Universal Edition - Blog

Rehearsals with Dennis Russell Davies and Arvo Pärt

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 27 January 2014

Arvo Pärt, Dennis Russell Davies (c) Universal Edition, Eric Marinitsch

Arvo Pärt, Dennis Russell Davies (c) Universal Edition, Eric MarinitschDennis Russell Davies and Arvo Pärt with the Bruckner Orchestra Linz at today’s rehearsals for Pärt’s Symphony No. 4 ‘Los Angeles’.

The piece will be performed today at the Brucknerhaus in Linz and on 31 January at the Musikverein, Vienna.

Arvo Pärt: Symphony No. 4 ‘Los Angeles’
for string orchestra, harp, timpani and percussion | 34'
timp, perc(2–4), hp, str
27.01.2014, Brucknerhaus, Linz
31.01.2014, Musikverein, Vienna
Bruckner Orchestra Linz, cond. Dennis Russell Davies

Victor Ibarra’s Cuatro observaciones sobre lo imaginario in Vienna, Spain and Italy

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 27 January 2014

proyecto piano jovenVictor Ibarra’s piano piece Cuatro observaciones sobre lo imaginario, which won the Mauricio Kagel Composition Competition (K2013) in 2013, will be performed on 3 February at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, on 14 March at the Fundación Eutherpe in León, on 4 April at the Real Academia de España in Rome and on 11 April at the Conservatorio Profesional de Música Cristóbal de Morales in Sevilla.

Find out more about the Mexican composer on his website.

Cuatro observaciones sobre lo imaginario and three other works that participated in the competition were published in Universal Edition’s UE36026.

Arvo Pärt: Best Choral Performance

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 27 January 2014

Arvo Pärt (c) Universal Edition, Eric Marinitsch
Congratulations to Arvo Pärt and Tõnu Kaljuste: Adam's Lament (released under the ECM New Series) has won the Grammy for Best Choral Performance. The performers on the recording are the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Vox Clamantis, Sinfonietta Riga, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, soloists Tui Hirv and Rainer Vilu.


UE Newsletter January 2014

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 24 January 2014

Newsletter 01/2014Our first newsletter of 2014 is out. Read the whole newsletter by clicking the picture to the right or go here.

You can subscribe to our newsletter, which is available in German and in English, here.

Jay Schwartz: Delta at the Eclat festival

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 21 January 2014

Here is a high resolution sketch of Jay Schwartz’ Delta – Music for Orchestra IV. The piece will be premièred at the Eclat festival on 8 February. Johannes Kalitzke conducts the RSO Stuttgart.

SWR2 broadcasts the concert on 8 February at 8pm, three hours after the performance. Listen live.

View the full study score.

Jay Schwartz: Delta – Music for Orchestra IV
for orchestra | 25'
4 4 4 4 - 6 4 4 1 - Kontrabass (5-stringed), perc(3), vln.I, vln.II, vla, vc
world prem. 08.02.2014, Theaterhaus, Stuttgart; RSO Stuttgart, cond. Johannes Kalitzke

Claudio Abbado (1933 – 2014)

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 20 January 2014

Universal Edition mourns the death of Claudio Abbado, a conductor who made a great contribution to the acceptance of the Second Viennese School, most significantly in Vienna itself. As a founder of Vienna’s Wien Modern festival in 1988, he created an independent forum for the music of the 20th century.

Beyond his focus on the music of Schönberg, Berg and Webern – whose music was central to the first festival – and Mahler (Vienna’s influence on his own understanding of Mahler is reflected in our interview, see below), Abbado also showed great interest in his own contemporaries. The Lucerne Concert Hall was inaugurated in 1998 with a concert by Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra with a performance of Wolfgang Rihm’s IN-SCHRIFT.

Abbado’s championship of modern music will remain an example to us.

BBC Radio 3 broadcast of in vain

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 17 January 2014

Georg Friedrich Haas, Tom Service (c) Universal Edition, Sarah Laila StandkeTomorrow, 18 January, BBC Radio 3’s Hear and Now will broadcast a recording of the London première of Georg Friedrich Haas’ in vain.

The concert was performed by the London Sinfonietta under Emilio Pomàrico on 6 December 2013 at the Southbank Centre’s The Rest is Noise Festival.

Furthermore, Tom Service will present an interview with the composer.

The show will be online until 26 January, listen on BBC Radio 3.

Through His Teeth #11: “Showdown”

Posted on 13 January 2014

Luke Bedford (c) Universal Edition, Sarah Laila StandkeIn the 13th installment of our blog about Luke Bedford's new opera, Through His Teeth, he tells us about the latest scene.

“The scene I’m currently working on, scene 13, is kind of a bit like a showdown, although I don’t really want to use that word. But it is the sort of point where the various plots come together.

The scene is about five or six minutes long. It actually has a bass drum, which starts very slowly, but is almost imperceptibly getting faster over the course of about five minutes.

So at the beginning it’s only playing every couple of seconds, it’s just this very distant sort of thud. And as the scene builds up, you might become gradually aware of this kind of undercurrent, there’s something pulling you, as you move towards the key moment at the end of the scene. And I like this idea. A lot of the scene is very quiet, there are long pauses between what is said.

The text is actually quite short, it’s barely a side of A4. And this is something that is quite interesting about the pacing of things: sometimes you need gaps there, so that the music can spell out the tension in a scene.”

Baltakas world première in London

Posted on 10 January 2014

UE joins the PLG Young Artists Series 2014 today at the Southbank Centre in London.

Highlights of today’s programme are the world première of Vykintas Baltakas' new work Redditio 2 (see the full score), and a personal appearance by Cristóbal Hallfter, on a rare visit to the country.

Through His Teeth #10: Scenes 1 and 2

Posted on 09 January 2014

Luke Bedford talks about scenes one and two of his new opera Through His Teeth

Through His Teeth #9: Chronology

Posted on 06 January 2014

Luke Bedford (c) Universal Edition, Eric MarinitschPart 9 of our continuing blog about the composition of Luke Bedford's opera Through His Teeth.

Did you start with scene 1 and work your way towards the last scene? How did you start writing?

I haven’t written the piece in chronological order at all, I didn’t start with scene 1 and finish with scene 10. I started at scene 9 I think, then I went to scene 2, then scene 1, and, having set those almost sort of boundaries of the piece, I then started kind of connecting the ones in the middle.

Also I kind of focused on what seemed to me the more important scenes. Obviously every scene is important in its own way, but some scenes are bigger sort of structural moments, or simply just longer. And I wanted to get some of those bigger ones out of the way earlier in the piece, so that if things became tight, at the end of the writing process, I wouldn’t be working on the very key moments, they’d already be done – so that was almost like my insurance policy.

Could you give us examples of such scenes?

One of the crucial scenes is obviously the first time A and R meet, as that scene establishes their relationship. Then there’s a scene in a restaurant where it looks like A is going to leave him, and you have to see his ingenuity, he has to come up with some reason why she can’t, and he has to do it very quickly. And he tells a huge lie basically, an almost unbelievable lie. But he does it in such a way, that if she doubted him, she would think “Well, this guy must be mad, why would he say this to me?” So she is in a way forced to believe him.

Through His Teeth #8: Stages of composing

Posted by Webmaster on 02 January 2014

Through His Teeth #7: Working with two keyboards

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 28 December 2013

For the last few years, I’ve been working quite often with quartertones, and the most effective way I find of just practically hearing these notes is by having a second keyboard, so that one keyboard is tuned a quartertone below the other one. With a single keyboard you could obviously imagine what the quartertone would sound like, but I prefer to actually hear the physical sounds.

Keyboard: Kevin MaubanI got my second keyboard about a year ago. Up until that point I’d actually used a guitar and a banjo, tuning those down a quartertone – it was ok, but it wasn’t very effective.

You can of course use computers as well, but I don’t like doing this sort of creative composing on the computer. I feel that especially with most notation software it’s limiting, you end up writing more what works on the computer than actually what works on the instruments or on the voices.

So I thought it was important to get this second keyboard if I wanted to explore different tunings and different quartertones – I suppose if I worked on eighth tones or third tones I’d just have to keep getting more and more of them. But I think that at the moment quartertones are enough.

Luke Bedford

Find out more about Through His Teeth.

Through His Teeth #6: Why quartertones

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 23 December 2013

Through His Teeth #5: Instrumentation

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 20 December 2013

Luke Bedford: sample scoreLuke Bedford on the instrumentation of Through His Teeth:

Through His Teeth is scored for eight instruments. It’s quite a small ensemble, but I tried to get as big a range of colours and sounds as I could out of that. So there are quite a few instruments that are capable of playing chords. There is a harp, there is an accordion, there’s various tuned percussions, and there’s violin, cello and bass. And against that there is also a clarinet and a trumpet. It’s a kind of small, mixed ensemble.

I tried also to balance it as much as I could, so I count the accordion as a sort of wind instrument. So there’s a clarinet, trumpet and accordion doing some wind-side of things, there are three strings, and then the harp and the percussion as tuned instruments.

Because of the quartertones, it had to be instruments that can play them better than others. Obviously for the harp, percussion and accordion, it’s not easy to get quartertones on, but for the other instruments, especially the strings and trumpet, it’s something that shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

I decided that the singers were not going to be singing in quartertones – these are only heard from the ensemble. It’s partly a practical thing: some singers can obviously sing quartertones, but others find it very hard. And for a while I wondered whether if the note was strong enough in the ensemble, whether it would be ok to use it in the voice. But in the end I decided against it: partly just to keep things clear in my own head, but also for the singers – they’ve probably got enough to do anyways without worrying about the quartertones.

So it’s something that is happening from the music surrounding the characters really, it’s something in the air. They never go into that directly.