Helmut Lachenmann

Wiebke Pöpel

Portrait of the most famous living
German composer of contemporary music

Wiebke Pöpel | Germany, Italy, Switzerland | 2020 | 90′ | dt. OV

Helmut Lachenmann, born in Stuttgart in 1935, has shaped contemporary music worldwide over the last 50 years with his “Musique Concrète Instrumentale” – a unique polyphony of noise in which violinists tract all parts of their instruments, trumpeters crackle with baking paper and horns are played on water-filled horns.

This cinematic portrait approaches Lachenmann’s music and his person in a sensual way. It shows the composer interacting with musicians and conductors, lets us participate in the adventures of creative work, but also in the thinking of this artist, in the way he personally formulates, comments, contextualizes his work, various biographical decisions and memories – in a phase of life in which the end becomes tangible. The film lives from the engaging personality of its protagonist, who grows on us with his approachable manner, his self-irony and his Swabian humor.

Lachenmann can be seen at rehearsals with Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic, at home in Leonberg, on the trail of his apprenticeship with Luigi Nono in Venice and at the Zurich Opera House, where his Gudrun Ensslin opera “Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern” is being staged as a ballet. Finally, we accompany the composer to his refuge high above Lake Maggiore, the place where all his works are created to this day.

Helmut Lachenmann - My Way