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Arvo Pärt on Hyperion

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 29 September 2014

Arvo Pärt’s music is simple in its means, and powerful in its effect. It has its own very distinctive personality, one that could hardly belong to any other living composer. He is as close to being a ‘household name’ as any classical composer in this lower-brow century can hope to be. (Meurig Bowen)

Today, 29 September, Hyperion Records releases a new CD with the choral music by Arvo Pärt performed by Polyphony (cond. Stephen Layton).

Listen to excerpts of the 12 works and read texts and liner notes (which are available in three languages) on Hyperion. A download of Peace upon you, Jerusalem for female choir a cappella is available for free.

Arvo Pärt: Polyphony (c) Hyperion Records


20 Years in Style – the Prague Philharmonia

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 26 September 2014

Kate Royal (c) Esther Haase/EMI ClassicsCelebrating their 20th anniversary, soprano Kate Royal and the Prague Philharmonia will perform Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 together with Joaquín Rodrigo’s Cuatro madrigales amatorios and Maurice Ravel’s Bolero on 28 September at the Dvořák Hall of the Rudolfinum.

Find out more about the Prague PHilharmonia’s “20 Years in Style” festivities the Prague Daily Monitor.

The concert will be broadcast live on ČT Art.

Dulwich Piano Festival

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 26 September 2014

Dulwich Piano Festival

Dulwich Piano Festival Trophy (c) Lou SmithOnline entries have opened for the Dulwich Piano Festival, which will take place on 7 June 2015 at the James Allen’s Girls’ School. Based in South London, the Dulwich Piano Festival is in its fourth year and has around 130 competitors of all ages taking part.

View the Dulwich Piano Festival’s Syllabus online.

To pay homage to Arvo Pärt, Für Anna Maria has been chosen for the Set Pieces class for an Open Class, which will be adjudicated by pianist Frances Wilson.

Find the Dulwich Piano Festival on Facebook.

Dada Masilo’s Carmen

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 26 September 2014

I began with the idea of unravelling Carmen the woman… to find the vulnerability beneath the cold, heartless exterior. In the process of research, there was so much to unravel: I searched for Bizet and found Shchedrin. (Dada Masilo)

After her successful tour with Swan Lake (which featured Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel), Dada Masilo returned to the stage earlier this month with her ballet Carmen. Again the music of Arvo Pärt will be present in her ballet, this time she choreographed Lamentate for piano and orchestra.

A live stream of the performance on 28 September at the Biennale de la danse will be available on ARTE at 20:00. Watch the live stream.

The composer on Lamentate:

With respect to its form, however, the composition cannot really be described as a typical piano concerto. I chose the piano to be the solo instrument because it fixes our attention on something that is ‘one’. This ‘one’ could be a person, or perhaps a first-person narrative. Just as the sculpture leaves the viewer with a light and floating impression in spite of its overwhelming size, the piano, as a large instrument, allowed me to create a sphere of intimacy and warmth that no longer seems anonymous or abstract.

Read more.

Watch a trailer of Carmen:

Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 by Camerata RCO, ensemble mini and Kammermahler

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 25 September 2014

Camerata RCO, Gutman RecordsFollowing the rave reviews for Pierre Audi’s scenic world première of Schönberg’s Gurre-Lieder, we have more great news from Amsterdam: after a successful crowdfunding campaign on voordekunst, Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 in the arrangement for chamber ensemble by Klaus Simon was released today by Camerata RCO on Gutman Records. Congratulations!

Conductor Gustavo Gimeno and the ensemble earned high praise from arranger Klaus Simon, who writes in the booklet of the recording that “the result is truly breathtaking. Thank you all so much for this amazing work!”

Find out more on the website of the Camerata RCO.

ensemble mini, Ars ProduktionHowever, Camerata RCO is not the only ensemble who has recently recorded Simon’s arrangement: earlier this month, ensemble mini and Joolz Gale released their own much anticipated rendition of Mahler’s Ninth on Ars Produktion. The Berliner Zeitung wrote about the ensemble:

“ensemble mini has often enchanted its audience by performances of historical adaptations of Mahler’s music... This is where mini-Mahler, thanks to the superhumanly beautiful and concentrated play of its protagonists, makes the impossible indeed possible: to transfer Gustav Mahler’s symphonic cosmos to the world of chamber music whilst still leaving the tonal reproduction of its universe.”

Watch a trailer for ensemble mini’s Symphony No. 9 on YouTube.

We’d also like to mention a third recording of the Ninth, which was released by Caleb Young and Kammermahler earlier this year: find out more on Kammermahler, who are also responsible for the USA première performance of Simon’s arrangement, which was held at the Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana on May 11th, 2014.

ARD and ARTE visit UE

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 24 September 2014

Wolfgang Schaufler at Universal Edition

World War I and its impact on the world of music are the subjects of an upcoming TV documentary that will be seen in two years on ARD and ARTE. Last week a film crew visited us on the premises of Universal Edition for the documentary, promotion manager Wolfgang Schaufler was interviewed on how the war affected UE composer Alban Berg and his opera Wozzeck.

Steve Reich receives the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 24 September 2014

On Sunday, 21 September, Steve Reich was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 58th International Festival of Contemporary Music of the Biennale di Venezia.

From the website of the Biennale Musica 2014:

Steve Reich (c) La Biennale di Venezia“Steve Reich is the charismatic exponent of a new and original way of understanding music that has been embraced enthusiastically by a vast audience and has had a powerful influence on younger generations in America and abroad. His language, vibrating with a rhythmic pulsation that carries a powerful emotional impact, has been enriched over time, thanks to his refined and cultured experimentation, by experiences borrowed from various musical traditions that have inspired compositions now considered as contemporary ‘classics’.”

Previous UE composers who have received the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement include Luciano Berio (1995), Friedrich Cerha (2006), György Kurtág (2009), Wolfgang Rihm (2010) and – most recently – Pierre Boulez (2012).

“Mahler 9 – reduced yet memorably rendered”

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 19 September 2014

Argento Chamber Ensemble (c) Sabrina Weisz

“But there is a concomitant gain in the clarity of the line, and the Symphony No. 9 is an endless line. Galante formed and followed it with exceptional shape and focus.”(George Grella, New York Classical Review, 16.09.2014)

With the New York Times calling it a “wonderfully committed and beautifully executed performance”, Michel Galante’s rendering of Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 last Monday was a clear success. The Argento Chamber Ensemble and the JACK Quartet built an ambitious program around the symphony, which was performed in Klaus Simon’s arrangement for ensemble.

Furthermore, we’d like to draw your attention to two (!) recent recordings of Simon’s arrangement, one by Ensemble Mini (cond. Joolz Gale) and the other by Camerata RCO (cond. Gustavo Gimeno), but more on that soon.

View the full score of the Symphony No. 9 for ensemble.

UE Newsletter mid-September 2014

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 18 September 2014

UE NewsletterWe just sent out our latest newsletter, covering the following topics:

Arvo Pärt in his 80th year

Scenic world première of Gurre-Lieder in Amsterdam

Foerster’s opera Eva rediscovered

Rihm’s Sextett premièred in Amsterdam

Klaus Simon’s arrangement of Berg’s 4 Pieces for clarinet and ensemble in Rovaniemi

View the newsletter online: German | English

Subscribe to our newsletter: German | English

Kurt Weill in Edinburgh and Tokyo

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 18 September 2014

The Threepenny Opera (c) New National Theatre

Artistic director Miyata Keiko has opened the New National Theatre’s fifth season with a production of The Threepenny Opera. The work forms the ninth production in the series “JAPAN MEETS─A Look at the Lineage of Contemporary Drama”. The production will be running until 28 September.

Ute Lemper (c) Elena Torre, CCOn 15 August, German chanteuse and actress Ute Lemper joined the Scottish Chamber Orchestra for an evening of “Weimar Republic decadence” at the Edinburgh International Festival, with music by Kurt Weill, Hanns Eisler and Igor Stravinsky.

The two-and-a-half-hour long programmewill be available for stream for four weeks on BBC Radio 3, where you can also find a list of works performed.


Hear and Now: Georg Friedrich Haas

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 17 September 2014

Georg Friedrich Haas (c) Universal Edition, Eric Marinitsch

On Saturday at 22:30 CET/CEST, Robert Worby presents a focus on Georg Friedrich Haas, with performances recorded earlier this year. On the programme: Introduktion und Transsonation (Klangforum Wien, cond. Ilan Volkov), the Concerto for baritone saxophone and orchestra (Marcus Weiss, sax; BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, cond. Ilan Volkov) and the String Quartet No.2 (Arditti Quartet).

BBC Radio 3Listen to Hear and Now on BBC Radio 3.

Rihm’s Trio Concerto premièred at the Musikfest Berlin

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 17 September 2014

Jukka Pekka Saraste (c) WDR, Thomas KostTonight’s performance of Transitus forms a prelude to the world première of Wolfgang Rihm’s Trio Concerto for violin, violoncello, piano and orchestra. The Concerto will be performed by Trio Jean Paul and the WDR Sinfonieorchester under the baton of its chief conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste.

View the full score of Transitus.

Wolfgang Rihm: Trio Concerto
for violin, violoncello, piano and orchestra | 25'
prem.17.09.2014, Philharmonie; Trio Jean Paul: Ulf Schneider, vln; Martin Löhr, vlc; Eckart Heiligers, pno; WDR SO Köln, cond. Jukka-Pekka Saraste

Wolfgang Rihm: Transitus
for orchestra | 15
17.09.2014, Philharmonie; WDR SO Köln, cond. Jukka-Pekka Saraste

Read the full programme of the Musikfest Berlin:


Bálint András Varga: Drei Fragen an 73 Komponisten

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 16 September 2014

Do today's composers draw inspiration from life experiences or from, say, the natural world? What influences, past and present, have influenced recent composers? How essential is it for a composer to develop a personal style, and when does this degenerate into self-repetition?

These are questions about which some of the most important composers of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century often have quite strong feelings – but have seldom been asked.

For Three Questions for Sixty-Five Composers, Bálint András Varga, long-time member and companion of Universal Edition, has put these questions to 65 composers. Eight additional interviews have been included in the German edition of the book, which is published by ConBrio and was released earlier this month, on 5 September: Drei Fragen an 73 Komponisten.

A [German] preview of Varga’s interview with Alfred Schnittke is available on nmz.

We are proud to see that 24 of the interviewees are published by UE:

Gilbert Amy, Luciano Berio, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Pierre Boulez, Friedrich Cerha, Edison Denisov, Morton Feldman, Georg Friedrich Haas, Mauricio Kagel, Ernst Krenek, György Kurtág, György Ligeti, Arvo Pärt, Henri Pousseur, Steve Reich, Wolfgang Rihm, Peter Ruzicka, Alfred Schnittke, Gunther Schuller, Johannes Maria Staud, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Tōru Takemitsu, Gerhard Wimberger and Hans Zender.

Three Questions for Sixty-Five Composers

Drei Fragen an 73 Komponisten


Cerha and Beethoven at the Proms

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 15 September 2014

Listen to the Proms première of Friedrich Cerha’s Paraphrase on the Opening of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, which was performed together with Beethoven’s Ninth at the Prom 75 by the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra (cond. Alan Gilbert).

In the programme, Gilbert introduces the Paraphrase as “highly atmospheric […] [It] sets up kind of a wonderful stepping-stone from which you can enter the world of Beethoven 9. To me it sort of opens the world of possibility […] it lets the Beethoven really stand on its own.”

The composer on Paraphrase: “I hope very much that the gap between my Paraphrase and Beethoven’s work will not be perceived as an irreconcilable divide between two foreign elements, but that the pieces can instead be experienced as two related elements.”

View the full score of Cerha’s Paraphrase on Universal Edition.

A gift to Arnold Schönberg

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 15 September 2014

Schönberg, Gift (c) Arnold Schönberg

Arnold Schönberg’s birthday gift from his pupils for his 50th birthday: a beautiful album with their photographs and dedications. Read the whole book on the website of the Arnold Schönberg Center.