London Performance of Stockhausen’s Gruppen Previewed

Source: The New York Times.

Calling for no fewer than three orchestras and a total of 109 players, Karlheinz Stockhausen’s “Gruppen” is one of the 20th century’s most monumental pieces of music. Yet at a rehearsal this week for a Saturday performance at Tate Modern in London, there were only three musicians in the room: the conductors Simon Rattle, Matthias Pintscher and Duncan Ward. “Gruppen” (1955-57) is a challenge for conductors. In a standard orchestra piece, there is one maestro on the podium, leading all the players. But in “Gruppen,” each orchestra plays at a different tempo, and they can easily fall out of sync. So three days before the Tate concert by players of the London Symphony Orchestra (L.S.O.), the three conductors met to coordinate their approaches.