Schubert is a realm of longing. It is hard to think of any exponent of modernism or avant-garde who has not referred to him at some point. At the beginning of his Sonata in G major, the composer seems to be harkening to the fading of the first, quiet chord in quite a Lachenmannesque manner, trying to prevent its disappearance with a touch of melody: the first movement is marked “cantabile”. The finale begins in a way that suggests that the composer is searching for his theme and finds it through sheer persistence. In the second movement, the theme keeps escaping into other directions: The lure of the possible replaces the desire for the definitive. In his thinking, Schubert is circling the end of self-certainty, but not of self-assertion.
For the conclusion of his exemplary passage through the great piano works of the last two centuries, Pierre-Laurent Aimard will bring in the human voice – or rather, a partner with a trained voice, who will apply her mouth in a wide variety of everyday culture and artifice, even encroaching on the piano’s resonance space. Two virtuosos are at work here, but, as is often the case in Lachenmann’s work, virtuosity begins with listening and impulsive dialogue. The composer did not glean the title from the artistic texts of Nietzsche and Pessoa, but rather from a notice of loss. One could attach the final letter of the German title to its first word (Lachenmann is an excellent chess-player). Then we would be rid of god (German: gottlos) and the search could begin.