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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars probably not coming to an airfield near you - so buy the CD!, 11 Oct 2000
By (Honiton, cultural centre of the avant-garde) - See all my reviews
This review is from: helikopter-quartett (Audio CD)
Before I heard it i was sceptical. Helicopter quartet! What IS Stockhausen on now? I dreaded another disappointment -like 'Spiral'or 'Klavierstuke'.
But when I heard it I wasn't disappointed - and the helicopters didn't sound ridiculous! Infact it sounded brilliant - I'd never thought that helicopters could sound so good!
Of course it's all carefully controlled - it doesn't sound like we've been stood twenty yards from a bunch of helicopters taking off for half an hour! What we hear is the transmission from various microphones inside each of the four helicopters. The main focus is the quartet and they are always slightly louder than the helicopter rotor-blades. There IS a score and the muscians are synchronised by a click-track, so on that front it all hangs together well. The end result is a score designed to blend with the rhythms and timbre of the helicopter rotor-blades - and it really works!
The initial interaction between the quartet and the helicopters happens fairly quickly (just as the helicopter turbines are warming up). This for me is the best part of the CD - the initial regular musical pulse works brilliantly against the quickening rotor blades. And for the most part Stockhausen manages to sustain something of this kind of immediacy throughout.
The musicians count in German up to 8 from time to time (as in 'Michael's Reise') and it's fantastic! What a great language! If you're familiar with 'Michaels Reise' you'll know what I'm talking about ...
Finally, Helicopter Quartet is more 'score driven' than say 'Kontake' which can be listened to without instrumentation. But the helicopter quartet still needs the helicopters - it just wouldn't be the same without them because of the variations in rhythm and timbre that they produce. And even though the rotor-blades are obviously the same every time they're still 'unpredictable' to listen to and it's still a 'fresh' listen.
Sadly my plans for a Daihatsu Charade quartet have been put on hold - there's just not enough variation in rhythm and timbre! You'll just have to make do with my old mate Karlheinz and his helicopter quartet ...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mad but brilliant, 17 Jan 2013
P. Donovan "cultural jackdaw" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: helikopter-quartett (Audio CD)
Stockhausen can be surprisingly conservative at times, considering his reputation...not here! Anybody who thinks that pop is radical has never heard this which combines the supposed classical calmness of a string quartet with... rotor blades! The whole concept works surprisingly well and the madness of the whole concept with shouts and broken snippets of string playing is bizzarely hypnotising. I have only recently developed an interest in Stockhausen and this work is a must for all those interested in contemporary classical music. The recording is crisp and the playing is beautiful in a deeply strange way...
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helikopter-quartett by Stockhausen (Audio CD - 2008)
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