In 1954, the devout Catholic Karlheinz Stockhausen started work on a Mass for electronic sounds, which he intended to debut in Cologne Cathedral. Church authorities apparently deemed loudspeakers inappropriate for the cathedral space, and forced to rethink his plans, Stockhausen transformed his initial concept into a non-liturgical religious work. With his Gesang der Jünglinge, Stockhausen produced a unique synthesis of vocal and electronic sounds.
“It integrates electronic sounds with the human voice by matching voice resonance with pitch and creating sounds of phonemes electronically.” I think that means that sung vowels in their overtone structure resemble pure tones, whereas consonants resemble noises. Stockhausen still had to create additional elements to fill the continuum, and in this way brought together purely electronically generated music with the transformative recordings of acoustical events. The text is presented on a scale of seven degrees of comprehensibility, and “whenever language emerges momentarily from the sound signals of the music, it praises God.” During the period from 1954 to 1956, Stockhausen was struggling to establish his career, and “I myself was a youth in the fiery furnace,” he once remarked.
Karlheinz Stockhausen: Gesang der Jünglinge