Lachenmann: Allegro sostenuto
for clarinet (bass-clarinet), cello and piano

World première: Cologne, December 3, 1989

As in my earlier work "Ausklang" for piano with orchestra, here, too, the musical material is determined by a mediation between the experience of "resonance" ("tenuto" variations between a "secco" sound and natural or artificial "laisser-vibrer") on the one hand, and "movement" on the other. Both aspects of the sounds confront each other in the conception of structure as a highly ambivalent "arpeggio", i. e. as a successively experienced process of building up, tearing down, and rebuilding, which is also communicated within the briefest space of time as a figurative gesture, as if it were a projection onto larger surfaces.
Form and expression result in the combination of six successively ordered zones:
A broad opening sequence (1), which traverses down through sonic space, presents a "legato" cantilena of simple - both natural and artificial, direct and indirect, "false" as it were - extensions of the resonance or fields of resonance, the last of which are cadenced to a stand-still ("Standstill" here is a concept in which resonance and movement in their most extreme forms come in contact). (2) is a variously subdivided play of terraces "drying out" between "secchissimo" and total pedalisation. In the actual "allegro" section (3), resonance appears to flow in a motion with intense velocity - or vice versa. Interrupted and diverted by a sort of "deflated hymn", (4) is a recitative of calls in spaces that resonate to various degrees, including some "dead" spaces. In (5) they find their way back to movement, escalating, consuming themselves in marginal regions of the violently perforated instrumental sound. Feathering out, as it were, a final cadence (6) is composed of mixtures, in whose inner life resonance and movement once again become merged.

Helmut Lachenmann, translated by Steven Lindberg and edited by Richard Steinitz (program notes for the Huddersfield Festival 2000)


Griffiths, Paul: Modern Music and After, 3rd edition, Oxford University Press 2010, S. 283f
Helmut Lachenmann: Komponieren: Ein Instrument bauen, zum Beispiel "Allegro Sostenuto", in: Komposition und Musikwissenschaft im Dialog I (1997/1998), hrsg. von Inka Misch und Christoph von Blumröder (= Signale aus Köln. Beiträge zur Musik der Zeit, Band 3), Saarbrücken: Pfau 2000, S. 114-142
, Siegfried: „Coincidentia oppositorum“? Zu Helmut Lachenmanns „Allegro sostenuto“, in: Nachgedachte Musik. Studien zum Werk von Helmut Lachenmann, hrsg. von Jörn Peter Hiekel und Siegfried Mauser, Saarbrücken: Pfau 2005, S. 137-144
Mosch, Ulrich: Das Unberührte berühren – Anmerkungen zur Interpretation von Helmut Lachenmanns Werken „Pression“ und „Allegro sostenuto“, in: Musik inszeniert. Präsentation und Vermittlung zeitgenössischer Musik heute, hrsg. von Jörn Peter Hiekel (= Veröffentlichungen des Instituts für Neue Musik und Musikerziehung Darmstadt, Band 46), Mainz u. a.: Schott 2006, S. 25-46
ders.: : bis ins kleinste detail. Zu einer Skizze von Helmut Lachenmanns „Allegro sostenuto“, in: Neue Zeitschrift für Musik 167 (2006), Heft 1, S. 34fworld première Cologne, December 3, 1989
Neuwirth, Markus: Strukturell vermittelte Magie. Kognitionswissenschaftliche Annäherungen an Helmut Lachenmanns „Pression“ und „Allegro sostenuto“, in: Musik als Wahrnehmungskunst. Untersuchungen zu Kompositionsmethodik und Hörästhetik bei Helmut Lachenmann, hrsg. von Christian Utz und Clemens Gadenstätter (= musik.theorien der gegenwart 2), Saarbrücken: Pfau 2008, S. 73-100
Smeyers, Davis: Allegro Sostenuto, in: The Clarinet, Mai/Juni 1998, S. 26-28


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