Bertolt Brecht’s and Kurt Weill’s school opera Der Jasager will be performed today by Eszter Novák and students of the University of Theatre and Film Arts at the Budapest Festival Theatre. Zsolt Jankó conducts the Budapest Festival Orchestra.
The school opera goes back to the Japanese fable Tanikô, a play from the Nôh theatre. Weill composed Der Jasager in the first half of 1930, pausing only for the turbulent première of Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny on 9 March 1930. The term “school opera” gave Weill a number of possibilities for combining the concepts of “education” and “opera”: the opera teaches the composer – or a whole new generation of composers – to approach the operatic genre in a new way. But it is also a question of re-training the process of operatic performance, with the end goal of staging the work so naturally and simply that children become the ideal performers. And finally, Weill also considered “school operas” as meant for use in schools: “it is thus essential that a piece for schools should give children the opportunity to learn something, beyond the joy of making music.”
Jill Richards, South African concert pianist and an acclaimed performer of new piano music, will perform Georg Friedrich Haas’ Ein Schattenspiel on 11 September at this year’s Unyazi Festival, which is part of the Fak’ugesi Digital Africa festival, in Johannesburg.
The concert pianist writes about her experiences with Ein Schattenspiel on her (highly recommended) blog:
But of course the interesting thing about Ein Schattenspiel is the real time sound processing. What I play is picked up, delayed, pitch shifted upwards by 50 cents and then played back. I am playing with myself, and need to read the “other” piano part so as to play in time with it. This is pretty interesting sometimes as I have perfect pitch and the pitch shifts play gentle havoc with my eyes and ears…what I read is not exactly what I hear!
Also the time delay becomes shorter and shorter, so it starts to feel like a real game of catch up – if I play too slowly, I will be overtaken by my “other” self.
Read the full text on Jill Richards’ blog.
An introduction to Ein Schattenspiel by Therese Muxeneder is available on the festival’s website.
Watch their trailer here:
The Financial Times has reviewed the “hauntingly honest portrait of an era on the brink of extinction, with the frangible beauty of a fairytale castle soon to be crushed forever”, read the full text.
Furthermore, the Arnold Schönberg Center is presenting an exhibition on Arnold Schönberg in The Netherlands and Gurre-Lieder, find out more.
Arnold Schönberg: Gurre-Lieder
for soli, choir and orchestra | 130'
scenic world première, 02.09.2014, Het Muziektheater, Amsterdam; Waldemar, Burkhard Fritz; Tove, Emily Magee; Waldtaube, Anna Larsson; Bauer, Markus Marquardt; Klaus Narr, Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke; Sprecher, Sunnyi Melles; Chorus of the Dutch National Opera; KammerChor des ChorForum Essen; Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Marc Albrecht; directed by Pierre Audi
further performances: 07., 12., 15., 18., 21. and 23.09.2014
The “Proms Saturday Matinee 4: A Portrait of Sir Harrison Birtwistle” starts at 4pm CET/CEST (i.e. Berlin, Paris, Vienna), and will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.
On the programme: Verses for Ensembles, Dinah and Nick's Love Song and Meridian:
Harrison Birtwistle: Verses for Ensembles
for 3 instrumental ensembles | 28'
Harrison Birtwistle: Dinah and Nick's Love Song
for 3 melody instruments and harp | 5'
Harrison Birtwistle: Meridian
for mezzo-soprano, 2 female choirs and instruments | 27'
06.09.2014, Cadogan Hall; Christine Rice, ms; Exaudi; Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, cond. Oliver Knussen
Wolfgang Rihm’sTransitus was commissioned by La Scala in Milan with the request that it should allude to the works of Richard Strauss. Tonight, on 5 September, the work will be performed for the first time in Germany, Jukka-Pekka Saraste conducts the WDR SO Köln.
The composer on how he deals with people who label Richard Strauss as a “conservative”:
What am I supposed to deal with? – the label? – that people place it on Strauss and occasionally on me, too? In both cases, it depends on who is attaching the label; only then can you know what it means. What could it mean? “Conservative” could be a stance including thinking in avant-garde categories even today. If you look at it that way, of course I am not conservative. It’s too bad, actually, since the avant-garde nurtured me. But the designation “conservative” is mostly applied to someone who does not insensibly float along in the flow of the fashionable trends of the day. From that viewpoint, I can quite rightly and justifiably be called a conservative. And Strauss? – ask him yourself. He is still alive, in a senior citizens’ home in Darmstadt. He jogs over the cemetery there every day…
View the full score of Transitus.
Wolfgang Rihm: Transitus
for orchestra | 15'
prem. 05.11.2014, Philharmonie, Cologne; WDR SO Köln, cond. Jukka-Pekka Saraste
The Arnold Schönberg Center has revealed the programme for its next season, read it on issuu:
The Arvo Pärt Days in Tallinn start today with performances of Adam’s Lament, Beatus Petronius, Salve Regina, Statuit ei Dominus, Alleluia-Tropus, L’abbé Agathon, the Estonian Lullaby and the Christmas Lullaby:
Further concerts will take place on 3., 4., 6. 9, and finally on 11 September, the composer’s 79th birthday.
Find out more on our performance calendar.
Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s rendition of Arnold Schönberg’s Verklärte Nacht for string sextet will be performed at the Rosas Performance Space in Brussels on Friday, 5 September, by Samantha van Wissen, Boštjan Antončič and Nordine Benchorf to a recording by Pierre Boulez and the New York Philharmonic.
Further performances take place on 06., 07., 09., 10. and 11.09.2014.
Watch the trailer on YouTube:
From the introductory text on the website of Rosas:
The original choreography as a group piece was created in 1995 as a part of an Arnold Schönberg evening in the Brussels Opera House De Munt / La Monnaie. By rewriting the group piece as a duet, both the narrative and the musical aspect come to the foreground. Expressive crescendos and diminuendos guide us through dramatic events, echoing an ever-modulating stream of emotions. A shameless romantic love story, in the pale light of a transfigured night.
Feldman’s Neither at the Ruhrtriennale
Rihm and Haas at the Musikfest Berlin
Fase, Four Movements to the Music of Steve Reich
The world première of Johannes Maria Staud’s opera Die Antilope (libretto: Durs Grünbein)
Riccardo Chailly conducts the Swiss première of Cerha’s Paraphrase über den Anfang der 9. Symphonie von Beethoven
Composer-in-residence Johannes Maria Staud and “artiste étoile” Midori at the world première of Oskar (Towards a Brighter Hue II) on 27 August at the Lucerne Festival.
For those who couldn’t attend the concert: SRF 2 Kultur broadcasts a recording of the world première on 1 September at 20:00.
For more information on Johannes Maria Staud at this year’s Lucerne Festival go here.
Johannes Maria Staud: Oskar (Towards a Brighter Hue II)
for violin solo, string orchestra and percussion | 18'
world prem. 27.08.2014, KKL Luzern; Midori, vln; Luzerner SO, cond. James Gaffigan
View the full study score:
Composer Wolfgang Rihm, pianist Tzimon Barto and conductor Christoph Eschenbach at the general rehearsal for the world première of Wolfgang Rihm’s Piano Concerto No. 2 at the Grosses Festspielhaus in Salzburg.
Ö1 will broadcast a recording of the concert on 7 September at 11:03. Listen live.
In honour of Pierre Boulez’ 90th birthday next year, the internationally acclaimed pianist Taka Kigawa, “an expert negotiator between freedom and restriction” (La Nacion, 5.3.2014), will perform the composer’s Complete Solo Piano Music next Monday at (le) poisson rouge in New York. Boulez’ 12 Notations, Première Sonate, Deuxième Sonate, Troisième Sonate (including Sigle), Incises and une page d’éphéméride are on the programme.
The New York Times has previewed Kigawa’s Complete Solo Piano Works recital this Monday: “[Kigawa] has long made the solo piano works of Pierre Boulez a specialty in performances that bring out the exhilarating energy and myriad colorings in these fiercely difficult scores.”
For Wolfgang Rihm the horn is the “instrument of melos” par excellence. He has now written a horn concerto for Stefan Dohr, the principal horn player with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, in which Dohr can show what his instrument is capable of: wide, seemingly endless arches and an impressive delivery of force. However, the virtuosity lies not only in the fast passages, but also in depth: the invention of sounds.
Lislot Frei of the SRF has recently reviewed Wolfgang Rihm’s Horn Concerto, which was premièred on 19 August by Stefan Dohr and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (cond. Daniel Harding) at the Lucerne Festival. Read the review on SRF [German].
Find out more about Universal Edition at Lucerne here.