Stockhausen’s Musical Theatre

Karlheinz Stockhausen
for flute and electronics

Stockhausen Interpretation Prize 2019
Festival Aperto / I Teatri 2019
Padua Art Centre, Auditorium Pollini 2019


KATHINKA’S GESANG (als Luzifer Requiem) comes from the second scene of SAMSTAG AUS LICHT, a monumental work by Karlheinz Stockhausen. KATHINKA’s GESANG is actually – within LICHT – the Requiem for Lucifer, a character that is only partially associated with the common idea of this figure, as reread by Stockhausen as the eternal imperfect and therefore archetype of every earthly soul. Kathinka’s chant is structured as a sort of soul asceticism in 24 stages, stages that follow the musical form of the “24 studies”. Each stage / studio is more arduous than the previous one and explores new forms of expression of the timbre of the flute, starting from the “formula” created by Stockhausen for Lucifer. The idea of asceticism – achieved through the difficult overcoming of each level – is strongly recalled by the Mandalas, that, in their segments, report the inspiring idea of each stage and with their grandeur dominate the scene. The flutist arrives from a stylized coffin (the black curtain hanging), realizes her ascetic and eschatological path moving up and down (through the podiums) from one mandala to another and eventually disappears, after everything resolves into a long laughter in music, behind the central element of the hexagon. This masterpiece has been presented by Laura Faoro in scenic form, in the version for flute and electronics: already a few months after the first performance Stockhausen wanted, in fact, to rewrite it, introducing the results of some experiments started in the 1950s, which had not been terminated previously due to the limitations of existing technology. Stockhausen stated that he had obtained sounds “of a beauty never experienced before” and that the new version gave the whole piece “a space so far unheard of, a solemnity and austere beauty, a multiple stratification of polyphony; all this creates a magical world that surrounds the solitary voice of the flute “.


L. Faoro debuts in May 2019 in KATHINKAs GESANG als LUZIFERs REQUIEM from SAMSTAG aus LICHT by Karlheinz Stockhausen for flute and electronics, for the season of the Art Center of Padua (Auditorium Pollini) in collaboration with SaMPL (Pollini Conservatory Sound and Music Processing Lab) and with Alvise Vidolin as sound director, in a scenic form with video projections, in integral version and, as strictly indicated by the composer, entirely by heart and with no click.
For the first time an Italian flutist performs this huge masterpiece in this way and under the auspices of the Stockhausen Stiftung, having Laura been working with Kathinka Pasveer on Stockhausen music since 2017.


In August 2019 L. Faoro had the honor to play in concert KATHINKAs GESANG in the electronic version with the entire set original, at the Sülztalhalle in Kürten, selected during the Stockhausen Konzerte und Kurse Kürten 2019 for the last of the three Teilnehmer-Konzerte organized for the interpreters judged most prepared
For this interpretation Laura Faoro was awarded the second of the three prestigious Stockhausen Interpretation Prizes offered by the Stockhausen Stiftung fur Müsik, first Italian flutist to achieve such a result.
According to the musicologist Ian Parsons, present at the concert and deep expert of Stockhausen music: “So what can you say after a performance like this, other than ‘thank you’? KATHINKAs GESANG als LUZIFERs REQUIEM for flute and electronic music. Sensational performance from Laura Faoro. Really sensational“.
According to him, Laura’s performance was: “another one of those extraordinary highlights of the nine magnificent days of this year’s Stockhausen Courses and Concerts in Kürten. Laura Faoro received second prize for her sensationally immersive performance of KATHINKAs GESANG als LUZIFERs REQUIEM in its superb, though less often-heard, version for solo flute and electronic music (…) Stockhausen wrote the piece originally as the second scene of SAMSTAG aus LICHT where it is performed with six percussionists, and guides the soul of the “apparently” dead Lucifer to enlightenment. Here those six percussionists are replaced with a strange and eerie cosmos of electronics that swirl around the feline, shamanistic flute, which Laura moulded into that electronic soundscape like souls mould into untouchable, immeasurable, uncontainable, space when they float seeking where to go next. It was an incredible performance and no one wanted to stop clapping at the end. These are the sorts of experiences that remind us how full and rich the future of this music is destined to be.”


Laura has gone on stage again with KATHINKAs GESANG als LUZIFERs REQUIEM in the new production of Fondazione I Teatri/ Festival Aperto “K&K ELETRO GESÄNGEN”, in October 2019 at Teatro Valli (Reggio Emilia), for Festival Aperto 2019, in collaboration with Massimiliano Viel (who will perform SPIRAL) and Tempo Reale (sound engineering), by heart, with no click and with all the scenography.


“The exploration of the contemporary panorama by the Reggio Emilia Open Festival offered a particularly interesting event (…) still expressly effective Kathinkas Gesang was confirmed on Saturday 19 October, thanks to the convinced and convincing interpretation of Laura Faoro, capable of taming the physical-tonal peregrinations foreseen by the piece with precise attention “(Giornale della Musica, 28/10/19).

“… the vertigo of time, again, the chasm. The same in which we fall without fear with the performance of Laura Faoro; the flutist moves on stage interpreting Lucifer, the archetype of every earthly soul, in search of eternal light. A dazzling research that leaves astonished and amazed, on the edge of an abyss that comforts and terrifies at the same time “. (The New Noise, 11/17/19).

“Excellent interpreters therefore [L. Faoro and M. Viel] who translated the complex symbologies and esoteric senses of the two scores into musical pleasure, in communicative immediacy, confirming how the true masterpieces [SPIRAL and KATHINKAs GESANG], although they mean within a complex thought, find a more direct and instinctive way to give oneself to the listener. “(Daniela Iotti, La VOCE di Reggio Emilia, 10/25/19)


Invited by Milano Musica Festival 2019 Laura had her debut as a soloist in this important festival playing by heart PARADIES for flute and electronics, from the KLANG cycle by K. Stockhausen, with M. Marchi (AGON) (sound engineering). The concert was held at Milan Planetarium.