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Arnold Schönberg: The Musical Idea

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 04 November 2013

Arnold Schönberg: The Musical Idea (c) Hannes Böck
The permanent exhibition “Arnold Schönberg: The Musical Idea” opened last month at the Arnold Schönberg Center in Vienna.

From the Schönberg Center’s homepage: Arnold Schönberg: The Musical Idea Schönberg described a work of art as “a labyrinth where, at every point, every knowledgeable person is aware of the entrance and the exit without needing a golden thread to guide him.” The new exhibition shows just how very exciting it can be to enter a labyrinth and encounter an artistic event at every junction.

Its content and architecture illustrate Schönberg’s lifelong topic of the “idea” in all its representational variety. Music is at the center with painting and other manifestations of his creative drive as multifaceted guidelines toward discovering an artistic figure who was as path-breaking as he was imaginative.

Original manuscripts, documents and visual works from the Center’s archive are supplemented on multimedia presentation levels. Replicas of objects from Schönberg’s living environment allow direct contact with items in his everyday life (letters, calendars, photo albums, music scores, concert programs, etc.). The interactive world map guides one into Schönberg’s living and working environment.

Find out more about the exhibition.

Music in the mirror of time

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 04 November 2013

In these online times, it’s utterly impossible to imagine how we even managed to survive without the internet and computers. A recent newspaper article wrote that “we don’t have time to read” anymore. Well, we do, we just don’t. They’re two different things.

So here’s a blast from the past. In 1975, Friedrich Saathen (a member of the UE editorial department) published his multicolour graphic timeline called Musik im Spiegel der Zeit (Music in the mirror of time).

In three folded sheets, he charts the history of music from the Iron Age up to that pinnacle of modernity: 1975.

Now, thanks to the magic of the internet, we can show you Saathen’s work of art. Click on the images below to see high resolution zoomable scans.

Friedrich Saathen: Musik im Spiegel der Zeit (Music in the mirror of time)

Friedrich Saathen: Musik im Spiegel der Zeit (Music in the mirror of time)

Friedrich Saathen: Musik im Spiegel der Zeit (Music in the mirror of time)

We still have some printed copies in stock. The book also has a text section with descriptions of each entry. You can order a copy in our online shop.

Music Forum Hradec Králové

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 31 October 2013

Music Forum Hradec KrálovéThe Music Forum Hradec Králové starts today, 31 October, and will run until 12 November (the festival consists of four big concerts, on 31 October, 4, 7, and 12 November). The festival’s goal is to create no less than a representative panorama of works from the second half of the 20th century and early 21st century.

Among the pieces performed will be the Czech première of Georg Friedrich Haas’ in vain (Orchestr Berg, cond. Peter Vrábel).

Find the full programme of the festival on the Music Forum Hradec Králové’s homepage.

Georg Friedrich Haas: in vain
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
prem. 04.11.2013, Hradec Králové; Orchestr Berg, cond. Peter Vrábel

Wozzeck opens today

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 31 October 2013

Mark Elder introduces Alban Berg’s Wozzeck, “one of the most significant works of the twentieth century.”

This new production of Wozzeck opens today at the Royal Opera House.

Alban Berg: Wozzeck

Opera in 3 acts (15 scenes) | 90'

4 4 5 4 - 4 4 4 1 - timp(2), perc(4), cel, hp, str, stage: "Heurigenmusik" - fiddle (2-4), cl, acc, guit, bass tuba, military band - 3 2 2 2 - 2 2 3 1 - perc, pno, chamber orch - 1 2 3 2 - 2 0 0 0 - str(1 1 1 1 1)

31.10.2013, Royal Opera House, London; Simon Keenlyside, Wozzeck; Karita Mattila, Marie; Gerhard Siegel, Captain; John Tomlinson, Doctor; Endrik Wottrich, Drum Major; John Easterlin, Andres; Allison Cook, Margret; Jeremy White, First Apprentice; Grant Doyle, Second Apprentice; Robin Tritschler, Idiot; Royal Opera Chorus, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, cond. Mark Elder

Further performances: 5., 8., 12., 15.11.2013

Bálint András Varga: From Boulanger to Stockhausen

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 30 October 2013 (comments: 1)

Cristóbal Halffter, Friedrich Cerha, Georg Friedrich Haas, Johannes Maria Staud, Bálint András Varga, Jay Schwartz, Vykintas Baltakas, and Harrison Birtwistle, 29 November 2007 (c) Marion Kalter
Cristóbal Halffter, Friedrich Cerha, Georg Friedrich Haas, Johannes Maria Staud, Bálint András Varga, Jay Schwartz, Vykintas Baltakas, and Harrison Birtwistle on 29 November 2007.

Congratulations to our friend Bálint András Varga, who used to promote the UE-catalogue for more than 15 years, for the publication of his book From Boulanger to Stockhausen – Interviews and a Memoir, which has been released on 15 October.

From Boulanger to StockhausenThe book features 19 interviews with composers, conductors, instrumentalists and singers, a dozen snippets, and a memoir, in which Varga recounts his experiences growing up in a Jewish family in Hungary during World War II and the early years of Communist rule.

Excerpts from the back cover:

“The interviews in From Boulanger to Stockhausen, which he carried out over the past few decades, have today become an important document for new generations of musicians and music lovers.” (Riccardo Chailly)

“This is a book of voices. We hear great musicians speaking with fresh immediacy” (Paul Griffiths)

“Bálint András Varga is one of the great listeners in the recent history of music. […] Surging toward sound on every silent page, this book is a major document both of the century now past and of the century unfolding.” (Alex Ross)

Here is a full list of the interviewees: Claudio Abbado, Georges Auric, Cathy Berberian, Nadia Boulanger, Ernest Bour, Alfred Brendel, Sir Neville Cardus, Aaron Copland, Antal Doráti, Adám Fischer, Iván Fischer, Géza Frid, Sir William Glock, Sylvia Goldstein, Alois Hába, Ralph Kirkpatrick, György Kurtág, Walter Legge, György Ligeti, Witold Lutoslawski, Sir Neville Marriner, Yehudi Menuhin, Eugene Ormandy,Vlado Perlemuter, Arthur Rubinstein, György Sándor, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Isaac Stern, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Wolfgang Stresemann, Walter Susskind, Hans Swarowsky, Joseph Szigeti, Tibor Varga

The book is available at the University of Rochester Press and on Amazon.

The winners of the Coups de Coeur Musique Contemporaine

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 29 October 2013

Coup de Coeur 2013Congratulations!

The winning recordings of this year’s Coups de Coeur Musique Contemporaine of the Académie Charles Cros have been announced.

Among them: Friedrich Cerha’s Schlagzeugkonzert; Impulse für Orchester on Kairos, Harrison Birtwistle’s Complete String Quartets on AEON, and Morton Feldman’s Violin and Orchestra on the ECM New Series.

Read a review of Birtwsitle’s Complete String Quartets on The Guardian.

Wonderful Four-Headed Nightingale

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 29 October 2013

Arditti Quartet, Luke Bedford (c) Universal Edition, Johannes Feigl
The Arditti Quartet and composer Luke Bedford after the quartet’s breath-taking performance of the world première of Wonderful Four-Headed Nightingale at Wien Modern on 28 October 2013.

Ö1 will broadcast a recording of the evening on 4 November 2013, listen live.

Marin Alsop conducts Berio’s Sinfonia

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 29 October 2013

Marin Alsop (c) Amy T Zielinski/Redferns/GettyErica Jeal of The Guardian reviews Friday night’s performance of Luciano Berio’s Sinfonia at the Royal Festival Hall. Marin Alsop conducted the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra and The Swingle Singers:

“Alsop recharged that glow here. Directing the orchestra plus the eight amplified members of the Swingle Singers, the vocal ensemble for whom Sinfonia was written, she was rock steady, absolutely in control. The piece sounded electrifying – often haunting, crazy at times, but never cacophonous. Its fulcrum is its third movement, a vast collage of speech, singing and many, many orchestral quotations: it is as if Berio is throwing everything he can think of against the wall to see what will stick.”

Read the full review on The Guardian.

Berio on Sinfonia:

“The title of Sinfonia (composed in 1968 for the 125th anniversary of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra) is not meant to suggest any analogy with the classical symphonic form. It is intended more etymologically: the simultaneous sound of various parts, here eight voices and instruments. Or it may be taken in a more general sense as the interplay of a variety of things, situations and meanings. Indeed, the musical development of Sinfonia is constantly and strongly conditioned by the search for balance, often an identity between voices and instruments; between the spoken or the sung word and the sound structure as a whole. This is why the perception and intelligibility of the text are never taken as read, but on the contrary are integrally related to the composition. Thus, the various degrees of intelligibility of the text along with the hearer’s experience of almost failing to understand, must be seen to be essential to the very nature of the musical process.”

Read more.

World première of Bedford’s Wonderful Four-Headed Nightingale at Wien Modern

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 28 October 2013

Luke Bedford (c) Ben EalovegaTonight, 28 October, the Arditti String Quartet will première Luke Bedford’s Wonderful Four-Headed Nightingale in the frame of Wien Modern at the Konzerthaus, Vienna.

The composer about the piece:

This piece is a reworking of my Wonderful Two-Headed Nightingale for violin, viola and fifteen players. The original title was taken from a 19th century poster advertising a pair of singing conjoined twins: Millie and Christine McCoy. They were born in slavery in 1851, sold to a showman, and yet managed to escape the fate of many performers at freak shows and built a relatively normal life for themselves. Something of their story and the poster intrigued me, and I found parallels with the music I was trying to write. From early on in the composition process I knew that the two soloists would be forced to play either identical or very similar music for most of the piece. I felt the tension between their combined, unified sound and their desire to break free from one another could be richly exploited. But I also knew that they would never be successful in tearing free. They would remain as locked together at the end of the piece as they were at the start. 

Read more.

Luke Bedford: Wonderful Four-Headed Nightingale
for string quartet | 9'
world prem. 28.10.2013, Konzerthaus, Vienna; Arditti String Quartet

Ö1: Schwartz and Staud at the Salzburg Festival

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 28 October 2013

Johannes Maria Staud, Jay Schwartz (c) Universal Edition; Salzburg Festival (c) Salzburg Festival

Zeit-Ton broadcasts the second part of the Salzburg Festival’s Beyond Recall project today, for which twelve composers were commissioned to write compositions for twelve works of art that were created in the frame of the Salzburg Art Project. These compositions were premièred on 24 August by the Scharoun Ensemble.

Today’s broadcast starts at 23:03 CET/CEST and will include recordings of Johannes Maria Staud’s Caldera (für Tony Cragg) and Jay Schwartz’ M.

Ö1Listen live to Zeit-Ton on Ö1.

The ensemble intercontemporain performs sur Incises

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 25 October 2013

Pierre Boulez: sur Incises (c) Universal Edition
Pierre Boulez’ sur Incises will be performed on 27 October in the frame of the Pollini Project at the Teatro alla Scala. Matthias Pintscher conducts the ensemble intercontemporain.

Excerpt from a conversation between Wolfgang Fink and Pierre Boulez:
Fink: Incises […] is rather short, extremely brilliant and with a sense of perpetual motion. Now sur Incises originates from this piece and goes beyond the scope of pure piano sound.

Boulez: Yes, it is an ensemble for three pianos which in a way represent the main instruments, three harps and three percussions of certain pitch, also timpani, steel drums, glockenspiel etc. I composed the piano piece Incises for the Umberto Micheli Piano Competition which is greatly supported by Maurizio Pollini. First I had in mind to transform this piece into a longer one for Pollini and a group of instrumentalists, a kind of piano concerto although without reference to the traditional form. The literature in concerto form does not appeal to me any more. Therefore I produced a piece for three pianos assuming that there already exists enough interesting literature for two pianos and ensembles, especially in the modern age - take for example Bartok's "Sonata for two pianos and percussion".

Read more.

Pierre Boulez: sur Incises
for 3 pianos, 3 harps and 3 percussionists | 40'
27.10.2013, Teatro alla Scala, Milano; ensemble intercontemporain, cond. Matthias Pintscher

Vykintas Baltakas: world première at the Transit Festival

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 25 October 2013

Transit FestivalWibert Aerts premières Vykintas Baltakas’ Eine kleine Nachtmusik tomorrow, 26 October, at the Transit Festival (25 to 27 October) in Leuven.

The composer about the piece for solo violin: “This miniature, played on only one-string on the violin, is a lullaby which I’ve been singing to my daughters for several years. My music in this piece was partially inspired by fractal ideas where a large image is created of many small images of the same shape. I couldn't think of a better title than Eine kleine Nachtmusik. However this is the only reference point to Mozart, borrowed with great respect.”

Vykintas Baltakas: Eine kleine Nachtmusik
for violin solo | 5'
world prem. 26.10.2013, Leuven; Wibert Aerts, vln

Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving for Church Music in Holborn

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 25 October 2013

The Parish Church of Saint Alban the Martyr, HolbornOn Sunday, October 27th 2013, the Church of Saint Alban Holborn in London has its annual Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving for Church Music. Each year, a different composer is chosen for this service, and this year it is Arvo Pärt. Among the pieces performed will be the Berliner Messe and The Beatitudes.

Find out more on the church’s homepage.

Arvo Pärt: Berliner Messe
for mixed choir or soloists (SATB) and organ | 25'
Arvo Pärt: Cantate Domino canticum novum
for mixed choir or soloists (SATB) and organ | 3'
Arvo Pärt: The Beatitudes
for mixed choir (SATB) and organ | 7'
Arvo Pärt: O Morgenstern from 7 Magnificat-Antiphonen
for mixed choir a cappella | 15'
Arvo Pärt: Pari intervallo
for organ | 6'
27.10.2013, Church of Saint Alban Holborn, London; Edward Batting, org; Curch of Saint Alban Holborn Choir

Uk première of in vain

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 24 October 2013

Georg Friedrich Haas (c) Lucerne Festival, Priska KettererPhilip Cashian, composer and Head of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music, writes about Georg Friedrich Haas’ in vain on the London Sinfonietta’s blog. André de Ridder and the London Sinfonietta will perform the UK première of in vain on 16 November at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.

“it often seemed that supernatural forces were at work […] it was often hard to believe that these otherworldly sounds were coming from acoustic, not electronic, instruments […] a masterpiece.” (The New York Times)

Sawer’s Flesh and Blood shortlisted for the 2013 British Composer Awards

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 24 October 2013

2013 British Composer Awards Amazing news from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA): David Sawer’s Flesh and Blood has been shortlisted for the 2013 British Composer Awards in the “vocal” category. The 11th British Composer Awards will take place on 3 December 2013 at Goldsmiths' Hall, London, BBC Radio 3 will provide exclusive broadcast coverage of the Awards on 7 December.

More about the awards.

View the full vocal score and find our more on David Sawer’s Flesh and Blood.