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Karlheinz Stockhausen

StockhausenStockhausen, KarlheinzControversy
The Helikopter-Streichquartett (Helicopter String Quartet) is one of Karlheinz Stockhausen's best-known pieces, and one of the most complex to perform.
Stockhausen had dreams of flying throughout his life, and these dreams are reflected in the Helikopter-Streichquartett (the third scene of Mittwoch aus Licht), completed in 1993.

String quartet

string quartetsquartetstring ensemble
It involves a string quartet, four helicopters with pilots, as well as audio and video equipment and technicians.
Karlheinz Stockhausen's Helikopter-Streichquartett (1992–93), to be played by the four musicians in four helicopters

Holland Festival

Hollandthe Netherlands
The first performances of the piece took place in Amsterdam on 26 June 1995, as part of the Holland Festival, with Alouette helicopters from the Royal Dutch Air Force display team, The Grasshoppers.
Notable world premieres included Karlheinz Stockhausen's Helicopter String Quartet.

Helicopter

helicoptersrotorcraftchopper
It involves a string quartet, four helicopters with pilots, as well as audio and video equipment and technicians.

Mittwoch aus Licht

MittwochOrchester-FinalistenBassetsu
Although performable as a self-sufficient piece, it also forms the third scene of the opera Mittwoch aus Licht ("Wednesday from Light").

Salzburg Festival

SalzburgSalzburger FestspieleSalzburg Summer Festival
The Helicopter Quartet was originally commissioned by Professor Hans Landesmann of the Salzburger Festspiele in early 1991.

Arditti Quartet

Arditti String QuartetArdittiDov Scheindlin
The Arditti Quartet was to play the première.

Gerard Mortier

Gérard Mortier
His reaction was positive, as was that of the Director of the Festspiele, Gerard Mortier.

Irvine Arditti

The performers were: first violinist Irvine Arditti and pilot Marco Oliver; second violinist Graeme Jennings and pilot Lieutenant Denis Jans; violist Garth Knox and pilot Lieutenant Robert de Lange; cellist Rohan de Saram and pilot Captain Erik Boekelman.

Graeme Jennings (violinist)

Graeme Jennings
The performers were: first violinist Irvine Arditti and pilot Marco Oliver; second violinist Graeme Jennings and pilot Lieutenant Denis Jans; violist Garth Knox and pilot Lieutenant Robert de Lange; cellist Rohan de Saram and pilot Captain Erik Boekelman.

Garth Knox

The performers were: first violinist Irvine Arditti and pilot Marco Oliver; second violinist Graeme Jennings and pilot Lieutenant Denis Jans; violist Garth Knox and pilot Lieutenant Robert de Lange; cellist Rohan de Saram and pilot Captain Erik Boekelman.

Rohan de Saram

De Saram
The performers were: first violinist Irvine Arditti and pilot Marco Oliver; second violinist Graeme Jennings and pilot Lieutenant Denis Jans; violist Garth Knox and pilot Lieutenant Robert de Lange; cellist Rohan de Saram and pilot Captain Erik Boekelman.

Angelin Preljocaj

PreljocajAngelin PrejlocajLe Ballet Preljocaj
In 2001 Angelin Preljocaj choreographed this music for a modern dance work titled Helikopter.

Modern dance

modernmodern dancermodern dancing
In 2001 Angelin Preljocaj choreographed this music for a modern dance work titled Helikopter.

Serialism

serialserial musicserialist
The Licht cycle—as a whole and in all of its parts—is serially composed, being based upon a three-layered "superformula".

Kontakte

Kontakte'' (Stockhausen)
For example, the interpenetration of macro and micro dimensions, found in earlier compositions such as Kontakte, where Stockhausen compresses rhythm into pitch, or in Hymnen, where he slows down the sound of geese until they are revealed as the shouts of a football crowd.

Hymnen

Hymnen, dritte Region mit Orchester
For example, the interpenetration of macro and micro dimensions, found in earlier compositions such as Kontakte, where Stockhausen compresses rhythm into pitch, or in Hymnen, where he slows down the sound of geese until they are revealed as the shouts of a football crowd.

Helicopter rotor

rotorrotor bladerotors
The piece focuses on Stockhausen's dreamed idea of a string quartet playing tremolos which blend so well with the timbres and the rhythms of the rotor blades that the helicopters sound like musical instruments.

The New York Times

New York TimesNY TimesTimes
Writing for the New York Times, Alex Ross called the premiere a "memorable spectacle" citing the virtuoso performances by both the Arditti and the Grasshoppers.

Alex Ross (music critic)

Alex RossRoss, Alex
Writing for the New York Times, Alex Ross called the premiere a "memorable spectacle" citing the virtuoso performances by both the Arditti and the Grasshoppers.

The Guardian

GuardianThe Manchester GuardianManchester Guardian
Andrew Clements in The Guardian marveled at Stockhausen's logistical achievement:

The Times

TimesTimes Newspapers LtdTimes Online
In his review for The Times, Paul Griffiths discusses how the piece comments on the chamber music mentality and hints that the piece has a richer life as a concept:

Paul Griffiths (writer)

Paul GriffithsGriffiths, Paul
In his review for The Times, Paul Griffiths discusses how the piece comments on the chamber music mentality and hints that the piece has a richer life as a concept:

Marlise Simons

Marlise Simons, writing in The New York Times, provides a snapshot of multiple critical reactions in the Dutch press:

Helicopter String Quartet

Karlheinz Stockhausen: Helicopter String Quartet
Helicopter String Quartet, a film by Frank Scheffer. Close-up: documentaireserie waarin Frank Scheffer zijn visie geeft op diverse 20e-eeuwse componisten. [S.l.]: AVRO. Televisie-opname, 1995.