HELMUT LACHENMANN (b.1935): Dal niente (Interieur III) for Solo Clarinet, Trio Fluido for Clarinet, Viola and Percussion, Allegro Sostenuto for Clarinet, Cello and Piano.
Catalogue Number: 01T049
Label: New Focus Recordings
Description: The first thing that may strike the listener accustomed to Lachenmann's texturally dense, noise and cluster-laden large-scale, more recent works, is how relatively little there is of that kind of thing in these relatively early works with clarinet. Trio fluido, from the late 1960s, almost sounds like a 'conventional' piece of chamber music of the time; atonal, but with textures built up from complex rhythmic relationships between parts; some limited extended techniques appear only later in the piece, as though the composer was developing increasing confidence with these methods in the course of the piece. Textures are subtle, simple and open, and undemonstrative; silence, or the approach to silence of a fading note or chord, is very important. Dal Niente, from 1970, is a virtuosic exploration of how a world of new sounds for the clarinet can emerge 'from nothing', and here breath sounds, key and tongue slaps and other extended techniques predominate. The half-hour Allegro sostenuto dates from the late 1980s, and is sonically more typical of the composer. The early stages of the piece are an obsessive examination of how notes start and, more particularly, finish; the approach to silence is an evolution of that encountered in the trio. Structurally the work follows a distinct dramatic arc, with six sections each with its own sound-world, leading up to an aggressive climax - the kind of viscerally exciting tumult that Lachenmann does so well - and then retreating into the fragmented sounds of the opening. Gregory Oakes (clarinet), Jonathan Sturm (viola), George Work (cello), Mei-Hsuan Huang (piano), Matthew Coley (percussion).