(photo credit: GERHARD RICHTER)
You may be merely a music fan. Not that that is anything to be sniffed at. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with just enjoying a head-banging time with the sounds of your favorite rock and roll band, or floating away on the celestial sounds of Beethoven’s Ninth. But Markus Stockhausen believes there is something a little less feral or tangible to be had from music.
The 61-year-old German trumpeter is one of the stellar participants in next week’s Red Sea Jazz Festival, the winter version of which takes place, for the ninth year running, in our most southerly resort town February 14-16.
As per his musical wont, founding artistic director Dubi Lenz has collated a wide spread of styles and genres for the three-dayer in Eilat, taking in Latin textures, Balkan and klezmer sounds, pop-leaning numbers, straight-ahead jazz, indie and folk music, and even works tinged with classical sensibilities. Stockhausen has certainly embraced the latter, and much more.
For the past four decades or so the trumpeter has been doing his utmost to stay at the leading edge of artistic exploration, deftly wending his way through classical climes, jazz and electronically embellished material and, more recently, adding Indian seasoning to his ever-expanding oeuvre.
If the family name sounds familiar, as it indubitably will to anyone who is into 20th-century classical music, that is because the trumpeter is the son of the late iconic composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, who attracted admiration and criticism in equal amount for his pioneering ventures into the wonders of electronic music interwoven with contemporary classical scores.
The Stockhausens enjoyed a lengthy performing and recording union, which ended in 2001, after 25 fruitful years.
“My father had a big influence on me, of course,” says the trumpeter. “I was 13 when he took me to the world exposition at Osaka [Japan], in 1970, and for a month I heard his music at the German pavilion.”
It was a pretty intensive “workshop” for the youngster. “The pavilion was a round sphere with 49 speakers, and there was his music six hours a day. I heard many of his electronic pieces several times, like “Hymnen” and, of course, “Song of the Youths” (Gesang der Jünglinge), many times. There was also music he had done a few years before, and instrumental music, intuitive music he had just invented.”
It was a formative immersive experience which was to have an enduring effect on the younger Stockhausen’s musical growth. “I grew up with that, and it blew my mind, in a way. Now anything that comes my way can’t shock me. My musical mind has been widened so much, and everything has space inside it.”
That stands to reason. Music, after all, comprises sounds of varying pitches, duration and power, interspersed by intervals of varying lengths. Surprisingly, that is not an aspect of creativity that Stockhausen has knowingly addressed to date, in terms of allowing his listeners to consider the work being presented to them and, possibly, completing the picture in the process.
“I’ve never consciously answered this question to myself,” he laughs. “It just seems that, out of my nature, out of what I find beautiful and harmonious, I need this space. People keep telling me this music is more spaceful or meditative. Sometimes I don’t know what to say to them. I just feel it has to be that way.”
There is certainly an atmospheric feel to the Quadrivium project which Stockhausen will bring to Eilat. The band started life as a duo, way back in 2003, when Stockhausen teamed up with Italian pianist Angelo Comisso. German percussionist Christian Thomé came on board the following year, with cellist Jörg Brinkmann adding even more dimensions and colors when the threesome became a quartet in 2015.
The band’s Eilat audience should find plenty to pique their interest and titillate their emotions and senses, as Stockhausen & Co. dip into numerous areas of sonic exploration.
“We bring different baggage with us, but we also very much share a classical background, from our Western culture,” the trumpeter observes. “Each of us was educated in classical music, but also in improvisation. It is a wonderful group.”
And if you’d like to get an even better handle on the Stockhausen line of thought, the trumpeter will also be presenting a master class at the festival base venue, the Agamim Hotel, at 10:30 a.m. on Friday.
For tickets and more information: *9066 and http://www.eventim.co.il, *5585 and www.isrotel.co.il, and http://redseajazz.co.il