Composers: Flashes of a Mad Logic

Among composers of electronic music, there is none so mystical and dedicated as Germany's Karlheinz Stockhausen. He talks about "expanded sense of time" and "sound-visions," and when he sees a sumo wrestling match in Japan, he flips because "the prolonged preparation and then the quick violent act" have a profound impact on his music. For the moment, the sounds that come out of his tape recorder put Stockhausen, 38, out in front of the avant-garde by several thousand volts.

In San Francisco last week, modernists and would-be modernists took over the Opera...

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