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Der Lindberghflug, 1929

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 27 July 2014

Bertolt Brecht, Der Lindberghflug, 1929; Original radio setting | © Bertolt BrechtKurt Weill’s and Bertolt Brecht’s  Der Lindberghflug (also Der Ozeanflug / The Flight across the Ocean) was premièred 85 years ago, on 27 July 1929 at the Kurhaus Baden-Baden.

Aged just 26, Kurt Weill realised that radio offered the potential for a new genre of art. Subtitled ‘Radiolehrstück’ (teaching piece for radio), Der Lindberghflug was a product of this idea. It consists of 16 short sections, the shortest lasting barely a minute and the longest four minutes. The rapid alternation of soloists (narrator, tenor, baritone, bass), choir passages and instrumental interludes, as well as of styles – recitative, ‘sprechgesang’ (speech-song), baroque-style passages for choir, Weill’s typical bitter-sweet melodies – creates immense dramatic tension. It is not surprising that Weill also envisaged the work for stage.

Happy Birthday David Fennessy

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 23 July 2014

David Fennessy (c) Universal Edition, Eric Marinitsch

I think each piece has its own individual technique but what people hear is something much deeper and profound and long lasting. It’s the thing they recognise as a composer’s voice. Of course it does manifest itself in technical things like intervals, but there’s some kind of bedrock on which your voice is built.

Happy Birthday David Fennessy!

Listen to an interview with David Fennessy on I’ll cadence when I die!


Zemlinsky’s Mermaid in Sydney

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 23 July 2014

The Australian première of Antony Beaumont’s critical edition of Alexander Zemlinsky’s Die Seejungfrau [The Mermaid] will be performed on 24 July by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra under Simone Young. The critical edition contains the “Mer-witch episode”, a rediscovered and up to now unknown scene.

View the full study score.

Antony Beaumont on The Mermaid:

Simone Young (c) Klaus Lefebvre  Zemlinsky first envisaged The Mermaid as a through-composed symphony in two movements, each subdivided into two sections. During the process of composition (February 1902–March 1903) he recast the work into three separate movements.

The first of these follows the well-known story by Hans Christian Andersen from a murky opening (‘at the bottom of the sea’) to the moment where the Mermaid rescues the shipwrecked Prince from drowning. The second, in extended ternary form, focuses on a subsidiary scene in Andersen (a ball in the palace of the Mer-king) before moving on to the crucial confrontation between the Mermaid and the Mer-witch. The third depicts the Mermaid transformed into a mortal, her anguish, suicide and transfiguration.

Read the full text online in our Musiklätter 2.

Alexander Zemlinsky: Die Seejungfrau
for orchestra | 45'
Critical edition; arranger: Antony Beaumont (2011)
prem. 24.07.2014, Opera House, Sydney; Sydney SO, cond. Simone Young
Further performances: 25. and 28.07.2014

Mahler on the silver screen

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 18 July 2014

Simon Rattle, Orquesta Sinfonica Infantil Nacional de Venezuela, Salzburg FestivalSimon Rattle’s performance of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 with the Orquesta Sinfonica Infantil Nacional de Venezuela at last year’s Salzburg Festival will be shown this Sunday at the open-air square of Vienna’s City Hall.

Find out more on the website of the Sommerkino Vienna.

Harrison Birtwistle on BBC Radio 3 and Ö1

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 18 July 2014

The strength of Birtwistle’s music, and his way of showing time passing at different speeds are for me very striking, much more striking than any other English composer of his generation. (Pierre Boulez on Harrison Birtwistle)

Read more birthday tributes to Harrison Birtwistle on The Telegraph.

Harrison Birtwistle (c) Universal Edition, Eric Marinitsch

Tom Service will introduce an all-Birtwistle programme on BBC Radio 3 in this Saturday’s episode of Hear and Now. Tune in to BBC Radio 3 on 19 July at 23:30 and listen live.

Rainer Elstner has recently dedicated a Zeit-Ton portrait to the composer. Find out more about the show and can listen to a recording of the broadcast on Ö1.

Boulez’ Pierrot lunaire reissued on CD

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 16 July 2014

tl_files/News_Bilder/Blog/2014/boulez_pierrot_wergo_230.jpgArnold Schönberg’s Pierrot lunaire, conducted by Pierre Boulez with Helga Pilarczyk as Sprechstimme, was the first ever long-playing record to be released on the German label WERGO, which was founded in 1962.

This historic recording – a highlight of the label’s early catalogue – has recently been reissued on CD, together with an 80-page booklet.

Find out more on the website of WERGO.

Arvo Pärt awarded the Praemium Imperiale

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 16 July 2014

Arvo Pärt has been awarded the 2014 Praemium Imperiale award for music. The composer will receive the prize in a ceremony held in Tokyo on October 15.

Among this year’s other winners are the South African playwright Athol Fugard, French painter Martial Raysse, Italian sculptor Giuseppe Penone and American architect Steven Holl.

Before Pärt, the UE composers Pierre Boulez, György Ligeti, Alfred Schnittke, Luciano Berio and Steve Reich have received the award.

Anton Herzl’s Imaging Komponisten at the Haus der Musik

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 16 July 2014

Born in Graz in 1969, the artist Anton Herzl presents his new work series “IMAGING KOMPONISTEN” at the Haus der Musik [House of Music] in Vienna.

Showcasing 68 portraits, some of which original creations for the occasion, the exhibition can be experienced in the grand staircase of the former palais as well as on the other museum floors. “Imaging Composers” runs from 11 June to 30 September.

Pierre Boulez by Anton Herzl Johannes Maria Staud by Anton Herzl

The portrait series deliberately reaches beyond the Sound Museum’s great masters. Bringing new faces into the game the exhibition builds yet another bridge between music and fine arts and in so doing echoes Haus der Musik’s various other links of the kind.

Anton Herzl – Portrait Series
June 11 – September 30, 2014
Haus der Musik

Happy 80th Birthday Harrison Birtwistle

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 15 July 2014

Harrison Birtwistle (c) BCMG

Celebrations for Harrison Birtwistle’s 80th already took place earlier this year with the Barbican Centre’s Birtwistle at 80 season, a production of Punch and Judy at the Neue Oper Wien, the publication of Fiona Maddocks’ Harrison Birtwistle: Wild Tracks – A Conversation Diary With Fiona Maddocks, the rerelease of a recording of Gawain by NMC Recordings and a filmed portrait of the composer.

Ö1Nevertheless, you shouldn’t miss out on Ö1’s radio portrait on the composer by Rainer Elstner, which will be broadcast today, on the day of his birthday, at 23:03. Listen live.

Happy Birthday Harrison Birtwistle!

Lorin Maazel (1930–2014)

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 14 July 2014

With Lorin Maazel a conductor passed away last Sunday who was closely connected with the repertoire of Universal Edition. His commitment to the music of Gustav Mahler and the world première of Luciano Berio’s Un re in ascolto at the Salzburg Festival will never be forgotten.

Our sympathy goes to his family.

Audite publishes previously unreleased live recording of Bluebeard’s Castle

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 14 July 2014

Rafael Kubelík, auditeOn the occasion of Rafael Kubelík’s 100th birthday on 29 June 2014, Audite has published a previously unreleased live recording of Kubelík’s memorable concert performance of Bluebeard’s Castle at the 1962 Lucerne festival.

Tim Ashley of The Guardian writes that “the extraordinary pairing of Irmgard Seefried's Judith with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau's Bluebeard, both totally immersed in their roles, ensures an interpretation like no other.”

Read the full review on The Guardian.

Cristóbal Halffter on france musique

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 11 July 2014

Rodolphe Bruneau-Boulmier of france musique has recently presented a one hour long portrait on Cristóbal Halffter.

france musiqueListen to a recording of the broadcast on france musique.

Cristóbal Halffter and Wolfgang Haendeler, the librettist of Schachnovelle


Bluebeard’s Castle at the Tyrolean Festival Erl

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 11 July 2014

Wood engraving by Gustave Doré, public domainWhen the première of Béla Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle did not achieve the success he had hoped for, the composer withdrew for a long time from public life. Today, the one-act opera is one of the undisputed masterpieces of the 20th century. Bartók’s only opera will be performed today and tomorrow at the Tyrolean Festival Erl in a production by Gustav Kuhn.

Béla Bartók: Bluebeard’s Castle
opera in 1 act | 60'
11.07.2014; 12.07.2014, Festspielhaus Erl; Bluebeard, István Rácz, Andrea Silvestrelli; Judith, Svetlana Kotina, Marianna Szivkova; Orchester der Tiroler Festspiele Erl, cond. Tito Ceccherini


Two angry men: Harrison Birtwistle and Peter Maxwell Davies

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 11 July 2014

The Telegraph, Photo: Eamon McCabe/RedfernsIvan Hewett of The Telegraph has written an article on the differences and similarities of Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, two old friends and rivals.

Read the full article on The Telegraph.

Wolfgang Rihm awarded the Robert Schumann Prize for Poetry and Music

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 09 July 2014

Wolfgang Rihm (c) Universal Edition, Eric Marinitsch
Wolfgang Rihm
has been awarded the Robert Schumann Prize for Poetry and Music 2014. This is the second time the prize has been awarded, with Pierre Boulez being the awardee of the prize in 2012.

The award ceremony will take place on 6 November at the Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur Mainz.