Universal Edition - Blog

Katya Kabanova returns to London

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 19 Juli 2017

Leoš Janáček (c) Janáček Museum Brno, ed. Universal Edition, JF

On 15 July Leoš Janáček’s Katya Kabanova made a welcome return to Opera Holland Park in Olivia Fuchs’ highly-regarded production. Sian Edwards conducts the City of London Sinfonietta, with Julia Sporsén in the title role.

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Wolfgang Rihm awarded the “Preis der Europäischen Kirchenmusik”

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 12 Juli 2017

Wolfgang Rihm (c) Universal Edition, Eric Marinitsch

The Schwäbisch Gmünd Festival Europäische Kirchenmusik honours Wolfgang Rihm with their annual “Preis der Europäischen Kirchenmusik.” Rihm would have accepted the prize on Saturday, 15 July, however he won’t be able to attend the ceremony due to a severe illness. At 8pm works by Rihm will be performed under the baton of Jörg-Hannes Hahn.

Find out more about the award

Pintscher on Schwartz: “he’s a Schubert of our time”

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 05 Juli 2017

Jay Schwartz (c) Universal Edition

the most conservative orchestras, the most specialized small groups, they all at some point recognize the genius, greatness, and modesty of what he does.

At the same time, he’s obsessed with how it has to be, he would never move an inch to the left or to the right. For me, he’s a Schubert of our time. (Matthias Pintscher on Jay Schwartz)

Jeffrey Arlo Brown of VAN Magazine talked to German-born, New York-based composer and conductor Matthias Pintscher about Pierre Boulez, whether it’s more fun to conduct or to compose, and about fellow composer Jay Schwartz.

Read the interview on VAN

Bartók’s Piano Concerto No 1 premièred 90 years ago

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 01 Juli 2017

Béla Bartók (c) public domain, ed. Johannes Feigl

Béla Bartók wrote the first of his three piano concertos in the autumn of 1926. The Concerto No 1 was intended for Bartók’s own concert appearances, and the first performance was given exactly 90 years ago, on 1 July 1927, in Frankfurt am Main as part of the International Society for Contemporary Music Festival, with Bartók as soloist under Wilhelm Furtwängler.

Due to its technical difficulty and its innovative approach – the instrument is treated rather like a percussive instrument than a piano – the work only slowly won recognition, which led the composer to defend it: “The piano concerto is far better and significant than the Dance Suite.”

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Berio’s Glosse premièred 20 years ago

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 22 Juni 2017

Luciano Berio (c) Universal Edition, Eric Marinitsch; ed. Johannes Feigl

The birth of a musical work is a complex and mysterious matter – although often unintentionally so. It is perhaps for this reason that the composer is often reticent to describe the genesis of his works. (Luciano Berio)

Luciano Berio’s Glosse was premièred today exactly 20 years ago by the Lotus String Quartet. If you want to find out more about the story behind Berio’s string quartet, just follow this link:

Luiano Berio on Glosse

Arvo Pärt: featured composer at the LIACCC

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 21 Juni 2017


Arvo Pärt is featured composer of this year’s London International A Cappella Choral Competition (LIACCC), which runs from 25 June until 1 July. This year 16 choirs from 11 countries will be competing. Each group must prepare one work by featured composer Arvo Pärt, one piece of Renaissance Polyphony, plus music of the group’s own choice.

A highlight of the event will the concert by Peter Phillips and the Tallis Scholars on Friday 30 June, when they will be performing Arvo Pärt’s Nunc Dimittis and Triodion.

The Tallis Scholars: Arvo Pärt: Tintinnabuli; GimellIn 2015 the Tallis Scholars’ released their highly acclaimed CD Arvo Pärt: Tintinnabuli. Visit the website of Gimell to read the liner notes and listen to excerpts of the recording’s 23 tracks.

The composer on Arvo Pärt: Tintinnabuli:

I am delighted to hear of this CD's success. I have been very impressed not only by The Tallis Scholars' excellent and precise interpretation but also by the way this recording is presented, it proves a deep understanding of the system on which my compositions are based. An exemplary, flawless project which gives me much pleasure.

Nagano conducts Schönberg

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 19 Juni 2017

Arnold Schönberg: Gurre-Lieder; ed. Johannes Feigl

Kent Nagano conducts Arnold Schönberg’s Gurre-Lieder tonight at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg. Schönberg worked on his Gurre-Lieder from 1900-1911, a period in which he left the work’s style far behind. For him its completion represented the documentation of a compositional style and spiritual attitude no longer his own.

Still, at its 1913 première in the Vienna Musikverein the piece enjoyed overwhelming success; Schönberg’s pupil Anton Webern wrote: “What a moment of my life! Unforgettable… The sensation of this tumultuous noise thrills me to the point where I swoon …”

Child’s play in Germany

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 12 Juni 2017

Wolfgang Rihm (c) Universal Edition, Eric Marinitsch; ed. Johannes Feigl

The title of Lichtes Spiel might be translated as “Light Game” or “Light Play”, and can be taken as a pun on the German expression “leichtes Spiel”, meaning “an easy job”; or what one might call “Child’s Play”. Rihm has said that he intended it as “a transparent orchestral movement … something light, but not ‘lightweight’”.

The orchestration of Lichtes Spiel is based on that of Mozart’s concertos and it will be performed together with works by Mozart on 14 and 15 June in Würzburg and on 16 June in Fürth. Leo Hussain conducts the Bamberger Symphoniker (Bart Vandenbogaerde, vln).

View the full score and the performance details

Grubinger plays Cerha

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 08 Juni 2017

Martin Grubinger (c) Felix Broede

While I was writing it I had not yet heard Grubinger play […] Yet today I read that I had written the piece as if tailor-made for him and – although he described it as the most difficult thing he had ever played – he made it his own so brilliantly that the description seemed to fit. (Friedrich Cerha)

Tonight virtuoso percussionist Martin Grubinger presents the Monegasque première of Friedrich Cerha’s Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra at the Auditorium Rainer III. Kazuki Yamada conducts the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo.

View the full score of the first movement

Paul Patterson at 70

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 07 Juni 2017

Paul Patterson (c) In Focus

Paul Patterson (c) Universal Edition, Eric MarinitschThe Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester dedicates its two-day In Focus festival to Paul Patterson, who will be celebrating his 70th birthday on 15 June 2017.

Patterson – who was influenced by Penderecki and Lutosławski and taught by Richard Rodney Bennett at the Royal Academy of Music – has long been at the forefront of new music, his output includes everything from aleatoricism to simple sacred music.

As part of the festival in Manchester, ten pieces that span five decades of composition will be performed to celebrate his 70th birthday. Among the works performed are the UE works At the Still Point of the Turning World for ensemble, The Sorriest Cow of Capricorn for soprano and pianoand Mean Time for brass quintet.

The music of Paul Patterson will also be heavily featured at the 13th World Harp Congress in Hong Kong in July 2017. Patterson is the festival’s featured composer and will be conducting a masterclass and giving a lecture on his music.

View the full programme of In Focus: Paul Patterson

Katja Kabanowa in Berlin

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 06 Juni 2017

Andrea Breth’s production of Janácek’s Katja Kabanowa – originally premièred at La Monnaie/De Munt – opens on 14 June at the Staatsoper im Schiller Theater Berlin. Sir Simon Rattle conducts the Staatskapelle Berlin.

You can watch their trailer here:

Hans Gál’s Das Lied der Nacht [The Song of the Night] in Edinburgh

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 31 Mai 2017

Photo (c) Lotte Meitner-Graf, ed. Johannes Feigl

When Hans Gál’s Das Lied der Nacht [The Song of the Night] was premièred in 1926 at the Stadttheater Breslau it received rave reviews. However, after the Nazis prohibited his works, Gál’s dramatic ballad disappeared from stages completely.

On 4 June the piece will receive its UK première in a concert performance at The Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh. Robert Dick conducts the Chorus and Orchestra of the Canongait.

View the full score

This short montage from the recent fully-staged production at the Theater Osnabrück in Germany gives a taste of the music:

Happy 80th birthday Peter Kolman!

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 29 Mai 2017 (Kommentare: 1)

Dress rehearsal of Peter Kolman’s 3 Essays on 9 November 2013 at the concert hall of the Slovak Philharmonic. Zsolt Nagy conducts the Slovak Philharmonic.

Peter Koman (c) Pavel KastlDress rehearsal of Peter Kolman’s 3 Essays on 9 November 2013 at the concert hall of the Slovak Philharmonic.

Happy 80th birthday Peter Kolman! The composer was born on 29 May 1937 in Bratislava.

Find out more about the composer

Lulu in Rome

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 23 Mai 2017

Alban Berg (c) Universal Edition, ed. Johannes Feigl

Berg’s opera seems an indisputable candidate for the greatest opera of the 20th century. (Philip Hensher, The Guardian, 1 June 2009)

Lulu is the object of desire of all the men in the opera—but she can’t be the woman the men imagine her to be or project onto her. She can never fulfill all the desires of both being the femme fatale and the faithful, quiet wife, just as the men can never be the people that Lulu hopes they will be. And in each case, this impossibility of desire ends in disaster. (William Kentridge,, 9 October 2015)

William Kentridge’s highly acclaimed production of Alban Berg’s Lulu currently runs at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma. Alejo Pérez conducts, Agneta Eichenholz sings the title role (on 30 May Dísella Lárusdóttir will play Lulu).

Kentridge created a silent film for the production:

New choral work by David Fennessy in Belfast and Dublin

Belfast; Dublin

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 22 Mai 2017

Ne reminiscaris

I started to read about people who had been afflicted with extreme amnesiac states, so basically people who had extreme amnesia, loss of memory. One thing that seems to be in common is a kind of state of awakening, a feeling of having woken up from something, maybe a coma or a kind of sense of suddenly being alive. And this kind of feeling really kind of permeates this new piece. (David Fennessy on Ne reminiscaris)

The Chamber Choir Ireland recently talked to David Fennessy about his latest choral composition Ne Reminiscaris, which they premièred this April.

The work will be performed on 23 May in Belfast and on the following day in Dublin as part of Paul Hilliers and the Chamber Choir Irelands “The Great Mystery” tour.

You can watch the interview here: