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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

Baltakas’ Saxordionphonics at the Festival “Contrasts”

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 27 September 2013

Logo Festival “Contrasts”Vykintas Baltakas’ Saxordionphonics will be performed for the first time in the Ukraine on 29 September at the Festival “Contrasts” (26 September – 28 October), which takes place in Lviv.

The composer about the piece:

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. [read more]

View the full study score.Vykintas Baltakas (c) Marion Kalter

Find information on the composer, his works, texts, photos and performances at

Vykintas Baltakas: Saxordionphonics
for saxophon, accordion and chamber orchestra | 15'
2 2 3 2 - 2 1 1 0 - perc, str(6 6 5 4 3)
29.09.2013, S. Lyudkevych Concert Hall, Lviv; Dieter Kraus, sax; Roman Yusipey, acc; Lviv Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Stanislav Velyanyk

Carte-Blanche: Luciano Berio Remembered

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 26 September 2013

Luciano Berio: Sequenza xivb, score (c) Universal Edition

Luciano BerioA four-hour event entitled “Luciano Berio Remembered” will take place on 27 September at the McGill University's Schulich School of Music in Montreal (free admission). Almost all of the sequenze as well as several of Luciano Berio’s shorter works, such as Lied, Gute Nacht, Les mots sont allés ..., and Rounds will be performed.

Find the full programme on the homepage of the Institut Italien de Culture de Montréal.

Tom Service: Matthias Pintscher on Boulez’ Pli selon pli

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 26 September 2013

Tom Service Tom Service in an interview with Matthias Pintscher on Pierre Boulez Pli selon pli

Pli selon pli is definitely one of Pierre's most directly emotional works. The final movement, Tombeau, ends with the word 'mort' ('death') and then there's this huge crescendo in the ensemble. It leaves you completely emotionally torn, asking questions - what condition are we in? How do we go forward? We are so shaken by it, and now it's our turn to move on, or to try to. It's overwhelming.

Tom Service talks to 42-year-old composer and conductor Matthias Pintscher about Pierre Boulez’ Pli selon pli, which will be performed on 5 October at Glasgow’s City Halls. Pintscher conducts the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and soprano Marisol Montalvo.

Read the full article on The Guardian.

“I believe as a countertenor you need to have a stable psyche”

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 25 September 2013

Andreas Scholl c. James McMillan for DeccaThere's a certain kind of modesty, and the willingness to take a risk in reducing the composotorial tools, to focus on the essence of the piece.

Andreas Scholl, world-famous countertenor, recently gave an interview to the Australian daily newspaper The Age, talking about his upcoming performances at the City Recital Hall in Sidney on October 4, 5, 8 and 9 with the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

Among the works performed will be Arvo Pärt’s Wallfahrtslied, Es sang vor langen Jahren, Alfred Schnittke’s String Quartet No. 3 and pieces by Vivaldi and Bach.

On the strings: Helena Rathbone, vln; Rebecca Chan, vln; Christopher Moore, vla; Timo-Veikko Valve, vlc; Maxime Bibeau, cb  

Find the full article on The Age.

Two great composers...

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 25 September 2013

Schostakowitsch, Takács (c) OENB, Universal EditionJenő Takács (1902–2005) and Dmitri Schostakowitsch (1906–1975) were both born on 25 September, though four years apart.

Find out more about Dmitri Schostakowitsch.

Find out more about Jenő Takács.

10th Summit of the Alliance of the Asia Pacific Region Orchestras (AAPRO)

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 24 September 2013

Charles Dutoit conducts the Symphony Orchestra of India (SOI)Charles Dutoit conducts the Symphony Orchestra of India (SOI)

The 10th Summit of the Alliance of the Asia Pacific Region Orchestras (AAPRO) was held at the Jamshed Bhabha Theatre, NCPA Mumbai this September between the 19th and 22nd September.

On the agenda were ways to promote Western classical music in Asia and strategies to entice younger audiences. While there is sizeable audience for Western classical music in India, its popularity is not growing half as fast as it is growing in other Asian countries, said KN Suntook, chairman of the hosting NCPA (National Center of the Performing Arts, Mumbai). He puts this down to a lack of concert halls, funds, government support and teaching facilities. As for drawing a younger crowd, Suntook is convinced that this can only be achieved if students are exposed to Western classical music in school.

Hiroshi Kuwabara (General Manager of the Association of the Japanese Symphony Orchestras), Maki Nagura (Secretary General of AAPRO), Wolfgang Schaufler (UE), Arai Kiyoshi (General Manager Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra)Hiroshi Kuwabara (General Manager of the Association of the Japanese Symphony Orchestras), Maki Nagura (Secretary General of AAPRO), Wolfgang Schaufler (UE), Arai Kiyoshi (General Manager Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra)

About the AAPRO:

AAPRO Devoted to serving the interests and advocacy of orchestras and ensembles in Asia Pacific region, the Alliance of Asia-Pacific Region Orchestras (AAPRO) was founded in 1996. Since then, it has contributed enormously to enhancing exchanges among its members, raising professional standards and increasing classical music audiences in the region. The AAPRO is a creative platform for its member orchestras to exchange with their peers around the globe. It also supports its members to promote their profiles in the world of music. Its affiliation, the Asia-Pacific United Orchestra, is such a vehicle that showcases the functions of AAPRO on the stage.

Challenge Records releases The Treasure Hunter

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 24 September 2013

Challenge Records International: Franz Schreker, Der SchatzgräberA new recording of Franz Schreker’s Der Schatzgräber [The Treasure Hunter], the composer’s most successful opera, will be released by Challenge Records International on 21 October.

This is a live recording of Marc Albrecht conducting the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and the Chorus of De Nederlandse Opera at De Nederlandse Opera. Find a list of the full cast.

Short previews of all the tracks are available on Challenge Records.

A making-of of last year’s production is available on YouTube, watch it here:

The Dublin Guitar Quartet on tour

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 23 September 2013

The Dublin Guitar Quartet

The Dublin Guitar Quartet is currently on an Irish tour (further performances on 28 September and 05 and 06 October), which will be followed by an exensive tour through America.

The quartet is promoting its new album (which focuses on the music of Philip Glass), music by Glass, Reich, Ligeti, and Pärt will be performed on their tour.

Watch a live video of the Dublin Guitar Quartet playing Pärt’s Summa:

Visit the Dublin Guitar Quartet website.

Georg Friedrich Haas: Irish and French premières today, 20 September

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 20 September 2013

Just two quick reminders for everybody who is either in Dundalk or in Strasbourg today: “In iij. Noct., Georg Friedrich Haas’ third string quartet, will be performed for the first time in Ireland by the EQ Ensemble today at the St Nicholas Church in Dundalk in complete darkness. The Louth Contemporary Music Society presents the event.

Festival MusicaThe French première of Haas’ limited approximations for 6 micro-tonally tuned pianos and orchestra takes place today in Strasbourg at the Festival Musica. More about the 30th Festival Musica.

Haas’ AUS.WEG at the Warsaw Autumn

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 20 September 2013

AutumnToday Georg Friedrich Haas’ AUS.WEG will be performed for the first time in Poland. The Polish première of the work for 8 instruments takes place on the first day of the Warsaw Autumn, an international festival of contemporary music that runs from 20 to 28 September.

The composer about the piece:

Ensemble Phoenix Basel (c) Ensemble Phoenix BaselThe title leaves the meaning of the second word open to interpretation: “Weg” meaning “path/way” or “weg” meaning “gone/go”. This ambiguity is, of course, intentional. It could mean “way out”, “stop it, go away” or any of several other meanings.

For this piece, I drew upon former compositional techniques: I reused a two-dimensional table of chords, which was the basis for some passages in the opera Die schöne Wunde. This gives me the freedom to decide whether I want to move “horizontally” or “vertically”. The time is also strictly determined. It is based on a series of continuants, which is not heard in its original form until the end of the piece. These continuants appear earlier in the piece in longer and shorter versions, and are the basis for the time structure (rhythm and form) of the piece.

Find the full work introduction here.

Georg Friedrich Haas: AUS.WEG
for 8 instruments | 19'
national prem. 20.09.2013, Warsaw Philharmonic, Warsaw; Ensemble Phoenix Basel

col legno’s Wonderful Two-Headed Nightingale CD “confirms that Luke Bedford is a major voice”

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 19 September 2013

Two-Headed NightingaleHere are some excerpts from Colin Clarke’s rave review for Tempo journal of Luke Bedford’s CD Wonderful Two-Headed Nightingale, released on col legno last year:

Wonderful Two-Headed Nightingale: The hyper-gestural opening, the minimalist-influenced shards of accompaniment that underpin yearning, quasi-Romantic solo lines all speak of a major imagination at work. […] This live performance is simply remarkable in its intensity.

By the Screen in the Sun at the Hill on the Gold: Bedford takes the simple device of arpeggio and saturates his texture with it. […] the work’s surface is glistening and huge, moving to manic passages in which the pitch rises to the extreme top end in a series of explosions. This top-class recording (Alte Oper, Frankfurt) was made the day after the world première.

Chiaroscuro: Juxtaposing [the piano, violin, and violoncello] shows the true range of Bedford’s expressive vocabulary.

Or voit tout en aventure: Perhaps most impressive is the almost Mahlerian processional of the fourth movement, ‘Je Chante Ung Chant’ (I sing a song). This superbly produced disc confirms that Luke Bedford is a major voice. (Colin Clarke, Tempo, Volume 67, Issue 265, July 2013, pp 112-112)

Find the CD on col legno and listen to the individual tracks.Luke Bedford: Wonderful Two-Headed Nightingale (c) col legno

Wonderful Two-Headed Nightingale
for solo violin, solo viola and 15 players
Jonathan Morton, vln; Lawrence Power, vla; The Scottish Ensemble

By the Screen in the Sun at the Hill on the Gold
for 18 players
Ensemble Modern, cond. Sian Edwards

for violin, violoncello and piano
Fidelio Trio: Darragh Morgan, vln, Robin Michael, vlc; Mary Dullea, pno

Man Shoots Strangers from Skyscraper
for 8 players
Ensemble Modern, cond Franck Ollu

Or Voit Tout En Aventure
for soprano and 16 players
Claire Booth, s; London Sinfonietta, cond. Oliver Knussen

Tabula Rasa - animated

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 19 September 2013

A great opportunity to listen to Arvo Pärt’s Tabula Rasa once more – not to spoil it with too many words, here is the video, without further ado: enjoy this 3D projection video, created by Bordos.ArtWorks.

The projection took place in Târgu Mureș in Romania on 8 September 2013 during the 100 years anniversary of the Palace of Culture.

The artist about the projection:

“The story of this projection was inspired by the beautiful stained glass inside the Palace. Especially the legend of Kata Kadar who drown in a lake. During this projection we remembered her and revived her up for a moment. The great music of Arvo Pärt was a great inspiration as well.”

Ingo Metzmacher on Franz Schreker

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 19 September 2013

Speaking of Franz Schreker: here is an interview we did with Ingo Metzmacher in March 2011, in which the conductor talks about the music of (and the renewed interest in) Franz Schreker.

The interview is in German, but an English translation of the transcript is available here.