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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 33 No. 12. 5 August 1970


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Since we'll have a unique opportunity to hear the first public Australasian performance of Karlheinz Stockhausen's "Hymnen", readers may be interested in a small account of a February performance this year:

When the BBC Symphony Orchestra performed works by the modern genius Stockhausen last month, the master was introduced to the Orchestra's sole percussionist, Tristram Fry.

"How old are you?" asked the maestro.

"23," replied Fry.

"Well, you are too young to have the integrity to play my piece Necrophily," said the composer.

This riled the Symphony Orchestra, but they were most put out by that part of the programme entitled (rough translation) Sailing Away to Eastern Skies. There was no score for this piece. Instead, the master had caused to be placed before members of the orchestra a card with four lines of verse on it—by himself. The verse gave the title, set the mood and suggested one note. The orchestra were then urged to strike out on their own for the next twenty minutes.

This seemed too good an opportunity to miss, so the orchestra read the verse carefully, played the note and then carried on tuning up operations for one minute. After that, silence.

Stockhausen was so angry that he vowed that he would never attend a concert of his works in Britain again.

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