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Arvo Pärt honoured in Berlin

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 20 May 2015

Tõnu Kaljuste, Arvo Pärt, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Joachim Gauck (c) Raigo Pajula

A special concert was dedicated to Arvo Pärt yesterday, 19 May, at the Konzerthaus Berlin.

The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and conductor Tõnu Kaljuste performed a composer concert devoted to Arvo Pärt which was organized as part of Toomas Hendrik Ilves’ state visit to Germany in honour of the German President Joachim Gauck and First Lady Daniela Schadt.

Find out more on the website of Estonian Public Broadcasting.

Vykintas Baltakas on Klara Continuo

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 19 May 2015

Klara Late Night

Listen to three works by Vykintas Baltakas on the Late Night Lab at radio Klara tonight at 22:00.

On the programme: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (Takao Hyakutome, vln), (co)ro(na) (musikFabrik, cond. Etienne Siebens) and Pasaka (Stephane Ginsburgh, pno).

Listen online

Lulu at De Nationale Opera

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 19 May 2015

“It’s almost as if ink becomes the black blood that is spilled throughout the production.”

Watch a behind-the-scenes interview with director William Kentridge on the stage design and the expressionistic woodcuts that are used in Kentridge’s production of Lulu, which premières on 1 June at the Dutch National Opera:

Watch King Roger

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 18 May 2015

Watch the live recording of King Roger (with English subtitles) now on the website of The Opera Platform.

The highly acclaimed production by Kasper Holten was recorded on 16 May at the Royal Opera House.

★★★★★ for the BCMG’s celebration of David Sawer

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 13 May 2015

David Sawer (c) Azzurra PrimaveraThe BCMG’s concert on Saturday, 9 May, at the CBSO Centre in Birmingham has received a five-star review by The Times.

Three works by David Sawer were performed by Martin Brabbins and the BCMG at the “brilliantly programmed” concert, which was “a celebration of the brilliance of David Sawer”: Cat’s-Eye, Between and Good Night.

Read the full review on The Times.

UE newsletter May 2015: Robert Wilson and Arvo Pärt collaborate; a masterpiece at the ROH

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 12 May 2015

Universal Edition NewsletterOur latest newsletter is out now:

- Adam’s Passion by Arvo Pärt and Robert Wilson is premièred in Tallinn

- Kasper Holten’s production of King Roger receives rave reviews at the ROH and will be streamed live

View the newsletter online: German | English

Subscribe to our newsletter: German | English

An evening with Wolfgang Rihm

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 11 May 2015

Wolfgang Rihm (c) Universal Edition, Eric Marinitsch

This Tuesday, 12 May, accordionist Alfred Melichar and the Ensemble Wiener Collage present an evening with Wolfgang Rihm at the Arnold Schönberg Center in Vienna. Rihm’s eight Fetzen will be performed together with Arnold Schönberg’s Serenade. Entrance will be free for students.

A celebration of the brilliance of David Sawer

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 06 May 2015

On 9 May, the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group presents “a celebration of the brilliance of David Sawer and connections to his music”. Among other works, the composer’s pieces Cat’s-eye, Between and Good Night will be performed.

Programme notes from the BCMG’s website:

BCMG has commissioned and recorded a number of works by Sawer and it is three pieces new to the Group that feature in this concert. The most substantial of these, Cat’s-eye, takes its inspiration from a simple device (a ‘l’oeil-de-chat’ – hence the title) in a Fantascope, a Victorian magic lantern, to play on ideas of illusion and changing perspective. Between is a short, beautiful solo piece for Harp; and Good Night is a continuous train of musical thoughts that transform when inspected more closely.

David Sawer (c) Glyn Perrin

Reviews of King Roger

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 04 May 2015

Krol Roger (c) Royal Opera House, photo by Bill Cooper

What a joy it is to see staged here a work, which, like Janáček’s bizarrely ignored operas, is no longer than it need be, and so handsomely repays attention in every minute of its mere ninety. (Mark Berry, Boulezian, 2 May 2015)

But now, after this rapturously acclaimed performance, Król Roger’s power and stature are decisively vindicated, lifting it alongside Bluebeard’s Castle and the later works of Janacek as a masterpiece of the early twentieth-century European sensibility. (Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 2 May 2015)

It's a production that honours the score to a level that lifts the spirits. […] And what a score it is – and how searingly Antonio Pappano and the Royal Opera forces deliver it. In one of the great opening nights at Covent Garden everyone gave a red-hot performance … (Mark Valencia, WhatsOnStage, 2 Mai 2015)

It’s easy to be seduced by the beauty of Szymanowski’s orchestral writing, to wallow in its iridescent colours and rich harmonic palette, and forgive the work’s dramatic thinness and the lack of substance in all of the characters but Roger. […] What the performance confirms, however, is the beauty of much of the music. (Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 3 May 2015)

So this Covent Garden staging, which runs until May 19, was a must-see. […] But what the staging lacked, the score delivered in the hands of a conductor who brought the sensuousness of this music into being. The orchestral sound was ravishing, the chorus strong but supple. (Michael White, The New York Times, 4 May 2015)

Reviews for Kasper Holten’s production of Karol Szymanowski’s King Roger are out. The opera will be running at the Royal Opera House until 19 May.

Furthermore you can now listen to an episode of Music Matters on King Roger, in which Tom Service and the musicologist and broadcaster Gavin Plumley review the production.

Listen on BBC Radio 3

Adam’s Passion: a first trailer

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 04 May 2015

Theatre magician Robert Wilson is paying homage to Arvo Pärt with the première of Adam’s Passion, which will be performed for the first time on 12 May in Tallinn.

For this project, the composer selected three major compositions from his oeuvre: the two choral works Adam’s Lament and Miserere, and the double violin concerto Tabula rasa. This is joined by Sequentia, a new work composed especially for Adam’s Passion.

Simultaneously, a television documentary is being filmed. You can watch a trailer on the website of accentus music:

accentus music trailer

Bedford nominated for The Times Breakthrough Award

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 04 May 2015

Luke Bedford (c) Universal Edition, Eric Marinitsch

As taut as a thriller and with a sparse, creepy score that fitted the story like a glove, Through His Teeth was acclaimed as one of the 21st century’s most gripping new chamber operas. Bedford isn’t yet “the next Benjamin Britten”, but if he produces a few more works of that quality, he could be. (Richard Morrison)

Congratulations to Luke Bedford for having been nominated for The Times Breakthrough Award.

Find out more on The Times.

Over the course of the production of Through His Teeth, we ran an accompanying blog:

Through His Teeth blog

ATTHIS at the ROH: ★★★★☆

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 29 April 2015

ATTHIS (c) Bill Cooper, Royal Opera House

Violinists Alexandra Wood and Joan Atherton join with violist Paul Silverthorne and cellist Sally Pendlebury to articulate the rich inner life of a score that whets the appetite for more. (George Hall, The Guardian, 24 April 2015)

Haas and Jones’s collaboration is a beautiful one, tender with humanity while chafing hard at the emotions. (Alexandra Coghlan, The Arts Desk, 24 April 2015)

His focus on using music as a means of depicting raw human emotion produces a sonorous, yet beautiful effect, making this experience a wholly poignant and evocative one. (Isabella Farrell, A Younger Theatre, 27 April 2015)

Find several reviews of Georg Friedrich Haas’ ATTHIS and his String Quartet No. 2 at the Royal Opera House by clicking the respective links.

Listen to a short interview with Georg Friedrich Haas on his music, the impulse to write music as a politically conscious person, and more:

Szymanowski’s King Roger, a Nietzschean hero

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 29 April 2015

[King Roger] turns on the exact emotional axis which divided the composer himself, the tension between intellect and instinct, control and chaos, mind and body – the age-old opposition of Apollo and Dionysus. (John Lloyd Davies)

Kasper Holten presents a new production of Karol Szymanowski’s opera King Roger, a meditation on identity and desire. Antonio Pappano conducts the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.

The première is sold out, tickets for further performances on 6, 9, 12, 16 and 19 May are still available.

Watch the Royal Opera House’s trailer:

The ROH has published a number of interesting articles on King Roger, find them here:

Creator and Destroyer: Chaos vs control in Szymanowski’s Król Roger

Opera in the Real World Part 2: The historical figures behind some of opera's greatest characters

Eastern Promises: The allure of the Orient in opera and ballet

Opera Essentials: Król Roger

Eötvös conducts Boulez

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 24 April 2015

Péter Eötvös, Pierre Boulez (c) Priska Ketterer

Once, only Boulez himself could have achieved such a performance: fortunately he clearly now has successors who are equal to the task. (Gavin Dixon, bachtrack, 24 April 2015)

Péter Eötvös and the London Symphony Orchestra dedicated a concert to Pierre Boulez on 23 April at the Barbican in which they performed Rituel in memoriam Bruno Maderna and other works.

Read Gavin Dixon’s full review on bachtrack.

“Darkness and light are instruments” in ATTHIS

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 24 April 2015

Georg Friedrich Haas (c) Substantia Jones

Haas uses light and darkness as instrumental tools, and this is very exciting when using projection as an extension of the listening experience. My presentation of the Second Quartet and ATTHIS is designed to be immersive: darkness and light are instruments; and poetry, visual imagery, movement and music come together inseparably to reflect Haas’s extraordinary musical world. (Netia Jones)

Find an interview with Netia Jones, director of the Royal Opera House’s current staging of ATTHIS, on the website of the ROH.

View the full study score