Pierre Boulez loves virtuosity, says moderator Wolfgang Schaufler. “His music does not have extreme compositional virtuosity, but there is a certain risk,” says Tamara Stefanovich. For example, the Second Sonata, which will also be played in concert tomorrow, is perfectly formulated. “The ideas are very clear. Beyond the structure, however, he manages to take the audience with him,” she says. “The piece develops into a mystery, delving into acoustic and pianistic impossibilities,” as she says. The ear is challenged to the extreme.
When discussing Boulez, one must not lose sight of the fact that he is a French composer, in the tradition of Debussy, says Wolfgang Schaufler. Of course he was strongly influenced by the Viennese School, but in his music one hears a completely free spirit.
Pierre-Laurent Aimard met Boulez when the latter was only 51. “He was already Mount Everest at the time,” says the pianist. He describes Boulez as a man full of humanity, with enormous activism on behalf of music, and always dedicated to the cause. Both in human and in moral terms, he is a role model.
Of course he plays Boulez works differently today than he did 20 years ago, explains Aimard. That is completely natural – after all, he too has developed, and he keeps discovering new levels and hidden layers in the music. For many ,Boulez’ music was provocative in 1992 – today one has the impression that the audience has a more natural approach to it. So was Boulez a modernist in 1992 and has become a classic? “Maybe,” says Pierre-Laurent Aimard, “but a classic who remains beautifully disturbing!” Boulez’ music demands more exertion, is more challenging, but also richer, says the pianist. That is why he thinks it suitable for any listener who might feel that contemporary music is inaccessible.
Wolfgang Rihm describes how he cried, overcome with emotion, because Konwitschny managed to create emotions with the help of a book. The stage sets show a destroyed world with a white room at its centre, inside which Montezuma arranges everything down to the smallest detail in the beginning. The windows are washed, the carpet smoothed out, and this book, Shadows of Wild Horses, is placed on the table carefully, ensuring that they have something to talk about during their first meeting. At the end of Act II, the room is overtaken by absolute chaos, and the book becomes a symbol. “The history of the relationship is told with great consequence,” the soprano says.
During recent days, composer Wolfgang Rihm has been asked frequently by journalists what made the Salzburg Festival special. “They were always quite astonished at my answers,” he says. “Salzburg is a place where one is offered a mind-boggling working situation. It is possible to work here with incredible intensity, and with so much love and passion.”
After more than thirty years of an intense and artistically most beautiful relation to the Salzburg Festival, Wolfgang Rihm was awarded the “Honorary Medal of the Province of Salzburg” by the governor Dr. Wilfried Haslauer in Salzburg yesterday.
- Wolfgang Rihm: Die Eroberung von Mexico
- Kurt Weill: The Threepenny Opera
- Celebrating the 90th birthday of Pierre Boulez
- The Barber of Seville for children
Find out more about Universal Edition at this year’s Salzburg Festival in our current newsletter.
Film director Dorian Supin has accompanied Arvo Pärt over the course of several years with his camera. The resulting documentary (working title: “Even if I Lose Everything”) will be premièred this autumn on the occasion of Arvo Pärt’s 80th birthday.
The September issue of the Universal Edition MusikSalon, which will be dedicated to the composer, will feature a preview of the film as well as an extensive interview with the director.
Pärt’s singers repeat the same song, seven times in succession. Every time it sounds different. Richter’s four grey diptychs, hanging opposite the Birkenau panels, play a further formal game of similarity and difference (the paint hidden from us on the reverse of glass sheets). (Adrian Searle, The Guardian, 9 July 2015)
Arvo Pärts Drei Hirtenkinder aus Fátima has successfully been presented together with several works by Gerhard Richter at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester. In the frame of the Manchester International Festival (2 until 19 July), Vox Clamantis performed Drei Hirtenkinder aus Fátima on 9, 10 and 11 July, for the rest of the exhibition, local choirs will present the piece. Find out more on the website of the Manchester International Festival.
Watch a video by the Manchester International Festival on the event:
The Musik 21 Festival “Klang-Körper” kicks off today and will go on until Sunday!
Prominent guests of the festival will be pianists Tamara Stefanovich and Pierre-Laurent Aimard, who will be performing a selection of Pierre Boulez’ piano pieces, including Structures, Deuxième Livre for 2 pianos.
Furthermore, the Kairos Quartett will be performing Georg Friedrich Haas String Quartet No. 3 „In iij. Noct.” – a piece in which darkness is not present merely as an absence of light, but becomes the key theme of the work – on Saturday.
Find out more on Musik 21’s website.
Komponist und Musiker agieren auf Augenhöhe. (Rita Argauer, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 30 June 2015)
The Süddeutsche Zeitung has published a preview for tonight’s world première of Hirta Rounds by David Fennessy at the Prinzregententheater. The piece was written for the Münchener Kammerorchester with the stipulation that it be unconducted.
View the full score of Hirta Rounds:
Songbirds softened the severities of Boulez’s Improvisations sur Mallarmé, as if Messiaen, Boulez’s bird-loving teacher, were providing commentary.
Alex Ross has reviewed The Ojai Music Festival for The New Yorker.
Tonight sees the Irish première of David Fennessy’s Prologue (Silver are the tears of the moon) at the National Concert Hall in Dublin. The work is part of a trilogy that was inspired by Werner Herzog’s Conquest of the Useless.
Watch an interview with the composer:
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.