His opera, Bluebeard’s Castle, is as psychologically penetrating and daring as anything by Schoenberg, but jump forward two decades to the mid-Twenties and the lushness has been purged away. The music is still intense but the intensity is channelled through angular lines, grinding dissonances, and a pitiless counterpoint as severely rational as Schoenberg’s so-called ‘12-note’ music. (Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph, 27 May 2015)
Ivan Hewett of The Telegraph has reviewed David Cooper’s biography of Béla Bartók.
Dmitri Tcherniakov’s current production of Lulu at the Bayerische Staatsoper has received ★★★★★ from BR Klassik.
Read the [German] review on BR Klassik.
Watch a trailer for the production on YouTube:
About “Rihm in Salzburg”: In 2014, the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester commissioned the Piano Concerto No 2 by Wolfgang Rihm, together with the Salzburg Festival and the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington DC. The world première took place at the Salzburg Festival on 25 August 2014, with Tzimon Barto on piano and Christoph Eschenbach – to whom the piece was also dedicated – as conductor.
Watch episode 1:
Our latest newsletter is out now – in case you didn’t receive it: you can now view the full study score of Luciano Berio’s Un re in ascolto on our website.
Paul Esterhazy’s new production of the azione musicale in 2 parts will première on 23 May at the Staatstheater Kassel.
Learning about this period of cultural barbarism appalled and saddened me in equal measure, and as I explored the banned music, I realised there was so much that deserved better exposure. So I decided to devise a show based on the 1938 Degenerate Music exhibition that would showcase some of the extraordinary richness suppressed by the Nazis. (Peter Brathwaite, The Guardian, 27 November 2014)
Devised by Peter Brathwaite, the show is a critical song-based reconstruction of the infamous Düsseldorf exhibition of 1938, intended by the Nazi government to alert the German public to “inferior and ultimately dangerous” forms of music.
You can find an article on The Guardian on Brathwaite’s Degenerate Music Project.
A special concert was dedicated to Arvo Pärt yesterday, 19 May, at the Konzerthaus Berlin.
The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and conductor Tõnu Kaljuste performed a composer concert devoted to Arvo Pärt which was organized as part of Toomas Hendrik Ilves’ state visit to Germany in honour of the German President Joachim Gauck and First Lady Daniela Schadt.
Find out more on the website of Estonian Public Broadcasting.
“It’s almost as if ink becomes the black blood that is spilled throughout the production.”
Watch a behind-the-scenes interview with director William Kentridge on the stage design and the expressionistic woodcuts that are used in Kentridge’s production of Lulu, which premières on 1 June at the Dutch National Opera:
The BCMG’s concert on Saturday, 9 May, at the CBSO Centre in Birmingham has received a five-star review by The Times.
Three works by David Sawer were performed by Martin Brabbins and the BCMG at the “brilliantly programmed” concert, which was “a celebration of the brilliance of David Sawer”: Cat’s-Eye, Between and Good Night.
Read the full review on The Times.
This Tuesday, 12 May, accordionist Alfred Melichar and the Ensemble Wiener Collage present an evening with Wolfgang Rihm at the Arnold Schönberg Center in Vienna. Rihm’s eight Fetzen will be performed together with Arnold Schönberg’s Serenade. Entrance will be free for students.
On 9 May, the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group presents “a celebration of the brilliance of David Sawer and connections to his music”. Among other works, the composer’s pieces Cat’s-eye, Between and Good Night will be performed.
Programme notes from the BCMG’s website:
BCMG has commissioned and recorded a number of works by Sawer and it is three pieces new to the Group that feature in this concert. The most substantial of these, Cat’s-eye, takes its inspiration from a simple device (a ‘l’oeil-de-chat’ – hence the title) in a Fantascope, a Victorian magic lantern, to play on ideas of illusion and changing perspective. Between is a short, beautiful solo piece for Harp; and Good Night is a continuous train of musical thoughts that transform when inspected more closely.
What a joy it is to see staged here a work, which, like Janáček’s bizarrely ignored operas, is no longer than it need be, and so handsomely repays attention in every minute of its mere ninety. (Mark Berry, Boulezian, 2 May 2015)
But now, after this rapturously acclaimed performance, Król Roger’s power and stature are decisively vindicated, lifting it alongside Bluebeard’s Castle and the later works of Janacek as a masterpiece of the early twentieth-century European sensibility. (Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 2 May 2015)
It's a production that honours the score to a level that lifts the spirits. […] And what a score it is – and how searingly Antonio Pappano and the Royal Opera forces deliver it. In one of the great opening nights at Covent Garden everyone gave a red-hot performance … (Mark Valencia, WhatsOnStage, 2 Mai 2015)
It’s easy to be seduced by the beauty of Szymanowski’s orchestral writing, to wallow in its iridescent colours and rich harmonic palette, and forgive the work’s dramatic thinness and the lack of substance in all of the characters but Roger. […] What the performance confirms, however, is the beauty of much of the music. (Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 3 May 2015)
So this Covent Garden staging, which runs until May 19, was a must-see. […] But what the staging lacked, the score delivered in the hands of a conductor who brought the sensuousness of this music into being. The orchestral sound was ravishing, the chorus strong but supple. (Michael White, The New York Times, 4 May 2015)
Reviews for Kasper Holten’s production of Karol Szymanowski’s King Roger are out. The opera will be running at the Royal Opera House until 19 May.
Furthermore you can now listen to an episode of Music Matters on King Roger, in which Tom Service and the musicologist and broadcaster Gavin Plumley review the production.
Theatre magician Robert Wilson is paying homage to Arvo Pärt with the première of Adam’s Passion, which will be performed for the first time on 12 May in Tallinn.
For this project, the composer selected three major compositions from his oeuvre: the two choral works Adam’s Lament and Miserere, and the double violin concerto Tabula rasa. This is joined by Sequentia, a new work composed especially for Adam’s Passion.
Simultaneously, a television documentary is being filmed. You can watch a trailer on the website of accentus music: