The finale of Musikfest Berlin features Karlheinz Stockhausen. It begins not with his electronic compositions, the pioneering medium of the 1950s and 1960s, but instead with pieces for piano, historically the classic instrument for pioneering composers from Bach to Schönberg. And it retained this function for Stockhausen. It shifted from exemplifying compositional experimentation towards signifying a means of reflection, scrutinizing aesthetic concepts and the key test of spiritual innovation.
Stockhausen used his compositions to pursue the aim of investigating the sound of the piano anew, reconceiving it and ultimately recreating it. As a complete work, however, in their differences, which range from details of their intonation to their concept of time, they develop an absorbing fascination; he manages to place concentrated listening in the centre of an imaginary space from which the universe of the piano can be experienced most specifically – a universe that opens suggestively into other sound worlds, into theatrical, psychic and spiritual dimensions which the composer would develop more broadly and precisely many years later. The interpretation of Klavierstücke I-XI by the French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard has set new standards.