London’s Southbank Centre will celebrate the “Infinite Sound World” of legendary composer Helmut Lachenmann this weekend.

They’ll also be celebrating his 75th birthday so, you know, double whammy. Lachenmann was one of the most admired composers of the 1960s for his “instrumentale” take on already existing musique concrete forms; in his own words, a 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.”

The first half of this weekender, on Oct 23, takes the form of the Lachenmann Chamber Music Day at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, featuring the composer’s String Quartets No. 1 Gran Torso and No. 3 Grido performed by the Arditti Quartet. Both works focus on the use of non-acoustic sounds, often created by musicians using unconventional parts of their instrument. This will be followed by an on-stage discussion between Lachenmann and writer and broadcaster Ivan Hewett, and a performance of the composer’s Nietzsche-referencing Got Lost for soprano and piano (2008).

The second half, on October 24, consists of a concert at the Royal Festival Hall by an enlarged London Sinfonietta, Southbank Centre Resident Orchestra, and conductor Brad Lubman. The programme opens with Ausklang for piano and orchestra (1986) and closes with Schreiben (2003), one of Lachenmann’s largest works.

For more information, times and tickets, visit the Southbank’s homepage.



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