“When we have the rehearsals,” Ms. Lusche said, “Kathinka’s motto is always just to ‘play it perfect and beautiful.’ And at the beginning we were like, ‘Yeah, O.K., look at the score. I would love to do that!’ But now that we’re here, it’s something that’s finally clicked. And so what started as a joke, now it’s happening.”
When asked about that “perfect and beautiful” comment, Ms. Pasveer smiled. “It’s true,” she said. “There is a feeling new music must be straightforward. But Stockhausen was very emotional also, and it must always sound beautiful. Never ugly.”
She said teaching a new generation of performers to meet Stockhausen’s demands, which emphasize the physical, performative aspect of instrumental playing more than many other composers, brought her joy.
“These pieces are our children, my children,” she said. “And if they only depend on me, they die with me. So it’s important to see that after a long period of study, others can play this music so beautifully. The piece is alive. The child is alive.”
Later that night at the Gashouder, the Cappella Amsterdam and a second choir of master’s students rehearsed “Angel Processions.” The main choir, divided into small groups singing in different languages, moved slowly around and toward the center of the room, down aisles glowing blue with light and smoke.
The screens were back on, showing paintings of angels and close-ups of calligraphy that faded into live video of the singers. The student chorus, arranged in a circle around the periphery, sang a steady drone, getting louder and softer, cutting across the harmonies, creating strange new chords.