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For other uses, see Licht (disambiguation). Licht_sentence_0



Die sieben Tage der WocheLicht_header_cell_0_0_0

TranslationLicht_header_cell_0_1_0 Light – The Seven Days of the WeekLicht_cell_0_1_1
LibrettistLicht_header_cell_0_2_0 StockhausenLicht_cell_0_2_1
LanguageLicht_header_cell_0_3_0 GermanLicht_cell_0_3_1
PremiereLicht_header_cell_0_4_0 1981 (1981) to 2012Licht_cell_0_4_1

Licht (Light), subtitled "Die sieben Tage der Woche" (The Seven Days of the Week), is a cycle of seven operas composed by Karlheinz Stockhausen between 1977 and 2003. Licht_sentence_1

The composer described the work as an "eternal spiral" because "there is neither end nor beginning to the week." Licht_sentence_2

Licht consists of 29 hours of music. Licht_sentence_3

Origin Licht_section_0

The Licht opera project, originally titled Hikari (光 , Japanese for "light"), originated with a piece for dancers and Gagaku orchestra commissioned by the National Theatre in Tokyo. Licht_sentence_4

Titled Der Jahreslauf (The Course of the Years), this piece became the first act of Dienstag. Licht_sentence_5

Another important Japanese influence is from Noh theater, which the composer cites in connection with his conception of stage action (, 282). Licht_sentence_6

The cycle also draws on elements from the Judeo-Christian and Vedic traditions (, 134). Licht_sentence_7

The title of Licht owes something to Sri Aurobindo's theory of "Agni" (the Hindu and Vedic fire deity), developed from two basic premises of nuclear physics, and Stockhausen's conception of the Licht superformula also owes a great deal to Sri Aurobindo's category of the "supramental" (, 227). Licht_sentence_8

It is centered on three main characters, Michael, Eve, and Lucifer. Licht_sentence_9

Many of the events in the opera refer to The Urantia Book, which was sold to Stockhausen by a remarkable figure during his New York Philharmonic concert in 1971 (, 188). Licht_sentence_10

In his analysis of the cycle, Gregg Wager states that "There can be little doubt … that Stockhausen's first and foremost inspiration for Lucifer's rebellion … originated from the Urantia Book … specific terms such as "Local System", "Planetary Princes" or "Paradise Sons" can only be from the Urantia Book" (, 193). Licht_sentence_11

Wager also points to the fact that Michael is clearly identified in Donnerstag as originating from "Nebadon", which is another location name peculiar to the Urantia Book (, 194). Licht_sentence_12

The emblems of Michael and Lucifer in Licht are also derived from the Urantia Book (, 142). Licht_sentence_13

According to Stockhausen biographer Michael Kurtz, "Michael, Lucifer and Eve are, for Stockhausen, more than theatrical figures. Licht_sentence_14

They are the expression of a world beyond, to which terrestrial eyes are blind, but which is given concrete form by The Urantia Book and other sources" (, 228). Licht_sentence_15

Wager also takes care to assert that Lucifer, Eve, and Michael are "personal inventions of Stockhausen's that were made more meaningful through the Urantia Book. Licht_sentence_16

… The listener can also assume that Stockhausen has used these symbols freely and enjoys the style of absurdist theater manifested in Originale where no clear meaning is apparent" (, 208). Licht_sentence_17

Furthermore, according to Markus Bandur, the Urantia Book references are concealed by means of associative strategies to other fields of meaning and, as work progressed on Licht after the first-composed opera, Donnerstag, their significance progressively diminishes (, 144). Licht_sentence_18

The importance of the Urantia Book for Stockhausen's work should not be overestimated (, 28). Licht_sentence_19

Structure Licht_section_1

The musical structure of the cycle is based on three counterpointed main melodies (or "formulas"), each associated with a central character. Licht_sentence_20

It follows the method of super-formula composition: these melodies define both the tonal centers and durations of scenes as a whole, as well as the melodic phrasing in detail. Licht_sentence_21

Each of the three central characters is also associated with an instrument: Michael with the trumpet, Eve with the basset horn, and Lucifer with the trombone. Licht_sentence_22

[See (): the Licht superformula] Licht_sentence_23

Stockhausen's conception of opera is more akin to the tableaux of the Renaissance masque and its hermetic cosmology than to traditional dramatic and structures typical of the past two centuries (, 354). Licht_sentence_24

Because of its circular structure, in which the seven days of the week must be passed through again and again, a moral critique is rendered impossible, since the themes of the days perpetually return as permanent features of reality. Licht_sentence_25

This in turn reflects Stockhausen's theological outlook, which offers a perspective beyond the superficial differences and opposites that place limitations on thought and hope (, 99–100). Licht_sentence_26

Licht is not therefore primarily about the conflict between good and evil, but rather is a drama of latent tensions concerning a dispute about different conceptions of reality (, 383). Licht_sentence_27

The cycle is constructed modularly. Licht_sentence_28

Not only is each of the seven operas a self-sufficient work, but so are the individual acts, scenes, and—in some cases—portions of scenes. Licht_sentence_29

These modules may be segments (e.g., the eleven instrumental solo sections from Orchester-Finalisten from Mittwoch), or layers (e.g., the electronic Oktophonie layer from the second act of Dienstag or the Klavierstück XIII version of the first scene of Samstag (Luzifers Traum), with the bass voice omitted), or a combination of the two (e.g., the vocal sextet Menschen, hört and the Bassetsu-Trio, which are two layers of the "Karusel" subscene from Michaelion, the fourth scene of Mittwoch). Licht_sentence_30

The seven days Licht_section_2

There are seven operas, each named for a day of the week, whose subject matter reflects attributes associated in traditional mythologies with each day. Licht_sentence_31

These attributes in turn rest on the seven planets of Antiquity (and their associated deities) from which the day-names are derived (, 152–53): Licht_sentence_32


  • Monday = The MoonLicht_item_0_0
  • Tuesday = MarsLicht_item_0_1
  • Wednesday = MercuryLicht_item_0_2
  • Thursday = JupiterLicht_item_0_3
  • Friday = VenusLicht_item_0_4
  • Saturday = SaturnLicht_item_0_5
  • Sunday = The SunLicht_item_0_6

Stockhausen sought to fashion the subjects for each opera through absorption in the traditions of this planet and immersion into the intuitive meaning of each day of the week—meanings of which most people are not aware (, 176). Licht_sentence_33

The cycle has neither a "beginning" nor an "ending"; like the days of the week, each opera leads to the next one, so that the conflict of Tuesday is followed by the reconciliation of Wednesday, and the mystical union of Sunday prepares the way for the new life of Monday. Licht_sentence_34

"In this way there is neither end nor beginning to the week. Licht_sentence_35

It is an eternal spiral" (, 156). Licht_sentence_36

Each opera is composed from an elaborated form of the corresponding day-segment of the superformula, made by superimposing one or more complete lines from the superformula, compressed to the length of the day-segment. Licht_sentence_37

These are named for the day in question (e.g., Mittwoch-Formel.) Licht_sentence_38

The separate acts and scenes often involve further superimpositions of formula material. Licht_sentence_39

For example, "Luzifers Traum", the first scene of Samstag, has a total of five layers ( and ). Licht_sentence_40

Each day is also assigned a principal (or "exoteric") colour, as well as one or more secondary (or "esoteric") colours (, 199–200). Licht_sentence_41

Monday (1984–1988) Licht_section_3

Main article: Montag aus Licht Licht_sentence_42

Montag, composed between 1984 and 1988, is dedicated to Eve. Licht_sentence_43

It features an orchestra with synthesizers (called a "modern orchestra" by Stockhausen), backing 21 performers (14 voices, 6 instruments and an actor), as well as adult and children's choirs. Licht_sentence_44

The opera is in three acts, framed by a "greeting" and a "farewell." Licht_sentence_45

(This framing applies, with variation, to each opera in the cycle: a "greeting" either in the foyer of the opera house or in the auditorium, and a "farewell" after the performance, played either in the auditorium or outside the theater.) Licht_sentence_46

Monday's exoteric colour is bright green; its esoteric colours are opal and silver (, 200). Licht_sentence_47

The scenes and subscenes are as follows: Licht_sentence_48


  • Montags-Gruß (Monday's Greeting)Licht_item_1_7
  • Act 1: Evas Erstgeburt (Eve's First Birth-giving)Licht_item_1_8
    • scene 1: In Hoffnung (Expecting)Licht_item_1_9
    • scene 2: HeinzelmännchenLicht_item_1_10
    • scene 3: Geburts-Arien (Birth Arias)Licht_item_1_11
    • scene 4: Knaben-Geschrei (Boys' Hullaballoo)Licht_item_1_12
    • scene 5: Luzifers Zorn (Lucifer's Fury)Licht_item_1_13
    • scene 6: Das große Geweine (The Great Weeping)Licht_item_1_14
  • Act 2: Evas Zweitgeburt (Eve's Second Birth-giving)Licht_item_1_15
    • scene 1: Mädchenprozession (Girls' Prozession)Licht_item_1_16
    • scene 2: Befruchtung mit Klavierstück—Wiedergeburt (Conception with Piano Piece—Rebirth)Licht_item_1_17
    • scene 3: Evas Lied (Eve's Song)Licht_item_1_18
  • Act 3: Evas Zauber (Eve's Magic)Licht_item_1_19
    • scene 1: Botschaft (Message)Licht_item_1_20
    • scene 2: Der Kinderfänger (The Pied Piper) [literally, "The Child-Catcher"]Licht_item_1_21
    • scene 3: Entführung (Abduction)Licht_item_1_22
  • Montags-Abschied (Monday's Farewell)Licht_item_1_23

Tuesday (1977–1991) Licht_section_4

Main article: Dienstag aus Licht Licht_sentence_49

After having composed the three "solo" operas (Thursday, Saturday and Monday), Stockhausen proceeded to explore all combinations of the characters. Licht_sentence_50

Dienstag is the day of conflict between Michael and Lucifer. Licht_sentence_51

After the opening greeting, two acts follow: Jahreslauf (Course of the Years) and Invasion-Explosion mit Abschied (Invasion-Explosion with Farewell). Licht_sentence_52

Dienstag is an opera for 17 performers (three solo voices, ten solo instrumentalists, and four dancer-mimes), actors, mimes, choir, a "modern orchestra" (29 to 32 instruments including synthesizers) and, in the second act, electronic music (titled "Oktophonie") projected in eight channels, with loudspeakers arranged at the corners of a cube shape around the audience. Licht_sentence_53

Since it is a "layer," this taped octophonic electronic music may be heard by itself. Licht_sentence_54

Tuesday's colour is red (, 200). Licht_sentence_55

The opera falls into the following sections and subsections: Licht_sentence_56


  • Dienstags-Gruß, Nr. 60 (1987–88)Licht_item_2_24
    • WillkommenLicht_item_2_25
    • Friedens-GrußLicht_item_2_26
  • Act 1: Jahreslauf (Course of the Years), Nr. 47 (1977/1991)Licht_item_2_27
  • Act 2: Invasion-Explosion mit Abschied (Invasion-Explosion with Farewell), Nr. 61 (1990–91)Licht_item_2_28
    • Erste Luftabwehr (First Air-defense)Licht_item_2_29
    • Erste Invasion (First Invasion)Licht_item_2_30
    • Zweite Luftabwehr (Second Air-defense)Licht_item_2_31
    • Zweite Invasion (Second Invasion)Licht_item_2_32
    • PietàLicht_item_2_33
    • Dritte Invasion (Third Invasion)Licht_item_2_34
    • Jenseits (Beyond)Licht_item_2_35
    • Synthi-FouLicht_item_2_36
    • Abschied (Farewell)Licht_item_2_37

at the Leipzig Opera Licht_sentence_57

Wednesday (1992–1998) Licht_section_5

Main article: Mittwoch aus Licht Licht_sentence_58

Mittwoch is characterized by the cooperation of Eve, Michael and Lucifer. Licht_sentence_59

Composed between 1992 and 1998, the opera consists of four scenes: Welt-Parlament (World Parliament), Orchester-Finalisten (Orchestra Finalists), Helikopter-Streichquartett (Helicopter String Quartet), and Michaelion. Licht_sentence_60

The third scene, which has acquired a certain celebrity, is scored, as its name implies, for four stringed instruments and four helicopters, the latter used both as a performatic device and a sound source. Licht_sentence_61

The greeting for Mittwoch is the electronic part of scene 4; the farewell is the electronic music from scene 2. Licht_sentence_62

The latter, like the electronic music for act 2 of Dienstag, is projected octophonically through speakers arranged at the corners of a cube surrounding the audience. Licht_sentence_63

Wednesday's colour is bright yellow (, 200). Licht_sentence_64

The main divisions and their subdivisions are: Licht_sentence_65


  • Mittwochs-GrußLicht_item_3_38
  • Scene 1: Welt-ParlamentLicht_item_3_39
  • Scene 2: Orchester-FinalistenLicht_item_3_40
    • OboeLicht_item_3_41
    • VioloncelloLicht_item_3_42
    • KlarinetteLicht_item_3_43
    • FagottLicht_item_3_44
    • ViolineLicht_item_3_45
    • TubaLicht_item_3_46
    • FlöteLicht_item_3_47
    • PosauneLicht_item_3_48
    • ViolaLicht_item_3_49
    • TrompeteLicht_item_3_50
    • KontrabaßLicht_item_3_51
    • HornLicht_item_3_52
    • Orchester-TuttiLicht_item_3_53
  • Scene 3: Helikopter-Streichquartett (1993)Licht_item_3_54
  • Scene 4: MichaelionLicht_item_3_55
    • PräsidiumLicht_item_3_56
    • LuzikamelLicht_item_3_57
      • KakabelLicht_item_3_58
      • Shoe-Shine SerenadeLicht_item_3_59
      • Taschen-Trick (Pocket Trick)Licht_item_3_60
      • Kamel-Tanz (Camel Dance)Licht_item_3_61
      • Stierkampf (Bullfight)Licht_item_3_62
    • OperatorLicht_item_3_63
      • ThinkiLicht_item_3_64
      • Bassetsu Trio (Karussell) (Carousel)Licht_item_3_65
      • "Menschen, hört" (Raum-Sextette) ("Listen, People"—Space-Sextet)Licht_item_3_66
  • Mittwochs-AbschiedLicht_item_3_67

Thursday (1978–1980) Licht_section_6

Main article: Donnerstag aus Licht Licht_sentence_66

Donnerstag is an opera for 14 performers (three voices, eight instrumentalists, three dancers) plus a choir, an orchestra, and tapes. Licht_sentence_67

Though not the first part of Licht to be started, it was the first opera in the cycle to be completed, having been written between 1978 and 1980. Licht_sentence_68

Thursday is the day of the archangel Michael, and the story is centered on this character. Licht_sentence_69

It opens in the foyer with a "greeting" for an ensemble of brass and percussion, followed in the theater by three acts, and ends outside the theater with a "farewell", played from the surrounding rooftops by five trumpeters. Licht_sentence_70

The 16-channel tape composition Unsichtbare Chöre (Invisible Choirs, 1979) is incorporated into act 1, and again into act 3, scene 1 (, 204). Licht_sentence_71

Stockhausen's Klavierstück XII is an arrangement of act 1, scene 3 (, 321), and a number of other segments were arranged by the composer for separate performance. Licht_sentence_72

Thursday's exoteric colour is bright blue. Licht_sentence_73

It is made up of the following parts: Licht_sentence_74


  • Donnerstags-Gruß (Thursday's Greeting)Licht_item_4_68
  • Act 1: Michaels Jugend (Michael's Youth; employs Unsichtbare Chöre)Licht_item_4_69
    • scene 1: Kindheit (Childhood)Licht_item_4_70
    • scene 2: Mondeva (Moon-Eve)Licht_item_4_71
    • scene 3: Examen (Examination)Licht_item_4_72
      • Erstes Examen (First Examination)Licht_item_4_73
      • Zweites Examen (Second Examination)Licht_item_4_74
      • Drittes Examen (Third Examination)Licht_item_4_75
  • Act 2: Michaels Reise um die ErdeLicht_item_4_76
    • Eingang und Formel (Entrance and Formula)Licht_item_4_77
    • Erste Station (First Station): GermanyLicht_item_4_78
    • Zweite Station (Second Station): New YorkLicht_item_4_79
    • Dritte Station (Third Station): JapanLicht_item_4_80
    • Vierte Station (Fourth Station): BaliLicht_item_4_81
    • Fünfte Station (Fifth Station): IndiaLicht_item_4_82
    • Sechste Station (Sixth Station): Central AfricaLicht_item_4_83
    • Siebte Station (Seventh Station): JerusalemLicht_item_4_84
    • MissionLicht_item_4_85
      • Verspottung (Derision)Licht_item_4_86
      • Kreuzigung (Crucifixion)Licht_item_4_87
      • Himmelfahrt (Ascension)Licht_item_4_88
  • Act 3: Michaels Heimkehr (Michael's Homecoming)Licht_item_4_89
    • scene 1: Festival (employs Unsichtbare Chöre)Licht_item_4_90
    • scene 2: VisionLicht_item_4_91
  • Donnerstags-Abschied (Thursday's Farewell)Licht_item_4_92

Friday (1991–1994) Licht_section_7

Main article: Freitag aus Licht Licht_sentence_75

Freitag, written between 1991 and 1994, portrays Eve's temptation by Lucifer. Licht_sentence_76

The whole is divided into two acts, and has a novel structure: apart from the greeting and farewell, it is composed of two layers of scenes: ten "real scenes" with live performers on stage and twelve "sound scenes" with electronic transformations of familiar sounds, both performed simultaneously over a third layer of abstract electronic music. Licht_sentence_77

It is a complex production headed by five acting musicians (soprano, baritone, bass, flute, basset horn) as well as 12 couples of dancer-mimes, children's orchestra, children's choir, 12 choir singers, synthesizer player, electronic music with sound scenes. Licht_sentence_78

Friday's colour is orange (, 200). Licht_sentence_79

The ten "real scenes" are: Licht_sentence_80


  1. Antrag (Proposal)Licht_item_5_93
  2. Kinder-Orchester (Children's Orchestra)Licht_item_5_94
  3. Kinder-Chor (Children's Choir)Licht_item_5_95
  4. Kinder-Tutti (Children's Tutti)Licht_item_5_96
  5. Zustimmung (Consent)Licht_item_5_97
  6. FallLicht_item_5_98
  7. Kinder-Krieg (Children's War)Licht_item_5_99
  8. Reue (Repentance)Licht_item_5_100
  9. ElufaLicht_item_5_101
  10. Chor-Spirale (Choir Spiral)Licht_item_5_102

at the Leipzig Opera Licht_sentence_81

Saturday (1981–1983) Licht_section_8

Main article: Samstag aus Licht Licht_sentence_82

Samstag is an opera for 13 solo performers (one voice, ten instrumentalists, and two dancers) plus a symphonic band (or symphony orchestra), ballet or mimes, and male choir with organ. Licht_sentence_83

It was composed between 1981 and 1983. Licht_sentence_84

Saturday is Lucifer's day; its exoteric colour is black (, 200). Licht_sentence_85

The opera opens with the Samstags Gruß for four spatially separated brass ensembles with percussion (), which is followed by four scenes: Licht_sentence_86


  • Samstags-Gruß (Saturday's Greeting)Licht_item_6_103
  • Scene 1: Luzifers Traum (Lucifer's Dream) (Klavierstück XIII), for bass voice and pianoLicht_item_6_104
  • Scene 2: Kathinkas Gesang als Luzifers Requiem (Kathinka's Chant as Lucifer's Requiem), for flute and six percussionistsLicht_item_6_105
  • Scene 3: Luzifers Tanz (Lucifer's Dance), for symphony band (or orchestra), bass voice, solo piccolo, solo piccolo trumpet, solo dancer, stilt-dancer, and dancer-mimesLicht_item_6_106
    • Linker Augenbrauentanz (Left-Eyebrow Dance)Licht_item_6_107
    • Rechter Augenbrauentanz (Right-Eyebrow Dance)Licht_item_6_108
    • Linker Augentanz (Left-Eye Dance)Licht_item_6_109
    • Rechter Augentanz (Right-Eye Dance)Licht_item_6_110
    • Linker Backentanz (Left-Cheek Dance)Licht_item_6_111
    • Rechter Backentanz (Right-Cheek Dance)Licht_item_6_112
    • Nasenflügeltanz (Wing-of-the-Nose Dance)Licht_item_6_113
    • Oberlippentanz (Upper-Lip Dance)Licht_item_6_114
      • ProtestLicht_item_6_115
    • Zungenspitzentanz (Tip-of-the-Tongue Dance)Licht_item_6_116
    • Kinntanz (Chin Dance)Licht_item_6_117
  • Scene 4: Luzifers Abschied (Lucifer's Farewell), for male choir, seven trombones, and organLicht_item_6_118

Sunday (1998–2003) Licht_section_9

Main article: Sonntag aus Licht Licht_sentence_87

Sonntag, written between 1998 and 2003, is centered on the mystical union of Eve and Michael, from which the new life of Monday is produced (, 156, 175). Licht_sentence_88

It is an opera with five scenes and a farewell. Licht_sentence_89

The absence of Lucifer from scene 1 is explained by Stockhausen's description of an accessory scene, called Luziferium, intended to be performed simultaneously with Sonntag, but in a different place, symbolizing the imprisonment of Lucifer, away from Eve and Michael; Luziferium was sketched but never written (, 22–23; , 8; ). Licht_sentence_90

Scene 4 expands on the multimedia nature of opera—with its music, dance, action and scenery—by involving another human sense: fragrances are released toward the audience. Licht_sentence_91

Scene 5 is actually two scenes in one, and consists of two parts: Hoch-Zeiten for five choirs and Hoch-Zeiten for five orchestral groups. Licht_sentence_92

(These components are performed simultaneously in two separate auditoriums. Licht_sentence_93

At various points acoustical "windows" are opened, through which the music from the other auditorium is "piped in" through loudspeakers. Licht_sentence_94

The scene is performed twice. Licht_sentence_95

After the interval, either the choir and orchestra change halls, or the divided audience does, in order that each group of listeners may experience the scene from both perspectives.) Licht_sentence_96

The Farewell is an adaptation for five synthesizers of the choral part of Hoch-Zeiten, and it also exists in two further versions: one for solo percussionist with tape, Strahlen; the other as Klavierstück XIX for synthesizer and tape. Licht_sentence_97

The opera falls into the following parts: Licht_sentence_98


  • Scene 1: Lichter-Wasser (Sonntags-Gruß) (Lights-Waters—Sunday's Greeting), for soprano, tenor, and orchestra with synthesizerLicht_item_7_119
  • Scene 2: Engel-Prozessionen (Angel-Processions), for seven choral groupsLicht_item_7_120
  • Scene 3: Licht-Bilder (Light-Pictures), for tenor, ring-modulated flute, basset horn, and ring-modulated trumpetLicht_item_7_121
  • Scene 4: Düfte-Zeichen (Scents-Signs), for 7 solo voices, boy soprano, and synthesizerLicht_item_7_122
  • Scene 5: Hoch-Zeiten (Weddings, but literally: High-Times), for choir and orchestraLicht_item_7_123
  • Sonntags-Abschied (Sunday's Farewell), for five synthesizersLicht_item_7_124

Auxiliary works Licht_section_10

Apart from the versions of various scenes that can be performed separately, and arrangements of such scenes, there are some pieces that lie outside of the Licht cycle proper, and yet are closely related to it. Licht_sentence_99

For example, the Licht superformula itself is adapted as a brief "signalling" piece: Licht_sentence_100


  • Licht-Ruf, Nr. 67, for variable ensemble (1995)Licht_item_8_125

Other pieces are "source" compositions, intermediate between the superformula and final compositional elaboration into parts of one of the operas. Licht_sentence_101


  • Michaels-Ruf, 1. ex Nr. 48½, for variable ensemble (1978), the unscored basic material for the Donnerstags-GrußLicht_item_9_126
  • Xi, 1. ex Nr. 55, for a melody instrument with microtones (1986), the "seed" material for the Montags-GrußLicht_item_9_127

Some others are themselves elaborated from such source compositions, but follow a separate line of development: Licht_sentence_102


  • Traum-Formel, Nr. 51⅔, for basset horn (1981), a recomposition of the formula of the first scene of SamstagLicht_item_10_128
  • Flautina, ex 56½, for flute with piccolo and alto flute (1989), related to the scene "In Hoffnung" from the first act of MontagLicht_item_10_129
  • Quitt, for alto flute, clarinet, and trumpet, Nr. 1 ex 59 (1989), composed out from the basic plan of the Montags-AbschiedLicht_item_10_130
  • Ypsilon, Nr. 2 ex 59, for a melody instrument with microtones (1989), also elaborated from the Montags-Abschied planLicht_item_10_131
  • Sukat, Nr. 2 ex 60, for alto flute and basset horn (1989), based on the portion of the Tuesday formula used for the Dienstags-GrußLicht_item_10_132
  • Vibra-Elufa, Nr. 9¾ ex 64, for vibraphone (2003), based on the ninth "real scene" of Freitag (itself used as a source composition for other parts of that opera)Licht_item_10_133
  • Thinki, Nr. 1 ex 70, for flute (1997), recomposed from material in Michaelion, the final scene of MittwochLicht_item_10_134

There are four pieces made of versions of the formula for Mittwoch: Licht_sentence_103


  • Europa-Gruss, Nr. 72, for winds (1992/1995/2002), originally conceived as the "greeting" for Mittwoch but replacedLicht_item_11_135
  • Trumpetent, Nr. 73, for four trumpets (1995)Licht_item_11_136
  • Mittwoch-Formel, Nr. 73½, for percussion trio (2004)Licht_item_11_137
  • Klavierstück XVIII (Mittwoch-Formel), Nr. 73⅔, for synthesizer (2004)Licht_item_11_138

Also, there is Licht_sentence_104


  • Strahlen, Nr. 80½, for a percussionist and ten-channel sound recording (2002), fashioned from Hoch-Zeiten for choirLicht_item_12_139

Finally, there is: Licht_sentence_105


  • Litanei 97, Nr. 74, for choir and singing conductor (1997)Licht_item_13_140

which sets a text from Aus den sieben Tagen (1968), incorporating fragments of the Licht superformula. Licht_sentence_106

Performances Licht_section_11

Work on Licht began in 1977, and was finished in 2003, though the final scene was performed for the first time in 2004. Licht_sentence_107

All seven operas have been staged individually, at La Scala (Thursday, Saturday, and Monday), Covent Garden (Thursday), Leipzig Opera (Tuesday and Friday), Cologne Opera (Sunday), and Birmingham Opera Company (Wednesday, premiered on the composer's birthday, 22 August 2012). Licht_sentence_108

Plans had previously been made to stage Wednesday in Bonn in 2000 and in Bern in 2003, but both were canceled due to financial and technical problems. Licht_sentence_109

The entire cycle was broadcast in a series on SWR2 between 2001 and 2007, introduced by the composer in conversation with Reinhard Ermen. Licht_sentence_110

Performing such a piece is a challenge not only due to its length, but also due to the logistics involved. Licht_sentence_111

Each part, and in many cases, each scene, is designed for a different configuration of musicians, ranging from scenes written for a cappella choir to orchestra with synthesizer to string quartet playing from helicopters above the concert hall. Licht_sentence_112

In 2019 the Dutch National Opera initiated a three-day immersion into Licht that was called aus LICHT. Licht_sentence_113

It included portions of the Licht cycle from all seven days, totaling about 15 hours of performance time. Licht_sentence_114

The three days/parts were: Licht_sentence_115


  • MichaelLicht_item_14_141
  • Lucifer and EveLicht_item_14_142
  • Cooperation and the Opening Up of SpaceLicht_item_14_143

Performance dates were May 31 – June 2, June 4–6, and June 8–10. Licht_sentence_116

aus LICHT was a joint production of the Dutch National Opera, Holland Festival, Royal Conservatory of The Hague, and the Stockhausen Foundation for Music (). Licht_sentence_117

World premières Licht_section_12


  • Donnerstag (Thursday) – 1981, at La Scala in MilanLicht_item_15_144
  • Samstag (Saturday) – May 1984, at La Scala in MilanLicht_item_15_145
  • Montag (Monday) – 1988, at La Scala in MilanLicht_item_15_146
  • Dienstag (Tuesday) – 1993, at the Leipzig OperaLicht_item_15_147
  • Freitag (Friday) – September 1996, at the Leipzig OperaLicht_item_15_148
  • Mittwoch (Wednesday) – staged première of the entire opera by Birmingham Opera Company, 22 August 2012, The Argyle Works, Birmingham (); première broadcast as a whole by SWR in 2003; première stagings of the individual scenes were as follows:Licht_item_15_149
    • Scene 1 Welt-Parlament ("World Parliament") – 1996, StuttgartLicht_item_15_150
    • Scene 2 Orchester-Finalisten ("Orchestra Finalists") – 1996, Holland Festival, AmsterdamLicht_item_15_151
    • Scene 3 Helikopter-Streichquartett – 1995 Holland Festival, AmsterdamLicht_item_15_152
    • Scene 4 Michaelion July 1998, in the Prinzregententheater, MunichLicht_item_15_153
  • Sonntag (Sunday) – broadcast as a whole by SWR in 2007; première staging as a whole was on 9 April (Scenes 1, 2 and 3) and 10 April (Scenes 4 and 5 and the Farewell), 2011, in Cologne (; )Licht_item_15_154

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