Silencio, quietud

“[…] it is often only silence that can be effective as the unifying element and in “Gran Torso” this is exactly what is achieved by the moments of silence. It is precisely those moments in this composition where nothing is happening which stand out, forcing one to listen intently with the full attention of the inner ear.
I do not know of any compositions for string quartet in which silence is as extended as here, where it lends the outbursts of sound an immediacy, which at first hearing is nothing less than awesome. Not only the impression gained by listening but also study of the score confirm that the actual idea on which the composition is based – exploring infinite silence and stillness to their limits – only becomes truly effective through the particles of varying length through which instrumental sound and noise evolve. It is certainly the case that even on first hearing the structural uniqueness of the sound is immediately evident in its consistency and complex simplicity; the duration of the event-free moments, however, can be more vitally apprehended in their characteristic interchanges with the sounded events. In other words, the organised diversity of the sound focuses attention on the moments of silence and stillness such that it is as though the complexity of the sound were continuing to increase within them.
[…] those moments of stillness in their works represent an essential compositional constant and at the same time afford insight into their individual musical character. If you are familiar with Lachenmann’s long written and spoken struggle against the indolent habits of a way of hearing which insists on clinging to the old, then you will understand these compositional “zeros” as an appeal to use this silence to begin to explore our hearing habits born of nervous apprehension. They offer the space to open up our senses to a new aesthetic by transforming our exhausted hearing habits into a willingness to apprehend a new.”

Hans Peter Jahn

Spectrum 'Gran Torso'

Spectrum ‘Gran Torso’

Helmut Lachenmann ‎– Gran Torso / Salut Für Caudwell
Berner Streichquartett
Col Legno ‎– WWE 31804

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