Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928- 2007) was one of the most important, but also most controversial German composers of the 20th century. He is known for his ground-breaking work in electronic music, aleatory, and serial composition.
Stockhausen studied at the Hochschule für Musik Köln and at the University of Cologne, later with Olivier Messiaen in Paris and Werner Meyer-Eppler at the University of Bonn. One of the leading figures of the Darmstadt School, his compositions and theories were and remain widely influential, not only on composers of art music, but also on jazz and popular music. His works range from miniatures for musical boxes through works for solo instruments, songs, chamber music, choral and orchestral music, to a cycle of seven full-length operas. His theoretical and other writings comprise ten large volumes. He received numerous prizes and distinctions for his compositions, recordings, and for the scores produced by his publishing company.
Zodiac, probably his most popular composition, was written in the mid 70es and consists of 12 melodies for music boxes, each one reflecting one sign of the zodiac. Later Stockhausen prepared further versions, e.g. for piano, for clarinet and piano, but also for chamber orchestra or for voices.
The music boxes can be listened to on the web:
Based on the piano score, I have recorded five of them – the signs of my closer family. Each recording starts with the melody in unison, followed by the melody with accompaniment in three different registrations.