Stimmung review – Singcircle take us back to Stockhausen’s future


Barbican, London
A rare performance of Stockhausen’s legendary Stimmung, replete with terrible erotic poems, recaptured the spirit that inspired a generation

It is 40 years since Singcircle, a group of six young British singers directed by Gregory Rose, devoted six months to rehearsing and performing one of the most extraordinary and groundbreaking vocal works of the 20th century. Premiered by Collegium Vocale Cologne in 1968, Stockhausen’s Stimmung quickly acquired legendary status. The first significant piece of western music to be based entirely on vocal harmonics, it seemed to open up a new musical world – not only for Stockhausen but for a younger generation of composers who realised its implications. Stimmung became one of the starting points for the spectralism movement in European music of the 70s and 80s.

Related: Crackle goes pop: how Stockhausen seduced the Beatles

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