In the past years we have had many losses in the world of music to mourn. Why did the date of Benjamin Britten’s death – 4 December 1976 – touch such a chord in me?
During this time I was obviously at the point where I could recognize the magnitude of such a loss. Inexplicable feelings of guilt, more than that even, arose in me. I had just discovered Britten for myself. Just before his death I began to appreciate the unusual purity of his music – I had had the impression of the same kind of purity in the ballads of Guillaume de Machaut. And besides, for a long time I had wanted to meet Britten personally – and now it would not come to that.
Celebrating the centenary of Benjamin Britten, here are the first three pages of Arvo Pärt’s autograph of Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten (Cantus Benjamin Britteni mälestuseks), a piece commemorating the great English composer.You can click on the images to see high resolution zoomable scans.
By the end of this day, the piece will have been performed more than 1150 times in the last 20 years, there are more than 150 entries in our performance database for 2013 alone.
Happy Birthday Hans Zender!
Hans Zender was this year’s composer in residence at the Klangspuren Schwaz.
View a list of works by Zender that are published by Universal Edition and listen to his music.
An extensive (German) review of Zender’s opera Stephen Climax, which is based both on James Joyce’s Ulysses and on the life of Saint Simeon Stylites, is available on the homepage of the German newspaper Die Zeit.
Franz Welser-Möst and Wolfgang Rihm before and after yesterday’s world première of Verwandlung 5 with the Cleveland Orchestra at the Musikverein, Vienna. Further performances of the orchestral piece will take place next week at the Semperoper in Dresden.
Rihm: Verwandlung 5
for orchestra | 11'
2 2 2 2 - 4 2 3 1 - timp, perc, str
German prem. 27.11.2013, Semperoper, Dresden; Staatskapelle Dresden, cond. Franz Welser-Möst
Further performances: 29.11.2013, 01.12.2013
Franz Welser-Möst and the Cleveland Orchestra will première Wolfgang Rihm’s Verwandlung 5, commissioned by the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien, today, 20 November, at the Musikverein in Vienna. Also on the programme: Symphony No. 6 by Schostakowitsch and Beethoven’s Eroica.
Wolfgang Rihm: Verwandlung
for orchestra | 11'
2 2 2 2 - 4 2 3 1 - timp, perc, str
world prem. 20.11.2013, Musikverein, Vienna; Cleveland Orchestra, cond. Franz Welser-Möst
Don’t miss out on the next performance of the piece for 24 instruments: Emilio Pomàrico will conduct the London Sinfonietta on 6 December at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.
A (fantastic) recording of in vain is available on Kairos.
Georg Friedrich Haas:
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
06.12.2013, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London; London Sinfonietta, cond. Emilio Pomàrico
The French musicologist Alain Galliari, who wrote a large biography on Anton von Webern in 2007, has recently published his study Concerto à la mémoire d’un ange. Alban Berg 1935 (Fayard), which focuses on Berg’s famous last work. The study presents a delicate reading of the Violin Concerto “to the Memory of an Angel” [Dem Andenken eines Engels], based both on the biographical data of the composer and on the characteristics of the musical language of the work, which seeks the reality behind the legend and opens new perspectives on the secret significance of the work, and on the last months of the composers life.
General Manager of the Médiathèque Musicale Mahler in Paris, Alain Galliari has also published a book on the religious inclination of Franz Liszt (Franz Liszt et l’Espérance du Bon Larron, Fayard, 2011) and an essay on the topic of Redemption in Wagner’s librettos (Richard Wagner ou Le Salut corrompu, Le Passeur Editeur, 2013).
Congratulations to Oleg Dorman, whose documentary “The Note. Rudolf Barshai, a lifelong quest for one single note” has made it on the list of the best and most interesting publications of the last three months of Schallplattenkritik in the category DVD/Video.
Bernt Feuchtner on Rudolf Barshai: “Rudolf Barshai conducted the Tenth with the Austrian Radio Orchestra at the end of the 1980s, in Vienna and Montpellier, but soon discovered that the dissatisfaction he felt could not be dispelled by a few corrections here and there. Changing details was pointless: he had to make his own revision. [...] Such refinements, which of course critically determine the overall musical form, could only have become first apparent to a musician like Rudolf Barshai, who has devoted his life to the interpretation of the great European symphonic tradition and lived with Mahler’s music for several years.” (Read the full text).
Listen to an excerpt of the finale from a recording of Barshai conducting the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie in September 2001 at the Konzerthaus Berlin:
A trailer for the DVD is available on YouTube:
Five works by Georg Friedrich Haas will be performed at the Bludenzer Tage zeitgemäßer Musik [Bludenz contemporary music days], four of which will be performed by the ensemble recherche. The festival runs from 20 to 23 November.
Georg Friedrich Haas on his various versions of „... aus freier Lust ... verbunden ...”:
Each of the work’s ten individual parts is simultaneously a solo piece; to state it differently, the ensemble piece is an interlacing of ten completely independent, autonomous solos. […] As regards pitch, the parts are bound together by an identical harmonic structure, although it is to be noted that in the solo parts “harmony” is thought of primarily as the effect of successive sound events. As for form, caesuras and units are formed in each individual part, not only independently of other instruments, but also simultaneously with them (as a sort of “solidarity”).
The full programme of the festival in Vorarlberg is available here.
Nach-Ruf ... ent-gleitend ...
for flute, oboe, clarinet, violin, viola, violoncello | 16'
„... aus freier Lust ... verbunden ...”
for bass clarinet in Bb | 11'
„... aus freier Lust ... verbunden ...”
for viola | 11'
tria ex uno
for flute, clarinet, percussion, piano, violin and violoncello | 12'
20.11.2013, Remise, Bludenz; ensemble recherche
de terrae fine
for violin solo | 17'
22.11.2013, Remise, Bludenz ; soloist of the Formalist Quartet
On the programme: workwithinwork by William Forsythe (music: Luciano Berio: Duetti per due Violini), Marco Goecke’s on velvet, with music from Edward Elgar and Johannes Maria Staud’s Segue, and the Frank Bridge Variations by Hans van Manen (music: Benjamin Britten: Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge).
Further performances will take place on 1, 7, 8, 10, 15 and 18 December.
An teaser for the performance is available on the homepage of the Stuttgart Ballet.
Staud on Segue:
“When you tell people you’re working at the moment on a piece for cello often you find yourself being asked: ‘Ah, so you mean a cello concerto?’ No, I always answer – not a cello concerto! A music for cello and orchestra.
in the beginning, I coined this expression just as an aid for myself. Naturally
I might also have called the work Piece
for Cello and Orchestra – or quite simply Cello and
Orchestra, as for example Morton Feldman did. Or I could have
decided on retro-modern titles like Confrontation,
Constellation, …(con)cert(are), or even chosen the totally
Sketches for Violoncello and Orchestra.”
Read more and listen to an excerpt.
Georg Friedrich Haas is this year’s composer in residence at the Greatest Hits Festival (14 to 17 November) in Hamburg, a festival for contemporary music created by Laeiszhalle Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and Kampnagel. On the programme will be Haas’ third string quartet, “In iij. Noct.”, and limited approximations for 6 micro-tonally tuned pianos and orchestra, as well as works by Kagel, Reich, Cage, Zender and many more.
Find the full programme here.
View the study score of limited approximations.
Georg Friedrich Haas on limited approximations:
The twelfth-tone interval is so small that it is no longer heard as an interval, but rather as the shading of a single note. A single tone played by a romantic orchestra has a wider frequency. The aural effect of a scale in twelfth-tone intervals is thus similar to a glissando. The effect of a cluster of twelfth-tones depends on the register: higher up, it is sharp, abrasive, biting, lower down it is soft, melting, rich. Of course it is also possible to build raw, dissonant chords with twelve-tone intervals – much more differentiated (also in the degree of acuteness) than with the traditional 12 tones per octave. But it is also possible to build much more “consonant” chords then in the traditional twelve-note scale: a close approximation of the twelve-tone scale can be produced in the overtone scale, accurate up to a twelfth of a tone.
Read the full text.
Georg Friedrich Haas: “In iij. Noct.”
| String Quartet no. 3
for string quartet | 50'
15.11.2013, Kampnagel, Hamburg; Jack Quartett
Georg Friedrich Haas: limited
for 6 micro-tonally tuned pianos and orchestra | 30'
4 1 4 1 - 6 1 4 0 - pno(6), vln.I(10), vln.II(10), vla(6), vc(6), cb(8)
17.11.2013, Kampnagel, Hamburg; Klaus Steffes-Holländer, Pi-Hsien Chen, Florian Hoelscher, Julia Vogelsänger, Akiko Okabe, Christoph Grund, pno; SWR-SO Baden-Baden und Freiburg, cond. François-Xavier Roth
In the latest article of his symphony guide series Tom Service of the Guardian writes about Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, and describes the symphony’s opening as “one of the most spellbinding moments of symphonic inspiration in the 19th century”.
Find out more about key recordings of the so-called Titan and read Service’s full article on The Guardian.
Universal Edition is currently working on two versions of Mahler’s First Symphony: an edition that is broadly consistent with the version that has been available from UE to date, but now corresponds to the requirements of the new Gustav Mahler Complete Edition in its academic preparation. And the Hamburg version, which was produced especially for Hamburg; it has distinctly different instrumentation and includes the Blumine movement which was later discarded.
Click the link to find out more about the Melos-Ethos Festival in Bratislava.
Gavin Plumley of Entartete Musik visited us today for a chat in our office. In the picture: our portrait of Emil Hertzka (by Tom v. Dreger), Gavin and our promotion manager Sarah Laila Standke.