Universal Edition - Blog

Harrison Birtwistle: Notes from the end of a garden

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 05 May 2014

In his 80th year, Harrison Birtwistle agreed to let his godson, the wildlife filmmaker Tom Mustill, spend time with him in his home, his beautiful garden and the shed in which he composes. The resulting filmed portrait is a touching study of a composer's solitary, strange and satisfying life as well as being an invaluable record of Harrison Birtwistle's working methods.

Our latest newsletter is out

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 30 April 2014

UE NewsletterWe just sent out our latest newsletter, which you can view here:

Haas at the Tectonics Festival, Rihm at the Scala.

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UE at the Proms

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 30 April 2014

The BBC have recently revealed the programme for the 2014 BBC Proms season, which runs from 18 July to 13 September. We are very proud to see that 15 works from the UE catalogue have found their way into the programme. The full details of the season are available on the website of the BBC Proms 2014. The booking opens on 17 May.

All concerts will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.

BBC Proms 2014 (c) BBC Proms 2014

Leoš Janáček: Glagolitic Mass
for soloists, mixed choir, organ and orchestra | 45'
24.07.2014, Royal Albert Hall; Mlada Khudoley, s; Yulia Matochkina, ms; Mikhail Vekua, t; Yuri Vorobiev, b; London Symphony Chorus, London Symphony Orchestra, cond. Valery Gergiev

Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 9
for orchestra | 75'
04.08.2014, Royal Albert Hall; BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; cond. Donald Runnicles

Luciano Berio: Sinfonia
for 8 voices and orchestra | 35'
05.08.2014, Royal Albert Hall; London Voices; European Union Youth Orchestra, cond. Semyon Bychkov

Harrison Birtwistle: Endless Parade
for trumpet, strings and vibraphone | 17'
09.08.2014, Cadogan Hall; Håkan Hardenberger, tpt; Lapland Chamber Orchestra, cond. John Storgårds

Leoš Janáček: Overture to the opera “From the House of the Dead
for orchestra | 6'
24.08.2014, Royal Albert Hall; Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Jiří Bělohlávek

Gustav Mahler: Piano Quartet in A minor
for violin, viola, violoncello and piano | 10'
25.08.2014, Cadogan Hall; Louis Schwizgebel, pno; Katarzyna Budnik-Gałązka, vla; Marcin Zdunik, vc; members of the Royal String Quartet

Zoltán Kodály: Dances of Galánta
for orchestra | 13'
25.08.2014, Royal Albert Hall; Budapest Festival Orchestra, cond. Iván Fischer

Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 2
for soli, mixed choir and orchestra | 80'
29.08.2014, Royal Albert Hall; Kate Royal, s; Christianne Stotijn, ms; Swedish Radio Choir; Philharmonia Chorus; Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, cond. Daniel Harding

Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 1
for orchestra | 50'
04.09.2014, Royal Albert Hall; BBC Symphony Orchestra, cond. Marin Alsop

Harrison Birtwistle: Verses for Ensembles
for 3 instrumental ensembles | 28'
Harrison Birtwistle: Dinah and Nick's Love Song
for 3 melody instruments and harp | 5'
Harrison Birtwistle: Meridian
for mezzo-soprano, 2 female choirs and instruments | 27'
06.09.2014, Cadogan Hall; Christine Rice, ms; Exaudi; Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, cond. Oliver Knussen

Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 3
for alto, boys’ choir, female choir and orchestra | 90'
11.09.2014, Royal Albert Hall; Gerhild Romberger, ms; Leipzig Opera and Gewandhaus Choir; Leipzig Gewandhaus Childrens Choir; Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, cond. Riccardo Chailly

Friedrich Cerha: Paraphrase on the Opening of Beethovens Symphony No. 9
for orchestra | 14'
12.09.2014, Royal Albert Hall; Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, cond. Riccardo Chailly

Aram Khachaturian: Säbeltanz [Sabre Dance]
for orchestra | 3'
13.09.2014, Royal Albert Hall; BBC Symphony Orchestra, cond. Sakari Oramo

Schnitzler, Schönberg, Mahler, Freud and Klimt on stage

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 29 April 2014

Ein Reigen, rehearsal (c) Wiener Staatsballet/Barbara PalffyThe ballet Ein Reigen by choreographer Ashley Page and designer Antony McDonald opens tonight at the Volksoper Wien.

It is based on Arthur Schnitzler’s play La Ronde, however it features a wide cast of characters – ranging from Gustav and Alma Mahler to Arnold Schönberg, Sigmund Freud, Alexander Zemlinsky, Gustav Klimt and Schnitzler himself. Gerrit Prießnitz will conduct the Volksoper Symphonieorchester, Alban Berg’s Lulu-Suite and 3 Orchestral Pieces will be among the works performed.

Find out more on the website of the Volksoper Wien.

Further performances take place on 2., 26. May and 5., 20., 26., 29. June 2014

BBC Composer of the Week: Hans Gál

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 29 April 2014

Hans Gál (c) Lotte Meitner-GrafHans Gál is the BBC Radio 3’s composer of the week. Donald Macleod and conductor/cellist Kenneth Woods will introduce listeners to Gál next Monday at 13:00 CET/CEST (i.e. Berlin, Paris, Vienna).

Find out more on and listen to the programme on BBC Radio 3.

mini-Mahler at the Radialsystem V

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 25 April 2014

This Sunday, 27 April, the ensemble mini (cond. Joolz Gale) will perform Klaus Simon’s arrangement of Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 at the Radialsystem V in Berlin.

Here’s the press release:

“After critically acclaimed concerts in the Philharmonie & Konzerthaus Berlin, as well as on tour, ensemble mini - the outstanding fusion of young musicians from Berlin's top orchestras - performs at the Radialsystem V Mahler’s 9th Symphony in the beautiful new transcription by world-wide leading Mahler arranger, Klaus Simon. Commissioned by the exciting young conductor, Joolz Gale, specifically for 17-person mini-orchestra, the arrangement breathes new life into the essence of the symphony. Huge, heavy and, at the same moment, extremely intimate and fragile, this work, more than any other, has enormous dimensions and yet it sinks into almost complete silence. With ensemble mini, a very unusual sound palate is created, presenting the intimate facets of Mahler’s oeuvre from a fascinating new perspective.”

Tom Service shortlisted for the rps music awards

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 25 April 2014

Tom Service and Wolfgang Rihm (c) Tom ServiceGreat news for The Guardian’s Tom Service: His guide to contemporary music is shortlisted for the Royal Philharmonic Society awards. Congratulations, we are crossing our fingers!

Service started his guide on 23 April 2012 and closed it with a roundup on 20 May 2013, introducing one composer a week to his audience. As the comments show, Tom Service’s blog has struck a chord with listeners of contemporary music, and it is safe to say that each one of his articles is worth your time. Whether this is because of his witty style, his smart observations or the abundance of audio and video links he recommends – the articles always left me craving for one more video, one more recording.

Out of the 51 composers he picked for this year-long series, 13 are UE-composers. It goes without saying that this fills us with great pride. And here they are, in all their glory, from Sir Richard Rodney Bennett to Karlheinz Stockhausen:

(c) Chester Novello
Sir Richard Rodney
(c) Eric Marinitsch, Universal Edition
Luciano Berio
(c) Eric Marinitsch, Universal Edition
Sir Harrison Birtwistle
(c) Universal Edition, Eric Marinitsch
Pierre Boulez
(c) Barbara Monk-Feldman
Morton Feldman
(c) Katie Vandyck
Michael Finnissy
(c) Biennale di Venezia
György Kurtág
(c) Schott Music
György Ligeti
(c) Universal Edition, Eric Marinitsch
Arvo Pärt
(c) Universal Edition, Eric Marinitsch
Steve Reich
(c) Universal Edition, Eric Marinitsch
Wolfgang Rihm
(c) Universal Edition, Eric Marinitsch
Alfred Schnittke
(c) Kathinka Pasveer
Karlheinz Stockhausen

Happy Birthday Luke Bedford!

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 25 April 2014

Luke Bedford (c) Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung, Manu Theobald

Happy Birthday Luke!

Through His Teeth, Owen Gilhooly, Anna Devin (c) ROH, Stephen CummiskeyAlso congratulations for the critical and public success of Through His Teeth: as some of you might know, Anna Ozorio of Opera Today even suggested that it might be the best British opera in years – find out more.


Nikolai Badinski at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 25 April 2014

Nikolai Badinski  and composer professor Deqing Wen, Artistic Director of the New Music Weeks Shanghai, at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music Nikolai Badinski  and composer professor Deqing Wen, Artistic Director of the New Music Weeks Shanghai, at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music

In March 2014, the Xiamen University – which, with more than 40.000 students, is one of China’s most important universities and of international renown – invited composer Nikolai Badinski to present his music and give lectures in the frame of the prestigious „Nanqiang” Lectures of Excellence. Furthermore, the composer was honoured with the badge of honour of the Xiamen University.

In the same month, the Shanghai Conservatory of Music invited the composer to present and lecture on his music. You can see him here with the composer professor Deqing Wen, Artistic Director of the New Music Weeks Shanghai, at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music (click the images to enlarge them).

Find out more about Nikolai Badinski.

Critical complete edition of Berg’s Lulu, particell Act 3

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 24 April 2014

The Alban Berg Foundation and Universal Edition are proud to present the recent publication of the critical complete edition of

Alban Berg: Lulu, Particell of Act 3
(facsimile and commentary) 
Section 1, Volume 2, Supplement

The official presentation will take place on 25 April at the Palais Mollard at the Austrian National Library and starts at 11 a.m. The Hugo Wolf Quartett will perform movements 1, 3 and 5 from Berg’s Lyric Suite.

Hugo Wolf Quartett (c) Annamaria Kowalsky


The Musikverein celebrates the 300th anniversary of the birth C.P.E. Bach

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 22 April 2014

C.P.E. Bach - Wiener Urtext Edition
The Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien will be celebrating the 300th anniversary of the birth of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach on 23 April at the Musikverein Vienna.

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s works for violin and harpsichord obbligato pervade his entire compositional oeuvre. The earliest works, like the Sonata in D minor still numbered BWV 1036, date back to the years of study with his father, yet show already a remarkable creative will of his own. The latest work, the fantasia ‘C. P. E. Bachs Empfindungen’ in F sharp minor of 1787 is characterised by the composer's highly expressive late style.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BachWiener Urtext Edition has released a new two-volume edition of C. P. E. Bach’s complete works for harpsichord (piano) obbligato and violin, two of which will be performed at the Musikverein. Find out more about Bach’s works for violin and harpsichord here.

Barbican Centre: Birtwistle at 80

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 16 April 2014

Harrison Birtwistle (c) Universal Edition, Eric MarinitschThe Barbican Centre has released the first of three podcasts that will look at the music, the myth and the man that is Harrison Birtwistle.

In part one, radio host Ben Eshmade introduces listeners to the Barbican’s Birtwistle at 80 celebration and speaks to Harrison Birtwistle’s peers and collaborators about the composer’s life and work, as well as the great man himself.

Starting on 16 May, the Barbican will celebrate the composer’s 80th birthday with performances including Gawain, Earth Dances and Yan Tan Tethera.

You can listen to the Podcast here and on the Barbican’s SoundCloud page:

Beat Furrer receives the Grand Austrian State Prize

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 16 April 2014

Beat Furrer (c) Eric Marinitsch
Our warmest congratulations to Beat Furrer for winning the Grand Austrian State Prize [Großer Österreichischer Staatspreis].

Taka Kigawa honours Pierre Boulez

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 15 April 2014

Taka Kigawa (c) Taka Kigawa
The highly acclaimed pianist Taka Kigawa will honour composer and conductor Pierre Boulez with a solo piano recital of the composer’s works 12 Notations, Première Sonate, Troisième Sonate (including Sigle), Incises and une page d’éphéméride on 17 April at the Center for New Music in San Francisco, and, a week later, on 24 April at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires.

From the Center for New Music’s programme:

“Pierre Boulez’s piano pieces have been Taka Kigawa’s specialty program. He has performed those pieces in public numerous times worldwide, and has received lots of acclaim from both critics and audiences alike. The New York Times hailed him, as ‘It was music of Mr. Boulez that spurred him to greater intensity and spontaneity. Mr. Kigawa’s feat deserves the highest praise, especially since it was combined with such alacrity and sensitivity to the musical material’ and ‘Mr. Kigawa recast the (Boulez’s) sonata as an essay in how to apply suppleness to virtuosity, and the result was an energetic but also characterful account.’ And Pierre Boulez himself highly praised Kigawa’s playing his works as ‘I was very much impressed by the brilliant way he performed them. He was precise, and at the same time inventive.’ […] Also this year Kigawa will be touring with the Pierre Boulez Complete Solo Piano Music program in Buenos Aires, Argentina in late April, in New York City in August, and in Japan in November.”

Through His Teeth #18: rave reviews

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 11 April 2014

Through His Teeth, Victoria Simmonds, Anna Devin (c) ROH, Stephen Cummiskey
Here is a collection of reviews of Luke Bedford’s Through His Teeth. Read the full reviews by clicking on the corresponding links. Through His Teeth will be performed one last time tonight, 11 April, at the Linbury Studio Theatre at the Royal Opera House.

Can this be the best British opera in years? Luke Bedford’s Through His Teeth at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theatre is exceptional. Drop everything and go.

(Anne Ozorio, Opera Today, 09.04.2014)

Short, pithy and smart, Through His Teeth managed that elusive feat of being at once gripping and amusing. […] Bedford’s score is surely his most accomplished so far, often turning down the aural volume as the drama grows noisier – to bracing effect.

(Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian, 06.04.2014)

Bedford sets Harrower’s directly phrased text fluently, infusing his vocal lines with a strong sense of character and situation. The musical-dramatic pacing is swift and almost cinematic – an aspect reinforced by the use of screens with multiple CCTV images placed at the back of the stage, which show us the physical ambience of each scene.

(George Hall, The Guardian, 04.04.2014)

It's a shame that Through His Teeth has only been scheduled for four performances as it deserves a far wider audience. An unqualified success, Through His Teeth looks set to become a modern classic, and is certainly the most ambitious and successful of recent new operas that have been seen on the London stage.

(Keith McDonnell, WhatsOnStage, 10.04.2014)

Through His Teeth, Owen Gilhooly, Anna Devin (c) ROH, Stephen CummiskeyAs music, it manages to be atmospheric and seductive while still pushing the edges of sound art, becoming increasingly disharmonious as the situation becomes more extreme. Composed by Luke Bedford, it will surely be produced by other opera companies in the future as it contributes both to what opera is and to the enduring moral tangle of Faust.

(Eleanor MacFarlane, The Upcoming, 04.04.2014)

Bedford’s score is appropriately tense, explosive, and fragmentary, uncertain in movement and devoid of any conventional lyricism. Charm is not on its aesthetic agenda: exploiting quarter-tones and the sonorities of accordion and percussion, it seems charged with the restless urban angst that fuels Harrower’s libretto.

(Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 04.04.2014)

There might seem to be a mismatch between Harrower’s words (mundane, lots of swearing) and Bedford’s score (subtle, spare, elusive). But the music draws otherworldly sounds out of its small band of harp, accordion, percussion and others, and adds the extra layer of mystery that sets the imagination spinning.

(Richard Fairman, Financial Times)

The vibrant accompaniment of contemporary chamber orchestra CHROMA is a key element of the success in this production, fulfilling the intensity and the surprising lightnesses of the score and pushing the cast on to greater emotional heights.

(Laura Peatman, A Younger Theatre, 05.04.2014)

If there’s one thing you need to see this week, this is it.

This is not the first opera from Luke Bedford […] But it is easily his most impressive - and I hope the comparative ease of staging the score will lead to further productions in future, perhaps from students.

(Intermezzo, 07.04.2014)