Prologue (Silver are the tears of the moon) constitutes the first part of a trilogy of pieces I am composing based on the diaries of the German film director Werner Herzog which he kept during the troubled production of his 1982 movie Fitzcarraldo and later published as the book Conquest of the Useless. The movie itself concerns the doomed efforts of a turn of the century rubber baron to build an opera house in the middle of the Peruvian jungle and the central, iconic image from the movie of a steamship being hauled over a mountain has been somehow translated here into a gigantic glissando, starting in the depths of the orchestra and slowly climbing. I wanted this piece to have all the grandeur and over-the-top emotions of a romantic opera overture and as I began to compose, that wish became more and more literally realised with snatches of Rigoletto writhing in the undegrowth accompanied high above by the “melancholy peeping” of tree-frogs.
The world première of David Fennessy's new orchestral work Prologue (Silver are the tears of the moon) will be held on 11 May in Glasgow. Ilan Volkov conducts the BBC Scottish SO.
David Fennessy: Prologue (Silver are the tears of the moon)
for orchestra | 10’
3 3 3 3 - 4 2 3 1 - Table Guitar, timp, perc(3), pno, str(12 10 8 8 6), frog guiros
world prem. 11/5/2013, Glasgow; BBC Scottish SO, cond. Ilan Volkov
The Schola Heidelberg and Walter Nußbaum present a composer portrait of Georg Friedrich Haas at the Schwetzinger SWR Festspiele on 9 May 2013. Among the pieces played will be the Hertervig-Studien and SCHWEIGEN.
Later that day, the Kairos Quartett will perform Haas’ String Quartet no.3, “In iij. Noct.” – in complete darkness, with the four musicians playing from memory in different parts of the room. “Darkness, [...] is not present in this piece merely as an absence of light, but becomes the key theme of the work” (Georg Friedrich Haas)
Schwetzinger SWR Festspiele 2013
Recorded on 9 May 2013
ATTHIS; de terra fine; SCHWEIGEN; Hertervig-Studien
Sarah Wegener, s; Tianwa Yang, vln
Kairos Quartett; Members of the Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart of the SWR; Schola Heidelberg, cond. Walter Nussbaum
SWR2 | Listen live
Saturday, 18/5/2013, 20:03
The PRS for Music Foundation has announced the twenty UK based composers who were chosen to write 12-minute works for the New Music Biennial 2014, the successor of New Music 20x12. The commissions, ranging from contemporary classical, folk and jazz to world, electronic and urban music, will be performed at London’s Southbank Centre and in Glasgow in July and August 2014.
David Sawer was commissioned by Onyx Brass to write a piece for brass quintet that will be presented in informal and free outdoor performances across Britain’s historic bandstands, outdoor festivals, and public spaces, intending to bring contemporary music out of the concert hall and on to the village green.
Andrew Clements of The Guardian reviewed Vladimir Jurowski’s latest programme with the London Philharmonic, which, focusing on the years leading to the outbreak of the World War II, brought together Webern, Berg, Bartók and Martinu.
First published in Germany in 2003, Jens Malte Fischer’s biography of Gustav Mahler is finally available in English, translated by Stewart Spencer. Find out more on The Guardian, where it has been reviewed as “a masterly and indeed monumental biography.”
Also, if you don't know Universal Edition's Gustav Mahler: The Conductors' Interviews yet, you might have a look.
Luciano Berio’s Passaggio (for soprano, two choirs and instruments) was performed for the first time fifty years ago, on 6 May 1963 at the Piccola Scala in Mailand. The concert caused a scandal when it premièred: “I knew the audience would lose their heads so I briefed the choir accordingly. I told the choir that they should join in as soon as the audience starts shouting, echo the last word and improvise on it. And that’s exactly what happened. Some people shouted ‘Buffoni’. The choir echoed the word immediately, sped it up, whispered it, lengthened the ‘o’ and turned the improvisation into part of the performance. The audience became completely hysterical because they had lost their chance to protest.”
View the full score of Passaggio:
Conductor Lothar Zagrosek and Talia Pecker Berio after a stunning performance of Luciano Berio’s Sinfonia on 26 April at the Casa da Música in Porto.
The subtitle, Nähe Fern (“distant closeness”), exactly
describes the feel of the orchestral movements, which never quote directly from
the Brahms symphonies but seem constantly haunted by them – in their harmonic
tints and textures, and in the melodic shapes that wander elusively through
them. (Andrew Clements, The Guardian)
This is an excerpt, read the full review on The Guardian.
It's a strange, but
not unsatisfying work: in the second piece, the furtive manner suggests an
animal tentatively considering a new beast in its habitat, while the final
piece involves a more deliberate distancing, by having the trumpets departing
to play the closing section offstage. (Andy Gill, The Independent)
This is an excerpt, read the full review on The Independent.
On the last night of Renée Fleming’s Perspectives series, Renée Fleming and the Emerson String Quartet will perform Egon Wellesz’ “Mir scheint, das Angesicht der Welt verging”, No.5 from Sonette der Elisabeth Barrett-Browning, Op. 52.
Wellesz: “Mir scheint, das Angesicht der Welt verging”
for soprano and string quartet
4/5/2013, Carnegie Hall, New York;
Renée Fleming, s; Emerson String Quartet
“What constitutes musical truth? Is there really such a thing as musical authenticity (by which I don't mean using period instruments, or playing without vibrato) in the sense of giving voice to an absolute sincerity of emotional or expressive utterance? […] The huge output of Russian composer Alfred Schnittke raises these sorts of questions – and some even more profound ones about musical meaning and historical signification.”
The world première of Saxordionphonics for saxophone, accordion and chamber orchestra takes place today in Witten.
Vykintas Baltakas on this work:
Saxordionphonics is founded on two structural principles. The first is a strictly rhythmical construct of two to three permuting notes which paces through the entire piece, forming a structural basis, with temporal distensions and condensations, dynamic and colorific variations. The other is a freer level which reacts musically to the first. It is especially scored for solo instruments; it is here where the musical development takes place, the relationship between the levels playing a dramaturgical part. They influence each other, the stronger one transforming the weaker one, when they are not actually rivalling.
For me, it was as if I were observing a shadow-play in space; depending on the time of day, the direction and strength of the light, perception of the space changes, as if the walls and the strict architectonic structure were mobile.
Baltakas: Saxordionphonics (2013)
for saxophon, accordion and chamber orchestra | 15’
2 2 3 2 – 2 1 1 0 – perc, str
world prem. 28/4/2013, Witten; Marcus Weiss, sax; Teodoro Anzellotti, acc
WDR SO Köln, cond. Emilio Pomàrico