Samstag, 13 August 2016 | 19:30 | hr-Sendesaal (Frankfurt)

Blood Air Fire: hr-Sinfonieorchester

Bernhard Gander: bloodbeat for orchestra (2015/16) (WP)
Helmut Lachenmann: Air. Musik für großes Orchester und Schlagzeug-Solo (1968/69, rev. 1994/2015)
Brian Ferneyhough: Firecycle Beta. Symphonic Torso for two pianos and orchestra with five conductors (1969-71)

Christian Dierstein (Percussion)

Piano Duo Sugawara/ Hemmi (Pianos)

Lucas Vis (Musical Direction)

Lennart Dohms, Konradin Herzog, Etienne Siebens, Scott Voyles (additional conductors Ferneyhough)

“[…] the choked percussion stroke, the pressed string, the pitchless air attack: in such a context, these are not some form of surrealist gag or aggressive provocation, but rather a logical integration of the entire available repertoire of sounds and noises beyond what has previously been considered acceptable, and they serve a concept of beauty that breaks the taboo of habit, instead following the purity and structural clarity of the sounding situation as an energetically-defined field.”
Helmut Lachenmann on "Air"


The partnership with Hessian Radio [Hessischer Rundfunk], formerly Radio Frankfurt, extends back to the early years of the Darmstadt Summer Course. In addition to broadcasting concerts and reporting on the Course, the hr has always also given guest concerts. The hr Symphony Orchestra has presented numerous major premieres at the Summer Course, including Helmut Lachenmann’s percussion concerto Air in 1969. The same piece is also on the program of the 70th anniversary orchestral concert, for which the Course will stop off at the hr Broadcasting Hall in Frankfurt.

To Lachenmann, percussion instruments seemed especially predestined to direct attention to the production of sounds. He speaks of “sonic realism, which is concerned with incorporating the underlying external mechanical causality of a sound into the experience thereof and the reflection upon it.”


In addition, Lucas Vis will conduct the hr Symphony Orchestra for a performance of Brian Ferneyhough’s symphonic torso Firecycle Beta. It was the composer’s first orchestral work, written when he was not even 30, but has a broad scope through its monumental disposition and its universal ambition: the title Firecycle, Ferneyhough states, “refers to Heraclitus’ theory about the periodic destruction and recreation of the universe through and with the help of fire (the symbol of constant change, as well as purity).” When Ferneyhough began work on the composition in 1969, a performance of this extravagantly scored work was initially inconceivable. In addition to two pianos, it requires a large orchestra set up in groups on the stage, directed by four conductors in addition to the main conductor. Originally, Beta was “only” meant to be the central part of a large-scale three-part cycle. Ferneyhough did not continue this plan, however, and thus Firecycle Beta stands for his visionary concept as a symphonic torso. These two orchestral utopias of the late 1960s by Lachenmann and Ferneyhough will be joined by a commission for this year’s Darmstadt Summer Course, representing a contemporary position: bloodbeat by the Austrian Bernhard Gander (*1969).