Bits I can remember from Saturday’s talk by Helmut Lachenmann

Thursday 28 October 2010

Composition is largely an act of constructing an instrument.

 

Emotion arises in the conflict between the structure of the music and the structure of the listener.

 

Growing up during The War, you would turn on the radio and hear an announcer valorising the dead of Stalingrad for their sacrifice in defense of the Fatherland, followed by Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. When the death of the Führer was announced it was followed by the Siegfrieds Tod. Music was used as a tool to remove thought. This was the millieu of the post-war avant-garde.

 

Favourite title is Morton Feldman’s The Viola in My Life.

 

“There are no electronics in my life.”

 

The piano doesn’t play the melody, the melody plays the piano.

 

Study with Nono was impossible. Everything was an imperialist relic of capitalist oppression. One note followed by another note was a melody, which was bourgeois. How could he work himself free from these strictures? [cf. Feldman telling his students he wanted to make composition impossible for them.]

 

Teaching about beauty in art to class of schoolchildren, he brought in a photograph of Gina Lollobrigida and a print of Albrecht Dürer’s mother and asked which was more beautiful. The class hesitated, unsure of what answer he wanted to hear. One girl whispered to her friend, “The ugly one’s more beautiful.”