Universal Edition - Blog

Aram Khatchaturian (06.06.1903—01.05.1978)

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 06 Juni 2013

Khatchaturian (c) Khatchaturian

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.

You can listen to an excerpt of Fletzberger's and Baich's arrangement of the Adagio and Bacchanal from Spartacus here.

Bill Hopkins

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 05 Juni 2013

Bill Hopkins (c) Nocolas HodgesBorn 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).

UK première of David Fennessy's 5 Hofer Photographs

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 05 Juni 2013

David Fennessy (c) Tanya KiangThe 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 Hofer Photographs
for solo violoncello | 10’
5/6/2013, Glasgow; Robert Irvine, vc

Gergiev and the LSO: Szymanowski SACD of Symphonies Nos 1 and 2

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 04 Juni 2013

Gergiev, LSO: Szymanowski, Symphonies Nos 1 & 2Valery 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:

Listen to excerpts and/or buy the recording.

Furthermore, we had a focus on Szymanowski in our Musikblätter 5:

David Fennessy: Piano Trio | Music for the pauses in a conversation between John Cage and Morton Feldman

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 04 Juni 2013

Here’s a short video from the ON - Neue Musik Köln on Ensemble Preasenz’ In die Nacht mit John und Morton [into the night with John and Morton]:

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.

100 years of Stravinsky's Rite

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 29 Mai 2013

Luke Bedford (c) Manu Theobald, Ernst von Siemens MusikstiftungThinking 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.
(Luke Bedford)

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”.

The Rite of Spring

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?

New Music Dublin: Bedford, Fennessy, and Staud

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 28 Mai 2013

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.

RTÉ lyric fm offers a live stream, which you can find here.

Luke Bedford: Chiaroscuro
David Fennessy: Piano Trio
Johannes Maria Staud:
Für Bálint András Varga

Fidelio Trio
RTÉ lyric fm | Listen live
Tuesday, 28 May 2013, 21:00

Per Luciano

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 27 Mai 2013

Centro Studi Luciano BerioToday, on the tenth anniversary of the death of Luciano Berio, the Centro Studi Luciano Berio devoted a “room” on their website to him. Here, friends, family and colleagues speak with him and about him, expressing their touching memories:

Per Luciano

Luciano Berio: Rai radio 3

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 27 Mai 2013

Rai Radio 3The 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.

Rai radio 3 offers a live stream, which you can find here.

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: Eindrücke
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

World première of Spider's Web

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 25 Mai 2013

Cappella Istropolitana (c) Cappella Istropolitana

The long-awaited world première of Paul Patterson’s Spider’s Web takes place today, 25 May 2013, in Kufstein. Bernhard Sieberer conducts the Cappella Istropolitana, Gwyneth Wentink plays harp.

Paul Patterson: Spider’s Web
for harp and string orchestra | 12’
world prem. 25/5/2013, Stadtsaal Kufstein, Austria; Gwyneth Wentink, hp; Cappella Istropolitana, cond. Bernhard Sieberer

Live stream: Mahler's Symphony No. 8

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 24 Mai 2013

Symphony No.8103 years after its world première, the hr-Sinfonieorchester and Paavo Järvi will perform Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 – frequently called the Symphony of a Thousand – on 24 and 25 May at the Alte Oper Frankfurt. The choirs will consist of the EuropaChorAkademie, the Tschechischer Philharmonischer Chor Brünn and the Limburger Domsingknaben.

arte live web and the Hessischer Rundfunk will broadcast the concert as a live stream on Saturday, 25 May at 20:00 (CET/CEST).

Georg Friedrich Haas: in vain

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 23 Mai 2013

Tonight Georg Friedrich Haas’ in vain will be performed as a part of a composer’s portrait dedicated to Haas at the Schwetzinger SWR Festspiele. Jonathan Stockhammer conducts the Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart.

You can watch an interview with Sir Simon Rattle, in which the conductor identifies in vain as “one of the only already acknowledged masterpieces of the 21st century”, here:

The concert will be broadcast by SWR 2 on 16 June 2013, listen live.

Georg Friedrich Haas: in vain
for 24 instruments | 70’
2 1 2 1 - 2 0 2 0 - perc(2), hp, acc, pno, sax, vln(3), vla(2), vc(2), cb
23/5/2013, Schwetzingen; Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart, cond. Jonathan Stockhammer

Morton Feldman: new ECM recording of Violin and Orchestra

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 23 Mai 2013

ECM - Morton Feldman, Violin and OrchestraECM Records released a new CD this week: Morton Feldman’s Violin and Orchestra, performed by Carolin Widmann and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra under Emilio Pomàrico.

Andrew Clements of The Guardian writes that “[t]his performance is perfectly judged: Carolin Widmann is a fabulously assured and poetic soloist, taking minute care over the smallest, apparently most insignificant details, and Emilio Pomarico ensures that the orchestral playing is equally refined and scrupulous. It's a beautiful, haunting disc.”

Buy the CD

Read the full review

World première of Luke Bedford's new ensemble work Renewal

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 22 Mai 2013

Luke Bedford (c) Manu Theobald, Ernst von Siemens MusikstiftungThe world première of Luke Bedford’s new ensemble work Renewal, which was commissioned by the London Sinfonietta, takes place today, on 22 May under Sian Edwards. Furthermore, Bedford’s Wonderful No-Headed Nightingale for 10 players will receive its UK première in the same concert.

Bedford, whom Andrew Burke, chief executive of the London Sinfonietta, described as “one of the best British composers of his generation” has written that “Renewal is about creating something new from the rubble of each previous section. Though the material of any given part might appear stable, it always collapses. The piece is a celebration of renewal and regrowth: written in the full knowledge of its impermanence.”

The London Sinfonietta released an introductory video about Bedford on YouTube which you can watch here:

Renewal (2012/2013)
for 12 players | 22’
1 1 1 0 - 1 0 1 0 - perc, hp, str
Wonderful No-Headed Nightingale (2012)
for 10 players | 8’
22/5/2013, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London; London Sinfonietta, cond. Sian Edwards

A short video on Tectonics 2013

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 22 Mai 2013

David Fennessy, STV GlasgowHere’s a short video from the Scottish Television channel stv Glasgow featuring composer David Fennessy and conductor/curator Ilan Volkov. Enjoy.