Helmut Lachenmann
Helmut Lachenmann (born 27 November 1935 in Stuttgart
Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. The sixth-largest city in Germany, Stuttgart has a population of 600,038 while the metropolitan area has a population of 5.3 million ....

) is a German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

 associated with musique concrète
Musique concrète
Musique concrète is a form of electroacoustic music that utilises acousmatic sound as a compositional resource. The compositional material is not restricted to the inclusion of sounds derived from musical instruments or voices, nor to elements traditionally thought of as "musical"...


Life and works

Lachenmann was born in Stuttgart
Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. The sixth-largest city in Germany, Stuttgart has a population of 600,038 while the metropolitan area has a population of 5.3 million ....

 and after the end of the Second World War (when he was 11) started singing in his local church choir. Showing an early aptitude for music, he was already composing in his teens. He studied piano with Jürgen Uhde and composition and theory with Johann Nepomuk David
Johann Nepomuk David
Johann Nepomuk David was an Austrian composer.He began his musical career in the monastery of Sankt Florian, and was a composition student of Joseph Marx....

 at the Musikhochschule Stuttgart from 1955 to 1958 and was the first private student of the Italian composer Luigi Nono
Luigi Nono
Luigi Nono was an Italian avant-garde composer of classical music and remains one of the most prominent composers of the 20th century.- Early years :Born in Venice, he was a member of a wealthy artistic family, and his grandfather was a notable painter...

 in Venice from 1958 to 1960. He also worked briefly at the electronic music studio at the University of Ghent in 1965, composing his only published tape piece Szenario during that period, but thereafter focused almost exclusively on purely instrumental music.

Lachenmann has referred to his compositions as musique concrète instrumentale, implying a musical language that embraces the entire sound-world made accessible through unconventional playing techniques. According to the composer, this is music
in which the sound events are chosen and organized so that the manner in which they are generated is at least as important as the resultant acoustic qualities themselves. Consequently those qualities, such as timbre, volume, etc., do not produce sounds for their own sake, but describe or denote the concrete situation: listening, you hear the conditions under which a sound- or noise-action is carried out, you hear what materials and energies are involved and what resistance is encountered.

His music is therefore primarily derived from the most basic of sounds, which through processes of amplification serve as the basis for extended works. His scores place enormous demands on performers, due to the plethora of techniques that he has invented for wind, brass and string instruments.

His more important works include his opera Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern (1990-96, after Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen was a Danish author, fairy tale writer, and poet noted for his children's stories. These include "The Steadfast Tin Soldier," "The Snow Queen," "The Little Mermaid," "Thumbelina," "The Little Match Girl," and "The Ugly Duckling."...

, Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

 and Gudrun Ensslin
Gudrun Ensslin
Gudrun Ensslin was a founder of the German militant group Red Army Faction . After becoming involved with co-founder Andreas Baader, Ensslin was influential in the politicization of Baader's voluntaristic anarchistic beliefs. Ensslin was perhaps the intellectual head of the RAF...

), the orchestral pieces Schwankungen am Rand (1974-75, for eight brass, two electric guitars, two pianos, four thunder sheets, and 34 strings), Accanto (1975-76, for clarinet, large orchestra and tape) and NUN (1997-99, for flute, trombone, male chorus, and large orchestra), the ensemble works Mouvement (- vor der Erstarrung) (1982-84, for three ad hoc players and 14 players) and "...zwei Gefühle...", Musik mit Leonardo (1992, (later incorporated in opera Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern), after Leonardo da Vinci, for two speakers and 22 players) and three string quartets (Gran Torso, 1971, revised 1976, 1988; Reigen seliger Geister, 1989; Grido, 2001), as well as other orchestral, ensemble and chamber works and six piano pieces.

He has regularly lectured at Darmstadt
Darmstadt New Music Summer School
Initiated in 1946 by Wolfgang Steinecke, the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik, Darmstadt , held annually until 1970 and subsequently every two years, encompass both the teaching of composition and interpretation and include premières of new works...

 since 1978. From 1976 to 1981 he taught composition at the Musikhochschule Hannover, from 1981 to 1999 the Musikhochschule Stuttgart. Among his students are Mark Andre
Mark Andre
Mark Andre is a French composer living in Germany. The Guardian said of him, "though Manchester festival director Alex Poots's claim that Mark Andre is "one of Europe's leading composers" is far-fetched, there is no doubt that Andre's music remains virtually unknown in the UK...

, Alvaro Carlevaro, Clemens Gadenstätter, Harald Muenz, Manuel Hidalgo, Shigeru Kan-no
Shigeru Kan-no
is a Japanese composer and conductor living in Germany.-Biography:Shigeru Kan-no was born in Fukushima, Japan. He now lives as a free-lance composer and conductor in Westerwald, Germany. His repertoire includes over 100 operas and 700 concert pieces. He is also a talented musician, able to play...

, Juliane Klein, Mayako Kubo
Mayako Kubo
Mayako Kubo is a Japanese pianist and composer.-Life:Mayako Kubo was born in Kobe, Japan, and studied piano at Osaka College of Music. In 1972 she continued her studies in composition with Roman Haubenstock-Ramati and Erich Urbanner in Vienna, where she composed her first pieces of tape music at...

, Wolfram G. Schurig, Kunsu Shim  and Stefan Streich.

He is also noted for his articles, essays and lectures, many of which appear in Musik als existentielle Erfahrung (Music as Existential Experience) (Breitkopf & Härtel
Breitkopf & Härtel
Breitkopf & Härtel is the world's oldest music publishing house. The firm was founded in 1719 in Leipzig by Bernhard Christoph Breitkopf . The catalogue currently contains over 1000 composers, 8000 works and 15,000 music editions or books on music. The name "Härtel" was added when Gottfried...

, Wiesbaden, 1996).

Lachenmann has received many distinguished awards such as the Bach-prize of Hamburg (Bach-Preis der Freien und Hansestadt Hamburg) in 1972, the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize
Ernst von Siemens Music Prize
The international Ernst von Siemens Music Prize is an annual music prize given by the Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste on behalf of the Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung , established in 1972. The foundation was established by Ernst von Siemens...

 in 1997 and the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Contemporary Music Category.

Invited by Walter Fink
Walter Fink
Walter Fink is a German retired executive and a patron of Contemporary music. He is mostly known for being a founding member, Executive Committee member and sponsor of the Rheingau Musik Festival.- Biography :...

, he was the eighth composer featured in the annual Komponistenporträt of the Rheingau Musik Festival
Rheingau Musik Festival
The Rheingau Musik Festival is an international summer music festival in Germany, founded in 1987. It is mostly for classical music, but includes other genres...

 in 1998. Two chamber music concerts with Salome Kammer
Salome Kammer
Salome Kammer is a German actor, singer and cellist.- Professional career :Kammer was the fourth of six children. Her father was a Protestant pastor...

 and members of the ensemble musikFabrik
The musikFabrik is an ensemble for contemporary music located in Cologne. Their official name is: musikFabrik Landesensemble NRW e.V. .-Overview:...

 showed among others temA for flute, mezzosoprano and piano, his string trio and Allegro sostenuto for clarinet, violoncello and piano.

In spring 2008 he was appointed Fromm Visiting Professor at the Music department at Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

. He was also a composer-in-residence at Oberlin College during the same time.

List of works

  • Fünf Variationen über ein Thema von Franz Schubert (Walzer cis-moll, D643) for piano (1956)
  • Rondo for two pianos (1957)
  • Souvenir for 41 instruments (1959)
  • Due Giri, two studies for orchestra (1960)
  • Tripelsextett for 18 instruments (1960-61)
  • Fünf Strophen for 9 instruments (1961)
  • Echo Andante for piano (1961-62)
  • Angelion for 16 instruments (1962-63)
  • Wiegenmusik for piano (1963)
  • Introversion I for 18 instruments (1963)
  • Introversion II for 8 instruments (1964)
  • Scenario for tape (1965)
  • Streichtrio I for violin, viola and cello (1965)
  • Intérieur I for one percussionist (1966)
  • Notturno for small orchestra and solo cello (1966/67)
  • Trio fluido for clarinet, viola and percusion (1966/68)
  • Consolations I for 12 voices and percussion (1967)
  • temA for flute , voice and cello (1968)
  • Consolations II for 16 voices (1968)
  • Air, music for large orchestra with percussion solo (1968-69)
  • Pression for cello (1969-70)
  • Dal niente (Interieur III) for clarinet (1970)
  • Guero, piano study (1970)
  • Kontrakadenz for large orchestra (1970-71)
  • Montage for clarinet, cello and piano (1971)
  • Klangschatten - mein Saitenspiel for three Konzertflügel (pianoforte) and string ensemble (1972)
  • Gran Torso, music for string quartet (1972)
  • Fassade for large orchestra (1973)
  • Schwankungen am Rand, for sheet metal and strings (1974-75)
  • Zwei Studien for violin (1974)
  • Accanto, music for solo clarinet and orchestra (1975-76)
  • Les Consolations for choir and orchestra (1976-78)
  • Salut für Caudwell, music for two guitarists (1977)
  • Tanzsuite mit Deutschlandlied, music for orchestra and string quartet (1979-80)
  • Ein Kinderspiel, seven little pieces for piano (1980)
  • Harmonica, music for large orchestra and solo tuba (1981-83)
  • Mouvement (- vor der Erstarrung) for ensemble (1982/84)
  • Ausklang for piano and orchestra (1984-85)
  • Dritte Stimme zu J.S. Bachs zweistimmiger Invention d-moll BWV775 for three instruments (1985)
  • Staub for orchestra (1985-87)
  • Toccatina, violin study (1986)
  • Allegro sostenuto, music for clarinet, cello and piano (1986-88)
  • Tableau for orchestra (1988)
  • 2. Streichquartett "Reigen seliger Geister", string quartet (1989)
  • "...zwei Gefühle...", Musik mit Leonardo for speaker and ensemble (1992)
  • Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern Musik mit Bildern (Musiktheater), music with images - theatre music for very large orchestra and soloists (1988-96)
  • Serynade for piano (1998)
  • NUN for flute, trombone, male choir and orchestra (1999)
  • Sakura-Variationen for saxophone, percussion and piano (2000)
  • 3. Streichquartett "Grido", string quartet (2001)
  • Schreiben for orchestra (2003)
  • Double (Grido II) for string orchestra (2004)
  • Concertini for large ensemble (2005)
  • ...got lost..., music for soprano and piano (2008)
  • Berliner Kirschblüten, an arrangement with three variations on a Japanese folksong for alto saxophone, piano and percussion (2008) - a continuation of the Sakura-Variationen on the Japanese folksong "Sakura", an adjacent work
  • Concerto for 8 Horns and Orchestra (2010-11), for Musica Viva Munich

External links

Further reading

  • An interview with Lachenmann appeared in issue 228 (February 2003) of The Wire
    The Wire (magazine)
    The Wire is a British avant garde music magazine, founded in 1982 by jazz promoter Anthony Wood and journalist Chrissie Murray. The magazine initially concentrated on contemporary jazz and improvised music, but branched out in the early 1990s to various types of experimental music...

  • Feller, Ross. "Resistant Strains of Postmodernism: The Music of Helmut Lachenmann and Brian Ferneyhough." Within Postmodern Music/Postmodern Thought. Studies in Contemporary Music and Culture Volume 4. Edited by Judy Lochhead and Joseph Auner. New York and London: Routledge, 2002. Pgs. 249 - 262
  • Hockings, Elke. "Helmut Lachenmann's Concept of Rejection." Tempo 193 1995. 4 - 14.
  • Lachenmann, Helmut. Musik als existentielle Erfahrung: Schriften 1966 - 1995. Edited by Josef Häusler. Mainz: Breitkopf und Härtel, 1996
  • Lachenmann, Helmut. "Struktur und Musikantik", Nova Giulianiad 6, no. 85 , 92ff.
  • Lachenmann, Helmut. "Klangtypen der neuen Musik." Zeitschrift für Musiktheorie, i (1970), 21 - 30.
  • Lachenmann, Helmut. "'Fortschritt'? (Irrtum ausgeschlossen 'nicht Foxtrott'?)" Musik-Konzepte, no.100 (1998), 56.
  • Lachenmann, Helmut. "Begingungen des Materials." Ferienkurse 78. Mainz: Schott, 1978, Pg. 93 - 110.
  • Lachenmann, Helmut. "Dialektischer Strukturalismus, Ästhetik und Komposition: Zur Aktualität der Darmstädter Ferienkursarbeit." , 23–32. Mainz: Schott, 1978.
  • Nonnenmann, Rainer. Angebot durch Verweigerung: Die Ästhetik instrumentalkonkreten Klangkomponierens in Helmut Lachenmanns frühen Orchesterwerken. Kölner Schriften zur Neuen Musik 8. Mainz & New York: Schott, 2000. ISBN 379571897X
  • Shaked, Yuval. "Helmut Lachenmanns 'SALUT FÜR CAUDWELL', Eine Analyse". Nova Giulianiad 6,no. 85: 97ff.
  • Steenhuisen, Paul. "Interview with Helmut Lachenmann". In Sonic Mosaics: Conversations with Composers. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2009. ISBN-13: 978-0888644749
  • Weeks, James. "Liberating Perception and Entering Lion Cages: An Interview with Helmut Lachenmann". New Notes (November 2006).
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