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Tom Service on Karlheinz Stockhausen

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 10 Mai 2013

Tom Service (c) Tom Service, The Guardian

Tom Service’s highly recommendable contemporary composers series ended this week with “the most divisive figure of them all:” Karlheinz Stockhausen.

Karlheinz Stockhausen, Refrain (c) Universal EditionBut what made this composer so polarizing? Service provides a link to a very entertaining YouTube-channel where we can experience the composer’s “infectious combination of charisma, blazing intellect and force of will” and points out the importance of intuition and experience in his music.

You can read the full article on Tom Service’s Blog.

World première of Saxordionphonics in Witten

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 10 Mai 2013

Baltakas, UA Witten (c) Universal Edition, Sarah Standke

Vykintas Baltakas, Emilio Pomàrico, Marcus Weiss (sax), Teodoro Anzellotti (acc) and the WDR SO Köln at the world première of Saxordionphonics on 28 April 2013 in Witten.

Prologue (Silver are the tears of the moon)

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 08 Mai 2013

Werner Herzog: Eroberung des NutzlosenPrologue (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.

(David Fennessy)

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

Composer portrait: Georg Friedrich Haas in Schwetzingen

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 08 Mai 2013

Georg Friedrich Haas (c) Eric Marinitsch, Universal Edition

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)

SWR2 LogoFor those who cannot attend: a recording of the concert will be broadcast by SWR2 on 18 May:

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

David Fennessy: 13 Factories available for stream

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 08 Mai 2013

Talea Ensemble (c) Talea EnsembleWQXR offers a stream of the Talea Ensemble’s performance of David Fennessy’s 13 Factories. You can stream a recording of the US première, which was given by conductor Eduardo Leandro and the Talea Ensemble on 20 April 2013.

WQXR stream


Posted by Johannes Feigl on 07 Mai 2013

Regarding yesterday’s post about the world première of Passaggio 50 years ago: as we rummaged through our archives, we found some interesting photos. In November 2000, Luciano Berio visited us at UE where he found – and corrected – a slip of the pen.

Luciano Berio (c) Eric Marinitsch, Universal Edition

David Sawer at the New Music Biennial 2014

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 07 Mai 2013

David Sawer (c) David SawerThe 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.

BBC Radio 3Performances of all works will be broadcast by BBC Radio 3 and made available via digital download by NMC Recordings.

Vladimir Jurowski and the London Philharmonic: Webern, Berg, Bartók and Martinu

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 06 Mai 2013

Vladimir Jurowski (c) Roman GontcharovAndrew 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.

He describes it as “an exceptional concert, thoughtfully planned and delivered with tremendous accuracy and intensity”. You can read the full review on The Guardian.

A biography of Mahler

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 06 Mai 2013

Jens Malte Fischer: Gustav MahlerFirst 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.

50 years of Passaggio

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 06 Mai 2013

Luciano Berio, Stockhausen, Berberian, Nono, 1956 (c) Otto TomekLuciano 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.”

(Luciano Berio)

View the full score of Passaggio:

Lothar Zagrosek and Talia Pecker Berio in Porto

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 03 Mai 2013

Zagrosek, Berio (c) Universal Edition, Wolfgang SchauflerConductor 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.

harmonia mundi: CD reviews for Rihm's Symphonie “Nähe fern”

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 02 Mai 2013

Symphonie Nähe fern - harmonia mundiThe first reviews for James Gaffigan’s recording of Wolfgang Rihm’s Symphonie “Nähe fern” with the Lucerne SO and Hans Christoph Begemann, bass, are out:

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.

Fleming sings Wellesz

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 02 Mai 2013

Renée Fleming (c) Javier del RealOn 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.

Other highlights of the Perspectives finale, which is entitled “Vienna: Windows to Modernity“, are Schönberg’s Verklärte Nacht and his Cabaret Songs.

Egon 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

Tom Service on Alfred Schnittke

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 30 April 2013

Tom Service, Guardian

“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.”

Tom Service writes about the music of Alfred Schnittke.

Read the full article.

UE on the Radio: composer portrait: Georg Friedrich Haas

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 30 April 2013

Radio Newsletter 2013-05

We just sent out our radio newsletter 05/2013, featuring a broadcast of Ligeti’s Apparitions from 26 April, a special on Luciano Berio, the world première of Georg Friedich Haas’ Introduktion und Transsonation and a composer portrait of Georg Friedrich Haas.

Find more radio broadcasts.