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Reviews of King Roger

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 04 May 2015

Krol Roger (c) Royal Opera House, photo by Bill Cooper

What a joy it is to see staged here a work, which, like Janáček’s bizarrely ignored operas, is no longer than it need be, and so handsomely repays attention in every minute of its mere ninety. (Mark Berry, Boulezian, 2 May 2015)

But now, after this rapturously acclaimed performance, Król Roger’s power and stature are decisively vindicated, lifting it alongside Bluebeard’s Castle and the later works of Janacek as a masterpiece of the early twentieth-century European sensibility. (Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 2 May 2015)

It's a production that honours the score to a level that lifts the spirits. […] And what a score it is – and how searingly Antonio Pappano and the Royal Opera forces deliver it. In one of the great opening nights at Covent Garden everyone gave a red-hot performance … (Mark Valencia, WhatsOnStage, 2 Mai 2015)

It’s easy to be seduced by the beauty of Szymanowski’s orchestral writing, to wallow in its iridescent colours and rich harmonic palette, and forgive the work’s dramatic thinness and the lack of substance in all of the characters but Roger. […] What the performance confirms, however, is the beauty of much of the music. (Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 3 May 2015)

So this Covent Garden staging, which runs until May 19, was a must-see. […] But what the staging lacked, the score delivered in the hands of a conductor who brought the sensuousness of this music into being. The orchestral sound was ravishing, the chorus strong but supple. (Michael White, The New York Times, 4 May 2015)

Reviews for Kasper Holten’s production of Karol Szymanowski’s King Roger are out. The opera will be running at the Royal Opera House until 19 May.

Furthermore you can now listen to an episode of Music Matters on King Roger, in which Tom Service and the musicologist and broadcaster Gavin Plumley review the production.

Listen on BBC Radio 3

Adam’s Passion: a first trailer

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 04 May 2015

Theatre magician Robert Wilson is paying homage to Arvo Pärt with the première of Adam’s Passion, which will be performed for the first time on 12 May in Tallinn.

For this project, the composer selected three major compositions from his oeuvre: the two choral works Adam’s Lament and Miserere, and the double violin concerto Tabula rasa. This is joined by Sequentia, a new work composed especially for Adam’s Passion.

Simultaneously, a television documentary is being filmed. You can watch a trailer on the website of accentus music:

accentus music trailer

Bedford nominated for The Times Breakthrough Award

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 04 May 2015

Luke Bedford (c) Universal Edition, Eric Marinitsch

As taut as a thriller and with a sparse, creepy score that fitted the story like a glove, Through His Teeth was acclaimed as one of the 21st century’s most gripping new chamber operas. Bedford isn’t yet “the next Benjamin Britten”, but if he produces a few more works of that quality, he could be. (Richard Morrison)

Congratulations to Luke Bedford for having been nominated for The Times Breakthrough Award.

Find out more on The Times.

Over the course of the production of Through His Teeth, we ran an accompanying blog:

Through His Teeth blog

ATTHIS at the ROH: ★★★★☆

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 29 April 2015

ATTHIS (c) Bill Cooper, Royal Opera House

Violinists Alexandra Wood and Joan Atherton join with violist Paul Silverthorne and cellist Sally Pendlebury to articulate the rich inner life of a score that whets the appetite for more. (George Hall, The Guardian, 24 April 2015)

Haas and Jones’s collaboration is a beautiful one, tender with humanity while chafing hard at the emotions. (Alexandra Coghlan, The Arts Desk, 24 April 2015)

His focus on using music as a means of depicting raw human emotion produces a sonorous, yet beautiful effect, making this experience a wholly poignant and evocative one. (Isabella Farrell, A Younger Theatre, 27 April 2015)

Find several reviews of Georg Friedrich Haas’ ATTHIS and his String Quartet No. 2 at the Royal Opera House by clicking the respective links.

Listen to a short interview with Georg Friedrich Haas on his music, the impulse to write music as a politically conscious person, and more:

Szymanowski’s King Roger, a Nietzschean hero

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 29 April 2015

[King Roger] turns on the exact emotional axis which divided the composer himself, the tension between intellect and instinct, control and chaos, mind and body – the age-old opposition of Apollo and Dionysus. (John Lloyd Davies)

Kasper Holten presents a new production of Karol Szymanowski’s opera King Roger, a meditation on identity and desire. Antonio Pappano conducts the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.

The première is sold out, tickets for further performances on 6, 9, 12, 16 and 19 May are still available.

Watch the Royal Opera House’s trailer:

The ROH has published a number of interesting articles on King Roger, find them here:

Creator and Destroyer: Chaos vs control in Szymanowski’s Król Roger

Opera in the Real World Part 2: The historical figures behind some of opera's greatest characters

Eastern Promises: The allure of the Orient in opera and ballet

Opera Essentials: Król Roger

Eötvös conducts Boulez

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 24 April 2015

Péter Eötvös, Pierre Boulez (c) Priska Ketterer

Once, only Boulez himself could have achieved such a performance: fortunately he clearly now has successors who are equal to the task. (Gavin Dixon, bachtrack, 24 April 2015)

Péter Eötvös and the London Symphony Orchestra dedicated a concert to Pierre Boulez on 23 April at the Barbican in which they performed Rituel in memoriam Bruno Maderna and other works.

Read Gavin Dixon’s full review on bachtrack.

“Darkness and light are instruments” in ATTHIS

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 24 April 2015

Georg Friedrich Haas (c) Substantia Jones

Haas uses light and darkness as instrumental tools, and this is very exciting when using projection as an extension of the listening experience. My presentation of the Second Quartet and ATTHIS is designed to be immersive: darkness and light are instruments; and poetry, visual imagery, movement and music come together inseparably to reflect Haas’s extraordinary musical world. (Netia Jones)

Find an interview with Netia Jones, director of the Royal Opera House’s current staging of ATTHIS, on the website of the ROH.

View the full study score

Haas’ concerto grosso No. 1 for 4 alphorns in Zurich

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 22 April 2015

View a short introductory video to Georg Friedrich Haas’ concerto grosso No. 1, which will have its Swiss première tonight at the Tonhalle in Zurich. Kent Nagano conducts the Tonhalle Orchester and the HORNROH Modern Alphorn Quartet.

Further performances will take place on 23 and 24 April.

The [German] video was produced in March 2014 by the Bayerische Rundfunk when the concerto was premièred under Susanna Mälkki at the Herkulessaal in Munich:

Schönberg focus at the Musikfest Berlin

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 22 April 2015

Great news for Schönberg aficionados: with 19 performances of his works in 16 of the festival’s total 30 concerts the Musikfest Berlin has announced a Schönberg focus for this year.

The festival runs from 2 to 20 September, an opening concert takes place on 3 September with performances of Verklärte Nacht, Variations for orchestra and Five Orchestral pieces.

View the full programme online:

Arvo Pärt – Out of Silence

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 21 April 2015

Out of SilenceMany of us have written about Pärt, but one thing was missing, the view from within the Orthodox Christian tradition that has guided Pärt's work since the 1970s. This has now been provided by Peter Bouteneff, writing with clarity, precision, and the graceful authority of one who knows what he is talking about. (Paul Hillier)

“Arvo Pärt – Out of Silence” by Peter Bouteneff was recently published by SVS Press. Find out more on the publisher’s website.

Painter and artist Satsuki Shibuya, who designed the cover of the book, has written a short blog entry about the publication which you can find here.

“A Tale of Two Wolfgangs”: Rihm’s Trio Concerto

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 20 April 2015

Rihm in front of a painting by Jack Vetriano at the Malmaison Hotel, LondonAll that said, Rihm’s trio is an exciting piece and definitely worth another hearing. The three soloists—violinist Ulf Schneider, cellist Martin Löhr and pianist Eckart Heiligers—make up the Trio Jean Paul and they did a heroic job of bringing the piece to life. (Gregory Sullivan Isaacs, TheaterJones, 18 April 2015)

TheaterJones has reviewed the US premiére of Wolfgang Rihm’s Trio Concerto by Trio Jean Paul and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (cond. Jaap van Zweden).

Read the full review

UE newsletter April 2015: Schönberg in expectation

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 16 April 2015

Newsletter April 2015Our latest newsletter is out now:

- “Schönberg in expectation” by the Neue Oper Wien

- Krenek’s Tarquin at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden

- Study scores of works by Rihm, Krenek and Dünser

View the newsletter online: German | English

Subscribe to our newsletter: German | English

‘Tabula Rasa’ voted Estonia’s best classical album of all time

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 16 April 2015

ECM New Series: Tabula Rasa

Estonia’s Classical Radio created a survey to find out which is the favourite Estonian classical album. 2,000 classical albums were available for voting, out of which 730 received votes. Four albums by Arvo Pärt made it on the top 10 Estonian classical albums as voted by the public, and even five albums were among the critics’ top 10.

Read the full article

B-A-Cer-Ha: organ music by Cerha and Bach

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 16 April 2015

Wolfgang Kogert (c) Amelie Schillhuber

For me, the organ music by Friedrich Cerha and Johann Sebastian Bach is congenial. They are characterized by timeless features such as clarity, vitality, thinking in counterpoint, the economy of the compositional means and a pronounced sense of proportions. (Wolfgang Kogert)

B-A-Cer-Ha: organ music by Cerha and BachOn 18 April Wolfgang Kogert, organist of the Wiener Hofburgkapelle, presents his brand new recording “B-A-Cer-Ha” at the RadioKulturhaus in Vienna.

On the CD, Kogert juxtaposes Cerha’s Neun Inventionen and Neun Präludien with pieces by Bach.

A live stream of the evening from the RadioKulturhaus will be available on 18 April at 19:30. Listen live.

How we made the MusikSalon

Posted on 16 April 2015

Our new digital magazine, MusikSalon, was launched in time to celebrate Pierre Boulez 90th birthday. Here we give a bit of background on how we made the new site. 

We wanted to take our print magazine Musikblätter and turn it into an online resource, specifically making it pleasant to read on a desktop, and on a tablet and mobile device.

In addition we wanted to create a repository for all the articles that had been published over the last years – quite an undertaking.

We put the project out to tender internationally, and finally joined forces with Egger & Lerch for the design, and pixelpoems for the code. We already had excellent experience with both companies, and here once again the advantage of knowing how we tick was useful.

Egger & Lerch came up with a beautiful design and a very clear way of presenting a potentially endless list of articles, without it looking too much like a normal blog.

We resisted the temptation to include all the standard trappings of a news or blog site, including branded share buttons, tag clouds and comment boxes. From our experience online, and with Facebook and YouTube, we didnt want a long, thoroughly researched article on Bartók to be concluded with a comment saying Bartók is awesome. Maybe thats snobbish, but weve opted for clarity over democracy.

The only concession to usability in this sense is a small margin at the top of each article with Facebook and Twitter links, but unbranded. It was also especially important to have a print button that renders a proper print version of the page, and a download PDF button.

As soon as we were agreed on the design, pixelpoems set up the site in the Contao content management system, which we were already using on the UE and Wiener Urtext sites. We were open to using a newer system like SilverStripe, but in the end the familiarity and power of Contao won.

Of course the greatest part of the preparation was manually creating the archive of over 50 articles, tweaking the categories, selecting and cropping the images and getting the whole thing ready for the launch date – Pierre Boulez 90th birthday (a non-moveable feast). Egger & Lerch helped a lot with the older articles, and Johannes Feigl from UEs promotion department spent many an hour preparing the new ones.

We think weve come up with a handsome and useful presentation of a collection of wonderful articles – and weve found ourselves rediscovering old articles that we hadnt seen. We came in on time and on budget, and had a lot of fun on the way.

Head over to the MusikSalon and see what you think.