“- Welche Bedeutung hat oder hatte Schönberg für Sie?
- Von ihm ging ich aus. Er, Alban Berg und Anton Webern waren für mich musikalisch Grundnahrung in frühester Zeit.“ (Wolfgang Rihm and Tobias Schwartz, Der Tagesspiegel, 3 September 2015)
Composer Wolfgang Rihm talks to Der Tagesspiegel about Arnold Schönberg, twelve-tone technique and sensuous mathematicians.
The interview was held on the occasion of the opening of the Musikfest Berlin.
“When heard alongside the other composers of his generation, Schmidt can appear like a cheerful fish out of water.” (Gavin Plumley, The Guardian, 29 August 2015)
Gavin Plumley explores the question of why Franz Schmidt has almost disappeared from concert halls on The Guardian.
The next opportunity to hear Schmidt’s Symphony No. 2 will be on 10 September, when it’ll be performed at this year’s BBC Proms. Before the concert, Gavin Plumley discusses the composer’s life and work.
Tune in to BBC Radio 3 on 10 September at 20:40 CET/CEST.
Issue No. 3 of our MusikSalon is out now and available for free!
We’ve dedicated our latest issue to Arvo Pärt – and interviewed music journalist Michael Stallknecht, record producer Manfred Eicher, director Dorian Supin, conductors Tõnu Kaljuste and Paul Hillier, and others.
David Sawer, Nicholas Collon and others talk about “Objects at an Exhibition”, a project by the Science Museum London and the Aurora Orchestra.
A live concert will take place on 3 October at 7:45pm at the Science Museum. Among the six world premières – all of them commissioned by NMC Recordings – that will be performed is David Sawer’s Coachman Chronos.
The accompanying album “Objects at an Exhibition“ will be released on NMC Recordings on 18 September.
The fully orchestrated versions, composed towards the end of the century, were laid bare by the presentation of the original piano pieces of 1945, written when he was just 20. It was a revelation. (Jonathan McAloon, The Telegraph, 24 August 2015)
Jonathan McAloon has recently reviewed A Day for Pierre Boulez for The Telegraph. The concert was held on Sunday, 23 August, at the Lucerne Festival.
“Don’t expect melodies, don’t expect harmonies: just expect soundscapes. I try to create a musical language which is not based on notated structures but only based on the perception of the sound.”
Michael Boder conducts Graham Vick production, which stars world renowned actor Klaus Maria Brandauer.
“To browse through the album of Marion Kalter is much more than to look at portraits of musicians [...] it is to enter in deep contact with the impenetrable world of music and musicians.” (Pierre Boulez on Marion Kalter, Paris, December 2006)
No other photographer has been as close to Boulez as French photographer Marion Kalter. For several decades she has accompanied him not only in Paris, but also at other focal points of his musical creativity.
Tonight, 20 August, she presents “Pierre Boulez: Images Exposed” at Das Kino in Salzburg.
Happy Birthday Johannes Maria Staud!
September will see three world premières by the composer: Auf die Stimme der weißen Kreide premières on 19 September in Strasbourg, Wasserzeichen on 20 September in Cologne.
Last but not least, Ensemble Modern premières the installation-based concert performance Specter of the Gardenia oder Der Tag wird kommen – an artistic venture by Staud and poet Josef Winkler – at the steirischer herbst opening on 25 September in Graz – we are excited!
On 12 August, the Salzburg Festival presented a TerraceTalk with Daniel Barenboim, Helga Rabl-Stadler, Florian Wiegand and Wolfgang Schaufler.
Boulez is often perceived only as a structuralist, says Wolfgang Schaufler, a representative of Universal Edition. “Many don’t see the emotional side of the music, of course, since his music is new,” says Daniel Barenboim. “We cannot see all aspects of it yet.” Boulez himself has often discussed various elements of his music, but has said very little about emotionality, because that seems a matter of course to him. Everyone has different emotions when hearing the same piece. “Boulez has managed to feel with his head and think with his heart,” says Daniel Barenboim.
Read more on the website of the Salzburg Festival.
Pierre Boulez loves virtuosity, says moderator Wolfgang Schaufler. “His music does not have extreme compositional virtuosity, but there is a certain risk,” says Tamara Stefanovich. For example, the Second Sonata, which will also be played in concert tomorrow, is perfectly formulated. “The ideas are very clear. Beyond the structure, however, he manages to take the audience with him,” she says. “The piece develops into a mystery, delving into acoustic and pianistic impossibilities,” as she says. The ear is challenged to the extreme.
When discussing Boulez, one must not lose sight of the fact that he is a French composer, in the tradition of Debussy, says Wolfgang Schaufler. Of course he was strongly influenced by the Viennese School, but in his music one hears a completely free spirit.
Pierre-Laurent Aimard met Boulez when the latter was only 51. “He was already Mount Everest at the time,” says the pianist. He describes Boulez as a man full of humanity, with enormous activism on behalf of music, and always dedicated to the cause. Both in human and in moral terms, he is a role model.
Of course he plays Boulez works differently today than he did 20 years ago, explains Aimard. That is completely natural – after all, he too has developed, and he keeps discovering new levels and hidden layers in the music. For many ,Boulez’ music was provocative in 1992 – today one has the impression that the audience has a more natural approach to it. So was Boulez a modernist in 1992 and has become a classic? “Maybe,” says Pierre-Laurent Aimard, “but a classic who remains beautifully disturbing!” Boulez’ music demands more exertion, is more challenging, but also richer, says the pianist. That is why he thinks it suitable for any listener who might feel that contemporary music is inaccessible.
Wolfgang Rihm describes how he cried, overcome with emotion, because Konwitschny managed to create emotions with the help of a book. The stage sets show a destroyed world with a white room at its centre, inside which Montezuma arranges everything down to the smallest detail in the beginning. The windows are washed, the carpet smoothed out, and this book, Shadows of Wild Horses, is placed on the table carefully, ensuring that they have something to talk about during their first meeting. At the end of Act II, the room is overtaken by absolute chaos, and the book becomes a symbol. “The history of the relationship is told with great consequence,” the soprano says.
During recent days, composer Wolfgang Rihm has been asked frequently by journalists what made the Salzburg Festival special. “They were always quite astonished at my answers,” he says. “Salzburg is a place where one is offered a mind-boggling working situation. It is possible to work here with incredible intensity, and with so much love and passion.”
After more than thirty years of an intense and artistically most beautiful relation to the Salzburg Festival, Wolfgang Rihm was awarded the “Honorary Medal of the Province of Salzburg” by the governor Dr. Wilfried Haslauer in Salzburg yesterday.
- Wolfgang Rihm: Die Eroberung von Mexico
- Kurt Weill: The Threepenny Opera
- Celebrating the 90th birthday of Pierre Boulez
- The Barber of Seville for children
Find out more about Universal Edition at this year’s Salzburg Festival in our current newsletter.