Photo credit: Ruby Washington, The New York Times
If you're looking for a new musical concept to wrap your head around, look no further than German composer Helmut Lachenmann. Last Wednesday night at the Morgan Library & Museum, the JACK Quartet guided the audience on a journey—an intense lesson in musique concrète, a compositional style with which Lachenmann is closely associated.
Helmut Lachenmann's three string quartets showcase a man with a seemingly unrelenting obsession with deconstructing and rebuilding the string-quartet form. Yet, as the masterful performance by the JACK Quartet demonstrated, deconstruction does not mean ignoring logic or dramatic form, nor does it mean a lack of emotional depth. Each listener hears this form and experiences the music differently, but the sounds are so intense and overwhelmingly articulate that it seems nearly impossible for one to not be moved by them. The music itself, which occassionally seemed to leave the edge of instrumental technique and fall into the abyss of some ethereal plane, displayed a compelling aesthetic in the expert hands of the quartet.