There are lots of sounds and musical ideas in Punkte that any concert-goer would immediately recognize in this fascinating music. I would recommend the CD of this work to any music lover who is prepared to listen to it over and over again, 'absorbing' the music, so to speak and at each listening being surprised and elated at finding yet another musical relationship of notes and themes.

 

As mentioned above, some of the music seems almost familiar - there is a powerful unison statement of five chords which temporarily halt the proceedings, aggressive motifs that demand our attention, calm introspective moments which invite our concentration: a lot more initially fascinates the listener by the sheer invention of new sounds and orchestral colours. Listening to Punkte for me, is a continual voyage of musical discovery as my brain recognises yet another connection - two oboes sounding two chords which seem to reappear minutes later after waiting patiently to do so: a long held flute note that seems to continue endlessly – acting as a figure of unity, rough and ready short melodies on brass which is unrefusingly intent on being heard.

 

Indeed, several clear melodies can be heard at several points - a three-note motif immediately at the beginning on low woodwind (bassoons) and twenty seconds later a [You tube 30”]five note motif on strings which can be heard again [at 16’12]. Stockhausen never discards something useful – here as a reminder of an opening rhythm.

 

Here Stockhausen is, on the one hand, toying with a four –note rhythmic cell and at the same time telling us to concentrate on it. This can be head at [15’33] - but a few seconds later [15’43 – 49”] two times four notes can be heard. If Stockhausen wants the listener to be made aware of something, he usually achieves this in the smallest possible way. Here [at 15’50] two firm rising pizzicato low notes are followed much higher with a quick three-note –musical ‘wave’ For me this is humorous. But have we heard it before?

There is a definite three-note rhythmic cell which is loudly orchestrated in the opening sounds [at 0’16”] – but perhaps.....

 

The above has been written to say to listeners ‘The music examples given, have been so to demonstrate that all we have to do with Stockhausen’s music is listen intently and enjoy the musical discoveries – they could be endless!

 

The chord at 22’29 note is the first 'isolated' single sound: it is tempting to think that single massive chords - one delirious - are an expansion of this and whether or not a development can be traced of each of the musical 'blocks' heard in the first twenty seconds of the work.

 

Towards the end of the work, it seems to me that different sections of the orchestra club together and begin to rival one another, each one striving for supremacy as if at a rowdy party. Suddenly, they decide to leave and fall over each other as they all try to leave at once.

 

As each of us develops our own perceptions of a work and how we 'make sense' of it, the listener will find endless musical enjoyment - and a deeper understanding of Stockhausen's genius - as he gets to know more and more of this fascinating and enjoyable work. 

 

Please don’t refrain from a smile – and a broad one!

 

I. Morgan