Universal Edition - Blog

IX. Hungarian Dance Festival opens with Kodály

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 14 June 2013

Kodály (c) Szabó AttilaThe IX. Hungarian Dance Festival opens with choreographer Velekei László’s new ballet Kodály, which will be premièred by the Ballet Company of Győr on Monday, 17 June in Győr. The two-act ballet features music by Zoltán Kodály, including his Dances of Galánta.

László Velekei about Kodály: “In my new choreography, I will not only address the audience with the play of bodies and emotions. Experience, good or bad, as well as sharing emotions within a community is always elevating. It will reinforce us, it will help us, therefore we will not be left alone. Disaffiliating from apathy, enterprise something daring; knowing ourselves hold out with the other and build something different and new.”

Le Vin Herbé in Berlin

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 13 June 2013

This season’s last performance of Frank Martin’s secular oratorio Le Vin Herbé at the Staatsoper im Schiller Theater Berlin takes place today:

Frank Martin: Le Vin Herbé
for 12 voices, 7 strings and piano | 90’
13.06.2013, Staatsoper im Schiller Theater, Berlin; Narine Yeghiyan, s; Anna Prohaska, s; Evelin Novak, s; Virpi Räisänen, a; Katharina Kammerloher, a; Stephanie Atanasov, a; Thorbjorn Gulbrandsoy, t; Matthias Klink, t; Peter Gijsbertsen, t; Arttu Kataja, b; Jan Martinik, b; Ludvig Lindström, b; Staatskapelle Berlin, cond. Franck Ollu

Staud and Burwik at the Konzerthaus

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 13 June 2013

Johannes Maria Staud, Peter Burwik (c) Universal Edition, Sarah Laila StandkeJohannes Maria Staud and Peter Burwik of the ensemble xx. jahrhundert at the Wiener Konzerthaus after the performance of Par ici! on 11 June.

Listen to an excerpt of Par ici! or read an introductory text.

Luke Bedford: In Portrait

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 12 June 2013

Wonderful Two-Headed NightingaleThe London Sinfonietta’s Luke Bedford: In Portrait, which took place last month and featured performances of Bedford’s Wonderful No-Headed Nightingale, his latest piece Renewal, as well as Gérard Grisey’s Périodes, received great reviews, and we are proud to share some of the highlights: 

“In his latest work, Renewal, British composer Luke Bedford has achieved the rare feat of having written a piece that has everything: dynamism and drive, a singular yet powerfully centred harmonic language, a strong sense of thematic development, an altogether wondrous control of flow and counter-flow, and, above all, moments of transcendent beauty.” (Guy Dammann, The Guardian)

“The music moved with impulsive energy, dismantling material as quickly as it had been gathered together. […] Perhaps the most captivating moment was when Bedford stripped his musical materials down to pure noise. […] The programme as a whole was very well received and it was encouraging to see one of London’s major concert venues lend this level of support and attentiveness to an emerging artist.” (Ninfea Cruttwell-Reade, bachtrack)

The London Sinfonietta will perform Renewal on 16 August in Dubrovnik, Croatia. We will keep you posted.

View the full study score of Wonderful Two-Headed Nightingale: 

88 years of Kurt Weill’s Concerto for Violin and Winds

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 10 June 2013

ensemble mini (c) ensemble miniExactly 88 years after its world première, Kurt Weill’s Concerto for Violin and Winds will be performed by the ensemble mini on 11 June 2013 during their mini-Fest 2013, “Beethoven & Mahler, re-balanced”.

From the ensemble’s press release: “Joining them is Mister X, one of the finest violinists of our time. He has performed with the world's greatest artists and orchestras. BUT he is masked man, without a reputation or identity: no one knows who he is and no one will ever know who he is. His debut with ensemble mini reduces the appreciation of the soloist to the max, challenging the status quo and inviting us into a world where fame, prestige and hype are replaced by quality, purpose and meaning.”

Also on the programme: Cliff Colnot’s chamber orchestral arrangement of Mahler’s Adagio of Symphony No. 10.

Watch the ensemble mini perform Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 in Klaus Simon’s arrangement:

Cristóbal Halffter: Schachnovelle

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 10 June 2013

Schachnovelle (c) Olaf StruckThe world première of Cristóbal Halffter’s latest opera Schachnovelle, an opera in one act based on Stefan Zweig’s novella [The Royal Game], at the Kiel Opera House on 18 May 2013 was a resounding success, as exemplified by the audience’s applause and various positive reviews from Deutschlandfunk, Merker and the nmz (which makes an interesting comparison of Halffter’s Schachnovelle and Berg’s Lulu). Wolfgang Haendeler’s excellent libretto should also be highlighted at this point, especially when one considers the original text’s lack of spoken dialogue.

Cristóbal Halffter at the world première of Schachnovelle:

Cristóbal Halffter at the world première of Schachnovelle (c) Universal Edition, Wolfgang Schaufler

An impression from the rehearsal of Die Seejungfrau

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 07 June 2013

Markus Poschner, Wiener Symphoniker (c) Universal EditionToday the Austrian première of Antony Beaumont’s critical edition of Zemlinsky’s Die Seejungfrau [The Mermaid] will be performed by the Wiener Symphoniker under Markus Poschner, the musical director of the Bremer Philharmoniker and the Theater Bremen. Poschner – filling in for James Conlon – conducts the Wiener Symphoniker for his first time. The performance will be repeated tomorrow.

The rehearsal at the Wiener Konzerthaus is going great, the première will be something to look forward to!

Die Seejungfrau / The Mermaid (1903)
for orchestra | 45’
4 3 4 3 - 6 3 4 1 - timp, perc(2), hp(2), str
Critical edition by Antony Beaumont (2011)
prem. 7 and 8/6/2013, Konzerthaus, Wien; Wiener Symphoniker, cond. Markus Poschner

Wolfgang Rihm at the 66th Aldeburgh Festival

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 06 June 2013

Snape Maltings Concert HallThe 66th Aldeburgh Festival will run from 7 until 23 June. The UE-highlight: the world première of Wolfgang Rihm’s A Tribute, which takes place on the last day of the festival at the Snape Maltings Concert Hall at 16:00. This orchestral piece was commissioned by the Britten Pears Foundation and the Royal Philharmonic Society to mark the centenary of Benjamin Britten and the bicentenary of the Royal Philharmonic Society.

Wolfgang Rihm: A Tribute
for orchestra | 20’
2 2 3 3 - 4 2 3 1 - timp, perc(2), hp, str
world prem. 23/6/2013, Snape Maltings Concert Hall, Snape; Hallé Orchestra, cond. Mark Elder

Aram Khatchaturian (06.06.1903—01.05.1978)

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 06 June 2013

Khatchaturian (c) Khatchaturian

Aram Khatchaturian conducting at the Vienna Musikverein in 1961

110 years ago, on 6 June 1903, Aram Khatchaturian was born in Tiflis. The bookmaker’s son started to play the tenor horn as a youth, taught himself how to play the piano, and was admitted to the Gnessin State Musical College in 1922, where he studied Cello. Seven years later he was accepted at the Moscow Conservatory. In 1933 he married Nina Makarowa, a composer and fellow student. After receiving his diploma in 1934 for his Symphony No. 1, he stayed at the Conservatory for three more years as a postgraduate, establishing himself as a composer. In the 1940s he wrote his ballet Gajane, the Symphony No. 2 and the Concerto in D minor for violin and orchestra. He started to successfully conduct his own works and to teach at the Gnessin-Institute in 1951; five years later, he finished Spartacus, his most famous ballet.

Universal Edition recently published Khatchaturian’s Adagio and Bacchanal from Spartacus in the arrangement for violin and piano by Matthias Fletzberger and Lidia Baich, which creates a colourful and diverse sound image and makes sure that both instruments are equal partners in a musical exchange.

You can listen to an excerpt of Fletzberger's and Baich's arrangement of the Adagio and Bacchanal from Spartacus here.

Bill Hopkins

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 05 June 2013

Bill Hopkins (c) Nocolas HodgesBorn on 5 June 1943, Bill Hopkins would have celebrated his 70th birthday today. As Bloomsday is approaching, it might be worth mentioning that the composer wrote his 2 Pomes, based on James Joyce’s Pomes Penyeach, in 1964, and thus is one of the many UE composers who were inspired by the writer’s works – e.g. Hans Zender with his opera Stephen Climax, Karol Szymanowski (7 Joyce Songs), Pierre Boulez and of course Luciano Berio with his Epiphanies and Thema (Omaggio a Joyce).

UK première of David Fennessy's 5 Hofer Photographs

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 05 June 2013

David Fennessy (c) Tanya KiangThe UK première of David Fennessy’s 5 Hofer Photographs takes place tonight, 5 June 2013, at Sloan’s in Glasgow. Robert Irvine plays the five short pieces for solo cello that were inspired by the work of German photographer Evelyn Hofer.

David Fennessy: 5 Hofer Photographs
for solo violoncello | 10’
5/6/2013, Glasgow; Robert Irvine, vc

Gergiev and the LSO: Szymanowski SACD of Symphonies Nos 1 and 2

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 04 June 2013

Gergiev, LSO: Szymanowski, Symphonies Nos 1 & 2Valery Gergiev’s and the London Symphony Orchestra’s SACD recording of Karol Szymanowski’s Symphonies Nos 1 and 2 will be released this week. The symphonies were recorded in September and October 2012 at the Barbican in London. According to the LSO, a recording of Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater and Symphonies Nos 3 and 4 is to follow in September.

In September 2012, the Philharmonie Luxembourg released a video in which you can experience Valery Gergiev talk about the composer:

Listen to excerpts and/or buy the recording.

Furthermore, we had a focus on Szymanowski in our Musikblätter 5:

David Fennessy: Piano Trio | Music for the pauses in a conversation between John Cage and Morton Feldman

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 04 June 2013

Here’s a short video from the ON - Neue Musik Köln on Ensemble Preasenz’ In die Nacht mit John und Morton [into the night with John and Morton]:

The video was taken on 28 November 2012 at the Kunst-Station Sankt Peter in Köln and features an excerpt of David Fennessy’s excellent Piano Trio | Music for the pauses in a conversation between John Cage and Morton Feldman.

Among the pieces performed on this evening, which focused on the friendship between Cage and Feldman, were also Feldman’s For John Cage, Steffen Krebber’s Konfusion IV and John Cage’s Imaginary landscape No. 1.

100 years of Stravinsky's Rite

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 29 May 2013

Luke Bedford (c) Manu Theobald, Ernst von Siemens MusikstiftungThinking back to the first time I heard The Rite as a 13-year-old, I remember being instantly enchanted and terrified by the piece. I had heard nothing like it before and it quite simply opened up the world of twentieth century music to me. And even now, a hundred years on from the première, its force and violent beauty are a thing of wonder.
(Luke Bedford)

1913 certainly was an exciting year for Universal Edition. Two and a half months after Schönberg’s “scandal concert” in Vienna – where the issue was not merely a question of how an audience treated the performers, it was about partisanship at a crossroads of musical history – the world première of Stravinsky’s and Nijinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps took place in Paris on 29 May 1913 and sent shock waves through the European art world. A quick search on the internet is enough to get an overview of some of the devastating reviews that the première received, yet opinions differed: UE composer Gian Francesco Malipiero, who attended the performance, would later remember the experience as an awakening “from a long and dangerous lethargy”.

The Rite of Spring

But it’s not only a temporal proximity that connects these two events: Stravinsky was said to have kept a score of Schönberg’s 3 Piano Pieces, Op 11 – where the last piece is free from any tonal or motivic references – with him at the time he was composing The Rite. Stravinsky in return seems to have been of major importance to Béla Bartók, who wrote his pantomime ballet The Miraculous Mandarin partly as a response to his interest in Stravinsky, admiring the composer’s way of making “these chasing motivic complexes fit into each other by balancing the weight ratios with extreme precision.”

The BBC released an article questioning whether The Rite did actually spark a riot, and the conclusion is drawn that even today, “we cannot be quite sure”. Did The Rite lose its edge in the twenty-first century? What is your opinion?

New Music Dublin: Bedford, Fennessy, and Staud

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 28 May 2013

Tonight at 21:00 CET/CEST: RTÉ lyric fm broadcasts Bedford’s Chiaroscuro, Fennessy’s Piano Trio and Staud’s Für Bálint András Varga. The concert was performed by the Fidelio Trio and recorded on Saturday 2 March during the three-day New Music Dublin festival.

RTÉ lyric fm offers a live stream, which you can find here.

Luke Bedford: Chiaroscuro
David Fennessy: Piano Trio
Johannes Maria Staud:
Für Bálint András Varga

Fidelio Trio
RTÉ lyric fm | Listen live
Tuesday, 28 May 2013, 21:00