Helmut Lachenmann (*1935) Les Consolations
[solos,orch] 1967-68/1977-78 duration: 38'
Soli: 4S4A4T4B – 4picc.3.3.B-clar.3.dble bsn – 18.104.22.168. – timp.perc(6) – 2hp – 2pno – str: 10.10.8.6.4.
World première: Darmstadt, August 10, 1978
DVD containing interview with Lachenmann, sectional rehearsals and concert
I composed “Consolation I” in 1967 and 1968 to a text from Masse Mensch by Ernst Toller and Consolation II to the Wessobrunner Gebet. Both texts, conceived as forms of solace in the face of helplessness and existential fear, are contemplative in complementary ways: “…that is you, who stands at the wall today, recognize yourself!” – “…when there was nothing anywhere in endings and turnings, there was the one all powerful God.” It seems to me today that – via Franz Liszt – the naked desolation of both texts suggested the title to me. “De-Consolation”, if such a thing exists, ist he fundamental idea.
The story of The Little Match Girl (textual basis of Präludium, Interludium, Postludium) – who, ignored by society, lights the matches she couldn’t sell and before she freezes to death at least has a vision of her grandmother and is carried aloft by her – becomes the framework for the ensemble: a story about taking action, without overblown insights into (the anyway abbreviated doctrinaire notion of) historical necessity, but according to inner imperatives, under the pressure of reality, the reality of society and of nature.
The linguistic intelligibility of the two earlier texts had been reduces to representative exclamatory gestures or distinctive phonetic codes, which is to say more or less abandoned. Emphatic vocal composition a priori and linear sequences conforming to the spoken word contradicted my conception 0of structure and material. The intelligibility of the Andersen material had not only to be retained but also newly conceived and made plausible within the context of the already extant compositional material. Although in my view the musical material changes and moved away from these potential acoustic connections towards more and more socially conditioned expressive antitheses, the structural approach in the sense of the “old” serial-atonal Utopia largely persists in my music. Thus an antithesis arises within the narrative time frame just had occurred with the loss of intelligibility in the interests of expressive structure in the two older pieces. The working process with this composition arose out of the encounter between the impossibility and the necessity of musical structure and verbal communication in relation to each other.
Schola Heidelberg, WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, cond. Johannes Kalitzke
CD KAIROS 0012652KAI
Febel, Reinhard: Zu Ein Kinderspiel und Les Consolations von Helmut Lachenmann, in: Reinhard Febel, Alles ständig in Bewegung. Texte zur Musik 1976-2003, hrsg. von Rainer Nonnenmann (= Quellentexte zur Musik des 20./21. Jahrhunderts 11.1), Saarbrücken: Pfau 2004, pp. 130-167.
|2. Consolation I|
|4. Consolation II|