Last Monday we invited our colleagues from the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien to the Universal Edition offices to celebrate 100 years of UE at the Musikverein as well as the publication of the latest issue of our Musikblätter.
Overseen by the portrait of Emil Hertzka we raised a toast to 100 successful years of cooperation and many more to come.
“If you think that a piece that begins and ends with a phalanx of military fanfares, performed by an additional ensemble of 13 brass players - including nine trumpets – can’t possibly be taken seriously as one of the 20th century’s most compelling symphonies, then look away now.”
Read the full text on The Guardian.
“Religion guides all the processes in our lives, without us even knowing it,” the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt said in a recent phone interview. “It is true that religion has a very important role in my composition, but how it really works, I am not able to describe.” (
Read the full article on the New York Times.
Pärt will visit the United States from the middle of May until June. The composer will attend several performances of his music and receive honorary degrees from the New England Conservatory in Boston and the St. Vladimir’s Seminary in New York.
Furthermore, he will attend the world première of My Heart’s in the Highlands for alto, violin, viola, violoncello and piano. Originally composed for countertenor and organ, the work now ventures beyond a church setting for the first time.
Find out more about the Arvo Pärt Project.
Arvo Pärt: My Heart’s in the Highlands
for alto, string trio and piano | 8'30''
world prem. 29.05.2014, The Phillips Collection, Washington; Iris Oja, a; Harry Traksmann, vln; Laur Eensalu, vla; Leho Karin, vc; Marrit Gerretz-Traksmann, pno
Congratulations to Lorenzo Troiani for winning the 36th international composition contest “Valentino Bucchi - Parco della Musica”. Universal Edition is proud to publish his winning work Empedoclea II.
Also congratulations to the three other finalists, Jacobo Gaspar Grandal, Marco Longo and Daniela Terranova, who has won the Special Mention for the Italian music SIAE Award.
From the Fondazione Valentino Bucchi’s press release:
“A large jury (100 experts) selected scores among the many works that have been received from all over the world (the deadline for this step was on February the 7th) to admit to the semi-finals. After this, an international jury – composed of Giorgio Battistelli, Francesco Dillon, Jay Schwartz, Salvatore Sciarrino and Ivan Vandor – chose the best four works to compete for the prize in the final step. On 16 May, the works were performed in a concert open to the public directed by Tonino Battista, who led the PMCE Parco della Musica Contemporanea Ensemble.
Finally the young Lorenzo Troiani (15/04/89 Rome – Italy) has been declared the award winner with his Empedoclea II.
The finalists - in alphabetical order – with the titles of their works.
Jacobo Gaspar Grandal
(23/08/75 Pontevedra – Spain)
Rumor Lìquido | 10'
(08/12/79 Trento – Italy)
L’Ora blu | 11'
(20/01/77 Udine – Italy)
I’m vertical | 9'
(15/04/89 Rome – Italy)
Empedoclea II | 8'
The winner was awarded a prize money of € 4.000 (study expenses bursary), and the publication of his work by one of the most important publishing houses of the world, Universal Edition, who has helped shape the musical history of the twentieth century.
Furthermore, Troiani will see his work included in an international concert organized by PMCE to be held in autumn 2014 in France. Daniela Terranova, with his work I’m vertical has won the Special Mention for the Italian music SIAE Award – and will receive a study expenses bursary of € 3.000.”
The 36th international composition contest “Valentino Bucchi - Parco della Musica” takes place tonight at the Auditorium Parco della Musica - Roma. Works by the four finalists Jacobo Gaspar Grandal, Marco Longo, Daniela Terranova and Lorenzo Troiani will be performed - we are crossing our fingers. The winning work will be published by Universal Edition.
We are proud to see UE composer Jay Schwartz among the five-member jury, which consists of Giorgio Battistelli, Francesco Dillon, Salvatore Sciarrino, Ivan Vandor and him.
The composer about the piece:
The idea of (how does the silver cloud s)ou(nd?) comes from the Ouroboros – Zyklus I. In this cycle I try to take a close look at certain aspects of music in the ouroboros-piece (colours, layers, rhythmic structures, harmony, etc. – one can call them “found objects”) and to go deeper – to discover specific tendencies, develop them and turn them into independent expressions. In this way, I create pieces which I may later combine in the ouroboros-cycle under different aspects as well. The cycle can grow in all possible directions, there is almost no end to its expansion and the development is not limited by my own concepts or presuppositions. I listen to it, discover something interesting, try to understand the way it functions, learn to think in this manner and help it to express itself. Hence is the title: ouroboros is an ancient symbol depicting a snake or dragon swallowing its own tail, constantly creating itself and forming a circle. It often represents self-reflection or cyclicality.
The Financial Times has reviewed the world première of Georg Friedrich Haas’ concerto grosso No. 2 and the première of his Concerto for baritone saxophone and orchestra at the Tectonics festival – and they certainly don’t hold back on the praise: “To have one out-and-out success in the unpredictable world of new music is an achievement. To have two by the same composer in the same evening is a coup.”
Read the full review on the Financial Times.
Gustav Mahler’s original Hamburg version of the Symphony No. 1 was performed for the first time on 9 May in Reinhold Kubik’s critical edition at the Hamburg International Music Festival. Thomas Hengelbrock conducted the NDR Sinfonieorchester.
From the Hamburg International Music Festival’s programme:
“What better way to signal the opening of the first Hamburg International Music Festival than with a real piece of Hamburg´s musical history? On the programme is Gustav Mahler’s First Symphony in its original Hamburg version of 1893, performed for the first time using the new critical edition of the complete symphonies. Mahler was appointed first ‘Kapellmeister’ at Hamburg’s Stadt-Theater in 1891, and although he had already presented the work publicly in Budapest in 1889, he added a new title, ‘Titan’ to his ‘tone poem in symphonic form’ for the first Hamburg performance. This title, inspired by Jean Paul, was accompanied by corresponding programmatic descriptions. Yet when the symphony’s score went into print a few years later, Mahler erased the title as well as the wonderful slow movement called Blumine (Floral Piece).”
Hornist Radek Baborák and the Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich at yesterday’s performance of Richard Strauss’ Concerto for horn and orchestra at the Musikverein.
Michael Schønwandt will conduct the orchestra again today, 12 May, at the Festspielhaus in St. Pölten, find out more on the website of the Tonkünstler.
Tom Service of The Guardian discusses which operas might be a good fit for first-timers. We are happy to see that he considers Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen and The Makropulos Case and Harrison Birtwistle’s Gawain and Yan Tan Tethera as viable alternatives for those who might think that “Berg is just too violently excessive and excessively violent”.
Read Service’s full article on The Guardian.
UE has recently released a children’s operas catalogue that presents eight operas specially attuned to inquisitive youthful ears. You can leaf through it here:
The Birmingham Contemporary Music Group has released the concert programme for their birthday concert for Harrison Birtwistle. The concert takes place on Saturday, 10 May at the CBSO Centre.
Find the full programme here.
Hans Gál is the BBC Radio 3’s composer of the week. In five 60-minute episodes, Donald Macleod and conductor/cellist Kenneth Woods explore the life and work of the composer. In the first three episodes, they focused on the topics Teacher, Scholar, Composer, The Early Years and The 1930s. The final two episodes, Exile in Britain and Post-War Edinburgh, will be first broadcast on 8 and 9 May, respectively.
Find out more, listen to previous episodes and view an episode overview on BBC Radio 3.