Universal Edition - Blog

Music for Orchestra III by Schwartz in Vancouver

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 16 April 2015

Jay Schwartz (c) Universal Edition

There is something about using a form that is based on metamorphosis that could be considered slightly manipulating – manipulating the audience to come with the composer in a certain direction. Although manipulation can be understood as negative in many contexts. Perhaps manipulation in this context could be understood as narrating or luring, so that a conscious voice exists and not merely a collection of coincidences or random events.

The Canadian première of Jay Schwartz’ Music for Orchestra III will be performed on 18 April at the Orpheum Annex in Vancouver.

The full programme is available on the website of Vancouver New Music.

Find an interview with the composer titled “Metamorphosis of sound” in our digital magazine MusikSalon:

Metamorphosis of sound

The Excursions of Mr Brouček in Ostrava

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 14 April 2015

Leoš Janáček’s The Excursions of Mr Brouček will be performed on 16 April (and also on 9 and 31 May) at the Národní divadlo moravskoslezské in Ostrava.

Watch their trailer on YouTube:

Spanish première of in vain

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 13 April 2015

in vain, Zahir Ensemble

Simon Rattle called it “one of the first great masterpieces of the 21st century” and we cannot recommend it highly enough:

in vain by Georg Friedrich Haas will be performed for the very first time in Spain on 15 April at the Teatro Central in Sevilla. Juan García Rodríguez conducts the Zahir Ensemble.

Simon Rattle on in vain

concerto grosso No. 1 for four alphorns in Zurich

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 13 April 2015

Hornroh (c) Astrid Ackermann

The Swiss première of Georg Friedrich Haas’ concerto grosso No. 1 for four alphorns and orchestra takes place on 22 April at the Tonhalle in Zurich.

When interviewed about the concerto grosso No. 1, Haas described the alphorns as “the source of another dimension of intonation (overtone chords), used to create contrast and to expand the traditional twelvetone tuning of the symphony orchestra.” Kent Nagano conducts the hornroh modern alphornquartet and the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich.

Further performances of the piece take place on 23 and 24 April. The concert on 23 April will be broadcast live by SRF II at 20:00. Listen live.

View the full score of the concerto grosso No. 1

Trailer for Stockhausen’s early percussion music

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 09 April 2015

fascinating percussion works, meticulously performed (Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 7.1.2015)

Mode Records has recently released a trailer for their DVD “Karlheinz Stockhausen: Complete Early Percussion Works”, which includes the UE works Mikrophonie, Zyklus, Refrain and Schlagtrio. The recording is available as 2-CD set.

Watch the trailer on YouTube:

Daniel Barenboim on Arnold Schönberg

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 08 April 2015

Peral Music has recently released the Vienna Philharmonic’s first recordings of Schönberg’s Piano Concerto with Daniel Barenboim under Pierre Boulez and the Violin Concerto with Michael Barenboim under the direction of his father.

Watch an interview with Daniel Barenboim on the new recordings:

Serbian première of Fennessy’s PPP

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 07 April 2015

David Fennessy

PPP is a piece about pianos (or, the pianos in my life).
It’s a piece about tuning (or rather, being out of tune).
It’s about memory (or, more accurately, remembering).
It’s about personal connections with instruments (and the people who play them); their history (and mine) and their imperfections.

The Serbian première of David Fennessy’s PPP for ensemble and electronics will be performed tonight with the composer himself performing on electric guitar at Studio M in Novi Sad. Also on the programme: Palais de mari by Morton Feldman.

Find out more.

David Fennessy on PPP

Boulez at 90: The Enfant Terrible of Modern Music

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 07 April 2015

ensemble intercontemporain (c) Luc Hossepied

If people complain of its atonality and difficulty, they should think of music from other cultures, which can sound equally alien and provide unequivocal evidence for tonal systems being the result of cultural conditioning. In this way, Boulez’s music can be seen as a universal music, rooted in the equally universal language of mathematics. (Emiel de Lange, Felix Online, 5.4.2015)

In a recent article on Felix Online Emiel de Lange explores the music of Pierre Boulez. Read the full article here.

On 23 April, Peter Eötvös conducts the London Symphony Orchestra in a concert dedicated to Boulez, on 28 April a birthday salute by ensemble intercontemporain and Matthias Pintscher takes place. Read more about the concerts by clicking the respective links.

A masterpiece at the ROH: MacMillan’s Song of the Earth

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 03 April 2015

Kenneth MacMillan’s highly acclaimed ballet to Gustav Mahler’s The Song of the EarthThe Financial Times recently called it a masterpiece – runs at the Royal Opera House until 14 April.

The choreographer succinctly summarized his ballet: “A man and a woman; death takes the man; they both return to her and at the end of the ballet, we find that in death there is the promise of renewal.”

Watch a video in which Royal Ballet principals Laura Morera, Nehemiah Kish and Edward Watson rehearse the piece with Monica Mason and notator Grant Coyle:

Cantio available on CD

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 03 April 2015

Vykintas Baltakas: CantioBaltakas is an enormous talent; he knows exactly what he wants and what he can justify musically - and he doesn't succumb to convention. (Reinhard Schulz, NMZ)

As a contribution to the discourse on opera's future, Cantio definitely has its qualities. (Gerhard Rohde, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)

The recording of Vykintas Baltakas’ chamber opera Cantio from the festival Ultraschall in 2013 is now available as CD and accessible via all major online distributors. The CD was recorded in January 2013 at the Konzerthaus Berlin.


Posted by Johannes Feigl on 02 April 2015

Wolfgang Rihm: ET LUX, ECMIn this work text fragments from the Roman requiem liturgy can be heard; however not 'intact' and not in the correct liturgical order. They appear more as components reminiscent of a progressively realised whole. (Wolfgang Rihm)

ECM has released a recording of the Huelgas Ensemble and the Minguet Quartett performing Wolfgang Rihm’s ET LUX for vocal quartet and string quartet.

The CD includes a booklet with an introductory statement by Wolfgang Rihm and liner notes by Paul Griffiths and Wolfgang Schreiber.

Watch an interview with Wolfgang Rihm on ET LUX (German interview with French subtitles):

Victoria Borisova-Ollas: two Russian premières

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 31 März 2015 (Kommentare: 1)

Victoria Borisova-Ollas (c) Universal Edition, Eric Marinitsch“With her expressive and methaphysical attitude, Victoria Borisova-Ollas is absolutely unique in Sweden. In her Symphony No. 1, there is the same nervous touch, the same high tension and hot-temperedness, the same passion for an almost erotic game, with colliding harmonies and extended climaxes, as in Skriabin`s Le divine poème. The excitement lasts through the whole piece. Borisova-Ollas is able to create a charged atmosphere and she knows perfectly well how to use her weapons.” (Thomas Anderberg, Dagens Nyheter)

Tonight pianists Ludmila Berlinskaya and Nikolai Mazhara, conductor Nikolai Alexeev and the Saint Petersburg Philharmonia present the Russian premières of Victoria Borisova-Ollas’ Symphony No. 1 and her fantasia on the themes by Robert and Clara Schumann titled Wunderbare Leiden at the Saint Petersburg Philharmonia.


Pierre Boulez – 20th Century

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 30 März 2015

Pierre Boulez – 20th CenturyWhen Boulez turned 90 on March 26, he did so as perhaps the world’s most complete musician, and without doubt one of its very greatest conductors. The old stereotype has been almost perfectly inverted: Boulez is now lionized not only for his mastery of modern and contemporary works, but for the ability to elicit fresh sonic and structural details in works stretching back to the 19th century.

David Weininger on the Deutsche Grammophon’s 44-CD set “Pierre Boulez – 20th Century”. Find the full review on The Boston Globe.

Spectrum of sound: the music between the notes

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 27 März 2015

Georg Friedrich Haas’ “Ich suchte, aber ich fand ihn nicht.” for ensemble will have its UK première this Saturday at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London. Thierry Fischer conducts the London Sinfonietta.

A pre-concert talk by professor Jonathan Cross explores the use of texture, timbre, microtones and overtones as compositional techniques in the 20th and 21st centuries.

The London Sinfonietta has published a trailer for this second part of a two part series:

View the full score of “Ich suchte, aber ich fand ihn nicht.”

Pierre Boulez at 90

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 26 März 2015

Pierre Boulez (c) Universal Edition, Eric Marinitsch

The relationship between Pierre Boulez and Universal Edition, which has been publishing his music since 1953, can only be described as serendipitous. Boulez has endowed the UE catalogue with many of his masterpieces and conquered new terrain with his use of electronics. Boulez is a pioneer whose roots are firmly embedded in tradition, including the one which UE publishes.

As a conductor, his unflagging commitment to the Vienna School has affirmed its place in the repertoire.

His esteemed and exemplary performances of music by Mahler, Bartók, Janáček, Szymanowski, Berio and many other UE composers crowns the good fortune of our collaboration.

Universal Edition congratulates Pierre Boulez on his 90th birthday.

Pierre Boulez at 90