“Alexander Zemlinsky’s four quartets seem underrated. They are among the finest composed in Europe in the first half of the 20th century, but are rarely mentioned in the same breath as those by Zemlinsky’s contemporaries such as Schoenberg and Berg, Janáček and Bartók.”
Find the full review on The Guardian.
Born on 23 August 1900,
Ernst Krenek was a witness to the 20th century and a prolific composer (and
writer), who “lived an extraordinarily rich life, thanks to his multifarious
gifts, his insatiable hunger for everything new, his tremendous creative impulse and the historical
circumstances which had a bearing on his decision”.
Find out more about Ernst Krenek and listen to his music.
Ed Siegel writes on The Artery about Deutsche Grammophon’s recent release of the 13-CD “Pierre Boulez: Complete Works” set and about Boulez’s music in general. There is a nice quote from Bernstein in there (“Curiously enough, the atmosphere he generates is one of great inner-ness and mystery. Perhaps what it really is a new kind of mysticism born of new scientific insights”), but also an interesting take on the warmth of Boulez’s music.
sur Incises, which is mentioned in the article, will be performed in October in Strasbourg by the Ensemble Intercontemporain:
Pierre Boulez: sur Incises
for 3 pianos, 3 harps and 3 percussionists | 40’
3/10/2013, Cité de la musique, Strasbourg; Ensemble Intercontemporain, cond. Pascal Rophé
Twelve composers have been commissioned to write compositions for twelve works of art that were created in the frame of the Salzburg Art Project. The compositions will be premièred on 24 August by the Scharoun Ensemble. Among the composers are Vykintas Baltakas with Eselsbrücke, Johannes Maria Staud with Caldera (für Tony Cragg) and Jay Schwartz with M.
Vykintas Baltakas: Eselsbrücke
for ensemble | 10’
world prem. 24/8/2013, Mozarteum; Scharoun Ensemble of the Berliner Philharmoniker, cond. Matthias Pintscher
Jay Schwartz: M
for baritone and ensemble | 12’
1 1 1 1 - 1 1 1 0 - perc, pno, str
world prem. 24/8/2013, Mozarteum; Matthias Goerne, bar; Scharoun Ensemble of the Berliner Philharmoniker, cond. Matthias Pintscher
Johannes Maria Staud: Caldera (für Tony Cragg)
for soprano, clarinet and piano (with active page-turner)
world prem. 24/8/2013, Mozarteum; Mojca Erdmann, s; Scharoun Ensemble of the Berliner Philharmoniker, cond. Matthias Pintscher
Beyond Recall at the Salzburg Festival.
Today, Karlheinz Stockhausen would have celebrated his 85th birthday.
On the photo: Karlheinz Stockhausen, Bruno Maderna and Pierre Boulez conducting the rehearsals for the world première of Gruppen on 24 March 1958 in Cologne.
Find out more about Stockhausen and listen to his music.
A highlight of this programme will be the Cello8ctet Amsterdam’s performance of seven works by Pärt, all of which he transcribed for 8 violoncellos.
Arvo Pärt on the ensemble: “The octet is a piece of gold, I discovered this group 10 years too late.”
Arvo Pärt: Kanon Pokajanen
for mixed choir a cappella
09/8/2013, St. Michaelis, Hamburg; Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, cond. Tõnu Kaljuste
Arvo Pärt: Missa brevis
Arvo Pärt: Summa
Arvo Pärt: Psalom
Arvo Pärt: Da pacem Domine
Arvo Pärt: Silouans Song
Arvo Pärt: O-Antiphonen
for 8 violoncellos
10/08/2013, NDR, Hamburg; Cello8ctet Amsterdam
Arvo Pärt: Fratres
Arvo Pärt: Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten
Arvo Pärt: Adam’s Lament
Arvo Pärt: Salve Regina
Arvo Pärt: Te Deum
10/8/2013, Hamburg, St. Jacobi; Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir; Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, cond. Tõnu Kaljuste
Arvo Pärt: Für Alina
for piano | 2’
11/8/2013, NDR, Hamburg; Ulrike Payer, pno
Arvo Pärt: Lamentate
Arvo Pärt: Tabula rasa
11/8/2013, Hamburg, NDR, Rolf-Liebermann-Studio; Marrit Gerretz-Traksmann, pno; Barnabás Kelemen, vln; Ye-Eun Choi, vln; NDR Radiophilharmonie, cond. Tõnu Kaljuste
Arvo Pärt and the Cello8ctet in Amsterdam
Now available on DVD: Oleg Dorman’s documentary about Rudolf Barshai, entitled Rudolf Barshai: The Note – A lifelong quest for one single note, where, among other things, Barshai talks about his completion of Mahler’s Symphony No. 10.
Bernt Feuchtner on Barshai: “Rudolf Barshai conducted the Tenth with the Austrian Radio Orchestra at the end of the 1980s, in Vienna and Montpellier, but soon discovered that the dissatisfaction he felt could not be dispelled by a few corrections here and there. Changing details was pointless: he had to make his own revision. [...] Such refinements, which of course critically determine the overall musical form, could only have become first apparent to a musician like Rudolf Barshai, who has devoted his life to the interpretation of the great European symphonic tradition and lived with Mahler’s music for several years.” (Read the full text).
Listen to an excerpt of the finale from a recording of Barshai conducting the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie in September 2001 at the Konzerthaus Berlin:
A trailer for the DVD is available on YouTube:
Find Tom Service’s “quick word from Salzburg” on Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s presence (and brilliance) at the Salzburg Festival on The Guardian, where he describes the “Klangforum's performance of the 1984 masterpiece Secret Theatre [as] a Birtwistlean thrill ride of explosivity and stasis; Sylvain Cambreling conducted with uncompromising precision, energy, and hell-for-leather speeds that pushed his players to their expressive and technical limits.”
And while we’re at it: Fiona Maddocks reviewed Gawain – Birtwistle's “epic opera, which launched the Salzburg season to noisy ovations and plenty of controversy last week” – for The Observer, you can find the full review here.
Tonight, 1 August 2013, Walter Braunfels’ Jeanne d'Arc – Szenen aus dem Leben der Heiligen Johanna will be performed at the Felsenreitschule in Salzburg, with Manfred Honeck conducting the RSO Wien.
Braunfels wrote Jeanne d’Arc between 1938 and 1942, inspired by Hindemith’s opera Mathis der Maler (although life in Nazi Germany, marked by anxiety, suffering and insecurity, may also have played a role). However, nearly 80 years would pass until the concert première took place in Stockholm in 2001, and seven more years until audiences could experience the staged world première at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. It is simply amazing to see this critical and long-lost gem now on the programme of the Salzburg Festival.
If you cannot attend the concert: a recording of it will be broadcast by Austrian radio station Ö1 in two days, 3 August, 19:30 (cet/cest), a web stream is available: listen live.
Walter Braunfels: Jeanne d’Arc
after the pleadings of the year 1431
3 3 3 3 - 4 3 3 1 - timp, perc(5), hp, pno, alto sax, str; stage music: tpt(4)
1/8/2013, Felsenreitschule; Juliane Banse, Johanna; Bryan Hymel, Hl. Michael; Pavol Breslik, Karl von Valois; Thomas E. Bauer, Erzbischof von Reims; Michael Laurenz, Cauchon; Norbert Ernst, Colin, ein Schäfer; Tobias Kehrer, Jacobus von Arc; Johan Reuter, Gilles de Rais; Ruben Drole, Herzog von La Trémouille
RSO Wien, Salzburger Bachchor, Salzburger Festspiel- & Theater Kinderchor, cond. Manfred Honeck
The title Birrung (a word that comes from one of the Australian Aboriginal languages and can be translated as ‘stars’) underlines the composer’s “fascination for the vast empty spaces of the Australian landscape with its radiantly beautiful night skies” (Lentz), whereas the piece itself is a small section of Lentz’s large-scale work-in-progress ‘Mysterium’ (Caeli enarrant... VII), a cycle of works that reflects the composers interest in astronomy as well as his religious beliefs.
Georges Lentz: Birrung
for 11 strings | 9’
vln(6), vla(2), vc(2), cb(1)
1/8/2013, Hitzacker; Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop
View the full study score:
Here are some upcoming Universal Edition highlights from the Arcana Festival 2013, which runs from 25 July until 6 August.
Georg Friedrich Haas: de terrae fine
for violin solo | 17’
Johannes Maria Staud: Towards a Brighter Hue
for violin | 9’
Beat Furrer: Lied
for violin and piano | 12’
30/7/2013, Stiftskirche Admont; Ernst Kovacic, vln; Mathilde Hoursiangou, pno
Mauricio Sotelo: Como llora el agua ...
for guitar | 12’
31/7/2013, Stiftskirche Admont; Juan Manuel Cañizares, guit
Georg Friedrich Haas: String Quartet No. 6
for string quartet | 20’
1st violin; 2nd violin; viola; violoncello
1/8/2013, Kulturhaus Liezen; Quatuor Diotima
Johannes Maria Staud: Par ici!
for ensemble | 10’
1 0 1 1 - 1 1 0 0 - perc, pno, vln, vla, vc, cb
4/8/2013, Helmut List Halle, Graz; Arcana Ensemble, Dir. Peter Rundel