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New Left Review I/25, May-June 1964

Michael Parsons

Karlheinz Stockhausen

The European avant-garde is often accused of ignoring the wider problems of communication and of having retired into an ivory tower. This is one of the dangers facing a composer today: he cannot rely on a public audience with stable views and attitudes; he cannot be content to fall back on forms which appear to him obsolete; he is thus forced into the rĂ´le of an explorer whose immediate appeal is to a minority. The search for new means of expression has inevitably led to a certain amount of specialized concern with techniques. About ten years ago this led to a crisis in musical language. But more recently composers like Boulez and Stockhausen have been coming to terms with the new problem of comprehensibility which arose in this critical phase.

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Michael Parsons, ‘Karlheinz Stockhausen’, NLR I/25: £3

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