Universal Edition - Blog

BBC Composer of the Week: Hans Gál

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 08 May 2014

BBC Radio 3, Donal MacleodHans Gál is the BBC Radio 3’s composer of the week. In five 60-minute episodes, Donald Macleod and conductor/cellist Kenneth Woods explore the life and work of the composer. In the first three episodes, they focused on the topics Teacher, Scholar, Composer, The Early Years and The 1930s. The final two episodes, Exile in Britain and Post-War Edinburgh, will be first broadcast on 8 and 9 May, respectively.

Find out more, listen to previous episodes and view an episode overview on BBC Radio 3.


Franz Liszt Organ Arrangements: ”A super disc.”

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 07 May 2014

Gramophone’s Jeremy Nicholas has recently reviewed CPO’s release of Franz Liszt Organ Arrangements, which includes arrangements of Fantasia and Fugue on Ad nos, ad salutarem undam, Orpheus, Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen, and Prelude and Fugue on B-A-C-H.

Franz Liszt used the chorale Ad nos, ad salutarem undam,originally from Giacomo Meyerbeer’s opera Le Prophète, as the basis for a Fantasia and Fugue. The “Prophet Fugue”, as he called it, is one of the most impressive works of a secular character in organ literature. Marcel Dupré, one of the great 20th century masters of the organ, arranged it highly effectively for orchestra; it was considered lost until it was rediscovered and performed again in 2007.

Read the full review on Gramophone.

Franz Liszt Organ Arrangements

Rihm’s Transitus at La Scala

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 05 May 2014

Riccardo Chailly (c) Decca / Mat Hennek
Wolfgang Rihm’s Transitus
will be premièred tonight at La Scala by Riccardo Chailly and the Filarmonica della Scala. Two days later they perform the Swiss première of the orchestral work in Lugano.

Transitus was commissioned by La Scala in Milan, who wished for it to allude to the works of Richard Strauss. When asked if he had been influenced by Strauss’ virtuosity as an orchestrator, Rihm replied: “Virtuosity is not a value in itself: any star pupil can be a virtuoso. What is really important is what energy is moved – and how much energy is moved! There is so much virtuoso music that doesn’t go anywhere. No movement, just everything shaking, flailing and glistening. But music is all about conveying energy. The quality of a piece of music is determined by its energetic charge and flows. In his finest moments, Strauss creates an incomparable maelstrom of relentless flow.”

View the full study score of Transitus:

Wolfgang Rihm: Transitus
for orchestra | 15'
world prem. 05.05.2014, Teatro alla Scala, Milan; prem. 07.05.2014, Palazzo di Congressi, Lugano; Filarmonica della Scala, cond. Riccardo Chailly

Zhi-Jong Wang, Renchang Fu and the Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra perform Badinski’s Violin Concerto No. 2

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 05 May 2014

Zhi-Jong Wang, Renchang Fu and Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra perform Badinski’s Violin Concerto No. 2
Photographs from the world première of Nikolai Badinski’s Violin Concerto No. 2, performed by Zhi-Jong Wang, Renchang Fu and the Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra on 14 March 2014.

The composer on Zhi-Jong Wang’s excellent performance:

Zhi-Jong Wang, Renchang Fu and Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra perform Badinski’s Violin Concerto No. 2With the successful and convincing realisation of the 42 years delayed world première of my lost Violin Concerto No. 2 – performed by the Shanghai violinist Zhi-Jong Wang  and the Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra under Renchang Fu – the young and extremely gifted soloist Zhi-Jong Wang has categorically confirmed a prediction that I made one year ago – that she is a star of tomorrow. Only that she already plays like a star.

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.