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Stockhausen: Sonntag of Licht

Festival d'Automne, Paris (FR)

The Orchestra Le Balcon, the Festival d'Automne à Paris and the Philharmonie de Paris are jointly realising the complete cycle Licht by Karlheinz Stockhausen over a period of seven years (2018-2025). Stockhausen's work, beginning with the electroacoustic discoveries of the 1950s and inspired by his travels through Japan in the 1970s, can be seen as an evolution leading to the creation of the two most important cycles in his life as a composer: Licht, based on the seven days of the week, and Klang, based on the 24 hours of the day.

The cycle Licht consists of seven independent operas, comprising a total of about 30 hours of music. This work stands above all other forms of artistic expression. Stockhausen used his own ideas about the cosmos to create – or rather recreate – a world made up of an original musical language. He developed a theory of a sound journey that leads through space and even sends soloists into orbit in the air.

Fifteen years after the composer's death, it is still possible to collaborate with the musicians and artists who worked with him and learned so much from him. Sonntag is the last opera in the Licht cycle. The composition was completed in 2003 and the premiere took place in 2011. In 2023, Sonntag will be staged by Ted Huffman at the Philharmonie de Paris. The opera contains the most accomplished music of the cycle Licht. Among the many ideas developed by the composer, a key concept was the desire to play music in multiple spatial dimensions but in a single time scale. Ted Huffman interprets Sonntag as Stockhausen created it, with intense staging, lighting and visual effects in two concert halls that reflect the harmonies contained in the music. Sonntag was composed to provide an incredible musical and scenic experience. Thanks to the staging and the use of incense sticks to accompany the music, other senses are engaged in addition to the auditory. At the end, five synthesizers perform the choral part of Hoch-Zeiten in the foyer of the theatre. The performance of Sonntag by the Le Balcon Orchestra, the Festival d'Automne à Paris and the Philharmonie de Paris is made possible by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation.

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November 17 – 19, 2023 (Scenes 1 and 2)
Cité de la musique, Paris

November 20, 2023 (scenes 3, 4 and 5)
Philharmonie de Paris