Lachenmann: Concertini
Music for Ensemble

World première Lucerne, August 25, 2005

Titles of works, like programme notes, are at best misleading an Concertini, raising expectations of a collection of ‘concertante’ situations, is just such a title. There are indeed soloistic opportunities, for guitar, harp, tuba and others, but also (rather less plausibly and with apologies for the neologism) for ‘all instrument-types’ of action and articulation. These include a ‘scraping concerto’ and ‘solos’ for spatial movement, for resonance, sound sequences, rhythmic patterns (with a reminiscence of my piece Mouvement, whose history is bound up with my friendship with Ensemble Modern).

My 1960s composition was often characterised as instrumental musique concrète, in which the compositional process drew its energy from the ‘physicality’ of sound entities. However its vitality depended on more than just the defamiliarisation of instrumental sounds. From the beginning I have been concerned not just with ‘noisiness’ and alienation but with transformation and revelation, with real ‘consonance’ in the widest sense, so that rhythm, gesture, melody, intervals, harmony - every sound and everything sounding - is illuminated by its changed context.

The concertante arrangement allows an ever-shifting balance between accompanying, disguising, covering, uncovering, counterpointing, how and where transformation occurs, every aspect of this ad hoc collection of sound categories: explorers in a self-perpetuating labyrinth, yet fixed in a rigid time-frame; searching an overgrown garden for ...

Helmut Lachenmann
(Trarego, June 7, 2005)


Griffiths, Paul: Modern Music and After, 3rd edition, Oxford University Press 2010, S. 411f
Mahnkopf, Claus-Steffen: Helmut Lachenmann: „Concertini“, in: Helmut Lachenmann (= Musik-Konzepte 146), München: edition text + kritik 2009, S. 46-59
Utz, Christian: Klangkadenz und Himmelsmechanik. Alterität und Selbstreferentialität in Helmut Lachenmanns „Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern“ und „Concertini“, 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. 127-154
ders. und Dieter Kleinrath: Klang und Wahrnehmung bei Varèse, Scelsi und Lachenmann, in: Klangperspektiven, hrsg. von Lukas Haselböck, Hofheim: Wolke 2011, S. 73-102


Ensemble Modern, cond. Brad Lubman
Klangforum Wien, cond. Johannes Kalitzke