Universal Edition - Blog

101 years Pierrot lunaire

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 16 Oktober 2013

Pierrot lunaire, first written copy (c) Universal Edition
Dear Mr Schönberg. [...] You put all ideals of an artist’s fantasy into sounds – It is wonderful, I can’t say anything else! I am entirely cocooned by these harmonies, partly sweet and partly expressing the soul’s final screams. People who have encountered suffering will be familiar with that. (Albertine Zehme to Arnold Schönberg, Mid-March 1912)

Arnold Schönberg’s Pierrot lunaire had its official première exactly 101 years ago, on 16 October 1912, at the Choralion Hall in Berlin. Eduard Steuermann wrote of that occasion: [...] And the success? There was, of course, a scandal […] but also an intense ovation. (Juilliard News Bulletin)

pierrot lunaire companion, cover (c) Arnold Schönberg Center Privatstiftung, Wien 2012; ISBN 978-3-902012-13-7From the preface of the Arnold Schönberg Center’s recently released pierrot lunaire companion:

In terms of its genre, Pierrot lunaire was historically unique at the time Schönberg composed it and marks the high point of his expressionistic period: The famous melodrama is placed in the extreme danger zone of post-Romantic composition. Pierrot, “with waxen countenance”, is a bizarre and nervous figure, enticed into a counterworld of nighttime phantasms and hopeless passions. A cosmos of tonal shading in the colorful realm between singing and speaking.

Unrestricted freedom of tone!

(Eike Feß, Therese Muxeneder)

Here are excerpts from the pierrot lunaire companion of how the work was received and how it is viewed today:

I was too occupied with the copy of the score Schönberg had given me to notice anything else. I also remember that the audience was quiet and attentive and that I wanted Frau Zehme to be quiet too, so that I could hear the music.
(Igor Stravinsky on the performance of Pierrot lunaire, cited from Robert Craft, 1968)

Pierrot lunaire, conducting score, Vienna 1914 (c) Universal EditionYou should never be afraid of imitating. I joined the Schönberg school to write my Poèmes de Mallarmé.
(Maurice Ravel, La revue musicale, 1931)

Pierrot is a transitional discipline, a Zwischenfach for which there is neither school nor tradition to speak of today. […] It is certainly a work which – once you have become immersed in it – never lets you go again.
(Friedrich Cerha, Zur Interpretation der Sprechstimme in Schönbergs Pierrot lunaire, 1974)

Find further information regarding future performances of Pierrot lunaire on our performance calendar.

View the study score of Rihm’s Die Eroberung von Mexico

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 15 Oktober 2013

Watch the trailer for the Teatro Real’s production of Wolfgang Rihm’s Die Eroberung von Mexico [The Conquest of Mexico] here (further performances will take place today, and on 17., 18., and 19.10.2013):

Furthermore, the full study score is now available online:

Wolfgang Rihm: Die Eroberung von Mexico [The Conquest of Mexico]
opera | 120'
3 4 4 1 - 3 3 3 1 - timp, perc(5), hp, pno,, e.bass(2), vln(2), vla(2), vc(6), cb(4) - wind machine
Teatro Real, Madrid; Nadja Michael/Ausrine Stundyte, Montezuma; Georg Nigl/Holger Falk, Cortez; Coro y Orquesta Titulares del Teatro Real; Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid, cond. Alejo Pérez
Further performances: 15., 17., 18., and 19.10.2013

Patrice Chéreau (1944–2013)

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 11 Oktober 2013

Pierre Boulez and Patrice Chéreau at the office of Universal Edition, 2007 (c) Marion Kalter
Universal Edition mourns the death of Patrice Chéreau, to whom we owe ground-breaking productions of the Universal Edition core catalogue. 

In 1979 Chéreau staged the world première of the 3-act version of Alban Berg’s opera Lulu in Paris, arranged by Friedrich Cerha (conductor: Pierre Boulez).

In 1994, he staged Alban Berg’s Wozzeck as an inescapable psychodrama, also in Paris (conductor: Daniel Barenboim).

In 2007, he proved that Leoš Janáček’s From the House of the Dead does indeed have a continuous plot line (conductor: Pierre Boulez).

Rarely has a director staged UE-works as pervasive and full of substance as Chéreau.

He will be missed.

The Conquest of Mexico at the Teatro Real

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 11 Oktober 2013

The Conquest of Mexico at the Teatro Real
Conductor Alejo Pérez and the singers of the Conquest of Mexico; Soloists Georg Nigl (Cortéz) and Nadja Michael (Montezuma) after the première.

The Spanish première of Wolfgang Rihm’s opera Die Eroberung von Mexico [The Conquest of Mexico] on 9 October at the Teatro Real, Madrid, was a success.

Further performances of the opera will be held today, and on 12, 13, 15, 17, 18, and 19 October.

Wolfgang Rihm: Die Eroberung von Mexico [The Conquest of Mexico]
opera | 120'
3 4 4 1 - 3 3 3 1 - timp, perc(5), hp, pno,, e.bass(2), vln(2), vla(2), vc(6), cb(4) - wind machine
Teatro Real, Madrid; Nadja Michael/Ausrine Stundyte, Montezuma; Georg Nigl/Holger Falk, Cortez; Coro y Orquesta Titulares del Teatro Real; Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid, cond. Alejo Pérez

Andrew Clements reviews Gruppen

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 11 Oktober 2013

(c) Archive of the Stockhausen Foundation for Music –
Karlheinz Stockhausen, Bruno Maderna and Pierre Boulez conducting the rehearsals for the world première of Gruppen on 24 March 1958 in Cologne.

Andrew Clements reviews Sunday night’s performance of Gruppen, “one of Stockhausen’s most iconic works”, with Martyn Brabbins, Baldur Brönnimann and Geoffrey Paterson conducting the London Sinfonietta and the Manson Ensemble.

Find the full review on The Guardian. The Guardian

The concert will be broadcast in Radio 3's Hear and Now on 19 October.

Impressions from the Ernst Krenek Forum’s fifth anniversary

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 10 Oktober 2013

Ernst Krenek Froum (c) Universal Edition, Sarah Laila Standke
Some photographic impressions from the celebrations of the Ernst Krenek Forum’s fifth anniversary on 5 October 2013:

In the picture: the panel discussion Musiktheater, quo vadis? (with Friedrich Cerha, Walter Kobéra, Birgit Meyer, Helene Sommer, and Marie-Therese Rudolph), Alma, the aron quartet performing Ernst Krenek’s String Quartet No. 7, op. 96, and the Ernst Krenek forum’s birthday cake.

Haas at the Miller Theatre

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 09 Oktober 2013

Ensemble Signal (c) Ensemble SignalThe composer portraits season of the Miller Theatre at the Columbia University School of the Arts opens with a portrait of Georg Friedrich Haas, newly appointed Columbia University faculty member. On the programme: Haas’ de terrae fine, ATTHIS and tria ex uno.

Broadway World cites Melissa Smey of the Miller Theatre:

“I am so excited to open our 2013-14 season of Composer Portraits with the music of Georg Friedrich Haas. Haas's compositions are emotional and moving, and could be in no better care than in the hands of the talented musicians of Ensemble Signal. I am doubly thrilled to present this program to kick off Composer Portraits in our 25th Anniversary Season and to celebrate Haas's new appointment to the music faculty here at Columbia University. This concert exemplifies our mission to both expand public knowledge of contemporary music and share the incredible artistic riches of Columbia University with the wider world.”

Georg Friedrich Haas: de terrae fine
for violin solo | 17’
Olivia De Prato, vln
Georg Friedrich Haas: ATTHIS
for soprano and 8 instruments | 40’
Rachel Calloway, ms; Ensemble Signal, cond. Bradley Lubman
Georg Friedrich Haas: tria ex uno
for flute, clarinet, percussion, piano, violin and violoncello | 12’
Ensemble Signal, cond. Bradley Lubman
10.10.2013, Miller Theatre, New York

Wolfgang Rihm, Commandeur dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 08 Oktober 2013

Wolfgang Rihm (c) Universal Edition, Eric Marinitsch
Congratulations to Wolfgang Rihm!

The composer has been appointed Commandeur dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres [Commander of the order of Arts and Literature], the highest distinction of this French Order, by Aurélie Filippetti, Minister of Culture and Communication.

Previous recipients of the award include T.S. Eliot, Bob Dylan, Christoph Eschenbach, Seamus Heaney, and Anne Sofie von Otter.

The Rest is Noise: post-war world weekend

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 04 Oktober 2013

The Rest is NoiseTom Service and Gillian Moore of the Guardian write about about the post-war world weekend (5–6 October) of the Southbank Centre’s the Rest is Noise festival. Among the pieces performed will be Stockhausen’s Gruppen and Boulez’ Le marteau sans maître.

Find out more on Service’s and Moore’s blogs (including a post-war world playlist).

Ö1 Talentebörse composition prize 2013

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 04 Oktober 2013

Alejandro del Valle Lattanzio (c) by Winnie KüchlAlejandro del Valle-Lattanzio is the winner of the Ö1 Talentebörse composition prize 2013. Del Valle-Lattanzio was born in 1986 in Bogotá, Colombia, and studies electro-acoustic composition under Karlheinz Essl at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna.

The annual composition award, which is endowed with 10.000 Euro and was given for the third time by Ö1, the Oesterreichische Nationalbank (OeNB) and Universal Edition, is offered to students of composition of the five Austrian universities of Vienna, Linz, Salzburg and Graz.

Furthermore, Universal Edition will publish a work by Alejandro del Valle-Lattanzio.

Happy Birthday Mauricio Sotelo

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 02 Oktober 2013

Mauricio Sotelo (c) Gemma RomeroHappy Birthday Mauricio Sotelo!

Find out more about the composer and listen to his music.

José Angel Valente on Sotelo:

Which act is the more artistic: the remembrance of music long since heard? Or the dream of music that has never sounded? Little does it matter, for in his music Mauricio Sotelo does both. “The infiniteness of the universe is the infiniteness of God. Man is inspired by the infinity of worlds and suns. Only thus can man approach perception of the Godly. And that perception is a journey on which memory is our guide.”

Watch the full performance of Sotelo’s Luz sobre lienzo:

Arvo Pärt on Soundstreams

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 01 Oktober 2013

Arvo Pärt on Soundstreams
Today, 1 October, the Canadian premières of Arvo Pärt’s L’abbé Agathon and Adam’s Lament take place, the whole concert will be streamed live. Tõnu Kaljuste conducts soprano Shannon Mercer and the Choir 21 at the Koerner Hall in Toronto.

Find out more on Soundstreams.

The Ernst Krenek Forum celebrates its fifth anniversary

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 30 September 2013 Ernst Krenek Forum celebrates its fifth anniversary on 5 October at the Klangraum Krems Minoritenkirche and at the Ernst Krenek Forum.

Ernst Krenek (c) PfeiferAfter the exhibition opening of Ernst Krenek and Thomas Mann, there will be a discussion entitled Musiktheater, quo vadis?. Marie-Therese Rudolph hosts the discussion, Friedrich Cerha, Walter Kobéra (Neue Oper Wien), Birgit Meyer (Oper Köln) and Helene Sommer (Volksoper Wien) will be the panel members.

At 20:00, the aron quartet performs Ernst Krenek’s String Quartet No. 7, op. 96.

Find the full programme on the homepage of the Erst Krenek Forum.

A spooky Wozzeck at the Royal Opera House

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 30 September 2013

The Royal Opera House has released a “spooky new trailer” for Keith Warner’s upcoming production of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck – which opens on Halloween.

Watch the trailer here:

Alban Berg: Wozzeck
Opera in 3 acts (15 scenes) | 90'
4 4 5 4 - 4 4 4 1 - timp(2), perc(4), cel, hp, str, stage: "Heurigenmusik" - fiddle (2-4), cl, acc, guit, bass tuba, military band - 3 2 2 2 - 2 2 3 1 - perc, pno, chamber orch - 1 2 3 2 - 2 0 0 0 - str(1 1 1 1 1)
31.10.2013, Royal Opera House, London; Simon Keenlyside, Wozzeck; Karita Mattila, Marie; Gerhard Siegel, Captain; John Tomlinson, Doctor; Endrik Wottrich, Drum Major; John Easterlin, Andres; Allison Cook, Margret; Jeremy White, First Apprentice; Grant Doyle, Second Apprentice; Robin Tritschler, Idiot; Royal Opera Chorus, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, cond. Mark Elder

The Telegraph’s Classical Music Guide: Boulez’ Dérive 1

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 27 September 2013

Pierre Boulez (c) Peter Fischli, Lucerne Festival

Strike a gong, and the sound burgeons outwards, but even as it swells, the sound is already dying. So it is with Boulez’s music.

The TelegraphIvan Hewett of The Telegraph writes about Dérive 1 for 6 instruments in his Classical Music Guide. The piece will be performed by Variable Geometry on 10 October at the Royal College of Music in London.

Other pieces mentioned: Notations II for piano (“In December 1945, when he wrote this piece, Boulez was the archetypal angry young man”), Notations II for orchestra (“The angry 20-second shout becomes a hectic two-minute dance”) and Improvisation 1 sur Mallarmé: Le vierge, le vivace et le bel aujourd’hui (“Boulez’s later version for big orchestra is fascinating, but it’s just too luxuriantly beautiful”).

Find the full article on The Telegraph.

Pierre Boulez: Dérive 1
for 6 Instruments
fl, cl(A), vib, pno, vln, vc
10.10.2013, Royal College of Music, London; Variable Geometry, cond. Jean-Philippe Calvin