Archive for the “Deaths” Category

Paul Dirmeikis attended Stockhausen’s funeral on December 13, and has a report.

The family is already starting to slowly walk away. Some of us stay around the tomb, scattered between the neighbour tombs. Near the larger alley going down to the chapel, all members of Stockhausen’s family gathered together in a circle, holding their hands. Simon reads something. It’s around 4 pm. That’s it. One of the greatest composers of these last 50 years has just been buried. It’s a freezing afternoon in a distant German village. Fermata.

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recieved at the Canadian Eletroacoustic mail-list:

The composer Karlheinz Stockhausen passed away on December 5th 2007 at his home in Kuerten-Kettenberg and will be buried in the Waldfriedhof (forest cemetery) in Kuerten.

He composed 362 individually performable works. The works which were composed until 1969 are published by Universal Edition in Vienna, and all works since then are published by the Stockhausen-Verlag. Numerous texts by Stockhausen and about his works have been published by the Stockhausen Foundation for Music.

Suzanne Stephens and Kathinka Pasveer, who have performed many of his works and, together with him, have taken care of the scores, compact discs, books, films, flowers, shrubs, and trees will continue to disseminate his work throughout the world, as prescribed in the statutes of the Stockhausen Foundation for Music, of which they are executive board members.

Stockhausen always said that GOD gave birth to him and calls him home.


for love is stronger than death.

IN FRIENDSHIP and gratitude for everything that he has given to us personally and to humanity through his love and his music, we bid FAREWELL to Karlheinz Stockhausen, who lived to bring celestial music to humans, and human music to the celestial beings, so that Man may listen to GOD and GOD may hear His children.

On December 5th he ascended with JOY through HEAVEN’S DOOR, in order to continue to compose in PARADISE with COSMIC PULSES in eternal HARMONY, as he had always hoped to do: You, who summon me to Heaven, Eva, Mikael and Maria, let me eternally compose music for Heaven’s Father-Mother, GOD creator of Cosmic Music.

May Saint Michael, together with Heaven’s musicians in ANGEL PROCESSIONS and INVISIBLE CHOIRS welcome him with a fitting musical GREETING.

On behalf of him and following his example, we will endeavor to continue to protect the music.

Suzanne Stephens and Kathinka Pasveer
in the name of the world-wide family of musicians who love him, together with everyone who loves his music.


On Thursday, December 13th 2007, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. it will be possible to personally say farewell to Karlheinz Stockhausen in the chapel of the Waldfriedhof in Kuerten (Kastanienstrasse).

A commemorative concert will take place soon at the Sülztalhalle in Kuerten. Programme, time and date will be specially announced.


The Stockhausen foundation has already published a PDF memorial booklet, which you can download and print for free. And, thirty-five years ago:

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kurtag & ligetiRecent postings here notwithstanding, I swear I’m not on a complete György Ligeti kick; but it just so happens that the German-news-in-English website Sign and Sight has printed the translation of a speech György Kurtág gave in remembrance of his great friend, fellow Hungarian and fellow composer. (The occasion was Kurtág’s receiving the Ordre Pour le Merite in Berlin.)

The German version was originally published in August this year, in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung. As a bonus, this article includes all the extra stuff that Kurtág never got to say during the ceremony.

It’s a beautiful, intensely intimate memoriam.

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Mstislav Rostropovich died this morning in Moscow.  He was 80 and suffered from intestinal cancer.  Tim Page has an appreciation here.

Updates:  Alex Ross, Charles T. Downey, Guardian Tributes, Marc Geelhoed, Bruce Hodges, Pliable, Kenneth Woods, Steve Hicken, Jessica DuchenScott Spiegelberg, Jeremy Eichler

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Yes, you read that right. 2007 brings the fiftieth anniversary of Jean Sibelius’ death, and his tone poem Finlandia was written as a protest against Russian influence in Finland at the end of the 19th century. Joan Baez sung her own a cappella version on Michael Moore’s 2004 Slacker’s Uprising Tour, and in anticipation of the composer’s anniversary year On An Overgrown Path has the full story and an audio file in Sibelius – his genius remains unrecognised. 

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The Russian composer Galina Ustvoskaya died yesterday. Alex Ross has the details and the (appropriately) terse, German notice from her publisher, Sikorski.

I don’t have time now to write much about Ustvolskaya’s music, but my encounter with it was one of the determining events of my own musical evolution, and I still can’t quite believe that I performed all six of her piano sonatas spaced out during an all-night new music marathon concert as an undergraduate. (By the time I got to the last of them, round about 4 AM, I was pretty spaced out myself.)

If you don’t have this disc, correct that about yourself. This is the music Shostakovich could have written but didn’t.

Update: WordPress is eating my links for breakfast. Go over to for more details, and the CD you are to buy is Frank Denyer’s recording of the complete piano sonatas on Conifer.(I haven’t heard Oleg Malov’s on Megadisc, a label that has also released several other discs of Ustvolskaya’s hieratic chamber music.)

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Malcolm Arnold died over the weekend.  He was a deeply troubled man who had a remarkably productive life against the odds.  He was, in my view, the most underrated symphonist of the post-war 20th century.

New York Times obituary.

A far more colorful obituary from Australia.


BBC Tributes.

An excellent interview/profile from last year by Pliable.

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