Exactly 40 years ago, on 7 March 1974, the Arditti Quartet performed their first concert ever at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Since then, they have given more than 2000 concerts and premièred a significant amount of works from the UE catalogue, the latest of which were Wolfgang Rihm’s Epilog at the Eclat Festival and Luke Bedford’s Wonderful Four-Headed Nightingale at Wien Modern.
Irvine Arditti, the founder of the quartet, has talked to Karsten Witt about the Arditti Quartet’s long and rich history. You can find the full conversation here.
The first major event to celebrate the Quartet’s anniversary takes place on 26 April at the Barbican.
Congratulations from all of us!
Arvo Pärt composed his Symphony No. 4 ‘Los Angeles’ in 2008 and dedicated it to the imprisoned Russian Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The two of them met for the first time on 4 March 2014 at the performance of the concert given by the Zurich Chamber Orchestra. The Estonian Anu Tali conducted the orchestra. A further highlight of the evening was the appearance of the world-famous trumpeter Sergej Nakariakov.
From the Zurich Chamber Orchestra’s press release:
Just after Putin released Mikhail Khodorkovsky in December 2013, Moritz Reissenberger, librarian and member of the artistic department of the orchestra, discovered the personal dedication to Khodorkovsky in Pärt’s score.
“With my work I seek to hold out my hand to the prisoner and with him, to all those who are imprisoned, deprived of their rights, in Russia. I dedicate my 4th Symphony to Mikhail Khodorkovsky and wish him peace of mind, in spite of the situation in which he finds himself, all else is beyond my power. I do not know if Mikhail Khodorkovsky will ever hear my composition. Nevertheless, I hope that my messenger pigeon will one day reach distant Siberia.”
The New York Times has reviewed last week’s performance of Johannes Maria Staud’s On Comparative Meteorology, describing it as a “colorful and highly engaging work [that] conjures moments of Surrealism, impish humor and foreboding — sometimes all at once.” The concert was performed by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (cond. Franz Welser-Möst) at Carnegie Hall.
Read the full review here.
You can listen to a recording of the concert at WQXR.
Baltakas on Saxordionphonics:
The work is founded on two structural principles. The first is a strictly rhythmical construct of two to three permuting notes which paces through the entire piece, forming a structural basis, with temporal distensions and condensations, dynamic and colorific variations. The other is a freer level which reacts musically to the first. It is especially scored for solo instruments; it is here where the musical development takes place, the relationship between the levels playing a dramaturgical part. They influence each other, the stronger one transforming the weaker one, when they are not actually rivalling.
Read the full work introduction.
View the study score of Saxordionphonics:
The Korean pianist Narey Park will perform six piano pieces from Korea and Austria on 27 February at the Arnold Schönberg Center in Vienna. Among the works performed will be three Austrian premières of works from Korean composers and Arnold Schönberg’s 3 Piano Pieces op. 11.
View the full programme.
The event is hosted by the SNU (Seoul National University) Composers in Europe.
The world première will be followed by national premières in Belgium, Luxembourg and Austria in March; the United States première will take place on 6 October at Carnegie Hall.
The composer on dark dreams:
“The high level of both orchestra and conductor, and Simon Rattle’s high opinion of in vain, initially rather paralyzed than encouraged me. […] I didn’t intend to have a contrabassoon solo – but it soon became clear that it had to be there. There was this incredible performer [Sophie Dartigalongue], so that the possibility for the solo was created.”
View the full study score of dark dreams:
Georg Friedrich Haas: dark dreams
for orchestra | 23'
national premières: 03.03.2014, Laeiszhalle, Hamburg; 04.03.2014, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels; 05.03.2014, Philharmonie, Luxembourg; 06.03.2014, Philharmonie, Köln; 07.03.2014, Musikverein, Vienna; 06.10.2014, Carnegie Hall, New York; Berliner Philharmoniker, cond. Simon Rattle
„Durch die Glissandi und die sich steigernde Dynamik setzt sich in Delta eine Orchester–Maschine, wie ein riesiges sich langsam immer weiter ausschwingendes Pendel, in Bewegung. Dadurch entsteht ein faszinierender Sogeffekt wie in einem gigantischen sich weitendem Trichter, der seinen Ausgang in dem einem Ton D, wie Delta, des Anfangs genommen hat.” (Bernd Künzig, SWR)
„Vollends Jay Schwartz music for orchestra IV – ein Stück wie ein Raumschiff, das sich in Slow Motion bewegt. […] Eine kollektive Levitation – grandios.” (Otto Paul Burkhardt, Südwest Presse)
„Der suggestiven Wirkung, die ausgerechnet das glasklar konstruierte Orchesterstück Delta von Jay Schwartz entwickelt, konnte sich wohl kaum jemand entziehen.” (Südkurier)
„Selbst in einer Dauer von 25 Minuten entfachen die unaufhörlichen Glissandi Sogwirkung.”(Elisabeth Schwind, Cannstatter Zeitung)
„In Delta von Jay Schwartz befinden sich [die Musiker] immerhin mitten in einer riesigen Klangwoge, die sich wirkungsvoll aufbäumt... In seinem Mut zu monumentalem Pathos ist Delta ein fast reaktionäres Werk; schön (und extrem gut gearbeitet) ist es aber trotzdem – und auf subtile Weise ebenfalls ein trotziges Nein.” (Susanne Benda, Stuttgarter Nachrichten)
View the full study score of Delta – Music for Orchestra IV.
dark dreams was premièred on 20 February 2014, a video recording of a full performance of the piece is currently in processing and will soon be available at the Berlin Philharmonic’s Digital Concert Hall.
On 27 February the Lithuanian Ensemble Network (curator: Vykintas Baltakas) hosts a double portrait in their “portraits of composers” concert series that focuses on the music of Matthias Pintscher and Wolfgang Rihm. Among the pieces performed at the St. Catherine’s Church in Vilnius will be three Lithuanian premières: Rihm’s Am Horizont, Erscheinung and Ländler. Vykintas Baltakas conducts the Christopher Chamber Orchestra.
Wolfgang Rihm: Am Horizont
for violin, violoncello and accordion | 5'
Wolfgang Rihm: Erscheinung
for 9 strings and piano ad lib. | 14'
Wolfgang Rihm: Ländler
for 13 strings | 10'
Wolfgang Rihm: Nature Morte – Still Alive
for 13 strings | 9'
Wolfgang Rihm: Vier Male
for clarinet in A | 16'
27.02.2014, St. Catherine’s Church, Vilnius; Andrius Ziura, clar; The Christopher Chamber Orchestra, cond. Vykintas Baltakas
Andrew Clements of The Guardian has reviewed an “outstanding” new recording of choral works by Sir Harrison Birtwistle. The recording includes the eponymous Moth Requiem, Three Latin Motets from The Last Supper, Carmen Paschale, Lullaby, On the Sheer Threshold of the Night, all of which have been recorded for the first time. The album has been recorded by Roderick Williams, the BBC Singers and the Nash Ensemble (cond. Nicholas Kok).
Read the full review on The Guardian.
Sasha Waltz & Guests’ choreography Métamorphoses will be performed at the Teatro Comunale Ferrara on 21 February. Among the pieces performed during Métamorphoses will be Georg Friedrich Haas’ String Quartet No. 2 and Open Spaces for 12 string instruments and 2 percussionists; Titus Engel conducts the Mahler Chamber Orchestra.
Find out more at sasha waltz & guests.
Last December Kurtág received Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London. Earlier that year, Tom Service wrote a guide to the music of Kurtág, which you can read on The Guardian. One of his readers described the composer (together with Pierre Boulez, who is one year his elder) as “the last surviving link[s] to the great composers born in the 1920s.”
Happy Birthday György Kurtág!
Tonight, 17 February, the UK première of Klaus Simon’s arrangement of The Youth’s Magic Horn by Gustav Mahler will take place at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. Mezzo-soprano Kerri-Lynne Dietz and baritone Emmanuel Gendre share the stage with the RWCMD Orchestra (cond. Tomas Leakey).
Gustav Mahler: The Youth’s Magic Horn
for voice and ensemble or chamber orchestra | 70'
Arranger: Klaus Simon
prem. 17.02.2014, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff; Kerri-Lynne Dietz, ms; Emmanuel Gendre, bar; RWCMD Orchestra, cond. Tomas Leakey