The London Sinfonietta’s Luke Bedford: In Portrait, which took place last month and featured performances of Bedford’s Wonderful No-Headed Nightingale, his latest piece Renewal, as well as Gérard Grisey’s Périodes, received great reviews, and we are proud to share some of the highlights:
“In his latest work, Renewal, British composer Luke Bedford has achieved the rare feat of having written a piece that has everything: dynamism and drive, a singular yet powerfully centred harmonic language, a strong sense of thematic development, an altogether wondrous control of flow and counter-flow, and, above all, moments of transcendent beauty.” (Guy Dammann, The Guardian)
“The music moved with impulsive energy, dismantling material as quickly as it had been gathered together. […] Perhaps the most captivating moment was when Bedford stripped his musical materials down to pure noise. […] The programme as a whole was very well received and it was encouraging to see one of London’s major concert venues lend this level of support and attentiveness to an emerging artist.” (Ninfea Cruttwell-Reade, bachtrack)
The London Sinfonietta will perform Renewal on 16 August in Dubrovnik, Croatia. We will keep you posted.
View the full study score of Wonderful Two-Headed Nightingale:
Exactly 88 years after its world première, Kurt Weill’s Concerto for Violin and Winds will be performed by the ensemble mini on 11 June 2013 during their mini-Fest 2013, “Beethoven & Mahler, re-balanced”.
From the ensemble’s press release: “Joining them is Mister X, one of the finest violinists of our time. He has performed with the world's greatest artists and orchestras. BUT he is masked man, without a reputation or identity: no one knows who he is and no one will ever know who he is. His debut with ensemble mini reduces the appreciation of the soloist to the max, challenging the status quo and inviting us into a world where fame, prestige and hype are replaced by quality, purpose and meaning.”
Also on the programme: Cliff Colnot’s chamber orchestral arrangement of Mahler’s Adagio of Symphony No. 10.
Watch the ensemble mini perform Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 in Klaus Simon’s arrangement:
The world première of Cristóbal Halffter’s latest opera Schachnovelle, an opera in one act based on Stefan Zweig’s novella [The Royal Game], at the Kiel Opera House on 18 May 2013 was a resounding success, as exemplified by the audience’s applause and various positive reviews from Deutschlandfunk, Merker and the nmz (which makes an interesting comparison of Halffter’s Schachnovelle and Berg’s Lulu). Wolfgang Haendeler’s excellent libretto should also be highlighted at this point, especially when one considers the original text’s lack of spoken dialogue.
Cristóbal Halffter at the world première of Schachnovelle:
Today the Austrian première of Antony Beaumont’s critical edition of Zemlinsky’s Die Seejungfrau [The Mermaid] will be performed by the Wiener Symphoniker under Markus Poschner, the musical director of the Bremer Philharmoniker and the Theater Bremen. Poschner – filling in for James Conlon – conducts the Wiener Symphoniker for his first time. The performance will be repeated tomorrow.
The rehearsal at the Wiener Konzerthaus is going great, the première will be something to look forward to!
Die Seejungfrau / The Mermaid (1903)
for orchestra | 45’
4 3 4 3 - 6 3 4 1 - timp, perc(2), hp(2), str
Critical edition by Antony Beaumont (2011)
prem. 7 and 8/6/2013, Konzerthaus, Wien; Wiener Symphoniker, cond. Markus Poschner
The 66th Aldeburgh Festival will run from 7 until 23 June. The UE-highlight: the world première of Wolfgang Rihm’s A Tribute, which takes place on the last day of the festival at the Snape Maltings Concert Hall at 16:00. This orchestral piece was commissioned by the Britten Pears Foundation and the Royal Philharmonic Society to mark the centenary of Benjamin Britten and the bicentenary of the Royal Philharmonic Society.
Wolfgang Rihm: A Tribute
for orchestra | 20’
2 2 3 3 - 4 2 3 1 - timp, perc(2), hp, str
world prem. 23/6/2013, Snape Maltings Concert Hall, Snape; Hallé Orchestra, cond. Mark Elder
Aram Khatchaturian conducting at the Vienna Musikverein in 1961
110 years ago, on 6 June 1903, Aram Khatchaturian was born in Tiflis. The bookmaker’s son started to play the tenor horn as a youth, taught himself how to play the piano, and was admitted to the Gnessin State Musical College in 1922, where he studied Cello. Seven years later he was accepted at the Moscow Conservatory. In 1933 he married Nina Makarowa, a composer and fellow student. After receiving his diploma in 1934 for his Symphony No. 1, he stayed at the Conservatory for three more years as a postgraduate, establishing himself as a composer. In the 1940s he wrote his ballet Gajane, the Symphony No. 2 and the Concerto in D minor for violin and orchestra. He started to successfully conduct his own works and to teach at the Gnessin-Institute in 1951; five years later, he finished Spartacus, his most famous ballet.
Universal Edition recently published Khatchaturian’s Adagio and Bacchanal from Spartacus in the arrangement for violin and piano by Matthias Fletzberger and Lidia Baich, which creates a colourful and diverse sound image and makes sure that both instruments are equal partners in a musical exchange.
Born on 5 June 1943, Bill Hopkins would have celebrated his 70th birthday today. As Bloomsday is approaching, it might be worth mentioning that the composer wrote his 2 Pomes, based on James Joyce’s Pomes Penyeach, in 1964, and thus is one of the many UE composers who were inspired by the writer’s works – e.g. Hans Zender with his opera Stephen Climax, Karol Szymanowski (7 Joyce Songs), Pierre Boulez and of course Luciano Berio with his Epiphanies and Thema (Omaggio a Joyce).
The UK première of David Fennessy’s 5 Hofer Photographs takes place tonight, 5 June 2013, at Sloan’s in Glasgow. Robert Irvine plays the five short pieces for solo cello that were inspired by the work of German photographer Evelyn Hofer.
David Fennessy: 5
for solo violoncello | 10’
5/6/2013, Glasgow; Robert Irvine, vc
Valery Gergiev’s and the London Symphony Orchestra’s SACD recording of Karol Szymanowski’s Symphonies Nos 1 and 2 will be released this week. The symphonies were recorded in September and October 2012 at the Barbican in London. According to the LSO, a recording of Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater and Symphonies Nos 3 and 4 is to follow in September.
In September 2012, the Philharmonie Luxembourg released a video in which you can experience Valery Gergiev talk about the composer:
Furthermore, we had a focus on Szymanowski in our Musikblätter 5:
The video was taken on 28 November 2012 at the Kunst-Station Sankt Peter in Köln and features an excerpt of David Fennessy’s excellent Piano Trio | Music for the pauses in a conversation between John Cage and Morton Feldman.
Among the pieces performed on this evening, which focused on the friendship between Cage and Feldman, were also Feldman’s For John Cage, Steffen Krebber’s Konfusion IV and John Cage’s Imaginary landscape No. 1.
Thinking back to the first
time I heard The Rite as a
13-year-old, I remember being instantly enchanted and terrified by the
piece. I had heard nothing like it before and it quite simply opened up the
world of twentieth century music to me. And even now, a hundred years on from
the première, its force and violent beauty are a thing of wonder.
1913 certainly was an exciting year for Universal Edition. Two and a half months after Schönberg’s “scandal concert” in Vienna – where the issue was not merely a question of how an audience treated the performers, it was about partisanship at a crossroads of musical history – the world première of Stravinsky’s and Nijinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps took place in Paris on 29 May 1913 and sent shock waves through the European art world. A quick search on the internet is enough to get an overview of some of the devastating reviews that the première received, yet opinions differed: UE composer Gian Francesco Malipiero, who attended the performance, would later remember the experience as an awakening “from a long and dangerous lethargy”.
But it’s not only a temporal proximity that connects these two events: Stravinsky was said to have kept a score of Schönberg’s 3 Piano Pieces, Op 11 – where the last piece is free from any tonal or motivic references – with him at the time he was composing The Rite. Stravinsky in return seems to have been of major importance to Béla Bartók, who wrote his pantomime ballet The Miraculous Mandarin partly as a response to his interest in Stravinsky, admiring the composer’s way of making “these chasing motivic complexes fit into each other by balancing the weight ratios with extreme precision.”
The BBC released an article questioning whether The Rite did actually spark a riot, and the conclusion is drawn that even today, “we cannot be quite sure”. Did The Rite lose its edge in the twenty-first century? What is your opinion?
Tonight at 21:00 CET/CEST: RTÉ lyric fm broadcasts Bedford’s Chiaroscuro, Fennessy’s Piano Trio and Staud’s Für Bálint András Varga. The concert was performed by the Fidelio Trio and recorded on Saturday 2 March during the three-day New Music Dublin festival.
The Italian radio station Rai Radio 3 dedicates two radio programmes to Luciano Berio today. At 12:00, Rendering, 4 dédicaces, Fanfara and three other works will be broadcast. Later in the day at 20:30 another programme will present Berio’s (chamber) orchestral works Eindrücke, Requies and Sinfonia.
Luciano Berio: Rendering
Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, cond. Pascal Rophé
Recorded on 21 October 2005
Luciano Berio: 4 dédicaces, Fanfara, Entrata, Festum
Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, cond. Michele Mariotti
Recorded on 7 January 2011
Monday, 27 May, 12:00 | RAI Radio 3 | Listen live
Luciano Berio: Requies
Luciano Berio: Sinfonia
Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, Neue Vocalsolisten, Dir. Dima Slobodeniouk
Recorded on 1 February 2013
Monday, 27 May, 20:30 | RAI Radio 3 | Listen live