Lachenmann: Kontrakadenz; Klangschatten – mein Saitenspiel; Fassade

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COMPOSERS: Lachenmann
LABELS: Kairos
WORKS: Kontrakadenz; Klangschatten – mein Saitenspiel; Fassade
PERFORMER: Peter Roggenkamp, Zsigmond Szathmáry, Gerhard Gregor (piano); SWR Stuttgart RSO, NDR SO, SWR Baden-Baden & Freiburg SO/Michael Gielen
CATALOGUE NO: 0012232 KAI
This disc features first-rate performances under Gielen of three works from the early Seventies, when Helmut Lachenmann’s music was at its most provocatively alienated. His explorations of what composition really involved, in terms of its social context and the act of performance intimately enmeshed with it, had already taken him well beyond the boundaries of what is generally considered as music. In these pieces the sounds he specifies from his instrumentalists rarely include any conventional playing techniques, yet everything is ordered so carefully and Lachenmann’s ear for sonority so acute that the world he creates is totally coherent and convincing.

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Kontrakadenz (1971) is minutely concerned with the act of playing itself, with constructing a fabric

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of isolated events into which the snatches of random radio programmes are infiltrated; Fassade, composed two years later, is described by Lachenmann as a ‘secret march’, but one that has totally disintegrated so that only fragments of its rhythmic structure remain, and which sometimes collapses into the hiss of an old tape recording. Most impressive of all here is the powerful 1972 Klangschatten – mein Saitenspiel, for 48 strings and three pianos; it’s sparely, transparently scored yet set out on a majestic scale, assembling a repertoire of sounds in which the distinction between what is produced by the pianos and what is played by the strings is constantly questioned. Andrew Clements