Stockhausen composed "Stimmung" in 1968 at home with two small children in the adjacent room—decided to “communicate” with his surroundings in an unusual way. The composition was written for six vocalists and required a special vocal technique (overtone singing) as well as total unification. The author prepared a precise “instruction manual.” Each artist could choose from eight (women) or nine (men) rhythmic vocal models and from cards of magical names of deities from different cultures (to juggle them freely). All this to create a sequence of fluid 51 formulas (sections), each lead by a different vocalist serving as a guide—the coryphaeus. The composer joked that he “wrote a 75-minute piece based on one B-flat ninth chord.” In practice, this B sound (which is continuously renewed) shimmers, thanks to aliquots, with changing tone, contrasts, intensity. It pulls into a trance and overwhelms. “STIMMUNG is certainly meditative music. Time is suspended”—Stockhausen commented. “One listens to the interior of the sound, to the interior of the harmonic spectrum, to the interior of the vowel, to the interior.” Despite the piece’s specific vocal technique, acoustic aura and peculiar philosophy, “entering” STIMMUNG is not an arduous process. What is important is the declaration of co-participation of joint experiencing, sensing, cleansing. Of listening to oneself and to one’s surroundings. Of inner and outer harmony. Complete freedom.
“Question: Why didn’t proMODERN take on this work until now, why did Stimmung have to wait as long as half a century for its Polish performers? There is no doubt it is difficult and, as we can see, this was the first group with enough ambition to take on the challenge. They did an excellent job”.
Dorota Szwarcman, Poland’s leading music critic