The video was taken on 28 November 2012 at the Kunst-Station Sankt Peter in Köln and features an excerpt of David Fennessy’s excellent Piano Trio | Music for the pauses in a conversation between John Cage and Morton Feldman.
Among the pieces performed on this evening, which focused on the friendship between Cage and Feldman, were also Feldman’s For John Cage, Steffen Krebber’s Konfusion IV and John Cage’s Imaginary landscape No. 1.
Thinking back to the first
time I heard The Rite as a
13-year-old, I remember being instantly enchanted and terrified by the
piece. I had heard nothing like it before and it quite simply opened up the
world of twentieth century music to me. And even now, a hundred years on from
the première, its force and violent beauty are a thing of wonder.
1913 certainly was an exciting year for Universal Edition. Two and a half months after Schönberg’s “scandal concert” in Vienna – where the issue was not merely a question of how an audience treated the performers, it was about partisanship at a crossroads of musical history – the world première of Stravinsky’s and Nijinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps took place in Paris on 29 May 1913 and sent shock waves through the European art world. A quick search on the internet is enough to get an overview of some of the devastating reviews that the première received, yet opinions differed: UE composer Gian Francesco Malipiero, who attended the performance, would later remember the experience as an awakening “from a long and dangerous lethargy”.
But it’s not only a temporal proximity that connects these two events: Stravinsky was said to have kept a score of Schönberg’s 3 Piano Pieces, Op 11 – where the last piece is free from any tonal or motivic references – with him at the time he was composing The Rite. Stravinsky in return seems to have been of major importance to Béla Bartók, who wrote his pantomime ballet The Miraculous Mandarin partly as a response to his interest in Stravinsky, admiring the composer’s way of making “these chasing motivic complexes fit into each other by balancing the weight ratios with extreme precision.”
The BBC released an article questioning whether The Rite did actually spark a riot, and the conclusion is drawn that even today, “we cannot be quite sure”. Did The Rite lose its edge in the twenty-first century? What is your opinion?
Tonight at 21:00 CET/CEST: RTÉ lyric fm broadcasts Bedford’s Chiaroscuro, Fennessy’s Piano Trio and Staud’s Für Bálint András Varga. The concert was performed by the Fidelio Trio and recorded on Saturday 2 March during the three-day New Music Dublin festival.
The Italian radio station Rai Radio 3 dedicates two radio programmes to Luciano Berio today. At 12:00, Rendering, 4 dédicaces, Fanfara and three other works will be broadcast. Later in the day at 20:30 another programme will present Berio’s (chamber) orchestral works Eindrücke, Requies and Sinfonia.
Luciano Berio: Rendering
Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, cond. Pascal Rophé
Recorded on 21 October 2005
Luciano Berio: 4 dédicaces, Fanfara, Entrata, Festum
Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, cond. Michele Mariotti
Recorded on 7 January 2011
Monday, 27 May, 12:00 | RAI Radio 3 | Listen live
Luciano Berio: Requies
Luciano Berio: Sinfonia
Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, Neue Vocalsolisten, Dir. Dima Slobodeniouk
Recorded on 1 February 2013
Monday, 27 May, 20:30 | RAI Radio 3 | Listen live
Paul Patterson: Spider’s Web
for harp and string orchestra | 12’
world prem. 25/5/2013, Stadtsaal Kufstein, Austria; Gwyneth Wentink, hp; Cappella Istropolitana, cond. Bernhard Sieberer
103 years after its world première, the hr-Sinfonieorchester and Paavo Järvi will perform Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 – frequently called the Symphony of a Thousand – on 24 and 25 May at the Alte Oper Frankfurt. The choirs will consist of the EuropaChorAkademie, the Tschechischer Philharmonischer Chor Brünn and the Limburger Domsingknaben.
Tonight Georg Friedrich Haas’ in vain will be performed as a part of a composer’s portrait dedicated to Haas at the Schwetzinger SWR Festspiele. Jonathan Stockhammer conducts the Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart.
You can watch an interview with Sir Simon Rattle, in which the conductor identifies in vain as “one of the only already acknowledged masterpieces of the 21st century”, here:
The concert will be broadcast by SWR 2 on 16 June 2013, listen live.
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
23/5/2013, Schwetzingen; Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart, cond. Jonathan Stockhammer
Andrew Clements of The Guardian writes that “[t]his performance is perfectly judged: Carolin Widmann is a fabulously assured and poetic soloist, taking minute care over the smallest, apparently most insignificant details, and Emilio Pomarico ensures that the orchestral playing is equally refined and scrupulous. It's a beautiful, haunting disc.”
The world première of Luke Bedford’s new ensemble work Renewal, which was commissioned by the London Sinfonietta, takes place today, on 22 May under Sian Edwards. Furthermore, Bedford’s Wonderful No-Headed Nightingale for 10 players will receive its UK première in the same concert.
Bedford, whom Andrew Burke, chief executive of the London Sinfonietta, described as “one of the best British composers of his generation” has written that “Renewal is about creating something new from the rubble of each previous section. Though the material of any given part might appear stable, it always collapses. The piece is a celebration of renewal and regrowth: written in the full knowledge of its impermanence.”
The London Sinfonietta released an introductory video about Bedford on YouTube which you can watch here:
for 12 players | 22’
1 1 1 0 - 1 0 1 0 - perc, hp, str
Wonderful No-Headed Nightingale (2012)
for 10 players | 8’
22/5/2013, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London; London Sinfonietta, cond. Sian Edwards
The world première of David Fennessy’s Prologue (Silver are the tears of the moon), which opened the second Tectonics Festival in Glasgow on 11 May 2013 (the first took place in Iceland in March 2012), was a great success. Ilan Volkov conducted the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.
We also took a photo of the panel discussion with David Fennessy, Hildur Gudnadóttir, Alvin Lucier, Ilan Volkov and Fiona Talkington in the Candleriggs Bar.
If you didn’t manage to attend the two-day festival, here is a short introductory video of Volkov talking about it. I’d say that the festival’s mixture of genres is a great idea, and am eagerly awaiting to see who will be on the programme next year:
Another great review of Wozzeck (con. Edward Gardner), this time from The Guardian. Tim Ashley describes Carrie Cracknell’s production of Berg’s “masterpiece”. Highlighting that Cracknell’s production distances itself from a psychoanalytic or symbolic interpretation of the opera (reminding the audience of trauma caused by war and poverty - Wozzeck, played by Leigh Melrose – has just returned from Iraq or Afghanistan), Ashley describes the opera as musically astonishing, Melrose “giving the performance of a lifetime [...], a major achievement for conductor Edward Gardner [...], an outstanding achievement to which no one can remain indifferent.”
Read the full review on The Guardian.
Alban Berg: Wozzeck
Opera in 3 acts | 105’
Further performances: 18, 23 and 25 May, English National Opera, London
Leigh Melrose, Wozzeck; Sara Jakubiak, Marie; Tom Randle, The Captain; James Morris, The Doctor; Bryan Register, The Drum-Major; ENO Orchestra, cond. Edward Gardner