Richard Strauss was an heir of Hector Berlioz’. Not only because he edited an expanded edition of his writings on instrumentation and thus emphasised the significance of this work. And not only because like Berlioz, he connected the form, logic and argumentation of the symphony with literature. Both composers took the artist as subject matter of their art: Berlioz in the Symphonie fantastique, in Lélio and Benvenuto Cellini, Strauss in Ein Heldenleben. This symphonic poem, composed in the Eroica-key of E-flat major managed to celebrate, even more subtly than Beethoven did in his symphony, the structure and modulation, the delicate nuances, raptures and groundings of the sound of an orchestra, entirely following of Helmut Lachenmann’s motto: “Composing means: building an instrument [even one out of many others]”.
In his Musique concréte instrumentale, Lachenmann constantly built his respective instrument anew, regardless of which actual instruments it consisted, and he always gave it a different sound. Of course, his background is based on tradition. And this also applies to his formal design. In Tanzmusik mit Deutschlandlied, the orchestra is joined by a string quartet; this concertante orchestration had previously only been found in Edward Elgar’s work. The piece’s 18 seamlessly connected movements resound with musical allusions to all imaginable types of dance. The German national anthem makes an appearance in the quartet’s opening and in a canter towards the end. Can we here it? It is certainly there, as a shadow from history. Lachenmann turns music into the subject matter of music.