakte”.9 It is scored for ‘conductor, director, pianist, percussionist, street singer (or violinist), performance artist, singer, poet, painter, lady of fashion, movie cameraman, lighting technician, sound engineer, theater costumer, newspaper vendeuse, child, six actors.’10. However, Originale is more of an experimental stage piece, halfway between a theatre piece and a happening, and thus falls outside the strict approach to stage composition of Stockhausen’s later style. In 1973/74, Stockhausen composed INORI (from Japanese: Adorations), a piece for one or two soloists and orchestra. It was his first composition in which music and stage-gesture blend together as a unity. INORI is a reflection of composer’s belief that “music’s role in the course of centuries has always been that of a ritual. At one time a religious ritual: at another, generically dramatic. In Oriental and African countries, music is strictly connected with dance or with ceremonial procession”.11 In this piece, Stockhausen for the first time applied his innovative idea of incorporating ritual gestures that reflect, comment on, and accompany the music; an idea that he developed later on in HARLEKIN and other solo clarinet pieces, and in operatic cycle, LICHT. The composer’s idea was, on one hand, to free the musician from the immobile situation he had been forced into by tradition.  8  Robin Maconie, Other Planets: The Music of Karlheinz Stockhausen (Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2005), 218. 9 The meaning of “with” is “based upon”. Kontakte (1958-1960) is a composition by Stockhausen for electronic sounds, pianist and percussionist. 10 Ibid, 218. 11 Mya Tannenbaum, Conversations with Stockhausen, trans. David Butchart (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987), 80.  27  “Here in the West, instrumentalists are forced to play seated behind one another; if it weren’t for the tiny space available, as opposed to [should be: as a result of]12 the progressive growth of orchestras, I don’t see why the players should have to stay there, lined up like crows on a telephone line.” (Tannenbaum, 1987, 80)  And later, he adds:  “Asian artists and singers study music and pantomime from infancy. With us, on the other hand, there’s only concern for the voice; you stand stiff onstage, careful not to lose sight of the conductor.” (Tannenbaum, 1987, 83)  On the other hand, the mystical-ritual aspect of specific, carefully designed gestures fascinated Stockhuasen, and obviously determined the visual side of INORI. He continued this process of uniting music and gestures in most of his later pieces. In INORI, as well, Stockhausen pioneered the idea of using scales of hand and body gestures to mirror the content of the music, with rising motion precisely calibrated to mirror rising pitch, a phenomenon that also appears in HARLEKIN. HARLEKIN, unlike the earlier Originale, belongs to the group of Stockhausen’s stage compositions. It is unique among these works, being assigned to a single performer and, what is more, to an instrumentalist, who does not use words. The resultant lack of textual reference places much of the responsibility for clarification on the dancemovement part. Stockhausen himself, asked what exactly dance meant to him, answered: 12  The quotation comes from a book compiling conversations with Stockhausen led by Mya Tannenbaum. The original language of the conversations was German, with occasional changes into French and English. Translation of the whole book has been done by David Butchart.  28  Dance is everything that a human being is able to do musically with any part of the body. It could be the eyelids or the eyeballs, as it is for Balinese dancers; or it could be the little finger, or all the fingers, the hands, as in the mundra technique of India … Dance is everything that the various stylized forms of Western civilization have never taken into consideration … What arouses my interest, on the other hand, is the minimal gesture of dance, as I used it in my work Inori (Adorations) … Every gesture of the body must be made consciously, since it connects with a musical layer, articulated rhythmically, which the instruments represent. Nothing to do with a choreography created on the spot; the movements connect directly with the musical adventure. Music and dance are interdependent, and one notices the presence of the latter within the overall perception: while I hear the music, there’s a part that dances continually within me. And I don’t need any visual counterpart for this; in fact, it’s also like this when I compose or conduct an orchestra. The body of the gifted person, besides having all the technique necessary for dancing, is able to “musicalize” the gesture in a visual form that is truly valid.13 And this is dance. What I mean is that dance expresses musical  13  Interestingly, Igor Stravinsky made similar observations in his “Poetics of Music”, where he wrote: “ … I repeat, one sees music. An experienced eye follows and judges, sometimes unconsciously, the performer’s least gesture. From this point of view one might conceive the process of performance as the creation of new values that call for the solution of problems similar to those which arise in the realm of choreography. In both cases we give special attention to the control of gestures. The dancer is an orator who speaks a mute language. The instrumentalist is an orator who speaks an unarticulated language.” (Stravinsky, 1970, 171).  29  structure in a fundamental way. It expresses it for the joy of the eyes. (Tannenbaum, 1987, 58)  Reading those words, we get the impression that Stockhausen puts music on the higher level of importance than movement. Body motion was for him an integral part of a performance, yet it was music that dictated the overall shape and continuity of the piece. In fact, he said that he “didn’t need any visual counterpart for this”, but on the other hand that the consciousness of movement is implied by any musical performance, and might well be added to it for expressive clarification. For Stockhausen, who assumed that awareness of dance was always present in the “gifted” listener at the conscious or subconscious level, the natural consequence for the suitably aware composer or performer would be the impulse to design and realize movement carefully, as a counterpoint to the music. In 1985, during a meeting with an audience listening to a cycle of concerts devoted to his music Stockhausen said:  We will illustrate here the connection between composer and interpreter from the vantage point of movement, which should serve for clarification of the music … The common body movements that an interpreter is seen to make during performance, are either unconscious and arise from the emotion of the performance [scripted by the content of the music]; or they originate in and consciously amplify the sphere of accidental expression, of emotional bodily expression.  30  In almost all my works for the last fifteen years, to a greater or lesser extent, I have notated how to execute the movements so as to elucidate the music.14 (Eggebrecht, 1986, 51)  The visual aspect of performed music became a highly important factor in Stockhausen’s compositions. Yet, we cannot forget that he always remained primarily a composer for whom music retained the leading role. One can listen to recordings of his pieces without feeling any need for the missing visual dimension provided by the actions specified in their scores. By contrast, a soundless video of a performance of one of these works would have no artistic value. In effect, gestures in Stockhausen’s pieces are complementary to the music. They constitute a means of clarifying and emphasizing aspects of structure and meaning, like tempo, dynamics, and articulation in traditional music, but we cannot call Stockhausen’s compositions “dance pieces”. They remain musical compositions. Some of the ways in which movement acts to clarify aspects of musical structure will be discussed in the section entitled “Observations about movement in the work”. At this point I would like to turn briefly to a different consequence of the use of movement in HARLEKIN, one of special importance for the composer.  14  Die Beziehung zwischen Komponist and Interpret wollen wir hier also erläutern unter dem Aspekt der Bewegung, die zur Verdeutlichung der Musik dienen soll … Die üblichen Bewegungen die man bei Interpreten während des Spielens wahrnimmt, sind entweder unbewußt and kommen aus dem Affekt des Spielens heraus, oder sie sind aus dem Bereich des zufälligen Ausdrucks, des emotionalen Körperausdrucks herausgenommen and bewußt verstärkt. In fast allen Werken der letzten fünfzehn Jahre habe ich mehr oder weniger notiert, wie Bewegungen auszuführen sind, um Musik zu verdeutlichen. (trans. K.Marczak).  31  In his score for HARLEKIN, Stockhausen included thorough and precise directions for movements to be executed while performing the piece. Even if the piece represents, as H.Conen states, “Stockhausen’s strong preoccupation, in evidence during 1974-77, with writing the best quality of popular music”15, HARLEKIN still reflects composer’s overall belief in highly controlled art. Stockhausen was incredibly precise. He cared immensely for details and required the same precision from his performers. To enable them to realize his music exactly the way he conceived of it, he provided detailed text, in an introduction to the score and within the score itself, containing descriptions of non-musical actions composed for the piece. One of the reasons why Stockhausen was so concerned about specifying the movements in his pieces has to do with his concern for sound quality and the point of origin of a sound in relation to the audience. By moving in a specific way, placing herself at a particular point on the stage, and turning or spinning her body, and also by moving the instrument itself, a musician varies the timbre of the sound and the direction from which it reaches the audience. It is a well known fact that Stockhausen was extremely interested in the roles of sound and sound trajectory in contemporary art music. He composed his pieces, especially the later ones, for particular acoustic environments, and insisted that they be performed exactly as described in the score. Performance for him is not merely a question of playing the right pitches, durations, articulations, and dynamics. He believed that it was essential to take into consideration the hall, the placement of musicians, other factors that would influence the sound at each point in the music and, where relevant—as was  15  Hermann Conen, Formel-Komposition: Zu Karlheinz Stockhausens Musik der siebziger Jahre, (Mainz: B. Schott’s Söhne, 1991), 237.  32  usually the case with his own music—considering also the specific electronic sound system. As well, he is known for using very carefully specified technical equipment: by designing the exact parameters of every input and output device, he could minimize the unpredictability of the final result, making it correspond better to what he had in mind when composing the piece. Of course, his fastidious care for sound characteristics had its roots in his interest in electronic music, developed during his early years as a composer. This made him fully aware of sound origin and trajectory as factors in musical experience. In 1980, Stockhausen complained about the lack of awareness of these factors among modern musicians:  … still today I don’t know an orchestral conductor who minds too much. The bass instrumentalist ends up in the last rows next to the high one, and between them there’s also space for a large instrument. (Tannenbaum, 1987, 38)  Stockhausen did not approve of such an attitude towards sound in the contemporary world. Given today’s knowledge, he considered it negligent and blameworthy to disregard the acoustic features of the piece. He said:  I, on the contrary, arrange at what precise point the flute, harp, and oboe must converge. Almost all the instrumentalists in Michael’s Journey Around the Earth are lined up in an oblique manner and transmit their sound simultaneously by two different loudspeakers, arranged, just to give an example, one to the right  33  and the other to the left. Or else, one forwards towards the left, the other back towards the right. (Tannenbaum, 1987, 38)  There are many instances where a specified movement in HARLEKIN impacts on sound quality. For example in the opening section, when the performer is supposed to enter the stage “spinning” along the shape of a great spiral, the effect of fluent passages in the clarinet’s high register is emphasized by the everchanging sound trajectory, and hence, timbre. There are also fragments (for example in the middle part), when the clarinetist is supposed to play with her back towards the audience, causing the sound to reach the listeners from the far distance. HARLEKIN lies between Stockhausen’s more traditional instrumental compositions and his late stage productions, such as the opera cycle LICHT. It shares some ideas of ritual-like movement with INORI and applies them to an entertaining commedia-like performance, intended for popular consumption in the best sense. Nevertheless, there is always a great awareness of sound quality and sound projection, and this is one of many aspects that prevent the piece from degenerating into vulgar entertainment.  34  3.3. HARLEKIN formula and the work’s overall shape. 3.3.1. Formula. In the early 1960s Stockhausen became deeply interested in “navigating in a multi-musical space,” which he began to do in a number of “meta-musical process compositions”16. Generally speaking, he developed his own techniques for these compositions, developing a language that would allow him to operate within an expanded scale not only of pitch and duration, but also of dynamics, timbre, and movement in physical space. These experiments underlay several of his electronic pieces of this time (Microphonie I and II, Solo, Telemusik), and led towards the evolution of an even more precise technique, so-called Formel-Komposition (“formula–composition”). In 1970 Stockhausen composed “Mantra” for two ring-modulated pianos. It was his first piece employing the innovative formula (then still called “mantra”) concept. A thirteen-note melody served as the core musical material for the whole 65-minute-long piece. The formula per se in actually a complete theme, in which there are 27 notes. Each note is defined as a pitch, associated with a particular duration, articulation, and dynamic (or dynamic process). Throughout the piece, the formula gets developed and transformed, with each note becoming the seed of an expansion process, involving all the musical dimensions (intervals, register, rhythm, articulation, dynamics, etc.). This technique soon became Stockhausen’s recognizable idiom and dominated most of his later works, including the opera cycle LICHT.  As Hermann Conen observes in his work (Formelkomposition. Zu Karlheinz Stockhausens Musik der siebziger Jahre), HARLEKIN places itself in between “freer” 16  Robin Maconie, Other Planets, 250.  35  process-composition (Prozesskomposition), and “stronger” formula-composition (Formel-Komposition), constituting a new hybrid: a process-composition with formula17. Because of the necessarily limited scope of this document, I will not analyze the process aspect. The formula used in HARLEKIN can be specified in several of its dimensions. It uses 11 pitches, which can be notated as a row:  Figure 3.1 HARLEKIN formula scheme after H.Conen (Conen, 1991, 233)  When written in its “melody-form”, it gets extended to 27 notes, as some of the pitches are grouped and repeated:  Figure 3.2 HARLEKIN formula scheme, extended (Conen, 1991, 233)  The repeated gestures seem to represent Harlequin, or his playful nature, and if the whole formula stands for the character himself, the repeated motives can be read as  17  Process-composition (process music, systems music) is music that arises from a process, and makes that process audible. The term is mainly used for minimal music and was explained in detail in 1968 by Steve Reich in a manifesto called “Music as a Gradual Process”. Stockhausen used this technique in the 1960’s, in several of his works, e.g. Plus-Minus (1963), Prozession (1967), Kurzwellen, and Spiral (both 1968).  36  referring to Harlequin’s easily distracted nature, and to the way his suddenly changing gestures reflect this inconstancy of attention. In its clearest statement, with all its characteristic details (of rhythm, dynamics, articulation and color), the formula appears in the centre of the piece (about 12 minutes from the beginning), in transposition from D, followed by its second presentation, from E♭. This passage (on p.7 in the score) is the core of the composition, and its central point. As Stockhausen states in his general analysis of the piece (in the booklet accompanying the CD), “From this point, the entire work was composed, to the beginning and to the end”.  Figure 3.3 HARLEKIN formula in its clearest statement. Reproduced with the permission of Stockhausen-Verlag, Kürten, Germany.  Although this formula may be directly apprehended as a non-tonal structure, some quasi-tonal tendencies can be detected within it. The opening seven notes aim first at G Minor that is immediately superseded by E♭ Major, due to the descending-third  37  sequence, D – B♭– G – E♭. After emphasizing E♭ with a slow quasi-diatonic trill in segment 2, the third segment shifts the emphasis to G# (which can be also heard as A♭), as if moving to the subdominant of E♭. The melody then moves to C, with an initial leap of a major sixth followed by an elaborating tritone (G♭– C), and closes with the obviously cadential C – D – E♭. The formula is divided into 6 groups (see Example 2), separated by small rests. The first group is slow and lyrical, in mp, and its fourth note (B♭) is emphasized by the vibrato effect. The last note of the group stands out in a contrast as a short eight-note, with added accent. The following group communicates more energy, opening in forte, and oscillating around the main E♭ pitch. Stockhausen introduces here the characteristic rhythm of irregular triplets, which gets developed intensively throughout the entire piece. This group explores a rich variety of dynamics, ranging from forte, to piano, with two diminuendi and two crescendi. The fragment closes in a manner similar to the opening one, with a short eighth-note in mf. The third fragment comes back to the opening softness, with its consistent piano dynamic, long G# and delicate ornament-like closure, emphasizing the interval of the perfect fourth (D# – G#). The next two groups have C5 as their focal pitch. Its first occurrence is preceded by the vibrated lower E♭ in fff, and developed within a big dynamic range (two diminuendi and two crescendi on one extended note). This is also the longest note in the entire formula. The second presentation of this pitch (C5) resembles an echo effect, with C played pp with vibrato,  38  and preceded by another irregular triplet rhythm, played mf. The last group of the formula combines the last explored interval G♭– C with a spacious cadential motion—one that resembles the opening in its lyricism—reaching E♭. The dynamic process in this final group is a straight overall diminuendo, from ff to closing ppp. The formula gets transposed several times throughout the piece. In the section extending from the second half of “The Pedantic Teacher” to the middle of “The Passionate Dancer” (see the discussion in Section 3.3.2) the formula gets deconstructed, being represented only by its fragments. In the remainder of the piece, it appears as a whole twenty-two times starting from G, once starting from D, two times starting from E♭, and 9 times starting from A♭.  3.3.2. The shape of the piece. The overall shape of the composition is that of an inverted arch, descending from the highest range of the instrument, reaching the lowest register, and then rising again to the top. Stockhausen describes it in the booklet for the CD of the recording of HARLEKIN: “The work forms a single, large wave, which expands over the entire range from above, and slows down, contracts into the low register, calmly vibrates there, and then—almost like a mirror image—climbs up again and in the heights contracts to one tone.” An inverted arch is also the general shape of the HARLEKIN formula itself (see Example 2), and this shape applies as well to several other elements. A fast tempo is introduced at the beginning of the composition in the brilliant opening passages. The  39  perceived tempo slows significantly in the middle part, then accelerates again towards the end. The centre of the piece is reached by successive, very gradually decelerating presentations of the formula, proceeding from the initial tempo of ♪ = 190, to the slowest tempo ( = 36) at the end of Section 3 (see Example 3), and back to “fliessend schnell” (“flowing, fast”) at the very end. The same sort of developmental curve can be observed in the rhythmic dimension, where fast, continuous sixteenth-notes at the beginning are gradually transformed into slow rhythmic structures involving half- and whole-notes in the middle section. Further on, the rhythm becomes more metric, and foot stomps are introduced, as a purely rhythmic counterpoint to the clarinet melody. This rhythmic stratum reaches its attack density peak in the closing dance fragment, whereupon the music proceeds to closure, returning to fast, ametric passages in sixteenth-notes that recall the opening.  40  The general idea of HARLEKIN can be illustrated with a diagram:  Figure 3.4 After Stockhausen’s diagram in the booklet for the CD  Seven sections can be distinguished within the whole composition. Stockhausen provided names for these after completing the whole piece, but he always conceived of the work as a whole, and never intended it to be performed with any internal pauses, let alone an intermission. The seven sections correspond to phases of the piece, but they “must follow one another continuously without pauses or drastic character changes” (composer’s commentary to the score, p. VII). Also, as Stockhausen indicates, none of the component sections may be played separately. The sections of HARLEKIN are: 1. Der Traumbote (The Dream Messenger) 2. Der spielerische Konstrukteur (The Playful Constructor)  41  3. Der verliebte Lyriker (The Enamoured Lyric) 4. Der pedantische Lehrer (The Pedantic Teacher) 5. Der spitzbübische Joker (The Roguish Joker) 6. Der leidenschaftliche Tänzer (the Passionate Dancer) 7. Der exaltierte Kreiselgeist (The Exalted Spinning Spirit)  The poetic names of these sections refer in some way to the main typology of commedia dell’arte characters. We could associate them, respectively, with: Pierrot, Brighella, The Young Lover, Dottore, Pulcinella, Colombina, and Harlequin himself. However, the seven “faces” of Harlequin were added to the already existing piece, and are supposed to reflect only the general character of the music in particular parts of the composition. They probably don’t have a deep meaning in terms of historical connections with commedia dell’arte, but they definitely direct the performer to focus on an adequate interpretation, and help the audience by encouraging its members to enlist appropriate cultural categories as a way of understanding what is going on in terms of music and movement. Another interesting association has been suggested to me by Susan Bertoia, who has found a connection between Stockhausen’s seven segments and the chronology of life as described in a celebrated monologue in Shakespeare’s play “As You Like It” (Act II, scene VII). In both cases we can clearly see a representation of life’s stages. (“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages.”18)  18  For the complete relevant fragment of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It”, see the Appendix.  42  Although interesting and worth checking for a comparison, the association is not exact seeming to lose relevance after the fourth stage. The composer himself used the names of Harlequin’s seven “states” in his programme notes for the early performances. For the first one, in December 1975, he wrote:  The traditional figure of HARLEQUIN is reborn in a new form: a clarinet player. HARLEQUIN is now completely a musician. Coming from the heights, he unwinds out of a spiral until – kneeling directly in front of the audience – he presents his entire melody. He then winds upwards into the heights, again in the form of a spiral. Out of the enchanted dream messenger awake one after another the playful constructor, the enamoured lyric, the pedantic teacher, the roguish joker, the passionate dancer, and finally the exalted spinning spirit with his bird cries.19  It is interesting that Stockhausen also composed the stage movement in such a way as to correspond to the structural inverted arch described above. Harlequin comes to the stage as a “The Dream Messenger”, as if descending from the world above. Very gradually his motions begin to involve more and more earth-rooted, basic gestures (“The Playful Constructor”), literally taking him to the ground in a kneeling position in the middle of the piece (at the end of “The Enamoured Lyric”). In the “Pedantic Teacher” the performer’s upper torso is raised, while in the “Roguish Joker” the clarinetist moves within the entirety of vertical space consistent with playing the instrument, ranging from 19  From the introduction to the score, p. V.  43  almost touching the floor with the bell, to raising it high up while standing “extremely high on tip-toes”. In “The Passionate Dancer”, this spatial trajectory is bracketed as movement enters into a compact unity with music, but is resumed as the performer flies away again in “The Exalted Spinning Spirit”, spinning in a manner that recalls the opening of the piece. The HARLEKIN formula is the main musical material explored in the composition, and it appears almost constantly throughout the piece. The opening section, “The Dream Messenger”, begins with a long trill in the clarinet’s highest register. Then, the trill becomes developed slowly into more elaborate passages of wider range, gradually introducing all the pitches of the basic HARLEKIN formula, starting from G6. On the top of the second page of the score the whole melody is already presented, though still in fast, undifferentiated sixteenth-notes.  Figure 3.5 Collection of all notes from HARLEKIN formula in the passage in “Dream Messenger”. Reproduced with the permission of Stockhausen-Verlag, Kürten, Germany. Following this, durations are assigned in a similar manner, applied to successive notes of the formula. The latter is repeated ten times, with durations assigned to progressively expanded sections. The eleventh repetition of the formula presents it as a whole, with the proper pitch order, rhythm, and dynamics.  44  Figure 3.6 HARLEKIN formula presented for the first time as a whole. Reproduced with the permission of Stockhausen-Verlag, Kürten, Germany.  At this point the next segment, “The Playful Constructor”, appears. The formula gets presented again as a whole, but disrupted by rests separating each note from its successor. From here on, Stockhausen begins to transfer the formula down from the highest register, taking single notes and displacing them to their lowest playable octave equivalents. At the same time, there is occasional ornamentation, and some variation of dynamics and articulation.  Figure 3.7 Variation on HARLEKIN formula in “The Playful Constructor”. Reproduced with the permission of Stockhausen-Verlag, Kürten, Germany.  45  The formula appears again ten times, with an additional transitional statement of its opening segment in the last three bars of this section. As well, the whole section of “The Playful Constructor” is designed as an overall ritardando, with each presentation of the formula assigned a slower tempo. The last three statements of the formula use also augmentation of the rhythm to emphasize the slowing down effect. “The Enamoured Lyric” continues this slowing tendency, and introduces the formula for the first time starting from the different pitch, D5 (see Figure 2.1). This is also the only time during the whole piece when the melody is presented at this transposition. The tempo is very broad ( = ca 50), and the dynamics are precisely specified for each note of the formula. This is the central statement and the reference point of the whole composition from which, as Stockhausen stated, the piece was composed in both directions: to the beginning and to the end.20 Afterwards, there comes a small transition, which consists of fast, delicate passages, which broaden gradually. This passage transfers the musical activity an octave down, from the closing note of the last presentation (E♭5), to the opening note of the following one (E♭4). The second and last statement of the formula in “The Enamoured Lyric” is the slowest of the whole piece ( = ca 36), and begins from E♭4. It is also the lowest one possible, since it reaches down to E3, the lowest pitch available on the standard B♭ clarinet. The next segment is “The Pedantic Teacher”, in the course of which the largescale wave of HARLEKIN gradually begins to rise and intensify again. Here, the formula  20  See paragraph on page 37 of this chapter.  46  gets fragmented, being presented in little segments separated by rests with fermatas, the effect of which is of uncertainty and unpredictability.  Figure 3.8 Fragmented formula in “The Pedantic Teacher”. Reproduced with the permission of Stockhausen-Verlag, Kürten, Germany.  Fragments are presented first from the beginning and the end of the formula, and these are gradually extended until they meet at the middle of the whole, which is thus eventually presented.  Figure 3.9 HARLEKIN formula as a whole in “The Pedantic Teacher”. Reproduced with the permission of Stockhausen-Verlag, Kürten, Germany.  The following two pages shift the emphasis from the musical to the theatrical side, and this change in relative emphasis persists for the following sections. Stockhausen  47  explores here the idea of “drawing the melody” in the air with the clarinet, and also introduces, for the first time, the element of leg stomps, which are precisely indicated in the score.  Figure 3.10 The first occurrence of designated leg stomps. Reproduced with the permission of Stockhausen-Verlag, Kürten, Germany.  Musical material used in “The Pedantic Teacher” still refers to the basic HARLEKIN formula, but it is transformed in many ways. Initially, Stockhausen maintains the general motivic setup, but expands intervals slightly and develops additional ornamentation.  Figure 3.11 Ornamented opening of the formula. Reproduced with the permission of Stockhausen-Verlag, Kürten, Germany.  48  Then, he sustains the overall rhythm setup, but widens the range of pitches by employing successively larger intervals.  Figure 3.12 Variations on the pitch content of the opening of HARLEKIN formula. Reproduced with the permission of Stockhausen-Verlag, Kürten, Germany.  Finally the formula-based gestures become the pretext for performing stage jokes about “misunderstanding” between actual performed pitch and its placement “in the air”.  Figure 3.13 Misplacement of the gestures towards the pitches. Reproduced with the permission of Stockhausen-Verlag, Kürten, Germany.  A short transition of fast repeated passages leads to the next section, “The Roguish Joker”. In this segment, the body/clarinet movement becomes a prominent  49  element. The main idea here is to present the widest range of pitches possible for clarinet, reaching the low E on one side, and high C7 on the other, while mimicking these extremes with suitably exaggerated body movements. The whole section is still based on the main HARLEKIN formula, but now rhythm becomes the controlling factor, and pitches change according to the widening range.  Figure 3.14 The whole formula presented with widened range of pitches in “The Roguish Joker”. Reproduced with the permission of Stockhausen-Verlag, Kürten, Germany.  The very last stage joke of “The Roguish Joker” plays with the two extreme pitches of the clarinet (low E and C7), and the music proceeds to the next segment, “The Passionate Dancer”. This section explores to the full the idea of performing music while dancing at the same time. It consists of four sub-sections. The first one comprises page 13 and the first system of page 14, and consists of a joyful melody with a rhythmic accompaniment of steps, which are supposed to give the appearance of “walking against the wind”.  50  Figure 3.15 The opening of “The Passionate Dancer”. Reproduced with the permission of Stockhausen-Verlag, Kürten, Germany.  The second sub-section comprises the rest of page 14, and presents a set of loosely connected short phrases, separated by fairly long rests and still accompanied by precisely directed steps.  Figure 3.16 Short phrases in “The Passionate Dancer”. Reproduced with the permission of Stockhausen-Verlag, Kürten, Germany.  The material on page 15, the third sub-section, is generally an expanded stage joke about Harlequin “dialoguing with his foot”. Strong emphasis is put on stage movements and comical theatrical actions. However, the musical material still recalls some features of HARLEKIN formula.  51  Figure 3.17 Interval and rhythmical content of the original HARLEKIN formula in “dialogue with the foot”. Reproduced with the permission of Stockhausen-Verlag, Kürten, Germany.  “Harlequin’s Dance”, the fourth sub-section, appears on pages 16-19. It gets back to the basic formula, this time starting from A♭6. It is precisely accompanied by the synchronized footsteps in the manner of a joyful dance.  Figure 3.18 HARLEKIN formula in “Harlequin’s Dance”. Reproduced with the permission of Stockhausen-Verlag, Kürten, Germany.  52  The formula gets repeated seven times, and each time some of the pitches disappear from the clarinet melody, the footstep pattern remaining complete up till the very end of the section. The last presentation of Harlequin’s theme in this segment consists only of five isolated pitches.  Figure 3.19 The last presentation of the formula in “The Passionate Dancer”. Reproduced with the permission of Stockhausen-Verlag, Kürten, Germany.  HARLEKIN closes with the section called “The Exalted Spinning Spirit”. It gets back to the opening idea of fast passages, which are gradually transformed into the set of pitches of HARLEKIN formula. Yet this time the idea gets reversed, instead of beginning from a narrow ambitus we first hear fast, wide, arpeggio-like phrases repeated continuously at a piano dynamic. These contract gradually in overall range, as each begins on a higher pitch but retains G6 as its top note, this being the opening pitch of the formula.  53  Figure 3.20 Passages at the opening of “The Exalted Spinning Spirit”. Reproduced with the permission of Stockhausen-Verlag, Kürten, Germany.  As these arpeggios get progressively narrower they also get more scale-like, and are eventually rearranged into their basic formula shape, ranging from A5 to A♭6, with the dynamics constantly intensifying.  Figure 3.21 Formula emerging from the passages. Reproduced with the permission of Stockhausen-Verlag, Kürten, Germany.  Many repetitions of the compressed formula-crescendo reach the peak of high A♭6 in ff, and remain there on a fermata-extended whole-note with wide vibrato. From this point the closing process begins. Stockhausen withdraws successive notes from the formula, presenting them in a “bird-call” mode (long sustained notes in ff, in vibrato manner), with the remaining pitches of the melody being repeated several times in sixteenth-notes.  54  Figure 3.22 Long notes withdrawing the pitches of the formula. Reproduced with the permission of Stockhausen-Verlag, Kürten, Germany.  The last note of the formula, A6, is the longest of them all, and is also the last note of the piece.  55  IV. Observations about movement in the work  4.1. Types of movement in HARLEKIN In the course of HARLEKIN we can find a wide diversity of movements indicated by the composer. There are also some sections where Stockhausen leaves some margin for the performer’s interpretation (e.g. “make jerky movements”, “during each pause freeze in a pose”, etc.). We can divide the gestures that the composer asks for into several major groups:  1) Gestures involving moving the whole instrument. These can be found throughout the “Pedantic Teacher” section, as well as in some parts near the start of “Harlequin’s Dance”. A clarinetist is required to “point” out the pitches in the air by moving a bell of the clarinet upwards and downwards. This involves moving mostly the upper body, and, what is most important, mainly the neck, in order to maintain the adequate embouchure so as to perform the music properly.  Figure 4.1 Gestures involving moving the whole instrument  56  2) Gestures that require moving the legs. These are two kinds of steps occurring mainly in “Harlequin’s Dance”, although one of these kinds (the foot stomp) appears for the first time in “The Pedantic Teacher” and remains present through the rest of the piece. These two leg moves have two corresponding notation types:  – “normal” foot-steps, either with the whole foot or on the toes  Figure 4.2 “Normal” foot step  – heel-steps, in which the performer hits the floor with her heel  Figure 4.3 Heel-step  57  These gestures are notated on a separate line beneath the main music staff, and are precisely organized in terms of rhythm and quite often of dynamics as well.1  3) Gestures involving the whole body while still playing, used mainly in the “Playful Constructor”. The performer not only has to draw the melody in the air with her clarinet, but is supposed to emphasize the effect with exaggerated placement of the notes with her body. The range of the melody requires a corresponding range of motion, from bending deep down and almost touching the floor with the bell, to standing high on tip-toes and stretching the whole body as high as possible with the instrument held up vertically above the head.  Figure 4.4 Gestures involving the whole body  1  See Figure 3.19 in the previous chapter.  58  4) Quasi-theatrical, comic gestures, performed without the clarinet in the mouth. These appear several times throughout the piece, and always indicate Harlequin’s playfulness. They include, for example, “a failure in pointing the pitches in the air”, at the end of “Pedantic Teacher” when the instrument seems to play “against” Harlequin’s will, and its bell places the pitches in the wrong spot in the air. Harlequin reacts to this event in several ways, by acting surprised, disappointed and angry. Another significant fragment with a predominant theatrical element is the section called “Dialogue with a foot”, in “Passionate Dancer”. This is the only fragment that Stockhausen allows the performer to omit if she doesn’t feel comfortable with it (page 15 of the score, see also Figure 3.17). Here, Harlequin plays with his own foot, and makes it repeat the rhythm of several simple musical sequences. The section comprises teaching the leg to play, happy approval, the leg’s mistake, Harlequin’s dissatisfied reaction, and the return to the successful lesson.  5) Spinning around the stage in a spiral which happens at the beginning and end of the piece. This element involves moving the whole body. The performer is supposed to move around the stage in a large-scale spiral and, at the same time, to turn to her right in the circles. This not only produces a visual effect, but also greatly varies the sound, which reaches the audience from a constantly changing direction.  59  4.2. The character of Harlequin’s movements at each state of the piece. HARLEKIN opens with the first trill played from backstage, on the left side (as seen from the audience). Then, the performer enters the stage following the diagram drawn by Stockhausen in the score:  at the end of the first line2. Reproduced with the Figure 4.5. Spiral: point indicates permission of Stockhausen-Verlag, Kürten, Germany.  Above the first line of actual musical text the composer provides a detailed description of the performer’s appearance, and it reads:  “The Dream Messenger”. The first trill begins backstage left, as seen from the public. HARLEQUIN dances, coming in from the left, turning to his right in circles—turning to the left as seen by the public—and his circles form an inward spiral until he reaches the middle of the front edge of the stage. The direction in which she turns can occasionally change, but is predominantly to his right. He changes tempo, steps and body expression according to the musical figures, pauses, and breathing interruptions, and freezes now and then in a pose. During the breathing pauses, which should be of various lengths, he continues to  2  All translations from German are by S.Stephens, from the original score.  60  “play” the figure further only with clear and audible key noise, and does not move. The dance becomes increasingly slower.3  The whole first section (“The Dream Messenger”) is designed around the spiral dance. It ends at the middle of the front part of the stage (as indicated by the arrow in Figure 3.3), at the beginning of “The Playful Constructor”. Harlequin’s spiral dance is very meaningful for Stockhausen, and it appears both at the beginning and the end of the piece. The composer was always fascinated by the shape of a spiral. In 1968 he wrote a piece with this name (“Spiral” for soloist with shortwave receiver). As R. Maconie observes:  … the emblem of spiral has many connotations: natural power, as in tornado or maelstrom; physical strength, as in the tattoo on the buttock; resistance, as in the screw or spring; authority, as in the facial tattoo; transcendence, as in the spiral dance of the whirling dervish. A spiral shell is emblematic of continuous growth, certainly a relevant consideration. (Maconie, 2005, 319)  Harlequin’s opening dance seems to represent the meditative, transcendent side of the spiral concept. Spinning while drawing concentric rings around the stage creates the effect of Harlequin “descending from the world above”, in a hypnotic, enchanted manner. 3  “Der Traumbote”. Der erste Triller beginnt links – vom Publikum aus – außerhalb der Bühne. HARLEKIN tanzt, von links kommend, in rechts gedrehten Kreisbewegungen – vom Publikum aus links herum – herein and dreht sich dazu in einer immer enger werdenden Rechtsspirale bis Mitte des vorderen Bühnenrandes. Die Drehrichtung ändert sich dabei ab und zum bleibt aber vorwiegend rechts herum. Er wechselt Tempo, Schritte, Körperausdruck den musikalischen Figuren, Pausen, Atemunterbrechungen entsprechend, hält ab und zu in einer Pose inne. Während der Atempausen, die verschieden lang sein sollen, spielt er laut hörbar nur mit Klappengeräusch die Figur weiter und bewegt sich nicht. Tanz wird zunehmend langsamer.  61  Susan Bertoia, my body-movement coach for HARLEKIN project, adds one more meaning to those listed by Maconie: the very first moment of birth. When a child is born, in natural way, it is always gently “spinned out” of mother’s body. A baby appears in the world with a turn, which helps with leaving the safe environment and entering the world outside. This association especially spoke to me in relation to Harlequin’s first appearance at the opening of the piece, when the character is “re-born in a new form”.4 The following section, “The Playful Constructor” is the least specific one in terms of motion and stage actions. After the first presentation of the formula, Stockhausen outlines the general idea of this section, which is to emphasize every irregularity as it appears in each repetition of the formula. He writes: “… make the “changes” which occur in each successive repetition also visually obvious to the public”5. Apart from this very vague direction, the performer is left alone as regards the kinaesthetic interpretation of four pages (from the middle of page 3 to the middle of page 7, which extends through the first half of “The Enamoured Lyric”). There are only six comments concerning particular stage movements in “The Playful Constructor”, and they are: - eyes closed, jerk humorously further with the shoulders6 - tap on the floor with pointed toe of loosely bent left leg7 - rigid!8 - down to the right—down to the left—to the public9 - squat and run away completely stooped over10 4  From Stockhausen’s introduction to the score, p.V. …sie als “Änderungen” auch gestisch zum Publikum hin hervorholen. 6 Augen zu, humorvoll mit der Schulter weiter rücken. 7 Fußspitze mit locker eingeknicktem Bein auf Boden klopfen. 8 starr! 9 nach rechts unten – nach links unten – zum Publikum. 10 in die Knie gehen, ganz gebückt weglaufen. 5  62  - suddenly straighten up and strut back11  In this section, music takes a predominant role, leaving stage motion as a secondary element. The formula is transferred from the highest register to the lowest, with a number of transformations and ornamentations, as discussed in Chapter 3.3. The musical content is intensified by the purely musical changes (variation in range, dynamics, articulation, duration) and listeners should not be distracted from following the detailed changes by overwhelming theatrical effects. Still, the performer is asked to underline the musical changes with visual illustration, the precise nature of which is left open. Perhaps the most appropriate kinaesthetic interpretation would consist in exaggerating the natural motions that each musician makes while playing his instrument: nodding the head, swinging shoulders, moving arms, torso and legs. Such gestures can be observed, in minimal and almost unnoticeable form, in every musical performance, and they can be adopted for “The Playful Constructor” in an attractive, if exaggerated form. “The Enamoured Lyric” follows at this point. It contains the two slowest presentations of HARLEKIN formula. The first one has no indications about body position or movement, but during the fast passages of the transition between the two statements there appears a note: kneel gradually and sit on heels.12 The second formula, a central one for the entire piece, is played in the kneeling position, with eyes closed. It is not only the slowest appearance of the main melody, but is delivered in the lowest body position reached during the course of the piece. Body placement in this sub-section definitely emphasizes and supports the musical content. It helps both the audience and the  11 12  plötzlich aufrichten und zurucktraben. allmählich hinknien und auf die Hecke setzen.  63  performer to focus entirely on music and its beauty, by dragging playful and energetic Harlequin down to the ground and literally submitting his body to almost total control.  Figure 4.6 The lowest body position in HARLEKIN  Beginning with the next section, “The Pedantic Teacher”, HARLEKIN enters its predominantly theatrical and dance phase. The first half of “Pedantic Teacher” introduces the effect of “drawing the melody in the air”. Stockhausen gives us again very detailed directions:  From this point on, the bell of the clarinet moves vertically up and down in front of the body according to the intervals which are played. During each sustained pitch, do not move. Write the melody in the air in mirror-form from right to left. Seen from the public, the intervals, durations, and—as much as possible—the dynamics of the melody should be readable.  64  The pitch E above middle-C, when kneeling, is somewhat lower than the breast; when standing, it is at the same point in the air; the E one octave higher, when standing, is somewhat lower than the breast (the octaves must be the same length in space), etc.13 14  The formula is drawn in the air at first from the kneeling position (the torso being raised high) then, in the middle of the section, the composer introduces occasional foot steps for the first time. Using these, he raises the performer gradually to the standing position and at the same time extends the set of pitches upwards. The end of “The Pedantic Teacher” relies on the joke of a clarinet performing the “wrong” movement in relation to played pitches. Here, Stockhausen does not leave the joke undirected. He provides exact “pitches” to direct the clarinet’s movements, on an additional staff below the actual melody line:  13  Von hier ab den Schallbecher den gespielten Intervallen entsprechend vor dem Körper auf und ab bewegen; bei jeder konstanten Tonhöhe stillhalten (siehe “Erläuterung der Partitur”); Melodie in Spiegelschrift von rechts nach links in die Luft schreiben. Vom Publikum aus soll die Melodie in allen Intervallen, Zeitdauern und – so weit wie möglich – auch Intensitäten an der “Schreibbewegung” ablesbar sein. Die Tonhöhe e1 ist im Knien etwas unterhalb der Brust, im Stehen an demselben Punkt; e2 ist dann im Stehen wieder etwas unterhalb der Brust (die Oktaven sollen auch im Raum gleiche Abstände haben), etc. 14 The technique used here is rooted directly in Stockhausen’s earlier work, INORI, where he introduced for the first time human gestures at different heights in the space in front of a mime, representing the pitch levels of the chromatic scale. The whole philosophy is explained in detail in ‘Vortrag über HU’ (‘Lecture on HU’), identified in Stockhausen Verlag as Nr. 38½, a “Musical analysis of INORI” and intended as a performance score in its own right. Stockhausen then used the idea of gestural scale in most of his later works, including his major opera cycle LICHT.  65  Figure 4.7 Designed misplacement of the gestures towards the pitches. Reproduced with the permission of Stockhausen-Verlag, Kürten, Germany.  This first joke introduces an entertaining section, “The Roguish Joker”. Its first half (pages 11 and top two lines of page 12) continues and extends the idea of placing every note in its proper position in the air. The intervals get extended, and after reaching G6 Harlequin has to try really hard to go any higher: stretching up, standing on his tiptoes and reaching with the instrument as high above his head as possible. Eventually, he attains the high C7, after a smart trick:  …look at clarinet—take it into the mouth—starting below the bell, move the flattened palm up the clarinet, pretending to pull the clarinet slowly upwards against much resistance (arm muscles shake, neck muscles tighten, knees are bent)—the hand stops in the air approximately in the middle of the clarinet, as if the clarinet had become practically half as long—eyebrows and shoulders pulled  66  up—with the right hand, grasp onto the clarinet as far up as possible, as if it was very tiny, and then try to play high C, cautiously at first.15  “The Roguish Joker” overlaps somewhat with the next section, “The Passionate Dancer”, since the last part of the “Joker” introduces a choreographed dance element, with footsteps notated for the first time on a separate line beneath the clarinet part:  Figure 4.8 March-dance in “The Roguish Joker”. Reproduced with the permission of Stockhausen-Verlag, Kürten, Germany.  The joker nature does not give up, though, as Harlequin suddenly interjects a coarse gag into this choreographed passage: back turned to the audience, he places the clarinet between his legs, and plays loudly with the bell pointed towards the public. Afterwards, he pulls the instrument back out between the legs, grasps it and cleans it with  15  Klar. anschauen, in den Mund nehmen – mit flacher r. Hand vom Ende des Schallbechers oberhalb der Klar. aufwärts die Klar. langsam gegen großen Widerstand (Armmuskeln zittern, Halsmuskeln sind gespannt, Knie eingeknickt) nach oben zusammenpressen – Hand etwa in der Mitte über der Klar. in der Luft stehenlassen, als ob die Klar. fast um die Hälfte kürzer geworden wäre. Augenbrauen und Schultern hochziehen – mit r.H. Klar. möglichst hoch anfassen, als ob sie winzig klein wäre – dann das hohe C zunächst vorsichtig blasen.  67  a cleaning swab. This particular joke is very typical of Harlequin, and is drawn from the very roots of commedia dell’arte. Vulgar, trivial, even obscene gestures, referring to basic human weaknesses, are all truly representative of Harlequin.  Figure 4.9 Harlequin’s coarse gag  The element of dance gains maximal expression in “The Passionate Dancer”, the following part of the piece. For the entire section (seven pages) there are two simultaneous lines in the score: the melody staff for clarinet and a rhythm line for the feet. Foot steps are specified not only in terms of rhythm, but also of dynamics, articulation (staccato, portato, accents), and character. We can find here annotations like: energetic, country-like dance16, dancing ‘against the wind’ (on the spot)17, hop very loosely from one leg to the other, sometimes to the left, sometimes to the right18, and so forth.  16  schwungvoller ländlicher Tanz. gegen den Wind gehen (auf der Stelle). 18 Sehr locker von einem Bein aufs andere hüpfen. 17  68  In-between these dance-dominated passages, there comes another comic section, called Dialogue with a foot19. It is mostly theatrical, and is the only part of the piece that Stockhausen permits the performer to omit. Here, Harlequin is teaching the foot as though it were a student20. The score in this part abounds in accurate descriptions, for example: - raise index finger as if to say “I have an idea”21 - suddenly, bowed far forwards, look back at foot (shocked expression)22 - leave the fingers in the air for a moment when finished counting each group—look at the last finger which was raised—take the hand(s) away quickly—pause—fist in the air— continue to count23  Figure 4.10 Dialogue with a foot  19  Dialog mit einem Fuß. den Fuß wie einen Schüler unterrichtend. 21 Zeigefinger hoch wie “ich hab’ eine Idee”. 22 plötzlich weit vorgebeugt, Fuß wieder anschauen (erschockene Miene). 23 Die letzte Fingerzahl jeder Gruppe einen Moment stehen lassen – diese Finger anschauen – schnell die Hand wegnehmen – Faust in die Luft – weiterzählen). 20  69  After the “lesson” Harlequin begins his “ravishing dance” the climax of his role as a dancer. It is very fast, energetic, and passionate. Rhythm and extended body movement are predominant in this section (take advantage of extreme stage edges, corners, walls24). While clarinet music retains equal importance at the beginning, it slowly disappears in the course of seven repetitions of the formula.  Figure 4.11 Harlequin’s dance  The last part of HARLEKIN is entitled “The Exalted Spinning Spirit”. In terms of motion, this returns to the opening spiral idea. This time the shape gets reversed, and has the form:  24  auch extreme Bühnenränder, Ecken, Wände ausnutzen.  70  Figure 4.12 approximate path of spiral (number of loops is free). Reproduced with the permission of Stockhausen-Verlag, Kürten, Germany.  At the beginning of the spiral the performer simply follows the designated line, but after reaching an A6 sustained with fermata, the movement pattern changes slightly. Stockhausen directs the performer as follows:  At each pause, freeze in a complicated, upwards-twisting, spiral-like position (arrive in these poses organically through the preceding body movements), then “swing” or wind up to the left in increasingly larger gestures, letting loose into the next “scream”.25  The function of body movement in this section is similar to that in the opening of the piece. It emphasizes the mystical form of a spiral, and carries the character off the stage and back to his enchanted world. However, Stockhausen retains the theatricality of the piece, and specifies Harlequin’s departure down to the last detail:  25  Bei jeder Pause in einer komplizierten, den Körper spiralförmig nach oben verdrehenden Pose gefrieren (in diese Pose vorher organisch hineinspielen). Dann – zunehmend größer – nach links einschingen und mit “Schrei” loswirbeln.  71  After the last note ends, allow a motionless pause, then raise the head slowly—still holding the instrument in playing position—, calmly look at the people without moving the head, nod once very slowly with the head inclined somewhat—like a greeting—and wait for the applause. When the applause begins, jerk the entire body, stand up straight with an expectant expression, wait for a moment in walking position; then in small groups of steps run to the centre of the stage, stand still, make a deep curtsey (crossing the right leg behind the left)—the upper body bowed and inclined to the right, the arms bent out at an angle to the body, fingers supply apart; then run away rather quickly—always with dance-like groups of steps; stand in the doorway of the exit, look at the public, turn, again run to the middle of the stage, etc.26  4.3. The role of physical movement in HARLEKIN. As I have mentioned before, in Chapter 3.2 (“Stockhausen’s idea of music and theatre”), Karlheinz Stockhausen began to add physical gesture to his compositions in 1974, when he wrote INORI. In all of his compositions that employ movements of  26  Nach Ende des letzten Tones regungslose Pose, langsam den Kopf heben – das Instrument immer noch spielbereit haltend -, ruhig die Leute anschauen ohne Kopfbewegung, 1 x ganz ruhig mit etwas schrägem Kopf nicken – wie ein Gruß -, auf Applaus warten. Bei Applaus Ruck durch den ganzen Körper, gerade stellen, erwartungsvolle Miene machen, einen Moment in Gehposition stehenbleiben; dann in kleinen Schrittgruppen zur Mitte des Bühnenrandes laufen, stehenbleiben, einen tiefen Knicks machen (r. Bein hinter dem linken über Kreuz) – den Oberkörper schräg nach rechts vorgebeugt, die Arme geknickt vom Körper abgewinkelt, Finger graziös auseinander; dann ziemlich schnell – immer mit tanzähnlichen Schrittgruppen abgehen; noch in der Tür stehenbleiben, zum Publikum schauen, sich drehen, wieder zur Bühnenmitte laufen, etc.  72  performer’s body these have been thought out and composed as a supplement to the musical content. Over the course of HARLEKIN we can observe a changing relationship between the music and the supplementary gestures. Stockhausen obviously intended his piece to be clear, not mysterious, and wanted the audience to be able to follow the narrative. Thus, where the musical train of thought gets obscured, the composer uses gesture to clarify the scenario and, as a result, sound and gesture have complementary sense-making functions and either one or the other take the predominant role at various stages of the performance. Let us look more closely at the arrangement of the two elements. The first section of HARLEKIN introduces the principal character on stage. His main musical formula develops gradually out of the opening roulades. The performer appears making spiral motions that parallel the idea of “unwinding” the motive. Here, the motion does not add any significant meaning to music itself. It is the musical process that commands the audience’s attention and constitutes the “plot”. It seems that Harlequin allows his body to follow the music, as if he is responding naturally to the superior element of sound, the music itself being clear and conveying what aesthetic meaning there is. This situation continues throughout the first three sections: “The Dream Messenger”, “The Playful Constructor”, and “The Enamoured Lyric”. Stockhausen continues the musical process in a very logical way, first constructing the formula out of small motives and then shifting it in stages into the low register. Moreover, the effect is almost didactic, as the process itself is clear for the audience and seems to be designed to attract attention to itself: in the registral shift just mentioned, we can observe the removal of successive notes and their transposition an octave lower, all of which is enlivened  73  spontaneously by changing dynamics and articulation. Harlequin’s movements in this part of the piece are merely an aesthetic ornament to, or intensification of, the music. Significantly, the composer’s directions are rather vague: “make the “changes” which occur in each successive repetition also visually obvious to the public”. The audience can watch the first half of the piece simply as a composition illustrated with musician’s gestures, which add little to the actual musical narration. The situation changes somewhat in the fourth section, “The Pedantic Teacher”. Here, the formula disintegrates into small fragments, presented in free orderings. It is almost impossible for the listener to understand the musical process without many hearings, or perhaps until she has studied the score. And this is where physical gestures become helpful. By “drawing” the line of the formula melody (as explained before in chapter 3.4.1) in front of her body, the performer helps the audience to follow his musical actions. Visualization emphasizes musical content and clarifies the nature of its continuity and its relation to what preceded. From this point on, Stockhausen goes further and further in applying physical movements, as the performer begins to use her whole body to clarify the “position of the pitches”. Physical gestures gradually change their status. From a supplemental ornament they transform into an equally important factor, eventually coming to motivate musical events in “The Roguish Joker” (see chapter 3.4.1). This prioritizing of body movements reaches its pinnacle in “Dialogue with the foot” (in “The Passionate Dancer” section). The whole fragment is based on the idea of Harlequin “dialoguing” with his own foot and teaching it to repeat the rhythm of short musical phrases. When played separately, without physical movements, the fragment appears as a set of motives, extracted in no particular order from the formula, and repeated  74  haphazardly. Here, the scene is about the education of the body, music simply serving, in a primitively structured form, as the medium of instruction; so that what is happening could not possibly be inferred from the music alone, whereas a roughly equivalent instructional process could dispense with music entirely by using a different mimetic activity. “The Passionate Dancer” climaxes with Harlequin’s dance. In one sense, this section goes back to the opening idea of uniting sound and gesture. The performer is required not only to execute motions that parallel the music she is playing, but also to add a rhythmically independent line of fast foot steps. And so, we have here three layers: - clarinet sound, presented via the formula, the successive pitches of which gradually disappear as it is repeated. - a percussive line produced by the feet, that slowly dominates the clarinet sound - an expansive dance of strong visual effect In this particular moment, which can be read as the climax of the whole piece, each one of the layers mentioned above could exist separately. All of them are designed very clearly and do not need the special support from the others, and yet the three supplement each other and create together a wonderfully complete and rich audio-visual ensemble. In “Harlequin’s Dance” we can observe a phenomenon that is present throughout the whole piece, although only here is it presented in such a clear way: there appears a transfer of energy from music to movement. Gradually, in the course of six presentations of the formula, the energy distribution changes shifting in emphasis from the dimension of sound (clarinet and audible foot steps) to that of movement (dance),  75  though still accompanied by the percussive rhythm of the legs. If the slow presentation of the formula in the “Enamoured Lyric” is a central point from the musical point of view27, then “Harlequin’s Dance” is, I believe, a climax in the matter of music and motion in counterpoint. It shows in a condensed way us how the two (or even three, since within the sound we can distinguish clarinet music from the percussive effect of the legs) reasonably independent layers complement each other, and how energy can be transferred from one to another. Here there exists a form of an interesting polyphony, where three interesting parts have a certain musical appeal on their own but a much richer and more complex effect together. The last section, “The Exalted Spinning Spirit”, closes the piece by returning to the idea from the opening of the composition. Music again takes a predominant role with body movement—walking in a spiral while spinning around in circles—treated as a supplementary element. The construction of musical material is relatively clear, although the idea of withdrawing successive notes from the formula sometimes get lost in the course of playing.28 The music leads the audience through this section, while the dance shape drawn on the floor reminds the audience of the opening and creates an arch reaching from the beginning to the end. It is interesting that, although music should obviously be the leading element in this section, it is the clear visual spiral shape that first draws the audience’s attention back to the opening. In this way motion gains here somewhat more importance than at the beginning.  27  See discussion in chapter 3.3, and Figure 3.3. This is also why the performer should concentrate here mainly on the music and play it as clearly and precisely as possible, not letting the motion overwhelm the listeners and distract them from the piece’s continuity. 28  76  4.3.1 Stockhausen’s philosophy and requirements concerning physical movement in his compositions. The fact that there is a purposefully changing relationship between music and movement, as just outlined, suggests that Stockhausen regarded the choreographic aspect of this work as a key element in its aesthetic effect. But this does not help the performer, who is attempting to arrive at something that might be regarded as an authentic performance, to know if the composer envisioned very precisely what movements the performer should make or, conversely, whether his intention was to allow the performer considerable freedom in this regard. Obviously, the composer was known to be immensely careful about all aspects of his pieces. As I have mentioned before, his interest in gestures tightly connected with sound began in 1974, with the writing of INORI. HARLEKIN, although representing a “lighter” trend within his oeuvre, still partakes of Stockhausen’s overall idea of strictly controlled performance, as is indicated by his initial comments in the score. However, by choosing Harlequin, a very specific character derived from commedia dell’arte, Stockhausen opened the door for theatrical influences that extend along cultural pathways, and thus far beyond his personal specifications. It therefore seems stubbornly narrow-minded to approach the piece without doing at least minimal research on the commedia style, and thereby entering the fascinating and rich world of Italian theatre and its stage tradition. A natural reaction to this cultural foray is to broaden one’s horizon, and to treat HARLEKIN as a musical stage performance instead of thinking of it as a piece to be played. This, however, seems to be not exactly the composer’s idea, for Stockhausen appears to consider HARLEKIN a musical composition, pure and simple.  77  We come to this conclusion when reading the composer’s notes in the score, where he allows the piece to be performed in an audio-only version. Also, performers who have worked with the composer at his annual summer courses in Kürten, Germany, and have written reports about these experiences, confirm this impression29. I have talked to Marcelo Gonzalez, a clarinetist from Argentina, and to Jean-Guy Boisvert, a Québecois clarinetist. Marcelo regularly attended the courses in Kürten from 1998 until 2004, and studied Stockhausen’s music for clarinet alone with Suzanne Stephens. In 2004 Marcelo received a second prize from Stockhausen for his performance of HARLEKIN. Boisvert has also worked with Suzanne on HARLEKIN, and subsequently performed the piece several times in Canada and abroad. Both the performers agree that Stockhausen was extremely demanding when it came to the musical details of his compositions. He is reported to have the perfect pitch, and also “perfect timing”, which allowed him to notice the slightest changes to the indicated rhythm or tempo. When studying Stockhausen’s pieces with Suzanne, both musicians had started with a careful study of the score. In his article “‘Harlekin’, a new notion of musical performer,” (www.marcelodegonzalez.com) Marcelo recalls working on the piece for two years, and only after that time presenting the results to Suzanne Stephens: … our work was arranged in seven stages. Although I completely memorized the work, in the first four meetings with Suzanne, she devoted herself to thoroughly go through each musical parameter written on the score: pitches,  29  See Roberta Gottardi, “Rechter Augenbrauentanz (Right-Eyebrow-Dance): A Report About Rehearsing With Stockhausen for the World Premiere and the CD Recording,” The Clarinet, September 2004: 52-55; and the article of Marcelo Gonzalez at www.marcelodegonzalez.com/ENGLISH/home.html.  78  tempo, dynamics, rhythm, articulation. In the case of a Stockhausen piece of music, such elements can’t be left to an approximate performance.30  Marcelo repeated the same things while talking to me after watching a DVD recording of my premiere performance in May 2008. Although he appreciated the general idea of my interpretation, he immediately pointed out fragments that were not exactly precise in terms of Stockhausen’s tempo settings. In his view, there is no space for an individual interpretation in this matter in HARLEKIN. Even if a performer feels the tempi of particular sections or smaller fragments in a different way than indicated in the score, he is not allowed to change them. The theatrical setup (by which I mean the staging and the choreography) for a particular performance is a secondary element. It seems fair to say that it should fit with the musical concept but that it cannot be presumed to derive from the latter. This is evident when the performances of Suzanne Stephens and Marcelo Gonzalez, are analyzed. They both follow very carefully all musical and motion directions included in the score, but neither seems to have devoted enough attention to the purely theatrical layer, that is, to formulating a clear concept of the character they wished to portray, in all its changing dimensions, this being a matter distinct from faithful reproduction of the body movement indicated in the score. Obviously, HARLEKIN is not a play, nor even a theatre piece, and music is placed first here. Nevertheless, all aspects of self-positioning, movement and bodily expression must be carefully designed so as to work together to convey a character whose actions seem motivated, even if he or she is something of a caricature. When watching 30  www.marcelodegonzalez.com  79  Gonzalez’s performance, I had the impression of a set of loosely connected gestures, realized carefully but lacking a sense of continuity in theatrical meaning (especially in “The Playful Constructor”). Stephens’ performance is more compact, probably due to her extensive experience in performing this type of music (as mentioned above, all Stockhausen’s pieces from 1974 on include physical gestures). Yet in both cases some gestures (such as the body bends, sets of little steps, little turns and legs lifts in “The Playful Constructor”) can even be said to have happened spontaneously, as if arising outside the performer’s consciousness, rather than being thought through in advance. Stockhausen was very careful in specifying gesture, but what is here the point is that even the most precisely described gestures do not create a theatrical whole, just as individual notes do not create a musical piece. Finally, a problem can arise when musical specifications compromise the freedom necessary for the creation of character in a theatrical sense: in particular, strong restrictions concerning the tempi of various sections can limit the performer’s attempts to shape the theatrical layer according to her intuition. Thus, whereas my own tempi deviated at times from those specified in the score, it was because I felt this was necessary for shaping a convincing pattern of behavior in a particular scene. For example, in “The Roguish Joker” I decided to speed up the tempo in the section of widening the formula intervals (p.11 of the score) in order to maintain the idea of playfulness, which gets somewhat lost when maintaining Stockhausen’s exact indications. The fact that Stockhausen inscribes certain dates that are important for the history of the commedia (see Chapter 3.1) in the score’s front matter makes it clear that he wanted to claim a certain spiritual link with the tradition, but it is clear from the  80  performances he sanctioned as authentic that he placed little importance on trying to remain true to it. However, the variety in the performances he did approve of seems to at least leave room for a performance, like my own, that does attempt such fidelity. As well, a certain elementary logic dictates that, unless the composer has a definite image of an end result in the choreographic domain, and a means of dictating (notating) this image for posterity, he or she must be prepared to tolerate considerable freedom in the realization of such directions as the score provides, be they howsoever precise. In the case at hand, there is little evidence that Stockhausen had a fixed image of what he wanted to see on stage, as opposed to what he wanted to hear. He was such a perfectionist that, if he had had such an image, one assumes he would have been inclined to find a way to preserve it for the future, perhaps by including a video of a particular performance with the score, or devising some appropriate graphic notation. As things stand, however, he even allows, as noted above, an audio-only performance. The idea of a soundless performance of HARLEKIN would have surely struck him as patently absurd, and this in itself suggests that the sonic elements in the work ought to be treated as inviolable in a way that the visual elements cannot and perforce need not be.  81  V. HARLEKIN’s influence and its place in today’s performing world  5.1. Challenges for the performer. HARLEKIN has a special place in today’s performer’s repertoire. The piece is famous for its extreme challenges, from both the musical and the physical sides. In what follows, I outline the scope of this challenge. First of all, Stockhausen gives us a score filled with precise details, and requires the player to master it in all respects, that is, with all musical elements (pitches, durations, rhythms, articulations, dynamics and additional effects) considered as integral to the desired result. This may seem to be a routine expectation, but it raises a question about where room is left here for what is also routinely expected in most acts of musical interpretation, namely that a performer should be allowed—and even expected—to shape the music in accordance with her own personality. To the extent that this concept of interpretation implies changing (to one extent or another) some of the elements mentioned above, Stockhausen definitely is opposed to it. In his view, his pieces must sound always in the form invented and notated by him. In this demand he resembles Stravinsky1, but carries the latter’s ideas concerning the undesirability of interpretive freedom to an extreme.  1  “The sin against the spirit of the work always begins with a sin against its letter and leads to the endless follies which an ever flourishing literature in the worst taste does its best to sanction.” (Stravinsky, 1970, 165), and also: “Conductors, singers, pianists, all virtuosos should know or recall that the first condition that must be fulfilled by anyone who aspires to the imposing title of interpreter, is that he be first of all a flawless executant. The secret of perfection lies above all in his consciousness of the law imposed upon him by the work he is performing.” (Ibid., 169).  82  This going Stravinsky one better is shown in the following excerpt from a wellknown interview:  R.Maconie: Stravinsky once complained of his difficulty in persuading orchestral players on occasion to interpret crotchets marked portato as sforzato and staccato semiquavers with accents depending on the style. K. Stockhausen: Then he should specify. I don’t agree with that at all. I don’t want any accents if I do not write accents… One should study very carefully the meaning of the symbols in specific scores. My scores are, I think, exceptionally rational in their notation. (Maconie, 2005, 294)  With such demands, one of the most tricky challenges for a clarinetist is setting up the tempos indicated in the score. There is a big variety of tempi, especially in “The Playful Constructor”. Here, Stockhausen changes the tempi at every introduction of the formula (12 times), and although the general idea of the process is simply a big, overall rallentando, each of the formula presentations should ostensibly appear at the notated speed. Managing the flow of events in HARLEKIN is, in general, a very difficult task. While working on the piece, a performer may have to spend much time with the metronome to get as close to the composer’s indications as possible. After absorbing the musical content in a general way, a performer should immediately begin adding the movement layer. The visual/physical aspect of HARLEKIN is such an integral part of the piece that it has to be introduced as early as possible if a maximal connection between sound and gesture is to be achieved. Whatever  83  the performer’s body does must communicate its own content, at the same time supporting her musical activity in terms of producing the desired sound and with regard to the intended musical effect. And since it is so unusual for a clarinetist to use more than a necessary minimum of physical movement while playing, she has to apply gesture early on and repeatedly to avoid a situation where choreography becomes a late imposition upon clarinet playing and the two end up at unplanned cross purposes. At this point, too, the clarinetist faces a very practical challenge in the physical condition of her body. In my opinion it is simply impossible to perform HARLEKIN without extensive physical training, of a virtually athletic sort. For all her professional life, a clarinetist is taught to manage her breath in such a way that all of it is used to produce the most beautiful and controlled sound. We control pressure, speed, and quantity of air inhaled and exhaled, all of which is used only for playing the instrument. And here, suddenly, a musician is forced to move: walk, jump, bend, spin and dance, while still playing complex and demanding music. One discovers very quickly that the normal way of breathing that results from extensive training on the instrument is simply not enough. Unless one is already at a high level of fitness, it is necessary to begin cardio exercise, and to continue it every day for at least several months to extend stamina. Only then could one attempt to play clarinet uninterruptedly for 43 minutes, while performing all the required stage actions, and making the detailed choreography look natural and spontaneous. When working on the movement layer of HARLEKIN a clarinetist needs to determine, from the very beginning, a desired relationship between sound and movement in each section. To clearly lay out the design of the whole piece, one must start by  84  calibrating these two elements, so that each becomes salient or recedes appropriately at each point of the composition. In the sections where choreography predominates (see Chapter 4.3), a performer has to approach the preparation of her movements with the care and attention to detail that she would naturally lavish on any musical score. Then, slowly, the player starts to memorize the piece, always focusing equally on both musical and movement aspects and mastering them as an integrated totality. It is necessary to emphasize the difficulty for a contemporary clarinetist in this regard. Modern clarinetists as a rule have lost the skill of memorizing music in general. There are strong practical reasons for this phenomenon. In today’s world, the majority of clarinetists aim mostly for the orchestral positions. They are trained to sight-read nearperfectly, and to produce the limited number of well-known orchestral excerpts with computer-like precision. Their professional ideal is to be accepted into a good orchestra, one that performs two or three programs a week. There is no time and no need for memorizing anything. Today’s ideal orchestral musician has to be able to get the music one day, and perform it the next day, or in two days, always accurately following the conductor’s demands. Even the field of chamber music offers little opportunity to memorize music. Musicians are busy with many concerts, school performances, and lectures, and they hardly ever can devote more than a month to preparing a piece. Even then, devotion to a single work is impossible, since there are usually several pieces (or programs) that need preparation. In this context it is no wonder that orchestral musicians, and wind players in particular, never memorize music nowadays. They perform orchestral and chamber music from the score and they perform concertos with the support of sheet music as well. So, when given the task of memorizing 45 minutes of non-  85  conventional, avant-garde music—music that lacks a steady tempo, an obvious beat, a stable tonality, and memorable tunes—they may simply panic. Of course, it is not impossible to memorize HARLEKIN. Let us not forget that there are still musicians who play extended and very complex programs from memory: pianists for the most part. Pianists routinely memorize pieces by Rachmaninoff, Shostakovitch, Boulez, and Berio, as well as music by more contemporary composers, containing complex, frequently atonal music material. This is possible; it just requires adequate training, which modern clarinetists, by and large, entirely lack. Obviously, this situation creates an additional obstacle for the clarinetist to overcome. Once physical and memory problems have been solved to some degree, the next challenge lies in conveying the rapidly changing emotional character if the piece. When practicing, I always try to convey a specific “face” of Harlequin at appropriate locations in the piece, but only getting over the memorizing process and detaching my body from the music stand and the score can give me the freedom to think more theatrically and to imagine myself into each situation from the perspective of changing character. Although Stockhausen gives the performer more than ample directions for stage movements, every performer has different physical capabilities and physical predilections. These allow and indeed lead inevitably to nuances of execution that become especially significant where theatricality predominates and where the goal is to communicate a specific facet of Harlekin’s mercurial temperament. The requirement for a creative contribution from the performer is particularly important where the actions designated by the composer are stereotypical. For example, in sections such as the “Dialogue with a foot,” Stockhausen mandates a kind of stage  86  behavior that verges on slapstick, while other actions are of humorous effect because of their sudden shift of referential context (e.g., wiping the clarinet with the cleaning swab). In such cases, sound disappears or plays a secondary role. The clarinetist is asked to perform basic “actions” and to show stock emotions: surprise, wonderment, anger, happiness, cheekiness, etc. This adds considerably to the challenge for a traditionally trained clarinetist. The musician must become an actor, and she needs to be a good actor to make the well-worn material look funny and natural. It is generally accepted in the theatre world that an extremely good actor is needed to perform a simple role in a simple play. A good text and sophisticated staging can cover a bad actor’s flaws to a degree, but a simple text with very basic jokes needs an excellent actor to serve it well. In my opinion, the jokes in HARLEKIN are so basic, even hackneyed, that when performed without subtlety and personality the result may be trivial and vulgar. After thinking about adding nuance and personal detail to closely specified motions, a final stage of preparation involves adding physical motions where the composer only sketches out the choreography in a general way. As I pointed out before, there are several such places in the composition. The whole “Playful Constructor” section is governed by a brief instruction requiring the clarinetist to physically emphasize all the musical changes applied to the formula.2 But a whole spectrum of gestures is available for this purpose: one might walk, run, jump in any direction, contort one’s body, or move the head or the limbs. Even where movements are carefully specified by the composer, there is always the possibility, and indeed the necessity, of adding nuance, as mentioned above in connection with humorous passages. The situation is somewhat similar to that in  2  “… make the “changes” which occur in each successive repetition also visually obvious to the public” Page 3 of the score.  87  Samuel Beckett’s plays. Beckett was famous for including an inordinate amount of stage direction in his works.3 Yet countless theatrical groups have performed his plays, all following precisely his comments, but creating in each instance an individual, unique performance. There are dozens of ways of interpreting the simple instruction: “walk three steps ahead to the right”—one can stomp or walk delicately, lift the feet high or very little, place the feet in parallel or cross one over the other, and so forth. And many other variations are then possible, with respect to deploying the rest of body, to speed of movement, and to facial expression. In effect, unless her goal is somehow to duplicate a sanctioned, or sanctified video performance—were one to exist—it is necessary for the performer to exercise all of her creativity in attempting to realize the choreographic instructions, detailed as they are in many parts of the score.  5.2. A short comparison of the available performances of HARLEKIN. To widen the frame of reference with respect to performance challenges and interpretation possibilities, I am going to compare my own performance to two performances that were available to me on video recordings, those of Suzanne Stephens and Marcelo Gonzalez. I will also refer to a few comments about the process of preparing the piece by Jean Kopperud, a clarinetist from Buffalo, NY, who performed HARLEKIN in the 1980’s.  3  James Knowlson noted in the “General Editor’s Note” to the first volume of “The Theatrical Notebooks of Samuel Beckett”, that Beckett added the revisions to “Waiting for Godot”, including “movements so carefully charted that the word ‘choreography’ can quite properly be applied”. In: William Hutchings, S.Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot”: A Reference Guide (London: Praeger, 2005): 16. An excerpt from Waiting for Godot, illustrating this practice, can be found in the Appendix.  88  As I mentioned before, Suzanne Stephens is the clarinetist to whom the work is dedicated. Although I cannot confirm this from written sources, it is most likely that she participated in a process of preparing the score, and it is possible that many of Stockhausen’s directions for stage movements are, to some degree, verbal descriptions of her gestures. The recording I viewed was made in Lisbon, on May 8, 1990, on a rather big theatre stage, with the lighting set up exactly according to the composer’s requirements. Stephens used a tight costume made of wide yellow, red and green stripes that covered her whole body. Stockhausen precisely describes this costume in the score, as the one required for every performance. When watching Stephens’ performance one has the immediate impression that she knows the piece perfectly, on both musical and theatrical levels. Her sound is extremely controlled throughout the whole piece and she appears never to have a second of doubt while playing. The great virtuosity evident in her performance is obviously the result of years of performing HARLEKIN on different stages. Her physical gestures are very controlled and precise, reflecting many hours spent on perfecting the staging and choreography. And yet, for me this extreme precision is mildly disadvantageous in the case of HARLEKIN. Perfection is obviously an object of striving in every performance. But we should not forget about the roots of Harlequin as a character, in commedia dell’arte. One of Harlequin’s principal features, apart from joy and playfulness, is spontaneity. He must appear as a witty joker, and never as a totally controlled robot-toy. Of course, this requirement emerges clearly only as one becomes aware of Harlequin’s origins, and insofar as these origins are of little or no concern, Stephens’ interpretation may represent an ideal combination of perfectly planned and realized sound and gesture.  89  Upon entering on to the stage, Stephens follows the overall spiral shape designed by Stockhausen. However, when reading his directions4 I got the idea of a really energetic entrance, as if the character were whirling down from the heights. Stephens shows up on the stage rather tentatively, turning constantly but also rather at a slow speed. In the sections where motor interpretation is relatively free, because Stockhausen gives only vague directions regarding movement (e.g. “The Playful Constructor”), Stephens maintains the playful character of the piece while walking, executing small jumps, lifting her legs, and turning or bending her body. The overall result, however, is a collection of gestures haphazardly put together, sometimes illustrating certain musical events. For example, she emphasizes some of the long notes with deep body bends, or lifts her legs on arbitrarily chosen notes. Yet, there seems to be little inner connection between those gestures themselves, i.e., they do not add up to a gestural continuity that, in itself, is emotionally convincing. When interpreting Stockhausen’s pranks Stephens opts for a conventional, mimelike interpretation. Her gestures are extremely clear. For example when she indicates “getting the idea”, she points her finger in the air (exactly as is written in the score) and makes a very clear facial expression (eyes wide open, mouth shaped into an “O”). In the “Dialogue with the foot”, not only does she “teach” the foot to repeat the played rhythm, but she also counts the leg’s stomps with her fingers in the air, nodding her head at the same time. This extreme iconicity of gestural style in certain passages does not mean that everything about Stephen’s performance is exaggerated, since this is not the case. In  4  “At the beginning, HARLEQUIN is a dream messenger. He plays and dances in fast, circular figures” (p.V of the score).  90  “Harlequin’s Dance”, for example, she doesn’t even go as far as the score suggests. Stockhausen’s notes require “taking advantage of the whole stage”, and “making the foot stomps sound like tap-dance”. Suzanne dances with energy, yet her foot stomps are rather on the quiet side and she does not “go to the extreme edges of the stage”, as specified in the score. However, this may be the result of the venue, since the stage in Lisbon was particularly large. Despite these minor criticisms, I can and must affirm that Stephens’ performance is very impressive from a technical point of view. She has mastered HARLEKIN and plays it as near-perfectly as can be imagined. Also, she looks absolutely comfortable at every point of the piece and does not show any fatigue. The audience can enjoy music and theatricality without its pity for a hard-working musician serving as a distraction. I realized how crucial this last point is after watching Marcelo Gonzalez’s recording. Whether it was due to the heavy costume he chose (different than the one imagined by Stockhausen), or to his relative lack of stamina, he did show considerable fatigue by the middle of the piece (around the “Pedantic Teacher” section), which then increased towards the end5. I feel it important to stress, however, that lack of stamina did not affect his sound at all, a circumstance reflecting on the high standard of his craft as a player. Gonzalez’s interpretation was very similar to Stephens’. He used similar gestures and organized his movements in a similar way in the “free” sections. Of course, because the shapes of his body and face differ from those of Stephens, and on account of differences in their costumes (his being much looser than Stephens’) the figure of  5  It manifested itself for example in frequent gestures of wiping his face and mouth, and in difficulties in maintaining the proper embouchure.  91  Harlequin appeared different on the stage in the two performances. But most of his physical gestures seem to be cast from the molds developed by Suzanne Stephens. Gonzalez had also mastered the piece to a great extent. He executes the musical content with extreme care and stays very close to the “ideal” tempi throughout the performance. Yet, because of the physical fatigue mentioned above, some of his gestures lacked clearness, for example while “pointing the pitches” in the air in “The Pedantic Teacher”. It is extremely difficult to control the clarinet sound properly when performing all the fast bends of the upper body that should correspond to each note in this section. This is a moment in the piece where most clarinetists would probably sacrifice gestures for the sake of their sound, and Gonzalez falls victim to this tendency. Gonzalez does however achieve a very impressive effect in one section, which even Suzanne Stephens does not manage. In “The Exalted Spinning Spirit”, the last section, Stockhausen requires that a long series of fast spins be executed while playing long and high “bird cry” notes. Gonzalez realized this part with amazing vivacity, spinning fast with impressive energy every time it is required (12 times). There are two reasons why this detail is worth pointing out. First, this task is presented to a performer at the very end of the piece, after some 40 minutes of intense playing and dancing on the stage. The clarinetist is already extremely tired. Every extensive body movement affects the sound a lot, and simply requires great physical effort. The second reason is even more fundamentally “physical”, though very individual for each musician: each body has a different “spinning tolerance”. Some people get physically sick after even one turn of their body, while the others can play carousel like little children. While this tolerance level is not directly proportional to overall stamina, it can also be increased to some  92  extent with practice. This I can confirm, from personal experience, but I don’t believe that, with all the practice in the world my results in this section would be as impressive as those of Gonzalez. In my own version of HARLEKIN I decided to depart somewhat from Stephen’s theatrical interpretation. I tried to maintain the musical content as much as possible, but I have to admit that I decided on occasion to sacrifice absolute fidelity to Stockhausen’s score for what I believed to be a smoother stage result. The changes were small, and related mainly to tempo in a few places, mostly in “The Pedantic Teacher”. Most of the differences between Stephens and me relate, though, to matters of gesture and bodily expression, principally bearing upon the overall character of Harlequin. Working with Susan Bertoia, an actress and commedia dell’arte specialist, I had an opportunity to focus on the theatrical side of the performance. I decided to emphasize Harlequin’s nature as a joker and childish tumbler. The effects I most wanted to achieve were spontaneity and casualness. I needed Harlequin to look spontaneous, even though I had designed and attempted to control all of his gestures in advance. I also learned to follow one main piece of advice, which was not to move at all, unless I had a strong reason to. This prevented me from performing unstructured, purposeless movements, and on the other hand forced me to think through and prepare extremely carefully each tiny segment of my performance. As noted above, I decided to make a strong, energetic entrance upon the stage. Instead of appearing from “backstage left, as seen from the public”6, I came in through the audience, taking advantage of the raked seating to produce the effect of “descending from the heights”. I also performed several fast spins at the very beginning of entering the 6  A note from the score.  93  stage, to convey the character’s essential exuberance. In the “Playful Constructor” I invented and worked out several patterns of theatrical action, for example “finding an intriguing object on the floor”, “facing a strong stream of air”, getting lost in a space” and so forth. This helped to sustain the audience’s interest and created a convincing emotional continuum, while allowing me to abide by Stockhausen’s vague direction to “… make the “changes” which occur in each successive repetition also visually obvious to the public”7. In the “Pedantic Teacher”, where Harlequin is trying to reach the highest pitch in the whole piece (C7), I went for the extreme, pointing the clarinet up vertically, directly above my head. This did somewhat affect the sound, which at the end was not completely precise, but I decided to emphasize the visual-theatrical side of the performance at this point, and to sacrifice the audio effect. As concerns Harlequin’s pranks, as designed by Stockhausen, I chose to realize some of them differently from Stephens. Susan Bertoia gave me another piece of advice that applied to the piece as a whole, which was not to exaggerate my facial expressions at any point. She proved to me (by performing herself in several ways) that the audience easily gets the point of even the smallest changes in the performer’s physiognomy, produced for mimetic effect, as long as she is herself convinced of the intentions she wants to communicate. Provided the whole body “speaks” towards the intended effect, making any emotion especially obvious with the face shifts the performance in the direction of vulgarity, as if it were a clown show. But there is another aspect of using one’s face as a performer that I did attempt: I deliberately kept eye contact with selected  7  A note from the score.  94  audience members at many points of the show, as a way of sustaining the audience’s attention. In the last section my interpretation departed from Stockhausen’s directions. Due to my low “spin-tolerance”, I decided to exchange Harlequin’s fast final spins for gestures that illustrated the act of projecting the “bird cry” notes into the air. I concentrated on the idea of the bird sounds, and created an image that I hoped to convey to the audience, of the projected sounds as different types of birds flying away in different directions after being released from my clarinet. This idea precluded fast spins, although I did retain the slow spins that are supposed to be performed preceding the “bird cries”, while playing the leading passages. Jean Kopperud performed HARLEKIN many times in the 1980’s, and she was recognized in reviews as an extremely agile athlete-clarinetist. In an article for the University of Buffalo Reporter, Kevin Fryling wrote:  “Six months of preparation went into Harlekin,” she adds. “I stopped waiting tables and basically went into high-end athletic training. I ran 45 minutes a day and lifted weights three times a week and was in dance class several hours a day.” She also took classes in acting and mime, as well as spent [sic] countless hours learning the difficult piece and its acrobatic choreography, which ensured the music and her movements remained in perfect synch. She spent about eight to 10 hours a day practicing or in physical training, she says.8  8  Kevin Fryling, Staff Writer, University of Buffalo Reporter, Volume 3, No.19 (Jan 18, 2007).  95  There is no video recording of Kopperud’s performance. I contacted her by e-mail, and she shared some of her memories of working on the piece with me. Jean Kopperud did not study with Stockhausen or Stephens, nor did she ask them for their approval of the results of her work at any point. She worked for six months with a choreographer. They started with the instructions and then filled them out into a much more physical version of the piece than what she understood to have been the Stephens version, although as far as I know she did not have a chance to see Stephen’s version at any time of her preparation process, nor later. For the opening of the work, Kopperud began by thinking of the idea of spinning and the number of ways one can interpret it. When she first did the work she came in doing standing turns, getting faster and faster. By the last time she played the piece she came in doing rolls on the floor, still turning to the right, as indicated in the score. In general, she followed the instructions but with a strong belief that there is much room for variation in one’s interpretation of these. Jean Kopperud said that her performance of HARLEKIN was an athlete’s version. She worked on the piece at a time of her life when she could work non stop on just this composition for six months. She also designed and made her own Harlekin costume which was a leotard with triangles on it and some glitter, very form fitting and dancerly. Kopperud said that she didn't take too many liberties with the music. She believes that one can stay true to it and still do one’s own variations on the theatrics. In general, I found Jean Kopperud’s advice very useful in the course of preparation for my performance. Her remarks helped me to look at the piece from a certain distance and to think of it in more theatrical way. She emphasized the necessity  96  of staying honest to the content of the score, but she encouraged me to trust myself as an artist and to experiment with my own interpretation.  5.3. Interpretation vs. imitation in interpreting a score like that of HARLEKIN After careful analysis of the score of an unusual composition such as HARLEKIN, as well as the direct experience of performing the work, preferably more than once, a performer has to face the question of the respective roles of interpretation and imitation in such a performance. The problem is as old as the history of notated music, since notation, more than any other development, tended to allow for the possibility of separating performance from direct imitation, and allowed for its being based, in part, on some kind of personal interpretive intervention. In case of Stockhausen’s piece, however, notation seems to bring us full circle, back to the situation of requiring submission to the demands of imitation. This is because the clarinetist is given so much information, so many instructions, not only with respect to the music, but also to movement, staging, and other aspects of performance practice, as detailed in section 4.1, above. When there is so much information to integrate, there is a clear implication, which as we have seen is confirmed in this case by the composer, that he has an image of the end result in mind, and that it is the performer’s job to transcribe this for the audience. This implication, though, seems to go against the grain of the whole of our musical culture, in which the performer’s interpretive role is taken for granted. Therefore, one has to answer the question: how should a clarinetist approach HARLEKIN and find the right balance between her own interpretation and the idea of a perfect imitation, as seems to be desired, if not required, by the composer?  97  On the basis of my own experience, I can confirm that, where theatre pieces are concerned, it is definitely very helpful for a performer to have an access to video recordings of performances that the composer approved of. In the present case, this clears up the intent of many of Stockhausen’s verbal instructions. Also, it gives an overall idea of the piece, the general nature and organization of the choreography, and the design of the whole visual layer. It is much easier to comprehend HARLEKIN after watching another clarinetist interpreting it, and this applies especially to the gestural aspect of the piece. On the other hand, an experienced clarinetist—and one has to have arrived at an advanced level of musical and technical development to perform this composition—does not really need to listen to a recording before approaching HARLEKIN. Such reinforcement can be helpful and inspirational, but the very precise musical notation used in the score leaves little doubt as to the composer’s intent regarding the music per se. Gestures, however, can be interpreted in many ways when described only verbally, and having an example of someone else’s interpretation is very useful for creating one’s own version. Nevertheless, I must stress here the difference between being inspired by and copying someone’s interpretation. In my opinion, the creative process of interpreting a piece of theatre music (and especially so complex piece as HARLEKIN) has to involve a great dose of trial and error—a process of searching for an individual way of expressing the required emotions and finding the particular performer’s place in the piece. This is the point where my ideas of interpretation, with special reference to contemporary music of the multi-media variety, go beyond and somewhat contradict Stockhausen’s philosophy.  98  I think that when a clarinetist gets the published score he is required to follow composer’s instructions as much as possible, but at the same time he is allowed, and indeed obliged, to present a personal realization of the piece. In my opinion, there need be no contradiction between careful realization of the author’s intentions and a creative interpretation, which should appear as a sort of foreground that is coherently worked up out of the background layers specified by the score. Stockhausen obviously did not agree with this view, believing instead that a piece is an ideal object for which the composer is, and must be, entirely responsible. As Robin Maconie writes:  Cage brings up the tricky question of mutual influence seemingly in order to preempt further discussion: “I had a conversation earlier that year [1960] with Karlheinz Stockhausen and he asked, ‘If you were writing a song would you write for the singer or would you write music?’ I said, I would write for the singer. He said, ‘That’s the difference between us, I would write music’.” (Maconie, 2005, 221-2)9  Stockhausen could see no point in the interpreter’s interjection of her own vision of the piece. He did not trust a performer on the one hand and on the other he required absolute precision in following his directions10. For Stockhausen, an ideal performer is the one who can realize his ideas perfectly without adding extraneous elements, whether in regard to musical detail or choreography. He considered his music, in general, to be an  9  Maconie, p.221-2, after Michael Kirby and Richard Schechner, “An Interview with John Cage,” Tulane Drama Review 10/2 (Winter 1965): 50-72. 10 This tendency has appeared in Stockhausen’s works as a reaction to the problems with realization of his intuitive works (compositions described only verbally), especially “Aus den sieben Tagen” (1968).  99  expression of the cosmic energy coming from a higher source11. Any interference between the ideal plan and “creative” interpretation was simply unacceptable. There was to be nothing accidental in Stockhausen’s music, since this could only interfere with the way it was meant to be, hence a performer was obliged to study very carefully not only the score, but also composer’s philosophy of art, and the world in general, as well as the tradition of performance practice regarding his pieces. When I started to work on HARLEKIN, I contacted Suzanne Stephens asking her for advice and wanting to know if she would share some of her experiences with me. She answered immediately, and some of her comments concerned issues of interpretation. She wrote that I should have come to the Stockhausen Courses Kürten to work with her on the piece, because there were always many questions about things which could not have been notated. She offered to send me a video with her performance for study purposes. She also stressed that she did not think it was possible to perform the work authentically without personal contact with someone who had worked with her on it. In my opinion, the stance she takes may be proper for someone subscribing entirely to Stockhausen’s philosophy of art, but for many highly capable performers, of good will and very experienced in contemporary music, I would instead recommend a more independent—if at the same time more risky—way of working on HARLEKIN. The composer provides a score with many details, so what Stephens wrote in another email, that “everything is in the score” and that one should simply follow the directions, is in a sense true. At the same time, what is not there should remain open to a creative interpretation. In my view, it is the performer’s indisputable right to aim at the latter. 11  http://home.swipnet.se/sonoloco7/stockhausen/26.html. See also, Agnieszka Draus, “The Cycle ‘Licht’ of Karlheinz Stockhausen: Musical Theatre of the World,” (PhD diss., Akademia Muzyczna, Kraków, 2008): 32-33.  100  As I have intimated, a clarinetist who plans to perform HARLEKIN should become familiar with other interpretations (especially those approved by Stockhausen himself), but must then try to imagine and develop her own Harlequin on the stage. Correctly imagining the physical positioning of the character on stage at various moments, and the precise nature of his movements in each situation is, for me, the crucial part of this process. A musician needs to create her own Harlequin, different from those designed by the others. While remaining as much as possible in line with Stockhausen’s overall idea of the composition, this Harlequin also needs to engage with the theatrical traditions that have bequeathed him to us, those of the commedia. Most importantly, the performer must engage deeply and fully with her own imagination, guided by her own emotional experience of states that are idealized in the figure of Harlequin, as a general European symbol of the perpetual child in all of us. Otherwise, one ends up with gradually poorer and poorer copies—rather like those turned out by repeated photocopying—of what emerged from what to start with, was a very idiosyncratic and culturally limited environment, the Stockhausen circle. Relying on one’s emotions, or rather on the images that those emotions are capable of generating, is risky. It takes courage, confidence, and considerable musical and stage experience to undertake such risk. The result, however, can reward the interpreter and her audience with a wonderful performance that brings musical and theatrical traditions together in a highly artistic way.  101  VI. Conclusion  HARLEKIN by Karlheinz Stockhausen is indisputably one of the most interesting pieces written for solo clarinet. There is also no doubt that combining music and theatre is what makes this composition so attractive for both performers and audience. Movement brings new values to the piece and becomes a challenging factor for the performer, a factor as important as the musical side and one that defines the character of the piece. Another demanding element here is the constantly changing relationship between sound and motion. It is necessary to follow this subtle game throughout the piece in order to highlight all the nuances of musical/theatrical interaction. As I have demonstrated in my essay, it is very difficult to interpret this kind of a score: to remain true to the composer’s requirements, and on the other hand to add an individual performer’s interpretation. Of course, this question arises with every performance. It is interesting to bring up once again Stravinsky’s concept of interpretation and execution of music, since he resembled Stockhausen in his opinions in this matter. He strongly puts it: “I have often said that my music is to be ‘read’, to be ‘executed’, but not to be ‘interpreted’ “1. As he made clear, this strictness in addressed primarily to the matter of tempo:  Tempo is the principal item. A piece of mine can survive almost anything but wrong or uncertain tempo. (To anticipate your next question, yes, a tempo can  1  Robert Craft, Igor Stravinsky, Conversations with Igor Stravinsky (London: Faber and Faber, 1959): 132.  102  be metronomically wrong but right in spirit, though obviously the metronomic margin cannot be very great.) (Craft, 1959, 132)  But on the other hand, Stravinsky was aware of the limitations of even the most precise musical notation, and confirmed this by saying: “Notes are still intangible. They are not symbols but signs.”2 This is why even Stravinsky did recognize the important role of a good interpreter in the process of co-creating a musical performance:  I do not believe that it is possible to convey a complete or lasting conception of style purely by notation. Some elements must always be transmitted by the performer, bless him. (Craft, 1959, 134)  I think these words summarize well the overall attitude that an honest clarinetist should have when approaching Stockhausen’s HARLEKIN. While taking under careful consideration all the required elements listed and notated by the composer in the score, a musician should, at the end, also trust herself and enrich her interpretation with theatrical insight derived from research, observation of human behavior, and a sincere exploration of personal emotion.  2  Ibid., 132.  103  BIBLIOGRAPHY  Barthelmes, Barbara and Helga de la Motte-Haber, eds. Musik und Ritual. Mainz: Schott Musik International, 1999. Beckett, Samuel. All That Fall. London: Faber and Faber, 1957. Beckett, Samuel. Waiting for Godot. New York: Grove Press, 1954. Conen, Hermann. Formel-Komposition: Zu Karlheinz Stockhausens Musik der siebziger Jahre. Mainz: B. Schott’s Söhne, 1991. Cott, Jonathan. Stockhausen. Conversations with the Composer. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1973. Craft, Robert, and Igor Stravinsky. Conversations with Igor Stravinsky. London: Faber and Faber, 1959. Draus, Agnieszka. 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Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot. London: Praeger, 2005. Hutchinson Guest, Ann. Choreo-Graphics. A Comparison of Dance Notation Systems from the Fifteenth Century to the Present. New York, London: Gordon and Breach, 1989. Kivy, Peter. Authenticities. Philosophical Recflections on Musical Performance. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1995.  104  Kurtz, Michael. Stockhausen: A Biography. Translated by Richard Toop. London: Faber and Faber Limited, 1992. Lambranzi, Gregorio. New and Curious School of Theatrical Dancing. The Classic Illustrated Treatise on Commedia dell’Arte Performance. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 2002. Lawner, Lynne. Harlequin on the Moon. Commedia dell’Arte and the Visual Arts. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1998. Macneil, Anne. Music and Women of the Commedia dell’Arte in the Late Sixteenth Century. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. Maconie, Robin. Other Planets: The Music of Karlheinz Stockhausen. Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2005. Nicoll, Allardyce. The World of Harlequin. A Critical Study of the Commedia dell’Arte. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1963. Rudlin, John. Commedia dell’Arte: an Actor’s Handbook. London: Routledge, 1994. Sand, Maurice. The History of the Harlequinade. London: Benjamin Bloom, Inc., 1915. Seaver, Michael. “A Singular Impulse Musician and Dancer as One Performer.” International Guild of Musicians in Dance Journal 2 (1992): 19-22 Stockhausen, Karlheinz. Stockhausen on Music. Lectures and Interviews Compiled by Robin Maconie. London, New York: Marion Boyars, 1989 Stravinsky, Igor. Poetics of Music in the Form of Six Lessons. Translated by Arthur Knodel and Ingolf Dahl. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1970. Tannenbaum, Mya. Conversations with Stockhausen. Translated by David Butchart. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987.  Weston, Pamela. Clarinet Virtuosi of Today. Baldock, Hertfordshire: Egon Publishers Ltd., 1989. Winter, Marian Hannah. “American Theatrical Dancing from 1750 to 1800.” The Musical Quarterly 24/1, 1938: 58-73.  105  INTERNET: Karlheinz Stockhausen Official Website: www.stockhausen.org Nordin, Ingvar Loco, article on HARLEKIN, http://home.swipnet.se/sonoloco7/stockhausen/25.html (accessed August 18, 2008). Nordin, Ingvar Loco, article on SIRIUS, http://home.swipnet.se/sonoloco7/stockhausen/26.html (accessed August 18, 2008). Toop, Richard, Stockhausen, Karlheinz. Grove Music Online. http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/26808?q=stockhausen +formula&search=quick&pos=4&_start=1#firsthit (accessed April 9, 2008).  106  APPENDIX William Shakespeare, “As You Like It”, Act II, scene VII, line of Jacques, talking with Orlando and Duke Senior (The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, New York: Chatham River Press., 1987: 239)  All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages. At first the infant, Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms; When the whining school-boy, with his satchel And shining morning face, creeping like snail Unwillingly to school. And then the lover, Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier, Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard, Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel, Seeking the bubble reputation Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice, In fair round belly with good capon lin’d, With eyes severe and beard of formal cut, Full of wise saws and modern instances; And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon, With spectacles on nose and pouch on side; His youthful hose, well sav’d, a world too wide For his shrunk shank; and his big many voice, Turning again toward childish treble, pipes And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all, That ends this strange eventful history, Is second childishness and mere oblivion; Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.  107  Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot, New York: Grove Press, 1954, p. 16-17 POZZO: (with magnanimous gesture). Let’s say no more about it. (He jerks the rope.) Up pig! (Pause.) Every time he drops he falls asleep. (Jerks the rope.) Up hog! (Noise of Lucky getting up and picking up his baggage. Pozzo jerks the rope.) Back! (Enter Lucky backwards.) Stop! (Lucky stops.) Turn! (Lucky turns. To Vladimir and Estragon, affably.) Gentlemen, I am happy to have met you. (Before their incredulous expression.) Yes yes, sincerely happy. (He jerks the rope.) Closer! (Lucky advances.) Stop! (Lucky stops.) Yes, the road seems long when one journeys all alone for … (he consults his watch) … yes … (he calculates) … yes, six hours, that’s right, six hours on end, and never a soul in sight. (To Lucky.) Coat! (Lucky puts down the bag, advances, gives the coat, goes back to his place, takes up the bag.) Hold that! (Pozzo holds out the whip. Lucky advances and, both his hands being occupied, takes the whip in his mouth, then goes back to his place. Pozzo begins to put on his coat, stops.) Coat! (Lucky puts down bag, basket and stool.) Touch of autumn in the air this evening. (Pozzo finishes buttoning his coat, stoops, inspects himself, straightens up.) Whip! (Lucky advances, stoops, Pozzo snatches the whip from his mouth, Lucky goes back to his place.) Yes, gentlemen, I cannot go for long without the society of my likes (he puts on his glasses and looks at the two likes) even when the likeness is an imperfect one. (He takes off his glasses.) Stool! (Lucky puts down bag and basket, advances, opens stool, puts it down, goes back to his place, takes up bag and basket.) Closer! (Lucky puts down bag and basket, advances, moves stool, goes back to his place, takes up bag and basket. Pozzo sits down, places the butt of his whip against Lucky’s chest and pushes.) Back! (Lucky takes a step back.) Further! (Lucky takes another step back.) Stop! (Lucky stops. To Vladimir and Estragon.) That is why, with your permission, I propose to dally with you a moment, before I venture any further. Basket! (Lucky advances, gives the basket, goes back to his place.) The fresh air stimulates the jaded appetite. (He opens the basket, takes out a piece of chicken and a bottle of wine.) Basket! (Lucky advances, picks up the basket and goes back to his place.) Further! (Lucky takes a step back.) He stinks. Happy days! He drinks from the bottle, puts it down and begins to eat. Silence. Vladimir and Estragon, cautiously at first, then more boldly, begin to circle about Lucky, inspecting him up and down. Pozzo eats his chicken voraciously, throwing away the bones after having sucked them. Lucky sags slowly, until bag and basket touch the ground, then straightens up with a start and begins to sag again. Rhythm of one sleeping on his feet.  108  109  110  

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