The ROTARY Woodwind Quintet was composed in September 1997, commissioned by Henrik Rolf Hanstein, president of the Cologne Römerturm Rotary Club. The world première and a second performance took place on the occasion of the celebration of this club's twenty-fifth anniversary on October 25th 1997 at Schloß Dyck near Jüchen-Aldenhoven. The following musicians performed: Helen Bledsoe (flute), Peter Veale (oboe), Nina Janßen (clarinet), Jan Babinec (horn), Alban Wesly (bassoon). Stockhausen rehearsed with the musicians for four days.
The rotation principle is illustrated in two ways during each of the four phases I - II - III - IV of the work, which are connected by sustained chords (fermatas). The three formulas of LIGHT rotate in the registers and timbres:
Phase I: MICHAEL-formula above, EVE-formula in the middle, LUCIFER-formula below;
Phase II: LUCIFER-formula above, MICHAEL-formula in the middle, EVE-formula below;
Phase III: EVE-formula above, LUCIFER-formula in the middle, MICHAEL-formula below;
Phase IV: MICHAEL-formula above, EVE-formula in the middle, LUCIFER-formula below.
A second rotation is composed as spatial music.