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Although Stockhausen had become a marginal figure by his death, his music will last. Plus 20th-century music gets the history it deserves

By Martin Kettle   January 2008

Stockhausen’s significance

By the time of his death on 5th December, it had become very easy, and certainly very common, to dismiss Karlheinz Stockhausen. Far from being a spent musical force in his later years, Stockhausen continued to be highly productive, and he leaves behind 362 completed works. Yet in his lifetime, Stockhausen had gone from being a figure of enormous moment in the musical world to someone operating almost on its margins. His death was extensively reported, yet provoked little serious reflection among commentators.

Much of this is because the world of music and the world of Stockhausen…

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