When Mats Claesson suggested to do a concert with music by the late Karlheinz Stockhausen at the Ultima Festival in 2008, my immediate idea was that we should perform Mikrophonie I (1964). Ever since I persuaded the library at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo to order this way too expensive score in 2004, I had been fascinated by this piece. There were several reasons for this.
The piece had a mystical aura by being written in an inaccessible graphical notation, it was rarely performed, difficult to get on CD and it was also written for an exotic group of musicians; one tam-tam, two percussionists, two microphonists, two musicians controlling the amplitude and two musicians controlling the filters. The piece was never before performed in Norway, and before I ordered it there was not any copies of the score in Norway either.
Mikrophonie I contained several interesting musical concepts. It is perhaps the first piece in which the microphone itself is used as an instrument and not just as an audio tool, and that in a thoroughly structured manner. The piece focuses largely on the vast sound world that reveals itself when you put your ear or microphone close to a sound producing object.
Mikrophonie I was performed for the first time in Norway at the Ultima Festival in 2008, and NOTAM published a collection of texts named Karlheinz Stockhausen, a pioneer in utopia in connection with the concert. This was the first Norwegian publication with texts about Stockhausen's electronic music. These three texts are taken from this publication.