Universal Edition - Blog

Tom Service and Harry Vogt on the Witten New Music Days

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 11 June 2014

Tom Service and Wolfgang Rihm (c) Tom ServiceWolfgang Rihm’s In Verbundenheit, which is dedicated to the Arditti Quartet, was premièred on 10.05.2014 at the Witten New Music Days, one of the world's leading contemporary music festivals.

This Saturday at 23:00pm CET/CEST, Tom Service talks to Harry Vogt, director of the Witten New Music Days, and they will play recordings from the festival, among them the world première of In Verbundenheit for string quartet.

Listen live on BBC Radio 3.

Your first opera

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 09 May 2014

Tom ServiceTom Service of The Guardian discusses which operas might be a good fit for first-timers. We are happy to see that he considers Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen and The Makropulos Case and Harrison Birtwistle’s Gawain and Yan Tan Tethera as viable alternatives for those who might think that “Berg is just too violently excessive and excessively violent”.

Read Service’s full article on The Guardian.

UE has recently released a children’s operas catalogue that presents eight operas specially attuned to inquisitive youthful ears. You can leaf through it here:

Tom Service shortlisted for the rps music awards

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 25 April 2014

Tom Service and Wolfgang Rihm (c) Tom ServiceGreat news for The Guardian’s Tom Service: His guide to contemporary music is shortlisted for the Royal Philharmonic Society awards. Congratulations, we are crossing our fingers!

Service started his guide on 23 April 2012 and closed it with a roundup on 20 May 2013, introducing one composer a week to his audience. As the comments show, Tom Service’s blog has struck a chord with listeners of contemporary music, and it is safe to say that each one of his articles is worth your time. Whether this is because of his witty style, his smart observations or the abundance of audio and video links he recommends – the articles always left me craving for one more video, one more recording.

Out of the 51 composers he picked for this year-long series, 13 are UE-composers. It goes without saying that this fills us with great pride. And here they are, in all their glory, from Sir Richard Rodney Bennett to Karlheinz Stockhausen:

(c) Chester Novello
Sir Richard Rodney
(c) Eric Marinitsch, Universal Edition
Luciano Berio
(c) Eric Marinitsch, Universal Edition
Sir Harrison Birtwistle
(c) Universal Edition, Eric Marinitsch
Pierre Boulez
(c) Barbara Monk-Feldman
Morton Feldman
(c) Katie Vandyck
Michael Finnissy
(c) Biennale di Venezia
György Kurtág
(c) Schott Music
György Ligeti
(c) Universal Edition, Eric Marinitsch
Arvo Pärt
(c) Universal Edition, Eric Marinitsch
Steve Reich
(c) Universal Edition, Eric Marinitsch
Wolfgang Rihm
(c) Universal Edition, Eric Marinitsch
Alfred Schnittke
(c) Kathinka Pasveer
Karlheinz Stockhausen

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.

Webern’s op. 21: “time goes backwards as well as forwards”

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 18 December 2013

Tom Service“Rather, the thing is that all of this structural unity creates a symphonic form that sounds neither completely predictable nor totally random. […] This is an emotionally moving experience, too, in the range of expression Webern conjures, which includes heightened, violent lyricism as well as pointillist brilliance.”

Here is Tom Service’s take on Anton Webern’s Symphonie, op. 21, written for The Guardian’s Symphony guide. Read the full review here.

Tom Service interviews Haas, broadcast of in vain

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 11 December 2013

Georg Friedrich Haas, Tom Service (c) Universal Edition, Sarah Laila Standke
Tom Service
has interviewed Georg Friedrich Haas before the London Sinfonietta’s sold out performance of in vain (conductor: Emilio Pomàrico) on 6 December at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London.

The interview and the recording of in vain will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s contemporary music programme Hear and Now on 18 January.

Mahler’s First in Tom Service’s Symphony Guide

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 13 November 2013

Tom Service: Symphony GuideIn the latest article of his symphony guide series Tom Service of the Guardian writes about Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, and describes the symphony’s opening as “one of the most spellbinding moments of symphonic inspiration in the 19th century”.

Find out more about key recordings of the so-called Titan and read Service’s full article on The Guardian.

Universal Edition is currently working on two versions of Mahler’s First Symphony: an edition that is broadly consistent with the version that has been available from UE to date, but now corresponds to the requirements of the new Gustav Mahler Complete Edition in its academic preparation. And the Hamburg version, which was produced especially for Hamburg; it has distinctly different instrumentation and includes the Blumine movement which was later discarded.

Symphony Guide: Berio’s Sinfonia – a reference machine?

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 05 November 2013

Tom Service (c) Tom Service, The GuardianFinally: Tom Service has posted a symphony guide to Luciano Berio’s Sinfonia, “a flabbergastingly rich strata of writings-on and writings-over”. The work for 8 voices and orchestra, which is dedicated to Leonard Bernstein, was premièred on 10 October 1968 by Berio, the New York Philharmonic and the Swingle Singers.

Read Service’s guide on The Guardian, you will most definitely not regret it.

Luciano Berio on Sinfonia:

The title of Sinfonia (composed in 1968 for the 125th anniversary of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra) is not meant to suggest any analogy with the classical symphonic form. It is intended more etymologically: the simultaneous sound of various parts, here eight voices and instruments. Or it may be taken in a more general sense as the interplay of a variety of things, situations and meanings. Indeed, the musical development of Sinfonia is constantly and strongly conditioned by the search for balance, often an identity between voices and instruments; between the spoken or the sung word and the sound structure as a whole. This is why the perception and intelligibility of the text are never taken as read, but on the contrary are integrally related to the composition. Thus, the various degrees of intelligibility of the text along with the hearer’s experience of almost failing to understand, must be seen to be essential to the very nature of the musical process.

Read the full text.

How to get into Stockhausen’s head:

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 24 October 2013

Karlheinz Stockhausen, Bruno Maderna and Pierre Boulez conducting the rehearsals for the world première of Gruppen on 24 March 1958 in Cologne.
Tom Service of The Guardian writes about last Saturday’s Hear and Now on BBC Radio 3. The programme focused on Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Gruppen and took “a closer look at the German composer's electronic masterpiece from the same period, Gesang der Jünglinge,” featuring excerpts from previously unbroadcast session tapes. The stream will be online until Sunday.

Luciano Berio, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Cathy Berberian and Luigi Nono (in the background) meet in Darmstadt in 1956.Talking about Gruppen: here is Andrew Clement’s review of the London Sinfonietta’s performance of the piece for 3 orchestras (the orchestra was joined by the Royal Academy of Music’s Manson Ensemble), conducted by Martyn Brabbins, Baldur Brönnimann and Geoffrey Paterson. Plus there is a collection of reviews from the orchestra’s own blog.

Helmut Lachenmann, Nuria Schönberg-Nono and Christopher Fox: a discussion

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 18 October 2013 (comments: 1)

Tom Service (c) Tom Service, The GuardianHelmut Lachenmann, Nuria Schönberg-Nono and Christopher Fox talk about new music (and about John Cage at the Italian quiz show Lascia o Raddoppia) in the post-war music discussion of the Southbank’s Rest is Noise festival.

The discussion is about one hour long, and it is definitely worth listening to:

Find out more about the interview on Tom Service’s blog.

The Rest is Noise: post-war world weekend

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 04 October 2013

The Rest is NoiseTom Service and Gillian Moore of the Guardian write about about the post-war world weekend (5–6 October) of the Southbank Centre’s the Rest is Noise festival. Among the pieces performed will be Stockhausen’s Gruppen and Boulez’ Le marteau sans maître.

Find out more on Service’s and Moore’s blogs (including a post-war world playlist).

Tom Service: Matthias Pintscher on Boulez’ Pli selon pli

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 26 September 2013

Tom Service Tom Service in an interview with Matthias Pintscher on Pierre Boulez Pli selon pli

Pli selon pli is definitely one of Pierre's most directly emotional works. The final movement, Tombeau, ends with the word 'mort' ('death') and then there's this huge crescendo in the ensemble. It leaves you completely emotionally torn, asking questions - what condition are we in? How do we go forward? We are so shaken by it, and now it's our turn to move on, or to try to. It's overwhelming.

Tom Service talks to 42-year-old composer and conductor Matthias Pintscher about Pierre Boulez’ Pli selon pli, which will be performed on 5 October at Glasgow’s City Halls. Pintscher conducts the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and soprano Marisol Montalvo.

Read the full article on The Guardian.

Tom Service on Karlheinz Stockhausen

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 10 May 2013

Tom Service (c) Tom Service, The Guardian

Tom Service’s highly recommendable contemporary composers series ended this week with “the most divisive figure of them all:” Karlheinz Stockhausen.

Karlheinz Stockhausen, Refrain (c) Universal EditionBut what made this composer so polarizing? Service provides a link to a very entertaining YouTube-channel where we can experience the composer’s “infectious combination of charisma, blazing intellect and force of will” and points out the importance of intuition and experience in his music.

You can read the full article on Tom Service’s Blog.

Tom Service on Alfred Schnittke

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 30 April 2013

Tom Service, Guardian

“What constitutes musical truth? Is there really such a thing as musical authenticity (by which I don't mean using period instruments, or playing without vibrato) in the sense of giving voice to an absolute sincerity of emotional or expressive utterance? […] The huge output of Russian composer Alfred Schnittke raises these sorts of questions – and some even more profound ones about musical meaning and historical signification.”

Tom Service writes about the music of Alfred Schnittke.

Read the full article.

Tom Service: A guide to György Kurtág's music

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 14 March 2013

Tom ServiceTom Service's latest blog-entry is about the music of György Kurtág. In one of the comments, a reader compares Kurtág to Pierre Boulez - calling them “the last surviving link[s] to the great composers born in the 1920s.” What do you think?