The acts of terrorism of 11 September 2001 have spawned much controversy, emotion, and pointless American patriotism all over the planet, and we here at nggalai.com didn’t really want to be part of the global stupidity that has been so manifest in the media as of late. Nevertheless, a sadly disregarded component of the post-attacks reporting forces us to dig deeper into the wound to unearth a swelling conflict of colossal proportions, and present the only viable solution to this problem. I am not talking about the Terrorists/USA thingy, as this really has been beaten to death and shot to hell, at length, and not even very creatively so by so many others. I am talking about Music, or in other words: this is about something that matters, for a change.
It all started a week or so after the incidents in the United States when Karlheinz Stockhausen, enfant terrible of the European contemporary music scene and self-proclaimed daddy of Techno Music, made some apparently outrageous claims about the meaning and aesthetic quality of those attacks. Just as I personally subscribe to much of Stockhausen’s statement, I can also understand pretty well how people could get offended by it. Well, have a look:
“This is the greatest work of art, the greatest ever undertaken in the whole of Cosmos. Just imagine what happened. All these people, concentrating on the performance, and suddenly 5000 humans are shipped off to resurrection, in one go. I couldn’t do that. Compared to this, we are nothing as composers. […] It’s a crime for the sole reason that the participants weren’t free to choose. They didn’t chose to be part of the ‘concert’, that’s pretty clear, and nobody warned them about the possibility of kicking the bucket. But on a mental level, the things that happened, this leaping-out-of-security, out of the Generally Accepted, out of life itself, these things sometimes occur poco a poco in art as well. Otherwise, art would be nothing.”
Oh, Stockhausen regretted them words, apologised for them, and was finally somewhat relieved by the journalist who taped the interview – Karlheinz was talking about the “Devil’s work on Earth” during that part of the interview –, but it’s not very surprising that his reputation and public image remain somewhat compromised. To phrase it a bit differently, many columnists and other easily excitable people are pissed off and screaming for the German composer’s blood, holding above statement to be a worse offense to both good taste and tact than Stockhausen’s “Helicopter String Quartet” ever was.
The stool hit the rotating thingy when Austrian composer György Ligeti publicly attacked his longtime colleague, mentor, and competitor:
“If he really perceives this base mass-slaughter as a ‘work of art’ I am afraid I have to say this man should be locked up in a psychiatric ward.”
One could say that bad vibes are all over the place, and that’s not always the best climate for composers. What’s even worse, those two individuals have such a huge influence both symbolically and factually on the contemporary non-pop music scene that the Bad Blood might infect the whole organism and bring it to convolutions and, ultimately, down to its knees. I think it is clear that this grave situation can only be remedied by the one thing, at the one place that has proven itself to be a more than appropriate forum for musical disputes on this scale:
This calls for MTV’s Celebrity Deathmatch. Yes indeed.
Just imagine it …
Nick: “In the right corner, aged 73 years, pioneer of electronic music, bearer of the UNESCO Picasso medal, postmodernist composer, performance artist, and overall aesthetic scapegoat: KAAARLHEIIIINZ STOOOCKHAUSEEEEN !!!” Johny to Nick: “This is one mean motherfucker I tell you, Nick. Imagine what a man who used not one, not two, but THREE orchestras in one piece of music is capable of coming up next with! He is clearly insane!” Nick: “And in the left corner the challenger–aged 78 years, distinguished holder of both the Bach- and Grawemeyer Prizes, composer-in-residence at Stanford University, contributor to 2001: A Space Odyssey, and here to tan his former idol’s hide–GYÖÖÖÖRGY LIGETIIIII !!!” György: “You shouldn’t have said those things about the poor victims of the New York attack. I will give you a Requiem for good, Techno-boy!” Karlheinz: “Better watch your smart mouth or I’ll make sure you won’t destroy the voices of unskilled bass and soprano singers ever again. Come to think about it, I rather be artistic on your ass anyway. Be prepared to be detonalised, Dodecaphonic Gimp!”
I know I am pushing the envelope a little bit with this configuration, and please forgive me if I get a bit carried away, but the prospect of two of the greatest living composers kicking the shit out of each other is almost too exciting for me to contemplate. And before you ask, yes, I am perfectly aware of the fact that Stockhausen would never call Ligeti a “Dodecaphonic Gimp”. Still, I think it is of uttermost importance for the musicologist world to have this enmity settled with blood and guts spraying a stage, and as we probably won’t get Damian Hurst to do it, I submitted the following to the Celebrity Deathmatch crew:
“In the light of Stockhausen’s statement regarding the happenings of 11-09-01 and Ligeti’s rebuttal, this seems the only logical choice for a celebrity deathmatch.”
And that’s what I want you to do. Join the cause, fight against culturally challenged TV programs, and bring some more style to the goggle box. Let’s Get it On! It’s not important what explanation you may give as long as you don’t misspell the names too badly. Hells, I’ll even give you a couple of texts to chose from for your copy/pasting perusal:
[COPY] Yo, Karlheinz Stockhausen, he’s da man. But that mofoLigeti, what he do for the real music? Eh? Not a damn thing I tell ya! Put them in the ring I say, and lessee who rocks za house! [/COPY]
[COPY] I’d love to see Stockhausen get his ass whopped by Györgi Ligeti for what he said about those AMERICANS that were killed by a COWARDLY ACT OF TERRORISM that shall be retaliated soon. God bless America! [/COPY]
[COPY] OY BRUJO, STOCKHAUSEN VS/ LIGETI !SATANISMO ! [/COPY]
Well, ok, come to think about it you should probably make up your own submissions. However, I implore you – please do submit, and submit manifold. I mean, “MTV” still stands for “Music Television” last time I checked, so it would be a crime against all reason NOT to make this happen.
Good fight, and goodnight.
Obviously, this blurb was written in 2001. But hey, I like it, so there you are. Cheerio.