Karlheinz Stockhausen Inori – Adoration


Forty-four years after the French première of one of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s most iconic works, Inori, at the Paris Autumn Festival, it is being presented again in the Festival program, and in the rarely performed original version for large orchestra (90 musicians) and two solo dancers. As stated in the Japanese title, Inori is a prayer, invocation or adoration.

The work, composed in 1973-1974, is an extension of the spiral which, for Stockhausen, was the sign prevailing over his original creative work: a spiral capturing all the dimensions of the composition in its vortex. The original, basic form, or more accurately the basic formula, ran for only one minute, but the power of invention was such that more than an hour of music was generated. The invention, while supremely strict, is both musical and mystical or cosmological. In the tradition of Greek philosophy, and in juxtaposition with esoteric and impenetrable traditions, Stockhausen saw creative work as the art of building or rebuilding the order of the universe. His formula can thus be divided into five segments that set the sections of Inori: rhythm, dynamics, melody, harmony and polyphony, offering a brief history of music starting from ancient times. On stage, the dancers pose as if praying, in yoga-like positions, as could be seen in the temples of Angkor or with Christians at mass. Traditional movements practiced by different religions around the world, e.g. positions of fingers, hands and arms moving towards or away from the heart, are used here to determine and depict the sound parameters for the music: pitch, duration, timbre and tone color in an infinite range, producing a ritual for both ears and eyes.
Concert: 1h15 without intermission