If we want to understand other nations, we first must understand ourselves. There is no better means for this than folk music. Getting acquainted with the folk songs of other countries is the best way to get acquainted with other peoples. (Zoltán Kodály)
Happy birthday, Zoltán Kodály. The composer was born today in 1882.
Read Mihály Ittzés’ essay on Zoltán Kodály with the title “A patriot, not a nationalist” – from which the above quote is taken – on our MusikSalon:
José Luis López-Linares’ documentary film “Bosch: The Garden of Dreams”, produced by LópezLiFilms and the Prado Museum, features music by Arvo Pärt.
Watch the trailer here:
“It’s a bit of a patchy, self-indulgent work, but fascinating; the best of Krenek’s angular, expressionist score, mostly atonal though harking back to romantic tonality, is strikingly effective.” (Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 30 November 2016)
Join the event for a free symposium and a concert, including performances by Luís Antunes Pena and Pavlos Antoniadis, Ensemble Garage (cond. Mariano Chiacchiarini), leise dröhnung, Ensemble Musikfabrik, hand werk and Ensemble Modern.
The full programme is available on the website of the Deutscher Musikrat:
There’s something uniquely sensual and physical about string music that attracts me as a composer. […] It’s not just about pitches and rhythms – there’s also something in the quality of the sound, something about the effort it takes to produce the note that gives us clues as to the musical meaning. It’s the massive difference between an up-bow with its build up of tension and a down-bow - the release, the out-breath. This piece is all about the right arm – the bowing arm. (David Fennessy on his string quartet bow your head)
The RTÉ Contempo Quartet will perform David Fennessy’s bow your head as part of their “Bartók Project” on 1 Dec at the Limerick City Gallery of Art, on 3 Dec at the Triskel Arts Centre in Cork and on 4 Dec at the National Concert Hall in Dublin.
Prof. Dr. Martin Zenck’s book Pierre Boulez: Die Partitur der Geste und das Theater der Avantgarde was presented on 18 November at the Academy of Music in Mainz in a memorial concert for the great composer who passed away this January.
Pianist Pi-Hsien Chen performed both versions of Boulez’ Troisième Sonate pour piano.
Composer and conductor Hans Zender celebrates his 80th birthday today, 22 November 2016.
The works which he entrusted to Universal Edition between 1979 and 1990 reflect certain important facets of his intellectual world: the interest in music theatre (his Joyce opera Stephen Climax), the allure of Japanese culture (for example the flute concerto Loshu V), the importance of the voice and, with it, of literature (settings of Mechthild von Magdeburg and Henri Michaux).
We extend our warmest congratulations!
A selection of works by the composer will be performed at this year’s Wien Modern festival on 28 and 29 November:
When Butor and I drafted the piece in the early 60s, we dreamt of a new form of theatre that would merge the characteristics of (modern) theatre and modern music, while at the same time approaching the baroque opera, the form of the operas of Brecht and Weill, the Japanese Noh and the théâtre de tréteaux, such as the l'Histoire du soldat – while still being completely different. (Excerpt from a letter from Henri Pousseur to Universal Edition)
The French première of Henri Pousseur’s Votre Faust takes place today, 17. November, at the Nouveau Théâtre de Montreuil. Laurent Cuniot conducts the Ensemble TM+.
Mut, Angst, Verzweiflung, Tyrannei: dieses Buch versucht herauszufinden, was in den Arbeitszimmern von Komponisten vor sich geht, welcher Kampf mit dem Material, mit den eigenen Grenzen, mit den tradierten Regeln, deren Überschreitung selbst für den 90jährigen György Kurtág einen mutigen Akt darstellt – also welcher Kampf hinter den Noten steckt, die man in den Konzerten zu hören bekommt. Noten, die einem „gefallen” oder „missfallen”, je nach Geschmack, Intelligenz, Offenheit, Neugier und Erfahrung.
Bálint András Varga’s latest book of interviews Der Komponisten Mut und die Tyrannei des Geschmacks has recently been published by wolke. View the full table of contents and the preface here – among the interviewees are UE composers Vykintas Baltakas, Friedrich Cerha, Paul-Heinz Dittrich, Georg Friedrich Haas, György Kurtág, Wolfgang Rihm and Johannes Maria Staud.
You can still listen to Bálint András Varga’s conversation with Albert Hosp on Ö1:
Es hätte kaum ein besseres Sujet gefunden werden können als das kindliche Dramolett um das Finden der Identität, um Wien Modern in diesem Jahr einzuleiten – aber auch um jene Kinder zu begrüßen, die noch nicht so lang in Österreich sind. (Daniel Ender, Der Standard, 31 October 2016)
The great hall of the Philharmonie de Paris has been named for its ‘spiritual father’, Pierre Boulez. The inauguration ceremony took place on 26 October in attendance of French Culture Minister Audrey Azoulay and Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris.
“Ideas in this piece are torn apart by a strange energy and reform in new, dynamic relationships. There is a constant tension between growing and collapsing. That which seems durable can vanish in an instant.” (Luke Bedford on Instability)
Congratulations! Luke Bedford’s Instability for large orchestra has been shortlisted for this year's British Composer Award. We’ve uploaded the full study score for you:
[Ernst Krenek] saw parallels between McCarthyism and the development of Nazism in Germany. Having survived the Hitler menace in Austria and now, shortly afterwards, living with McCarthyism in the USA, his adopted country, was a great shock to him! Krenek had always been interested in social problems and having just lived through various crises in regard to these problems he turned to writing about them in the most dramatic, illuminating medium for him – opera. […] Pallas Athene weeps is more timely today than ever! (Gladys Nordenstrom Krenek, 16 October 2013)
The Neue Oper Wien’s production of Pallas Athene weint [Pallas Athene weeps] by Ernst Krenek premières on 25 October at the MuseumsQuartier in Vienna. Walter Kobéra conducts the Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich.
Further performances take place on 27, 28 and 29 October.
The orchestra takes over the melody: the whole orchestra begins to sing. (Georg Friedrich Haas on dark dreams)
Georg Friedrich Haas’ dark dreams for orchestra will receive its Estonian première today, 21 October, at the AFEKT International Modern Music Festival in Tallinn. Michael Wendeberg conducts the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra.
We have prepared the full score for you:
Ernst Krenek’s 1926 Der Diktator plainly rejects the lush romanticism of Wagner, the sentimental beauties of Puccini. In their place we find a brevity, a condensed sense of time, and a transparent mix of neo-classical and romantic musical rhetoric articulated with new sonorities in a drama made up of fleeting episodes. (Leon Botstein)
On 19 October the American Symphony Orchestra presents concert versions of two one-act operas with strikingly different reactions to tyranny: Ernst Krenek’s Der Diktator will be performed together with Richard Strauss’s Day of Peace at Carnegie Hall. Leon Botstein conducts the American Symphony Orchestra.
Krenek composed Der Diktator in 1926, three years after Hitler’s unsuccessful putsch in Munich and two years after Mussolini gained a two-thirds majority in the Italian parliament. Der Diktator urgently highlights the dangers of fascism and predicted the tragedy of National Socialist dictatorship.