"Do not torment yourself too much with analyses. The question is always: which means are used in which ways, why and to what effect, or better, inasmuch to what innovative effect. It is therefore more important to define the categories which are used, installed and stretched rather than to measure things—hence it is more important for analysis: WHAT IT IS rather than how it is made—processes which are often totally buried under later interventions." (H. Lachenmann, personal communication, March 27, 1994) in Hockings, Elke, (2005) "All dressed Up and Nowhere to go", in Contemporary Music Review Vol. 24.nº1, Feb 2005,pp 89-100
"When I studied with Helmut Lachenmann in 1988, I occupied myself with many things, but primarily with how the sounds, movement and structure of a composition should be determined using a numerical system. For some reason or other, Lachenmann was not convinced by the way I worked. One day he told me that my works were typical New Music, lacking a sensuality of sound, and that I should from this point forward work in a new way. This meant that I should first write brief, spontaneous pieces then analyze them, and from them, derive various possibilities that would enable me to write a full piece."
Shim, Kunsu, (2005) The source of Music - From a lesson with Helmut Lachenmann, in Contemporary Music Review Vol. 23, nº1, 2004, pp 19-20
I very much agree with Lachenmann's attitude as a composition teacher in these two occasions. The question is to know if these two composers, Elke Hockings and Kunsu Shim, compose today music, in some way or another, similar to Lachenmann's own music; if so the lessons have failed. If they have become independent composers, autonomous from the master, they have succeeded.
In composition teaching there are always two terms of an equation or two dramatis personae. They both have their own responsibilities but they are, each one, to a certain degree, isolate in itself and, therefore, incommensurable.
António Pinho Vargas, May, 2011
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