Karlheinz Stockhausen's first electronic piece, which he wrote in 1955/56. What I have read is that it is a personal, even spiritual music for the composer. "Song of Youths" have children singing in German, with intrusive electronic sounds - cutting in and out of the children's chorus. Abstract, and quite remarkable in scope. The live version was supposed to take place in a church, but due to the electronic/speakers issue, it never happened. Still, the original set piece is five speakers. This recording was reconstructed for two speakers. My first listen to this piece I found it cold, but by the second time around, I find it emotional. There is a Wagnerian feel, in that it's quite grand. Still, big sounds can bring deep emotions to the table.
|The score to "Song of the Youths."|
The spectacle of Stockhausen's compositions is a big part of the overall experience. In that sense, I think he shares that quality with Wagner. The 1950s, which is often thought of as a conservative era, brought electronics into music in a very thoughtful and serious manner. Stockhausen and others were truly the light coming out of the 20th-century headlights.