imPRESSIONs des Herr Helmut (Day 1)

Lachenmann is much taller than I imagined - maybe around 6'3" or so. When I think of musicians and height I automatically think of statures like Boulez, Manoury, Schoenberg, Webern, Schubert, Simon Rattle etc. etc. etc. Lachenmann looks like he may have been a runner in his youth - he has a naturally very narrow, lean frame, now pulled taut in the midsection by the belly of age. But he does not strike one as "old" the way Boulez does not strike one as "old" - not the way Roger strikes one as old.

His one-handed "like a fanfare" gesture is just like Gustav Meier's gesture for the same. Maybe it's a German-man-of-a-certain-generation-and-musical-inclination thing?

"If you concentrate on ONE Stimmen, the others will appear."

He's much more concerned with tempi (an andante feeling like an "andante" - moving forward) than I would have imagined ... I was expecting all timbre and sound quality. Two of the top notes on the piano are wildly out of tune which strikes me as particularly funny today. The way he sings through his music is just like the way Richard Hoffmann would sing through Schubert or Schoenberg - throaty, almost a pitchless caricature, and then suddenly all tenderness.

His hands. His hands betray him as old. They have that directionless shake of oldness - particularly when he points at the music. Like every other pianist-composer I can think of (except maybe Boulez?), he bangs on the piano like a percussion instrument (until the fingers bleed a bit) ... but one nevertheless understands completely. It's the playing of a composer, not the playing of a pianist; the notes are not important.

"For me, it is becoming here a thunderstorm."


There were 6 or so of us observing the coaching with Pavlos Antoniadis. He shook all of our hands when he came in; that seemed very nice of him - in that respect, just like Boulez at the first Gruppen masterclass. I like cordial people.

Unfortunately, because of other commitments, I can't go to every single last function he's at, but I'll try to snap some blog-worthy pictures of the dude while at work when I can.

PS. I would apologize for the wordplay in the title except that wordplay (and the pun in particular) is the highest form of humor ... just like percussionists are the highest form of human. (I forget who told me that.)

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