Lachenmann: Intérieur I; Schwankungen am Rand; Air

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COMPOSERS: Lachenmann
LABELS: Col legno
WORKS: Intérieur I; Schwankungen am Rand; Air
PERFORMER: Christoph Caskel, Christian Dierstein (perc); SWF SO/Ernest Bour, Stuttgart State Orchestra/Lothar Zagrosek
In his early works, Helmut Lachenmann had paid his dues to the dogmas of total serialism, but in the mid-Sixties he became as concerned with analysing the whole business of playing and hearing music as with composing. The solo percussion Intérieur I is the piece he now regards as his Op. 1, and its patternings of sound look forward to the textures that he would very soon be extracting from all instruments, constantly blurring the boundary between noise and music. In Air, for percussion and orchestra, it’s the points of contact between the struck and stroked sounds of the soloist and the array of effects that the orchestral musicians produce that provides the work’s dynamic – what we commonly regard as music, Lachenmann suggests, is only one aspect of the aural spectrum that is really available to an orchestra. Schwankungen am Rand juxtaposes brass and strings in another piece that is as much concerned with how the sounds are made as with the effect they make. Yet if all that sounds as if Lachenmann is purely concerned with process and not with the end product, he isn’t, for everything is elegantly shaped and his ear for sonority is fastidious. This valuable disc is a reminder that he is an important composer ignored in Britain for too long. Andrew Clements