Helmut Lachenmann Quartet no. 2, Reigen seliger Geister (1989)
Reigen seliger Geister—perception play: tones grasped out of the air, air grasped out of the tones. Following the adventure in my first string quartet . . . with extraterritorial ways of playing the instrument . . . here the re-appropriation of interval constellations (‘text’) as ‘facade’, as ‘pretext’, so that their realization will enable the natural acoustic edges of the produced tones their timbral articulation, their muting, how they fade, how the vibrating strings are stopped (for example, also altering the noise component by sliding the bow between the bridge and the fingerboard)—to create, through the ‘dead’ tone-structure, a reborn object of experience. Thus, action fields determined by playing techniques are stages—transformed, shifted, abandoned, combined. The pianissimo as space for a manifold fortissimo possibile of the suppressed in-between values: figures that a sliding bow stroke makes vanish or arise within toneless murmuring, the pizzicato mixture that, despite its fugitive fading, can still be prematurely damped in part, ‘filtered’.
Helmut Lachenmann Quartet no. 3, Grido (2000–01)
For me, composing means, if not ‘solving a problem’, then indeed ecstatically grappling with a traumatic dilemma: to confront the technical challenges of composition—perceived and adopted—so as to bring about a resolution. While this situation, per se, is not new to me, it nonetheless remains alien, for it is in this that I lose myself, and in so doing truly find myself again. I know that sounds enigmatic, yet in different ways, every ‘problem’, every ‘traumatic dilemma’, embodies the categorical question of the possibility of authentic music. This concept of authenticity has become questionable because of music’s ubiquity and ready availability; administered on a global scale in a civilization which has been flooded and saturated by music (auditory consumerist magic) and which, because it has become standardized, has been dulled. That questionability is an unconsciously recognizable and suppressed collective reality. It is the exterior of our repressible—yet no less real—inner longing for liberated space for the perceptive soul: for ‘new’ music.