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Chéreau’s From the House of the Dead in Berlin

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 04 Dezember 2014

One year after the death of director Patrice Chéreau, his critically acclaimed staging of From the House of the Dead will be performed at the Staatsoper im Schiller Theater in Berlin.

When his production was performed in 2009 at the MET, critics were thrilled:

“Critics aren't supposed to use the word ‘perfect.’ It sounds excessive and insincere, because, after all, nothing in life or art is absolute. But when confronted with a production of such overwhelming excellence as From the House of the Dead at the Met, the urge to use the P-word is just about irresistible.” (The New York Post, 16 November 2009)

“Leoš Janáček’s From the House of the Dead, is a total triumph, perhaps one of the finest things that the Met has ever done.” (The New Yorker, 30 November 2009)

Watch the Staatsoper Berlin’s trailer on YouTube:

Leoš Janáček: From the House of the Dead
Opera in 3 acts | 100'
critical-practical version (by Sir Charles Mackerras and John Tyrrell)
7.12.2014, Staatsoper im Schiller Theater, Berlin; Tom Fox, Pavlo Hunka, Eric Stoklossa, Stefan Margita, Peter Straka, Vladimir Chmelo, Jiri Sulzenko, Heinz Zednik, Ladislav Elgr, Ján Galla, et al.; Staatsopernchor; Staatskapelle Berlin, cond. Simon Rattle
Further performances: 10, 13, 17 and 21.12.2014

From silence to sound: Schwartz at the ensemble intercontemporain

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 02 Dezember 2014

Paul Fitzsimon, ensemble intercontemporain (c) Franck Ferville

Jay Schwartz’ Music for Chamber Ensemble will be performed this Saturday, 6 December, at the Amphithéâtre of the Cité de la musique. Here are Franck Ferville’s snapshots of conductor Paul Fitzsimon and the ensemble intercontemporain from the rehearsals.

Schwartz’ compositions employ aspects of the physics of sound and utilize tonality in the context of the physics of organic harmony, making use of the overtone spectrum, microtonality, and glissandi in a poetic context with a captivating sensuous drawing power and an unabashed emotional disposition.

View Jay Schwartz composer profile on the website of the ensemble intercontemporain.

The composer on Music for Chamber Ensemble:

Music for Chamber Ensemble is a geometry of lines and curves and intersections following the musical laws of horizonal time and vertical intervals, and the architectural laws of structure and proportion.

Paul Fitzsimon, Jay Schwartz, ensemble intercontemporain (c) Franck Ferville

In the structure of Music for Chamber Ensemble, lines originating from diametrically opposed points follow a course whose metamorphosis leads to a catharsis.  All events point to or take their reference from this catharsis. It is my objective in my work to craft the architecture of a piece into a single scope of time. My guidelines are principles of architectural harmony, as well as the employment of empirical and intuitive methods of experimenting with time and musical memory, which yield results that correspond often astonishingly to principles of proportion millenia old.

Read the full work introduction.

Exile and Persecution

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 02 Dezember 2014

Ernst Krenek: Jonny spielt auf (c) Universal EditionIn his article “Songs of exiles: rescuing ‘degenerate music’ from the shadows,” baritone Peter Brathwaite writes about the Nazi’s campaign against the so-called ‘degenerate music’ and his own mission to bring this music to a new audience. Together with pianist Nigel Foster, Brathwaite performed a critical song-based reconstruction of the infamous Düsseldorf exhibition of 1938 at the London Song Festival this November.

Find the full article on The Guardian.

We’ve recently updated the Exile and Persecution section of our website. Universal Edition has always been a key publisher of 20th century music; as such, it also provided an artistic haven for a great many persecuted and exiled composers. You can find the page here.

Tabea Zimmermann in defence of the viola

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 01 Dezember 2014

Violist Tabea Zimmermann recently published the article In defence of the viola on The Guardian:

I think the viola came into its own after the 19th century, when people were tiring of Paganini’s faster-and-faster-and-higher-and-higher pyrotechnics, and we moved into an expressionist era, when colours and nuances became more important. And yet the instrument’s capacities are still being developed today. Many composers are writing for the viola, and we need to be open-minded in finding new repertoire. (Tabea Zimmermann, The Guardian, 28 November 2014)

One of these pieces is Georges Lentz’ Monh for viola, orchestra and electronics, which was premièred in 2005 by Zimmermann and the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg. Find a [German] interview with Zimmermann on Monh on YouTube:

“Where is Mahler heading?” The Piano Quartet for orchestra in Seoul

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 27 November 2014

Mark Wigglesworth, Seoul

Where is Mahler heading? What is the question, and maybe even more important: is there an answer? The mystery was never solved. It is in my opinion the force that is always present in Mahler’s music.

Marlijn Helder’s orchestral version of Mahler’s Piano Quartet will receive its South Korean première tonight at the Seoul Arts Center. Also on the programme: Alban Berg’s Violin Concerto ‘To The Memory of An Angel’ with Renaud Capuçon on violin and Schostakowitsch’s Symphony No. 15. The concert also marks the first time that Mark Wigglesworth conducts the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra.

Marlijn Helder on Mahler’s Piano Quartet.

“Perhaps the best description of Le vin herbé is that it is a ‘Passion’ about passion”

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 26 November 2014

Frank Martin (c) Universal Edition

Simply put, Martin’s Le vin herbé is passionate, yes, but, unlike Wagner’s music drama, is wonderfully discreet, objective, and inward. Deep emotion is, paradoxically, generated through an essential restraint.

Professor Byron Adams, Professor in the Music Department of the University of California, Riverside, provides insight on Frank Martin’s Le vin herbé on the Boston Lyrics Opera’s blog. Find their blog here.

World premières of Klaus Simon’s Mahler and Berg arrangements

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 25 November 2014

Treibhaus Wien, FlyerKlaus Simon conducts the Holst-Sinfonietta tonight at the E-Werk in Freiburg.

Under the title “Treibhaus Wien” [greenhouse Vienna], the world premières of Klaus Simon’s chamber arrangements of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 and Alban Berg’s Passacaglia will be performed together with Alban Berg’s 4 Pieces for clarinet and chamber ensemble at the E-Werk in Freiburg.

Find out more on the website of the Holst-Sinfonietta.

Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 5
world prem. for chamber ensemble | 65'
Alban Berg: Passacaglia
world prem. for chamber ensemble | 5'
Alban Berg: 4 Pieces op. 5
for clarinet and chamber ensemble | 8'
25.11.2014, E-Werk, Freiburg; Julien Laffaire, cl; Holst-Sinfonietta, cond. Klaus Simon

Jagden und Formen: “a unique combination of new music and contemporary dance”

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 25 November 2014

Sasha Waltz: Jagden und FormenWolfgang Rihm’s Jagden und Formen is a piece that has literally grown out of three originally independent works which here interweave with and nourish one another.

Sasha’s Waltz’s choreographic work of the same name, which transformed the work’s implicit gestures into dance, will be performed by Sasha Waltz & Guests and Ensemble Modern on 27, 29 and 30 November at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele.

Watch the trailer of Jagden und Formen:

Alfred Schnittke (24.11.1934—03.08.1998)

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 24 November 2014

Alfred Schnittke (c) Universal Edition

Drei Fragen an 73 KomponistenComposer Alfred Schnittke would have celebrated his 80th birthday today.

We recently wrote about the publication of Bálint András Varga’s Drei Fragen an 73 Komponisten, for which he interviewed the composer. You can find a German excerpt of Varga’s interview with Schnittke on nmz.

The Boston Classical Review on Martin’s “mesmerizing Le vin herbé”

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 21 November 2014

Boston Lyric Opera

The Boston Classical Review on Frank Martin’s Le vin herbé:

“Richard Wagner didn’t have the last word on the Tristan legend, as the Boston Lyric Opera made amply clear on Wednesday night.

BLO’s production of Frank Martin’s mesmerizing Le vin herbé (presented in translation rather less poetically as The Love Potion) made a powerful case for the Swiss composer’s conception of the legend.”

Read the full review online.

Janáček Brno: Opera Europa Conference Live

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 20 November 2014

For the first time in the history of Opera Europa, selected lectures of the conference will be streamed online, which was made possible thanks to the support of the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno.

Via, viewers will be able to ask lecturers questions in real time online, comment on their lectures and vote on questions which they’d like to see answered. To join in with the discussion just open the webpage click on the “join event icon, put in the code for the event – OEBrno2014 and then write questions or vote for them to be answered.

Find the full programme of the conference on the website of Opera Europe. Topics include Staging Janáček Today, Czech Perspectives on Janáček and a discussion with Jamu Students.

Pierrot lunaire Cabaret 30

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 19 November 2014

Pierrot lunaire Cabaret 30, programmeTonight the Opéra National de Bordeaux premières Stephan Grögler’s production “Pierrot lunaire Cabaret 30” with Julia Migenes and musicians of l’Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine.

Find the full programme on the website of the Opéra National de Bordeaux.

Further performances will take place on 20, 22 and 23 November.

Rihm and Brahms in Ludwigshafen

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 14 November 2014

Wolfgang Rihm (c) Universal Edition, Eric MarinitschThe Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz dedicates its composer portrait of 2014/2015 to Wolfgang Rihm, whose orchestral pieces Nähe fern 1 and Nähe fern 4 will be performed for the very first time in Germany on 14 and 15 November. Also on the programme: performances of Nähe fern 2 and 3 and Chiffre I and II. The Nähe fern compositionswill be performed togetherwith Brahms’ four Symphonies, Karl-Heinz Steffens conducts the Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz.

Rihm’s compositions will be present with the orchestra throughout the year, for example at the Modern Times festival and the series Rebellion im Quadrat.

Find out more on the website of the Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz.

Wolfgang Rihm awarded the Robert Schumann Prize 2014

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 10 November 2014

Wolfang Rihm (c) Sebastian Solte, bastille musique

Thomas Seyboldt, Wolfgang Rihm, Hans Christoph Begemann (c) Sebastian Solte Our deepest congratulations to Wolfgang Rihm for being awarded the Robert Schumann Prize for Poetry and Music. The ceremony was held on 6 November at the Academy of Sciences and Literature in Mainz.

After Eleonore Büning gave a speech in honour of the composer, his works Harzreise im Winter, Sehnsucht und Nachtgesang and 3 Sonette von Michaelangelo were performed by baritone Hans Christoph Begemann and pianist Thomas Seyboldt.

Thanks to Sebastian Solte of bastille musique for taking and sending us the photos.

ensemble mini deserves attention

ensemble mini’s Mahler deserves attention

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 07 November 2014

ensemble mini: Mahler 9Congratulations to ensemble mini and conductor Joolz Gale for the great review that their recent release of Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 in Klaus Simon’s arrangement for ensemble has received. Find the full [German} review on

Feel free to view the full study score of Simon’s arrangement on Universal Edition.