Da Mantra a Licht. La tecnica della formula nella musica pianistica di Karlheinz Stockhausen
Stockhausen’s piano music plays a special role in his compositional thought. The first eleven Klavierstücke (1952–1956), together with the parallel explorations in electronic music, can be arguably seen as the main developmental area of his musical language in the early 50s of the past century. They adhere almost closely to the technical principles of so-called serial music. After a 14-year break, Stockhausen comes back to composing for piano in 1970 with Mantra für 2 Pianisten. That piece inaugurates a new compositional practice referred to as “Formel Komposition”, the one which Stockhausen will employ until the monumental Licht cycle (2003). My study aims at illustrating certain technical and aesthetical principles underlying the method through selected examples taken from Mantra and Geburtstags-For- mel (included in Montag aus Licht as Klavierstück XIV). Differently from the mid- twentieth-century total serialism, crucial technical aspects of the method are elaborated (and freer) expansions of predetermined sound events, which a work as whole derives from, speci ed by multiple parameters (pitch, dynamics, duration, articulation, and so on) and regulated by evocative numerical proportions. In addition to that, it also envisages a new sort of intuitions, such as that of symbiotic music, the ones which reflect Stockhausen’s spiritual and philosophical world.