Lachenmann: Consolation I
from 'Les Consolations'

World première Bremen (pro musica nova), May 3, 1968

Yesterday You stood
On the wall.
Now You stand
Again on the wall.
It is You
Who stands on the wall.
Man, it is You.
Recognize Yourself:
It is You.
(Ernst Toller, from: Masse Mensch)

In 1967 and 1968 I composed “Consolation I” after a text from “Masse Mensch” by Ernst Toller and “Consolation II” after the “Wessobrunner Gebet” (Wessobrunn Prayer). When interpreted as forms of “consolation” in the face of human helplessness and existential fear, both texts are contemplative in completely different ways: “It’s you standing at the wall today, look and know thyself” - “When nowhere was there something, no ends nor wends, there was still the one God almighty”. Today I feel it was the disconsolateness of the two texts which made me come up with the title “Consolation” at the time. My original ideas on developing the series have changed since then. “Dis-consolation”, if such a thing actually exists, would be the basic, secret notion.

(Helmut Lachenmann 1968)

Schola Cantorum Stuttgart, Arno Arndt, Siegfried Fink, Hermann Gschwendtner, Michael W. Ranta, cond. Clytus Gottwald
CD Cadenza 800 893
LP WER 60122 / CD Wergo WER 67382
Klangforum Wien, cond. Hans Zender,
Schola Heidelberg, ensemble aisthesis, cond. Walter Nußbaum
Schola Cantorum Stuttgart, cond. Clytus Gottwald
Doppel-CD ’50 Jahre Kompositionspreis der Landeshauptstadt Stuttgart’ 50KPS07


Lück, Hartmut: Philosophie und Literatur im Werk von Helmut Lachenmann, in: Der Atem des Wanderers. Der Komponist Helmut Lachenmann, hrsg. von Hans-Klaus Jungheinrich, Mainz: Schott 2006, S. 41-55