Helmut Lachenmann (*1935) Schwankungen am Rand
Music for Brass and Strings [orch] 1974/75 Duration: 33'
0.0.0.0. – 0.4.4.0. – 4thundersheets – 2e-guit – 2pno – str: 4vl.2va(in the audience) – 22.214.171.124.0. – 6 regulators
World premiere: Donaueschingen (Donaueschinger Musiktage), October 17, 1975
DVD containing interview with Lachenmann, sectional rehearsals and concert
Four trumpets, four trombones, four thundersheets, two grand pianos, two electric guitars and 34 high strings (violins and violas) are placed at the edge of the hall around the audience. The real and spatial sound effects can be changed and shifted through microphones by means of amplifiers and loudspeakers. In the piece different contrasts unfold, some of which are present in the basic material and some of which arise from the work as it progresses. To the first category the “vacillating” significance of the sound belongs, as the product of its mechanical origin on the one hand, and as a well-known signal, as part of a familiar repertoire as far as the playing technique is concerned on the other hand, but also the conditions of the actual space: they are overcome and blocked by the electrical amplification, begin to “vacillate”, so to speak. To the latter category the vacillating function of the rhythm belongs, here as a rigid time-framework, there as an unpredictable, only indirectly controlled product of the indistinctness and the characteristic inner life of instrumental processes. This principle of “vacillation” becomes directly comprehensible on the one hand by way of the concrete material of the thundersheets, only relatively controllable, on the other hand by way of the medium of control itself: by way of the blind apparatus of the electrical amplification. The piece is an attempt to hold the process of listening in the balance between various possible categories, to let it oscillate, as it were, by means of precise, ad hoc formulated structures. That these are designed to cancel each other out, to draw attention away from themselves to the landscape of indistinctness and of unleashed intermediate values, such as arise on the “reverse side” of the pattern created: this becomes clear at the latest at the point when the structure becomes petrified in fermata, in ostinato phrases turned to stone or in the “laisser-vibrer” of screwed-up wrapping paper.
(Helmut Lachenmann, 1969)
SWF-Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden, cond. Ernest Bour
CD col legno WWE 31899 (75 Jahre Donaueschinger Musiktage) und WWE 20511
Ensemble Modern, cond. Peter Eötvös
CD ECM 1789
Ensemble Modern Orchestra, cond. Brad Lubman
Excerpts on DVD „Lachenmann-Perspektiven 3“ (Breitkopf & Härtel, BHM 7813)
Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, cond. Emilio Pomàrico
DVD „Lachenmann-Perspektiven 3“ (Breitkopf & Härtel, BHM 7813)
Nonnenmann, Rainer: Music with Images The Development of Helmut Lachenmanns Sound Composition Between Concretion and Transcendence, in: Helmut Lachenmann Music with matches, hrsg. von Dan Albertson, Contemporary Music Review 24 (2005), Vol. 1, pp. 1-29.
ders.: Temporale Gebäude. Komponisten als Architekten orchestraler Klang- und Hörräume, in: Neue Zeitschrift für Musik 172 (2011), Heft 5, pp. 28-33.
Oehlschlägel, Reinhard: Widersetzungen. Helmut Lachenmanns "Schwankungen am Rand", in: MusikTexte 67/68 (1997), pp. 93-94.
Toop, Richard: Concept and Context: A Historiographic Consideration of Lachenmanns Orchestral Works, in: Helmut Lachenmann Inward Beauty, hrsg. von Dan Albertson, Contemporary Music Review 23 (2004), Heft 3/4, pp. 125-144.