Karlheinz Stockhausen

Hymnen (Anthems)

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Realized in 1967 in the electronic composition studios of the WDR (Western German Radio), this piece for magnetic tape, in versions with and without solo instrumentalists, is made from electronically-modulated national anthems of many countries, modulated shortwave broadcasts and musique concréte "sound effects" like human yelling and animal noises. There are four movements called Regions: the first is built from the Internationale and the Marsellaise. The second the hymn of the German Federal Republic, several African national anthems, and the beginning of the Russian anthem. The third Region is made from the American and Russian anthems, and the fourth from the Swiss anthem and a theme associated with what the composer calls the Utopia of Hymunion in Harmondie unter Pluramon (hymn-union within the harmony of the world -- harmonium mundi -- under plurality and monism). This uniquely original composition gives the impression both of international contemporaneity and also of our part in a great universal mystery.