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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

Chiaroscuro
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.

“Play more Schreker in Vienna”

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 19 September 2013

Franz Schreker, Der Schatzgräber (c) Universal Edition, Sarah Laila StandkeHere are some visual impressions from the performance of the reduced version of Franz Schreker’s Der Schatzgräber [The Treasure Hunter] on 17 September at the Tabakfabrik in Linz.

Reviews of the long-lost opera were consistently positive, especially regarding the Israel Chamber Orchestra and Alexander Kaimbacher’s performance of the fool. In a previous post, we have already written about Der Standard’s plea to “play more Schreker in Vienna”.

View the score of the reduced version.

Sawer’s Flesh and Blood “reminiscent of Britten at his most inspired”

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 18 September 2013

Flesh and Blood, world prem. (c) Universal Edition, Sarah Laila Standke

Paul Conway reviewed this spring’s world première of David Sawer’s Flesh and Blood in the latest issue of the Tempo journal. Ilan Volkov conducted the BBC Symphony Orchestra, with mezzo-soprano Christina Rica and baritone Marcus Farnsworth.

Sawer’s vocal writing was assured and character-driven […] It is a measure of his achievement that the eloquent and vivid treatment of certain key words such as ‘clung’ and ‘fret’ were reminiscent of Britten at his most inspired. […] Flesh and Blood was a darkly dramatic work in which David Sawer impressed by his innate sense of drama and his refreshingly unhackneyed approach to instrumentation. I hope this passionate and directly communicative score will soon be set down in a recording studio so that its many felicities may be more readily appreciated on CD.

Tempo, vol. 67/265, July 2013, Paul Conway

View the full vocal score of Flesh and Blood.

The Wooden Prince in Berlin

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 16 September 2013

Alan Gilbert’s performance of Witold Lutosławski’s Symphony No. 4, Leoš Janáček’s Putování dušičky and Béla Bartók’s Der holzgeschnitzte Prinz [The Wooden Prince] with Thomas Zehetmair and the Berlin Philharmonic was impressive. The concert took place on 13 September at the Berliner Philharmonie, here is a snapshot from the evening:

Gilbert, Berlin (c) Universal Edition, Sarah Laila Standke

Reviews of The Treasure Hunter

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 16 September 2013

Universal Edition, Der SchatzgräberStefan Ender of the Austrian newspaper Der Standard reviews Entarteopera’s production of Franz Schreker’s Der Schatzgräber [The Treasure Hunter] at the Tabakfabrik in Linz: find the (German) review on Der Standard. Ender’s final appeal: “play more Schreker in Vienna”.

The Wiener Zeitung states that the Der Schatzgräber is the “most fascinating opera production of the city”, praising the effectiveness of Werner Steinmetz’ reduced arrangement.

Franz Schreker: Der Schatzgräber
opera in 1 prelude, 4 acts and an epilogue | 145'
1 1 1 1 - 1 1 1 0 - perc(2), hp, cel, harm, pno, vln, vln, vln, vln, vla(2), vc(3), cb
reduced version; arranger: Werner Steinmetz
17/9/2013, Tabakfabrik, Linz; Israel Chamber Orchestra, cond. Martin Sieghart

Happy Birthday David Sawer

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 14 September 2013

David Sawer

Happy Birthday David Sawer!

Read more about David Sawer, listen to excerpts from his works and find background information and reviews of his works.

From the reviews of this year’s The Lighthouse Keepers, which premièred on 4 July in Cheltenham:

It is a superbly atmospheric piece with sympathetic portrayals of father and son by William Oxborrow and Thomas Howes. The 11-strong ensemble under Martyn Brabbins’ fine direction demonstrated that you don’t need a huge symphony orchestra to conjure up a storm.
Roger Jones, Seen and Heard International, 5 July 2013

Sawer’s music is often brilliantly inventive, evoking the gathering emotional and physical storm, and mingling live sounds with their distorted echoes. The two actors Thomas Howes and William Oxborrow did all they could to loosen the work’s joints and make it speak.
Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph, 5 July 2013

Fratres in New London

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 13 September 2013

Arvo Pärt (c) Universal Edition, Eric MarinitschThe United States Coast Guard Band performs Arvo Pärt’s Fratres for chamber ensemble this Sunday, 15.09.2013, for free at the Leamy Concert Hall, New London.

Find out more on their homepage.

Arvo Pärt: Fratres
for chamber ensemble | 10'
1 1 1 1 - 1 0 0 0 - perc, str(1 1 1 1 1)
15.09.2013, Leamy Concert Hall, New London; United States Coast Guard Band

Simon Rattle and the National Children’s Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 12 September 2013

On 11 August, Simon Rattle performed Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 with the National Children’s Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela at the Salzburg Festival.

“When I first conducted the Infantil Orchestra 3 years ago in Caracas, I could not believe that children as young as 9 and never older than 14 could not only play all the notes, but also could make such wonderful music. […] This is, quite simply, the future of music. Those of you lucky enough to hear the concerts will see why” (Simon Rattle, Salzburg Festival)

And here it is, a live recording of the full concert at the Felsenreitschule – to quote Rattle once more (from his interview on Haas’ in vain): “Thank God for YouTube”.

Happy Birthday Arvo Pärt

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 11 September 2013

Arvo Pärt (c) Universal Edition, Eric MarinitschHappy Birthday Arvo Pärt!

Arvo Pärt - Tabula Rasa, Universal EditionToday, 11 September 2013, the composer celebrates his 78th birthday, and Tõnu Kaljuste and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra dedicate a birthday concert to him at the end of the Nargenfestival’s Arvo Pärt days.

Among the works performed will be Tabula rasa, which had its world première more than 35 years ago in Tallinn (with Alfred Schnittke on the piano) and Spiegel im Spiegel for violin and piano.

Arvo Pärt: Orient & Occident
for string orchestra | 7'
Arvo Pärt: Spiegel im Spiegel
for violin and piano | 10'
Arvo Pärt: Tabula rasa
for 2 violins, string orchestra and prepared piano | 27'
Arvo Pärt: Trisagion
for string orchestra | 12'
11.09.2013, Tallinn; St. John's Church, Harry Traksmann, vln; Robert Traksmann, vln; Marrit Gerretz-Traksmann, pno; Leho Karin, vlc; Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, cond. Tõnu Kaljuste

110th Anniversary of Theodor W. Adorno (1903-1969)

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 11 September 2013

Jeremy J. ShapiroHorkheimer and Adorno in April 1964

Theodor W. Adorno, sociologist, music theoretician and composer, was born 110 years ago on 11 September 1903, in Frankfurt-am-Main.

His mother, a singer, early on established for her son a musical background. Until 1921 Adorno studied philosophy, psychology, sociology and musicology in his town of birth, and from that time began his occupation as a music critic. In 1925 he went to Vienna, where he undertook composition studies with Alban Berg. Adorno was a member of the editorial staff for the music journal Musikblätter des Anbruch in which he covered the circumstances of the modern idiom in countless articles.

Universal Edition has issued articles by Adorno in the following publications (all in German):

Musikblätter des Anbruch – facsimile edition on CD-Rom (UE 45014)

Studien zur Wertungsforschung:
Volume 1 - Symposion für Musikkritik (UE 26801)
Volume 2 - Essays: Konzeption eines Wiener Operntheaters (UE 26802)
Volume 12 - Adorno und die Musik (UE 26812)