Karlheinz Stockhausen - Helicopter String Quartet (2008) rerip & repost
DVDrip | XviD-2728 | 720x544 | AR 4:3/29970fps | audio: German/English+Du/mp3 192kbs | sub: En/Ger/Du/Fr/Sp.srt | covers+booklet | 1h20m34s | 1.69Gb
Documentary | Label: Medici Arts | cat.nr 3077508
A rerip and repost of the movie about Stockhausen’s Helicopter String Quartet. Back in 2009, when I posted this, we had a long discussion about the A/V being slightly out of sync and how to fix it. I even tried a second rip, which unfortunately produced the same result.
Five years later, with a new PC and the latest version of virtualdub, no such problem occurs. The sync is perfect. Perhaps it’s because I chose a much bigger size, I don’t know.
This is not so much the filmed version of Stockhausen's famous Helicopter String Quartet of ca. 18 minutes (although we see parts of it), but rather "The Making Of", and as such, a fascinating look into the mind of one of the Post-War period's most influential composers.
The movie will cure anyone who might think this project was an insecure & random experiment; composer and players just haphazardly throwing together a bunch of dissonances in order to appear modern. As if Stockhausen would have thought, "What will happen if we put each member of a quartet in his own helicopter? Let's just wait and see. We might get some music out of it".
Well, that's not how it was....every composed note, every step in this project was a case of endless deliberations, rehearsals, thinking, trying and testing. What started as an idiotic idea by a weird composer was painstakingly carried out by a legion of specialists from every field: musicians, of course; sound mix studio - and television engineers, aircraft technicians, mechanics, electricians and what not. Karlheinz himself directed it all, continuously at the centre of the activities like a spider in its web.
Watching the movie will by-and-by turn your doubts about the German avant-gardist into admiration. Stockhausen knows exactly what he wants. He has a command of the various technical aspects of this incredible project; this to such an extent it will make your jaw drop. It seems as if he can do everything, knows everything. He finds solutions for nearly insurmountable problems, and the indefatigable, relentless consistency with which he pursues the realization of his idea may well be the most baffling of it all. It's only now that I fully understand why they call him a genius.
Indeed, Stockhausen manifests himself here as a man of many talents, of which his ability to explain extremely complicated matters in simple terms is certainly not the least one. We see a lot of him in this movie, and he surely makes for pleasant listening. In fact, he's a great story-teller! The German formulates his sentences carefully, in his native language as well as in English; he never hesitates, never stammers or pauses as if looking for words; he just goes on in his own quiet and engaging manner.
He enlightens us about his colourful, intricate scores (at a particular moment he even sings parts of it, and not badly!). This score is very much at the heart of the movie; gradually it becomes clear Stockhausen translated the flight of four helicopters into violin and cello sounds, and incorporated the noise of the rotor blades into the composition. We hear the helis rise, pick up speed, turn, and descend. Tremolo, crescendo, accelerando, glissando...the sheer force of the man's imagination must appear mind-boggling to the viewer when it starts to dawn upon him Stockhausen somehow premonitioned how it would all sound together.
During rehearsals, he educates the musicians of the Arditti String quartet. Not in any dictatorial way, on the contrary, he remains open for valuable suggestions. Hence, we see him adjust ad hoc a few notes in the score when one of the violists plays them differently - and better-sounding than the original, as the composer himself generously admits. Nowhere does the man live up to his reputation of being an impossible character...I'd rather say, he presents himself as your eccentric, but kind-hearted uncle.
Enough said; I should follow the example of the booklet and keep it as short as possible. For why bother to explain things when Stockhausen himself does so already - and a lot better?
Director: Frank Scheffer
Performers: The Arditti String Quartet