Mp3 Blog #59: Grido


Helmut Lachenmann:
String Quartet #3 “Grido” (2000-2001 rev. 2002)
Performed by the Arditti Quartet

Not available commercially

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I’m not sure I know what Helmut Lachenmann meant when he titled this string quartet “Grido;” however, listening to this work I am reminded of Michaelango Antonioni’s 1957 Neo-Realist masterpiece “Il Grido” (“The Outcry”).

In this movie a mother married to a man who hasn’t lived in the village for years one day suddenly tells her lover that her husband has died and she now cannot continue their relationship. The man is distraught and futilely begs her to reconsider. Right after these failed attempts the man decides to leave town unsure whether he is running from his pain or seeking some new start and form of consolation. While traveling the man meets and stays with a few women – each beautiful and beautifully lonely – who fall or have fallen for him and display their willingness to devote themselves as fully to him as he was devoted to his lover.

In the end when the man returns to the town he left crestfallen the village’s workers have begun to riot. The workers’ seemingly superficial social outcry reflects his unbearable personal outcry. In the final scene, minutes after returning to the town, the man returns to the location of his old job which all of his coworkers refuse to work. His former lover finds out he has returned and runs after him. When she finally desperately reaches him it is to late and the movie ends. His outcry is transformed into her silence.

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