Join Jill Richards and Waldo Alexander in their celebrations of the 90th birthday of Pierre Boulez: the “Day of the Giants” – an informal, informative and interactive day of fun and music – takes place on 28 June from 11:00 until 17:00 at the Goethe-Institut in Johannesburg.
On the programme: Boulez’ Anthèmes (with live electronics), Domaines, Deuxième Sonate as well as John Cage’s 4′33″ and four new compositions in response to the works of Pierre Boulez.
Find the full programme on the Facebook event page.
Nicolas Hodges presents a recording of Birtwistle’s major works from the 1990s. Among them is the first recording of the revised version of Antiphonies, performed by pianist Nicolas Hodges and the WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln under Stefan Asbury.
Bálint Varga on Antiphonies:
This work is not a “piano concerto” in the way the term is usually understood; it is a struggle between the solo instrument – perhaps a struggle for survival – and the menacing, often demonic powers of the orchestra.
The winds and percussion dominate the sonic character while the strings, except for one short melodic fragment, remain in the background. Slow forte sections unleash the full orchestra, between moments of Impressionistic calm, where the piano part seems like an improvisation, a fantasia - until the struggle resumes …
Find out more on the website of Nicolas Hodges.
We’ve prepared a short playlist of the music of Jay Schwartz for you – the composer will be celebrating his 50th birthday on 26 June.
Find out more about Jay Schwartz.
The Estonian composer Arvo Pärt is nothing short of a musical phenomenon. He can lay claim to being the most popular of contemporary composers.
Arvo Pärt is this week’s BBC Radio 3 Composer of the Week. Donald Macleod presents the series, the first three episodes carry the titles The Soundtrack of an Age, The Soundworld of the Composer and Silence Is Like Fertile Soil.
The Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester and Kent Nagano will be performing Bluebeard´s Castle by Béla Bartók at the Wiener Festwochen: Andrea Breth’s production premières tonight with follow-up performances on 21, 23 and 25 June:
Read a (German) interview with director Andrea Breth on Kurier.
We are happy to say that the opera in 1 act will also be performed tonight at the Xinghai Concert Hall in Guangzhou. Find out more on their website.
The piece was described as “extremely disturbing and technically impressive” by the Independent on Sunday, Michael Dervan of the Irish Times wrote that it “unleashes orchestral violence with the abandon of Edgard Varèse” and praised the “strong performances from the NSO”.
We’ve prepared an audio excerpt and the full digital score for you; find them here.
This Monday, 15 June 2015, Heinz Fischer, the president of the Republic of Austria, ceremonially presented the Austrian Decoration for Science and Art – which is the state’s highest decoration for remarkable services in this field of activity – to Arvo Pärt.
The decoration has been awarded since 1955, and the fact that the number of its recipients is strictly limited, makes it special. There can be only 72 people wearing the decoration at the same time, half of which are Austrian citizens and half foreign nationals.
Find out more on the website of the Arvo Pärt Centre.
Watch an excerpt from the concert that was held during the ceremony:
The legend of Pierre Boulez as a towering icon of the avant garde precedes him, but what I want to bring to our retrospective is my overriding impression of his humanity. Pierre is a man who is passionate, loyal and very human – an outstanding leader but also modest and generous. (Pierre-Laurent Aimard)
From today until Friday, the Aldeburgh Music Festival honours Pierre Boulez with a range of performances of the composer’s works, including A Pierre Dream: A Portrait of Pierre Boulez.
Find the full programme on the website of the Aldeburgh Festival.
Happy Bloomsday everyone!
We’ve prepared a short interview with David Fennessy on James Joyce, sounds and serendipity. Watch it here:
Music in 1920s Berlin and Vienna: cool, sleek, jazzy and very modern. A generation of young composers swept away the 19th century and established a new kind of music that was bold, astringent, accessible and topical. But by 1934, denounced by the Nazi government and their music banned, they were swept away into exile leaving their work neglected and forgotten for over seventy-five years.
Ripe for rediscovery, the exciting opera, chamber, orchestral and vocal music of Ernst Toch, Kurt Weill, Erwin Schulhoff, Mischa Spoliansky, Friedrich Hollander and others of this lost generation is performed in a festival of five concerts over three days, much of it never before performed in the U.K.
You can find the full programme on the website of Kings Place.
The music is crystalline in its sheer beauty and in the mysterious network of quasi-neural connections that Boulez creates between every sound and moment in the piece. But Répons also has an awesome, torrential energy, in the streams of surreally fast music that careen throughout the ensemble, and in the collective, multi-dimensional sonic spectacular that the collective acoustic and electronic ensemble can create. (Tom Service, The Guardian, 12 June 2015)
A clearly impressed Tom Service has reviewed the Matthias Pintscher’s and the Ensemble Intercontemporain’s recent performance of Répons for The Guardian.
Find out more about Pierre Boulez on our #Boulez90 blog.
Mosell confronts this music fearlessly, shaping the smaller-scale pieces (the shortest, Klavierstück III, lasts just 38 seconds) as elegantly as she can, taking their technical challenges in her stride and above all conveying the sense of cutting-edge invention and innovation that is so characteristic of Stockhausen’s early music. (Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 10 June 2015)
High praise from Andrew Clements of The Guardian for Vanessa Benelli Mosell’s album [R]evolution.
The recording features eight piano pieces by Karlheinz Stockhausen and was published earlier this month by Decca.
Congratulations to Vykintas Baltakas, who has taken up an offer by the Maastricht Academy of Music to teach composition, starting in September.
The motivation behind this composition was the tragic death of Anton Webern on 15 September 1945.
After hearing about Anton Webern’s death on 15 September 1945, Krenek processed his shock and grief in January 1946 in his American exile.