Universal Edition - Blog

“I am trying to reflect the values in my music that could touch every individual”

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 20 Mai 2014

“Religion guides all the processes in our lives, without us even knowing it,” the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt said in a recent phone interview. “It is true that religion has a very important role in my composition, but how it really works, I am not able to describe.” (

Read the full article on the New York Times.

Arvo Pärt ProjectPärt will visit the United States from the middle of May until June. The composer will attend several performances of his music and receive honorary degrees from the New England Conservatory in Boston and the St. Vladimir’s Seminary in New York.

Furthermore, he will attend the world première of My Heart’s in the Highlands for alto, violin, viola, violoncello and piano. Originally composed for countertenor and organ, the work now ventures beyond a church setting for the first time.

Find out more about the Arvo Pärt Project.

Arvo Pärt: My Heart’s in the Highlands
for alto, string trio and piano | 8'30''
world prem. 29.05.2014, The Phillips Collection, Washington; Iris Oja, a; Harry Traksmann, vln; Laur Eensalu, vla; Leho Karin, vc; Marrit Gerretz-Traksmann, pno

Staud’s Par ici! on france musique

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 19 Mai 2014

France musiqueTonight at 20:00pm France musique broadcasts a recording of the French première of Johannes Maria Staud’s Par ici! from 8. April at the Lycée Turgot. Pascal Gallois conducted Prague Modern.

View the full study score.

Listen live.

Sir Harrison Birtwistle Twitter Q&A

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 19 Mai 2014

Lorenzo Troiani wins international composition contest

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 19 Mai 2014

Premio Valentino Bucchi

Congratulations to Lorenzo Troiani for winning the 36th international composition contest “Valentino Bucchi - Parco della Musica”. Universal Edition is proud to publish his winning work Empedoclea II.

Also congratulations to the three other finalists, Jacobo Gaspar Grandal, Marco Longo and Daniela Terranova, who has won the Special Mention for the Italian music SIAE Award.

From the Fondazione Valentino Bucchi’s press release:

“A large jury (100 experts) selected scores among the many works that have been received from all over the world (the deadline for this step was on February the 7th) to admit to the semi-finals. After this, an international jury – composed of Giorgio Battistelli, Francesco Dillon, Jay Schwartz, Salvatore Sciarrino and Ivan Vandor – chose the best four works to compete for the prize in the final step. On 16 May, the works were performed in a concert open to the public directed by Tonino Battista, who led the PMCE Parco della Musica Contemporanea Ensemble.

Finally the young Lorenzo Troiani (15/04/89 Rome – Italy) has been declared the award winner with his Empedoclea II.

The finalists - in alphabetical order – with the titles of their works.

Jacobo Gaspar Grandal
(23/08/75 Pontevedra – Spain)
Rumor Lìquido | 10'

Marco Longo
(08/12/79 Trento – Italy)
L’Ora blu | 11'

Daniela Terranova
(20/01/77 Udine – Italy)
I’m vertical | 9'

Lorenzo Troiani
(15/04/89 Rome – Italy)
Empedoclea II | 8'

The winner was awarded a prize money of € 4.000 (study expenses bursary), and the publication of his work by one of the most important publishing houses of the world, Universal Edition, who has helped shape the musical history of the twentieth century.

Furthermore, Troiani will see his work included in an international concert organized by PMCE to be held in autumn 2014 in France. Daniela Terranova, with his work I’m vertical has won the Special Mention for the Italian music SIAE Award – and will receive a study expenses bursary of € 3.000.”

36th composition contest Valentino Bucchi in Rome

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 16 Mai 2014

The 36th international composition contest “Valentino Bucchi - Parco della Musica” takes place tonight at the Auditorium Parco della Musica - Roma. Works by the four finalists Jacobo Gaspar Grandal, Marco Longo, Daniela Terranova and Lorenzo Troiani will be performed - we are crossing our fingers. The winning work will be published by Universal Edition.

We are proud to see UE composer Jay Schwartz among the five-member jury, which consists of Giorgio Battistelli, Francesco Dillon, Salvatore Sciarrino, Ivan Vandor and him.

(how does the silver cloud s)ou(nd?) in Israel

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 16 Mai 2014

Vykintas Baltakas (c) Astrid Ackermann

Pianist Jean-Pierre Collot of the ensemble recherché will perform the Israeli première of Vykintas Baltakas’ (how does the silver cloud s)ou(nd?) at the University of Haifa on 18 May.

The composer about the piece:

The idea of (how does the silver cloud s)ou(nd?) comes from the Ouroboros – Zyklus I. In this cycle I try to take a close look at certain aspects of music in the ouroboros-piece (colours, layers, rhythmic structures, harmony, etc. – one can call them “found objects”) and to go deeper – to discover specific tendencies, develop them and turn them into independent expressions. In this way, I create pieces which I may later combine in the ouroboros-cycle under different aspects as well. The cycle can grow in all possible directions, there is almost no end to its expansion and the development is not limited by my own concepts or presuppositions. I listen to it, discover something interesting, try to understand the way it functions, learn to think in this manner and help it to express itself. Hence is the title: ouroboros is an ancient symbol depicting a snake or dragon swallowing its own tail, constantly creating itself and forming a circle. It often represents self-reflection or cyclicality. 

Read the full text.

Vykintas Baltakas: (how does the silver cloud s)ou(nd?)

The Financial Times reviews Haas at the Tectonics Festival ★★★★★

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 13 Mai 2014

Tectonics GlasgowThe Financial Times has reviewed the world première of Georg Friedrich Haas’ concerto grosso No. 2 and the première of his Concerto for baritone saxophone and orchestra at the Tectonics festival and they certainly don’t hold back on the praise: “To have one out-and-out success in the unpredictable world of new music is an achievement. To have two by the same composer in the same evening is a coup.”

Read the full review on the Financial Times.

The Hamburg version of Mahler’s Symphony No. 1

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 13 Mai 2014

Mahler's Symphony No. 1 in Kubik's critical edition at the  Laeiszhalle / Hamburg International Music Festival
Gustav Mahler’s original Hamburg version of the Symphony No. 1 was performed for the first time on 9 May in Reinhold Kubik’s critical edition at the Hamburg International Music Festival. Thomas Hengelbrock conducted the NDR Sinfonieorchester.

From the Hamburg International Music Festival’s programme:

“What better way to signal the opening of the first Hamburg International Music Festival than with a real piece of Hamburg´s musical history? On the programme is Gustav Mahler’s First Symphony in its original Hamburg version of 1893, performed for the first time using the new critical edition of the complete symphonies. Mahler was appointed first ‘Kapellmeister’ at Hamburg’s Stadt-Theater in 1891, and although he had already presented the work publicly in Budapest in 1889, he added a new title, ‘Titan’ to his ‘tone poem in symphonic form’ for the first Hamburg performance. This title, inspired by Jean Paul, was accompanied by corresponding programmatic descriptions. Yet when the symphony’s score went into print a few years later, Mahler erased the title as well as the wonderful slow movement called Blumine (Floral Piece).”

Hamburg International Music Festival

The Tonkünstler perform Strauss

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 12 Mai 2014

 Radek Baborák, Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich (c) Universal Edition, StandkeHornist Radek Baborák and the Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich at yesterday’s performance of Richard Strauss’ Concerto for horn and orchestra at the Musikverein.

Michael Schønwandt will conduct the orchestra again today, 12 May, at the Festspielhaus in St. Pölten, find out more on the website of the Tonkünstler.


Jascha Nemtsov: The Krein Family

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 09 Mai 2014

Jascha Nemtsov: The Krein Family Jascha Nemtsov’s recording of piano pieces by Alexander, Grigori and Julian Krein has been released on the label Profil.

Find out more and listen to excerpts of the recording.

Your first opera

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 09 Mai 2014

Tom ServiceTom Service of The Guardian discusses which operas might be a good fit for first-timers. We are happy to see that he considers Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen and The Makropulos Case and Harrison Birtwistle’s Gawain and Yan Tan Tethera as viable alternatives for those who might think that “Berg is just too violently excessive and excessively violent”.

Read Service’s full article on The Guardian.

UE has recently released a children’s operas catalogue that presents eight operas specially attuned to inquisitive youthful ears. You can leaf through it here:

Fantasia on all the notes: celebrating Birtwistle

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 08 Mai 2014

Harrison Birtwistle (c) BCMG
The Birmingham Contemporary Music Group has released the concert programme for their birthday concert for Harrison Birtwistle. The concert takes place on Saturday, 10 May at the CBSO Centre.

Find the full programme here.

BBC Composer of the Week: Hans Gál

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 08 Mai 2014

BBC Radio 3, Donal MacleodHans Gál is the BBC Radio 3’s composer of the week. In five 60-minute episodes, Donald Macleod and conductor/cellist Kenneth Woods explore the life and work of the composer. In the first three episodes, they focused on the topics Teacher, Scholar, Composer, The Early Years and The 1930s. The final two episodes, Exile in Britain and Post-War Edinburgh, will be first broadcast on 8 and 9 May, respectively.

Find out more, listen to previous episodes and view an episode overview on BBC Radio 3.


Franz Liszt Organ Arrangements: ”A super disc.”

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 07 Mai 2014

Gramophone’s Jeremy Nicholas has recently reviewed CPO’s release of Franz Liszt Organ Arrangements, which includes arrangements of Fantasia and Fugue on Ad nos, ad salutarem undam, Orpheus, Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen, and Prelude and Fugue on B-A-C-H.

Franz Liszt used the chorale Ad nos, ad salutarem undam,originally from Giacomo Meyerbeer’s opera Le Prophète, as the basis for a Fantasia and Fugue. The “Prophet Fugue”, as he called it, is one of the most impressive works of a secular character in organ literature. Marcel Dupré, one of the great 20th century masters of the organ, arranged it highly effectively for orchestra; it was considered lost until it was rediscovered and performed again in 2007.

Read the full review on Gramophone.

Franz Liszt Organ Arrangements

Rihm’s Transitus at La Scala

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 05 Mai 2014

Riccardo Chailly (c) Decca / Mat Hennek
Wolfgang Rihm’s Transitus
will be premièred tonight at La Scala by Riccardo Chailly and the Filarmonica della Scala. Two days later they perform the Swiss première of the orchestral work in Lugano.

Transitus was commissioned by La Scala in Milan, who wished for it to allude to the works of Richard Strauss. When asked if he had been influenced by Strauss’ virtuosity as an orchestrator, Rihm replied: “Virtuosity is not a value in itself: any star pupil can be a virtuoso. What is really important is what energy is moved – and how much energy is moved! There is so much virtuoso music that doesn’t go anywhere. No movement, just everything shaking, flailing and glistening. But music is all about conveying energy. The quality of a piece of music is determined by its energetic charge and flows. In his finest moments, Strauss creates an incomparable maelstrom of relentless flow.”

View the full study score of Transitus:

Wolfgang Rihm: Transitus
for orchestra | 15'
world prem. 05.05.2014, Teatro alla Scala, Milan; prem. 07.05.2014, Palazzo di Congressi, Lugano; Filarmonica della Scala, cond. Riccardo Chailly