Song of the young men

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Song of the Young Men in the Fiery Furnace , usually also officially referred to as Song of the Young Men, is a central early work by the composer Karlheinz Stockhausen . The work was important for the development of electronic music. It was created in 1955–56 in the studio for electronic music at Westdeutscher Rundfunk in Cologne . It was realized together with Gottfried Michael Koenig and premiered on May 30, 1956 in Cologne. The 5-channel composition lasts 13 minutes. Josef Protschka, then twelve years old, sang the vocal parts .

The work is often referred to as an early "masterpiece of electronic music". The synthesis of electronic / synthetic sounds with the human voice, i.e. with sung / natural sounds, is particularly important. It is often seen as the first successful combination of the avant-garde, purely electronically generated music in Germany at the time and the Musique concrète that was created in France . Sinus and pulse generators and boys' voices that have been post-processed using tape technology are used to generate the sound .

The work uses the biblical theme The Fiery Furnace from the Book of Daniel . The degree of text intelligibility of the post-processed vocal passages is used as a compositional parameter . It's an early example of the moment shape .

Stockhausen had designed his piece for five channels at a time when radio and record were still single-channel (mono). As technically most advanced studio tape machine was a four-track machine available. Stockhausen wanted this to run in parallel with a single-track machine, but the coordination proved to be impossible; so he mixed the fifth track into the fourth track. Since the band the fifth track had gone meanwhile lost and could be reconstructed from the fourth track until the end of the 20th century, has Song of the Youths reception historically be regarded as a four-channel piece.

During the performance, five groups of loudspeakers are distributed around the audience in the room. The spatial movements of the sounds form an essential, fully composed work level. That the fifth group should shine from the ceiling as the "voice of God" is an unproven legend. Stockhausen created mono and stereo versions of the work for radio and record.



  • Karlheinz Stockhausen: Music and Language. In: Die Reihe , No. 6, 1958, pp. 36-58.
  • Richard Toop: Stockhausen's Electronic Works: Sketches and Worksheets from 1952-1967. In: Interface , No. 10, 1981, pp. 149-97.
  • Bryan R. Simms: Music of the Twentieth Century: Style and Structure. Schirmer Books, New York 1986, ISBN 0-02-872580-8 .
  • Pascal Decroupet, Elena Ungeheuer: Through the Sensory Looking-Glass: The Aesthetic and Serial Foundations of Gesang der Jünglinge. In: Perspectives of New Music , Volume 36, No. 1, Winter 1998, pp. 97-142.
  • Jerome Kohl: Guest Editor's Introduction to 'A Seventieth-Birthday Festschrift for Karlheinz Stockhausen (Part One)'. In: Perspectives of New Music , Volume 36, No. 1, Winter 1998, pp. 59-64.
  • Georg Heike: The importance of phonetics in the vocal composition of Stockhausen. In: Imke Misch, Christoph von Blumröder (ed.): International Stockhausen Symposium 1998. Musicological Institute of the University of Cologne, November 11th to 14th, 1998. Conference report. Pfau-Verlag, Saarbrücken 1999, pp. 206-16.
  • Sandrine Baranski: Analysis perceptive en vue de l'étude du rapport texte / musique dans ‚Gesang der Jünglinge 'de Karlheinz Stockhausen. In: L'analysis perceptive des musiques électroacoustiques (= LIEN. Revue d'Esthétique musicale. No. IV). Edition Musiques & Recherches, 2006, pp. 76–106 (French); (PDF; PDF, 34 MB).
  • Rudolf Frisius: Karlheinz Stockhausen II: The Works 1950–1977. Conversation with Karlheinz Stockhausen, “It's going up”. Schott Music International, Mainz a. a. 2008, ISBN 978-3-7957-0249-6 .
  • Karlheinz Stockhausen: Composition basics of new music: Six seminars for the Darmstadt summer courses 1970. Ed. Imke Misch. Stockhausen Foundation for Music, Kürten 2009, ISBN 978-3-00-027313-1 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Jörn Peter Hiekel, Christian Utz (ed.): Lexikon Neue Musik . Metzler / Bärenreiter, Stuttgart / Kassel 2016, p. 575
  2. ^ Simms: Music of the Twentieth Century. 1986, p. 391.
  3. ^ Kohl: A Seventieth-Birthday Festschrift for Karlheinz Stockhausen. 1998, p. 61.
  4. Decroupet, Ungeheuer: The Aesthetic and Serial Foundations of Gesang der Jünglinge. 1998.