Helmut Lachenmann: Schwankungen am Rand (ECM New Series 1789)

between sound and space: ECM Records and Beyond

Helmut Lachenmann
Schwankungen am Rand

Ensemble Modern
Peter Eötvös conductor
Recorded November 1998 at Alte Oper, Frankfurt (Schwankungen am Rand); November 1994 at Radiostudio Hessicher Rundfunk, Frankfurt
Engineers: Rüdiger Orth and Wolfgang Packeiser (Schwankungen am Rand); Udo Wüstendörfer
Produced by Manfred Eicher

“Enigmatic” doesn’t even begin to describe the music of Helmut Lachenmann, a composer who had for decades been charting a most distinct path in the world of sound unknown to most listeners outside of Europe until this, his first New Series release. Like the work of mentor Luigi Nono, Lachenmann’s sonic project seems bent on sidestepping tradition, all the while plumbing its very depths for inspiration and raw material. His polemics are genuinely concerned with their origins, of which the compositions surveyed here constitute a solid mythos.

Despite its porous structure, Lachenmann’s music is not something one enters into lightly. Take, for instance, the disc’s eponymous…

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