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Für kommende Zeiten

Karlheinz Stockhausen on 2 September 1972 at the Shiraz-Persepolis Festival of Arts, where two pieces from Für kommende Zeiten were performed on 4 and 6 September (Kurtz 1992, 254; Stockhausen 1978, 158)

Für kommende Zeiten (For Times to Come) is a collection of seventeen text compositions by Karlheinz Stockhausen, composed between August 1968 and July 1970. It is a successor to the similar collection titled Aus den sieben Tagen, written in 1968. These compositions are characterized as "Intuitive music"—music produced primarily from the intuition rather than the intellect of the performer(s). It is work number 33 in Stockhausen's catalog of works, and the collection is dedicated to the composer's son Markus.



Unlike the fifteen texts of Aus den sieben Tagen, which were all written in a short span of time, the seventeen components of Für kommende Zeiten were written in four groups of texts, over a period of two years.

The first five pieces were written in August 1968 (the fourth text, Über die Grenze on 13 August), as examples for the students in Stockhausen’s composition seminar at the Darmstädter Ferienkurse. The sixth text, Intervall, was written more than a year later, on 22 September 1969, at the Couvent d'Alziprato in Corsica, for Henry-Louis de La Grange and Maurice Fleuret. The seventh, eighth, and ninth texts were written in February 1970, during a three-week stopover Stockhausen made in Bali, on his way to Japan for Expo '70 in Osaka. The remaining eight texts were composed on the return trip from Osaka, between 4 and 7 July 1970, during another three-week pause in Ceylon (Stockhausen 1978, 167).

The first of the pieces to be premiered was Übereinstimmung, performed in London on 20 May 1970 by Gentle Fire (at that time its title was Annäherung) (Kurtz 1992, 254). A little over two years later Gentle Fire also gave the first performance of Spektren at the Shiraz Arts Festival on 4 September 1972, in the context of a series of concerts featuring Stockhausen's music. Two days later in the same concert series, Kommunikation was premiered by another English group, Intermodulation (Stockhausen 1978, 158), though another source says it was on 4 September and by Gentle Fire (Kurtz 1992, 254).

The piano duo Intervall was premiered in London by Roger Woodward and Jerzy Romaniuk on 5 May 1972, and Ceylon was first performed by the Stockhausen Group at the Metz Festival on 22 November 1973 (Kurtz 1992, 254; Stockhausen 1978, 167).


The seventeen constituent pieces are:

  1. Übereinstimmung (Unanimity), for ensemble (originally titled Annäherung [Approximation])
  2. Verlängerung (Elongation)
  3. Verkürzung (Shortening)
  4. Über die Grenze (Across the Boundary), for small ensemble
  5. Kommunikation (Communication), for small ensemble
  6. Intervall (Interval), for piano duo, four-hands
  7. Außerhalb (Outside), for small ensemble
  8. Innerhalb (Inside), for small ensemble
  9. Anhalt (Halt), for small ensemble
  10. Schwingung (Vibration), for ensemble
  11. Spektren (Spectra), for small ensemble
  12. Wellen (Waves), for ensemble
  13. Zugvogel (Bird of Passage), for ensemble
  14. Vorahnung (Presentiment), for 4–7 interpreters
  15. Japan, for ensemble
  16. Wach (Awake), for ensemble
  17. Ceylon, for small ensemble

Some of the texts of Für kommende Zeiten provide more specific performance details about elements and processes than the texts from Aus den sieben Tagen do (Griffiths 1977, 639). Intervall, for example, is scored for piano duo, four-hands, and is quite explicit about the course the music is to follow, while Japan includes a written-out melodic formula and Ceylon specifies a rhythmic pattern for the Kandy drum. Beyond what is written in the score, Stockhausen prepared a form scheme for the first performances of Ceylon—something he never did for any other of his text compositions. When asked if it might not be somehow "cheating" in a piece of intuitive music to prepare so much in advance, Stockhausen replied, "Oh, no! It's not. It helps." Nevertheless, these details actually make the later text pieces more difficult to play, because "they give more mental work to do" and, "because the mental activity of the musicians normally leads to products which relate to music which they know, which is similarly subdivided or organized", they become unable to play intuitively (Stockhausen and Kohl 1985, 38–39).

In spite of their primarily verbal nature, there is evidence that these seventeen pieces should be regarded as serial compositions (Kohl 1981, 227).


In chronological order of recording:

  • Prima Vista. Stockhausen: Spektren, Übereinstimmung, and Kommunikation. With works by Kagel, Brown, Cage, Haubenstrock-Ramati, Fortner, Stahmer, Ligeti, and Pousseur. Pro Musica Da Camera (Henner Eppel, flute; Klaus Hinrich Stahmer, cello; Ekkehard Carbow, harpsichord). Recorded 1971. LP recording: 1 sound disc, analog, 33⅓ rpm, stereo, 12 in. Thorofon Capella 76.26016 MTH 224.
  • Zauber der Baßklarinette: Due Boemi di Praga—ein Portrait. Stockhausen: excerpt from Über die Grenze (alias "Versetze dich in ein höheres Wesen 3. teil"), with works by Frescobaldi, Handel, Martinů, Messiaen, Fukushima, Hába, Scharli, and Logothetis. Due Boemi di Praga (Josef Horák, bass clarinet; Emma Kovárnová piano). Recorded 27–28 July 1973. LP recording: 1 sound disc, analog, 33⅓ rpm, stereo, 12 in. Carus FSM 53 114.
  • Karlheinz Stockhausen: Spiral (two versions); Wach and Japan from Für kommende Zeiten; Pole. Péter Eötvös, electrochord, shawm, Japanese bamboo flute, synthesizer, and short-wave receiver; Harald Bojé, electronium and short-wave receiver; Christoph Caskel, percussion. LP recording: 2 sound discs, analog, 33⅓ rpm stereo,12 in. EMI Electrola 1C 165 02313-1C 165 02314. Cologne: EMI Electrola GmbH, 1973. Reissued with additional Stockhausen material (Zyklus, Tierkreis, In Freundschaft), 2-CD set, EMI Classics 6955982. London: EMI Classics, 2009.
  • Karlheinz Stockhausen: Ceylon/Bird of Passage. Harald Bojé, electronium; Aloys Kontarsky, piano. In Ceylon only: Peter Eötvös, camel bells, triangle, and synthesizer; Joachim Krist, viola; Karlheinz Stockhausen, Kandy drum; Tim Souster, sound projection. In Zugvogel only: Markus Stockhausen, electric trumpet and flugelhorn; John Miller, trumpet; Karlheinz Stockhausen, chromatic rin, lotus flute, Indian bells, bird whistle, voice. Recorded April 1975. LP recording: 1 sound disc, analog, 33⅓ rpm, stereo, 12 in. Chrysalis CHR 1110; Cassette tape recording. Chrysalis ZCHR 1110. Burbank, Calif: Chrysalis Records, 1975. Ceylon reissued (together with Prozession) on Stockhausen Complete Edition CD 11. Kürten: Stockhausen-Verlag, 1994. Zugvogel reissued on Stockhausen: "… ich werde die Töne" 1971; Elektronische Musik 1972. Stockhausen Text-CD 22. Kürten: Stockhausen-Verlag, 2008.
  • Musique en Tête—auf Objekten der Austellung "Klangskulpturen '85". Stockhausen: Kommunikation. With works by Christoph Wünsch, Anestis Logothetis, and Klaus-Hinrich Stahmer. Ensemble Ex Improviso (M. Schmidt, Klaus-Hinrich Stahmer, P. Steinhagen, F. Tannenberg, J. Wolf, Christoph Wünsch). Recorded 1985, Würzburg, West Germany. LP recording: 1 sound disc, analog, 33⅓ rpm, stereo, 12 in. Recommended Music RM05.
  • Piano Music of the Darmstadt School: Vol. 2. Stockhausen: Intervalle [sic], with works by Earle Brown, Kagel, Schleiermacher, Pousseur, and Lachenmann. Steffen Schleiermacher, piano ; Josef Christof, piano (in Intervall). CD recording: 1 disc, digital, stereo, 12 cm. MDG Scene, MDG 613 1005-2. Detmold: Dabringhaus und Grimm Audiovision, 2004.
  • Stockhausen: Für kommende Zeiten/For Times to Come. Verkürzung; Wach; Vorahnung; Anhalt; Innerhalb; Wellen. Ensemble for Intuitive Music Weimar (Matthias von Hintzenstern, cello; Hans Tutschku, synthesizer and live electronics; Daniel Hoffman, trumpet and flugelhorn; Michael von Hintzenstern, piano and synthesizer). Stockhausen Complete Edition CD 17.1. Kürten: Stockhusen-Verlag, 2005.


  • Griffiths, Paul. 1977. "A Stockhausen Survey". The Musical Times 118, no. 1614, 20th Century Music Number (August): 637–39.
  • Kohl, Jerome. 1981. "Serial and Non-Serial Techniques in the Music of Karlheinz Stockhausen from 1962–1968." PhD diss. Seattle: University of Washington.
  • Kurtz, Michael. 1992. Stockhausen: A Biography, translated by Richard Toop. London and Boston: Faber and Faber. ISBN 0-571-17146-X.
  • Stockhausen, Karlheinz. 1978. Texte zur Musik 4. Edited by Christoph von Blumröder. Cologne: DuMont Buchverlag. ISBN 3-7701-1078-1.
  • Stockhausen, Karlheinz, and Jerome Kohl. 1985. "Stockhausen on Opera." Perspectives of New Music 23, no. 2 (Spring-Summer): 24–39.

Further readingEdit

  • Andraschke, Peter. 1981. "Kompositorische Tendenzen bei Karlheinz Stockhausen seit 1965". In Zur Neuen Einfachheit in der Musik, edited by Otto Kolleritsch, 126–43. Studien zur Wertungsforschung 14. Vienna and Graz: Universal Edition (for the Institut für Wertungsforschung an der Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Graz). ISBN 3-7024-0153-9.
  • Bergstrøm-Nielsen, Carl. 1997. "Festlegen, Umreißen, Andeuten, Hervorrufen: Analytisches zu den Textkompositionen von Karlheinz Stockhausen." MusikTexte: Zeitschrift für Neue Musik no. 72 (November): 13–16. Reprint. English translation by the author, as "Fixing/Circumscribing/Suggesting/Evoking: An Analysis of Stockhausen’s Text Pieces", [ Stockhausen Society website], 2006. (Accessed 24 February 2010).
  • Bergstrøm-Nielsen, Carl. 2008. "Das Bekannte ausschließen: Stockhausens "Intuitive Musik" und ihre Aufführungspraxis". MusikTexte, no. 117:63–66.
  • Brinkmann, Reinhold. 1974. "Hören und Denken. Thesen zur Intuitiven Musik". Neue Zeitschrift für Musik 135:555–57.
  • Faltin, Peter. 1979. "Über den Verlust des Subjekts in der neuen Musik: Anmerkungen zum komponieren am Ausgang der 70er Jahre", International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music 10, no. 2. (December): 181–98.
  • Frisius, Rudolf. 2008. Karlheinz Stockhausen II: Die Werke 1950–1977; Gespräch mit Karlheinz Stockhausen, "Es geht aufwärts". Mainz, London, Berlin, Madrid, New York, Paris, Prague, Tokyo, Toronto: Schott Musik International. ISBN 978-3-7957-0249-6.
  • Fritsch, Johannes, and Richard Toop. 2008. "Versuch, eine Grenze zu überschreiten … Johannes Fritsch im Gespräch über die Aufführungspraxis von Werken Karlheinz Stockhausens". MusikTexte no. 116 (February): 31–40.
  • Hintzenstern, Michael von. 2008. "'Über die Grenze': Karlheinz Stockhausen und das 'Ensemble für Intuitive Musik Weimar'". MusikTexte, no. 117:59–60.
  • Nakaji, Masatsune. 1994. "Karlheinz Stockhausens Intuitive Musik: c'est Le Dispositif Chaosmique de Transformation”. Genesis (The Bulletin of Kyoto University of Art and Design) vol. 1. HTML versions 1995.
  • Stockhausen, Karlheinz. 2009. Kompositorische Grundlagen Neuer Musik: Sechs Seminare für die Darmstädter Ferienkurse 1970, edited by Imke Misch. Kürten: Stockhausen-Stiftung für Musik. ISBN 978-3-00-027313-1.
  • Telford, James. 2011. "Reconciling Opposing Forces: The Young James Macmillan—A Performance History". Tempo 65, no. 257 (July): 40–51.
  • Toop, Richard. 1986. "Stockhausen and the Kontarskys: A Vision, an Interval, and a Mantra". The Music Review 47, no. 3 (August): 194–99.