Monday, December 17, 2007

Thinking About Helmut Lachenmann, with Recommended Recordings

Helmut Lachenmann, the German composer born in Stuttgart in 1935, has been at the center of musical debates for nearly four decades and remains there, undaunted, today. His works offer both listeners and performers tremendous challenges — insurmountable challenges, some would say — but his music nonetheless is performed and people do listen to it (perhaps in the ways in which the composer intends). Vital to his aesthetic belief is the reformulation and renewal of musical traditions; why simply accept the hierarchy of traditions the evolution of music has handed down to us? He achieves this musical bouleversement by asking his listeners and performers to suspend, or perhaps completely reject, their inherited beliefs about music, because they serve only to hinder and distort the listening experience. His ability to achieve beauty through the use of unheard or undesired sounds is a testament to his meticulous craft.

[read the entire piece - via La Folia]

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