Universal Edition - Blog

Zemlinsky’s The Birthday of the Infanta

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 15 March 2017

 Alexander Zemlinsky (c) Universal Edition, Johannes Feigl

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the death of Alexander Zemlinsky.

Mahler’s famous remark that his “time will come” was echoed by Schönberg’s assessment of Zemlinsky when he said about him in 1949: “I always firmly believed that he was a great composer and I still believe this. It is possible that his time will come sooner than we think”.

A new production of our critical edition of his one-act opera The Birthday of the Infanta will be premièred on 25 March at the Oper Graz.

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Zemlinsky’s A Florentine Tragedy premièred 100 years ago

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 30 January 2017

Alexander Zemlinsky (c) Universal Edition; Johannes Feigl

“Everything comes to me without effort, technically it all comes very easily & in the end I feel I’ve produced something worthwhile.” writes Alexander Zemlinsky in a letter to Arnold Schönberg on A Florentine Tragedy.

Exactly one hundred years ago, Zemlinsky’s gripping one-act opera was premièred at the Stuttgart State Theatre by Max von Schillings

In 2015 Roland Freisitzer arranged a chamber version of the opera. This chamber version makes do with just 20 instruments (optionally with string sections).

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Zemlinsky’s “Chamber Concerto”

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 06 June 2016

Alexander Zemlinsky  (c) Universal Edition

Peter Keuschnig and Ensemble Kontrapunkte will première Alexander Zemlinsky’s Chamber Concerto – after the Trio Op. 3 for clarinet, cello and piano – in Richard Dünser’s arrangement for small orchestra tonight at the Musikverein in Vienna.

View the full programme

James Conlon on Alexander Zemlinsky

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 01 October 2015

Alexander Zemlinsky

“And then, by a lucky accident, I switched on my car radio while driving home. I was so struck by the beauty and opulence of what I heard that I was afraid to turn it off for fear of not learning what the piece was; its loss would have haunted me like the lost chord.”

Read James Conlon’s full text on Alexander Zemlinsky on our MusikSalon.

Currently two productions of Zemlinsky’s one-act opera Der Zwerg are running in Germany: one at the Staatstheater Mainz and one at the Pfalztheater Kaiserslautern.

Zemlinsky among The Guardian’s list of best classical CDs of 2014

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 19 December 2014

Alexander Zemlinsky: String Quartets

The Escher String Quartet’s recording of Alexander Zemlinsky’s String Quartets Nos 1 and 2 (we blogged about it earlier this year) has made it to The Guardian’s list of best classical CDs of 2014.

Find out more on The Guardian.

Zemlinsky’s Mermaid in Sydney

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 23 July 2014

The Australian première of Antony Beaumont’s critical edition of Alexander Zemlinsky’s Die Seejungfrau [The Mermaid] will be performed on 24 July by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra under Simone Young. The critical edition contains the “Mer-witch episode”, a rediscovered and up to now unknown scene.

View the full study score.

Antony Beaumont on The Mermaid:

Simone Young (c) Klaus Lefebvre  Zemlinsky first envisaged The Mermaid as a through-composed symphony in two movements, each subdivided into two sections. During the process of composition (February 1902–March 1903) he recast the work into three separate movements.

The first of these follows the well-known story by Hans Christian Andersen from a murky opening (‘at the bottom of the sea’) to the moment where the Mermaid rescues the shipwrecked Prince from drowning. The second, in extended ternary form, focuses on a subsidiary scene in Andersen (a ball in the palace of the Mer-king) before moving on to the crucial confrontation between the Mermaid and the Mer-witch. The third depicts the Mermaid transformed into a mortal, her anguish, suicide and transfiguration.

Read the full text online in our Musiklätter 2.

Alexander Zemlinsky: Die Seejungfrau
for orchestra | 45'
Critical edition; arranger: Antony Beaumont (2011)
prem. 24.07.2014, Opera House, Sydney; Sydney SO, cond. Simone Young
Further performances: 25. and 28.07.2014

String Quartet No. 2: “one of Zemlinsky's greatest and most radical achievements.”

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 16 June 2014

Alexander Zemlinsky: String Quartets, Vol. 2 (Escher String Quartet), NaxosAndrew Clements of The Guardian has reviewed the Escher String Quartet’s recent recording of Alexander Zemlinsky’s String Quartet No. 2 which has been released on Naxos: “This second disc is as impressive, and includes a superb performance of the Second Quartet, one of Zemlinsky's greatest and most radical achievements.” (Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 12.06.2014)

Read the full review on The Guardian.

World première of a reduced version of Zemlinsky’s Der Zwerg

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 05 February 2014

On 3 May 1921, Alexander Zemlinsky received the following telegram: “have read your opera the dwarf with great enjoyment cologne is prepared to accept sole rights for world premiere would you be prepared to entrust your work to us Klemperer.” Zemlinsky’s opera in one act (librettist: Georg Klaren), which is based on Oscar Wilde’s fairy tale “The Birthday of the Infanta”, received its world première one year later, on 28 May 1922 in Cologne under Otto Klemperer.

The first reduced version of Zemlinsky’s Der Zwerg, arranged by Jan-Benjamin Homolka, will be premiéred on 6 February at the Wilhelma Theater in Stuttgart. Nicholas Kok conducts musicians of the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Stuttgart.

Andrew Clements reviews Zemlinsky

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 23 August 2013

Alexander Zemlinsky, NaxosAndrew Clements of The Guardian reviews the Escher String Quartet’s recording of Alexander Zemlinsky’s String Quartets Nos 3 and 4, which has recently been released on Naxos.

“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.

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

Final rehearsal of Zemlinsky's Die Seejungfrau

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 27 March 2013 (comments: 2)

Die Seejungfrau, rehearsal (c) Universal Edition, Sarah StandkeHere in Amsterdam, the final rehearsal of the critical edition of Alexander Zemlinsky’s Die Seejungfrau at the Concertgebouw went well. We are looking forward to today's performance, where Vladimir Jurowski will conduct the Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest.

View the full score of the new critical edition of Zemlinsky's Seejungfrau

Performances around the world

Posted on 08 November 2011

Luciano for everWhile the Wien Modern festival is raging here in Vienna, here’s a quick look at some other performances around the world this week.

Cornelius Cardew: Autumn 60 at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester

Luciano Berio: Linea for 2 pianos, vibraphone and marimba, performed by musikFabrik in Cologne.

Morton Feldman: Rothko Chapel at the esplanade in Singapore

Alexander Zemlinsky: Der Zwerg continues at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, together with Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges (see videos)

Julian Yu: Philopentatonia at the Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo

You can see a full list of all forthcoming performances in our calendar.

Edo de Waart on Zemlinsky’s Lyric Symphony

Posted on 07 July 2011

Here’s conductor Edo de Waart talking about Alexander Zemlinsky’s Lyric Symphony, on the occasion of his performance this spring with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.

A Zemlinsky world première

Posted on 18 March 2011

Elena Denisova ©vogusOn the request of Elena Denisova, Franz Hummel has arranged Zemlinsky’s Serenade for violin and orchestra. The world première is this Sunday.

Our full news item is here.

Zemlinsky’s Zwerg at the State Opera in Munich

Posted on 25 February 2011

Der Zwerg new production at the State Opera MunichThis Sunday, Grzegorz Jarzyna’s new production of Zemlinsky’s Der Zwerg (The Dwarf) opens at the State Opera in Munich, in a double bill alongside Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges.

Kent Nagano conducts John Daszak in the lead role.

The première will be broadcast live on BR-Klassik Radio at 7pm on Sunday 27th February (Munich time).

Visit the State Opera website for a podcast on the production (in German); see their blog for photos and news; and find them on Facebook for more updates.

Update 28.02.2011

Video introduction to the Munich production (in German):

See more photos from Munich.