I’ve just sent off the final version of my article for a forthcoming issue of Contemporary Music Review (vol. 32/5). Here’s the article abstract:
Building an Instrument, Building an Instrumentalist: Helmut Lachenmann’s Serynade
Abstract: In Helmut Lachenmann’s Serynade (1998, revised 2000), the solo piano is explored as a pianistic resource from which to build a new instrument and new experiential relationships to it. Drawing on Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of embodiment, I show that implicit to building instruments are encounters with wider aesthetic and historical questions – particularly of the relationships between the body and technology as they mutually mediate one-another. As such, Lachenmann’s exploration of pianistic technologies inherently engages with the handed-down embodied relationships that exist between player and instrument – pedagogy – both finding themselves modified and reconfigured in the moment of performance. Instrument and instrumentalist are rebuilt in relation to one-another.