Category Archives: Realizations

“Leo” from Tierkreis

“Leo” from Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Tierkreis

Adam Lee, cello; Alex Creighton, drums; Nina Piazza, glockenspiel; Jacob Walls, trumpet; Matt Gold, conductor

April 23, 2010

Stockhausen constructed 12 music boxes that would play a series of melodies corresponding to the twelve signs of the Zodiac (each with a different tempo and each centered on the succeeding note of the chromatic scale). He published the melodies and rudimentary accompaniment figures as Tierkreis, to be realized by any group of sound-makers. A trip over to the Wikipedia page tells me that this is arguably his most popular composition. Huh. I guess Cosmic Pulses can’t catch a break.

My sign being Leo, Matt Gold asked me to realize the Leo melody for a concert by the Williams Percussion Ensemble. I incorporated some ideas from Stockhausen’s bare-bones accompaniment as I discovered a 5/4 march-groove that would suit it quite well.