The Recording Academy has announced its Special Merit Awards recipients: among this year’s honorees is Pierre Boulez.
A special invitation-only ceremony will be held during Grammy Week on Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015, and a formal acknowledgment will be made during the 57th Annual Grammy Awards.
Walk up, walk up! and spend a pleasant hour,
Fair ladies, noble gentlemen, with me;
Inside my tent you'll thrill – and chill – to see
The beasts I have in my menagerie
Tamed by superior force of human power.
Barbara Hannigan gives everything she’s got and then some to the title role. Charles Workman is the finely lyrical Alwa; Dietrich Henschel, never bettered, the troubled Schoen. It’s nicely conducted by Paul Daniel, too.
Read Tim Ashley’s review of the DVD on The Guardian.
“Music says what I need to say. And it is dangerous to say anything, because if I’ve said it already in words there might be nothing left for my music.”
John Allison of The Telegraph has published an interview with Arvo Pärt. Find the full text on The Telegraph.
Opera News has announced that Teresa Stratas will be among five recipients of the tenth annual Opera News Awards. Congratulations!
To the right: Teresa Stratas in the première of Boulez’ and Chéreau’s production of Lulu (in Friedrich Cerha’s orchestration).
“It is deeply shocking that the musical decisions of the Third Reich should continue to influence the programming of today’s cultural institutions. But what other explanation is there for the relative obscurity of Verlobung im Traum?” (Financial Times, Shirley Apthorp, 26.10.2014)
On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the murder of Hans Krása in Auschwitz, the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe hosted a new production of the long-thought lost opera Verlobung im Traum [Betrothal in a Dream]. Almost two months after its première, Ingo Kerkhof’s production now returns for a second season in Karlsruhe.
Hans Krása: Verlobung im Traum
opera in 2 Acts | 135'
12.12.2014, Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe; Agnieszka Tomaszewska, Sina; Martina Borst/Dana Beth Miller, Marja Alexandrowna; Sofia Mara, Barbara; Badische Staatskapelle, cond. Justin Brown
Further performances: 17.12.2014, 6.1., 15.1, 21.1.2015
Together with HK Gruber, Hans Kann, H. C. Artmann, Gerhard Rühm, Fritz Wotruba and many others, Friedrich Cerha was a frequent guest at the Viennese Strohkoffer [straw case]. In 1987, he finished the 60 miniatures of Eine Art Chansons, most of which are based on texts by members of the Viennese Group.
Agnes Heginger and Studio Dan will present a selection of Friedrich Cerha’s Eine Art Chansons at the Sargfabrik in Vienna on 14 December. After having been encouraged by the composer to record the pieces, this will be a preview of their upcoming CD.
Tonight the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra will present the world première of the new critical complete edition of Bohuslav Martinů’s The Epic of Gilgamesh, a unique, modern and monumental adaptation of a seminal work from the dawn of Babylonian history.
Although this musical work employs the text of the world’s oldest surviving piece of literature, its treatment of the questions of friendship, love and death remains topical to this day. The performance, involving more than a hundred top musicians, will be in English (with Czech surtitles) and semi-staged, as originally conceived by its composer Bohuslav Martinů.
Vítězslav Mikeš, Brno Philharmonic Orchestra Programmer, on The Epic of Gilgamesh:
The Epic of Gilgamesh consists of three parts of almost equal length: Gilgamesh, The Death of Enkidu, and Invocation. It is scored for soloists (soprano, tenor, baritone and bass), narrator, mixed choir and orchestra. Martinů wrote it for Paul Sacher’s chamber orchestra, a fact reflected in the score. Although Martinů said that he “would need to express himself with greater orchestral might”, the sound of Gilgamesh is monumental.
The work was premiered in January 1958 in Basil, Switzerland under Sacher’s baton. Before the premiere, Martinů presented his idea of semi-staging the work to the conductor, desiring to “animate” Gilgamesh, to create “an illusion of action”. However, Sacher rejected the idea and performed the work as a concert oratorio. The Brno performance will be an attempt to revive this forgotten idea of Martinů on the stage; this task has been entrusted to Radim Vizváry, a striking figure of contemporary mime theatre.
Bohuslav Martinů: The Epic of Gilgamesh
Oratorio in 3 parts | 50'
after the text of the new critical complete edition
world prem. 11.12.2014; 12.12.2014; Janáček Opera House, Brno; Brian Caspe, narrator; Adriana Kohútková, s; Martin Šrejma, t; Jiří Hájek, bar; Adam Plachetka, bar; Czech Philharmonic Choir choir, cond Petr Fiala; Brno Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Aleksandar Marković
Find out more about Luke Bedford.
Luke Bedford on stages of composing:
Luke Bedford: Falling Falling
for clarinet, horn, violin and violoncello | 4'
world prem. 14.12.2014, Kings Arms, Berkhamsted; CHROMA
Happy Birthday Beat Furrer – composer, conductor, educator, and founder of Klangforum Wien and, together with Ernst Kovacic, “impuls” academy – and once more our warmest congratulations for winning the prestigious Grand Austrian State Prize [Großer Österreichischer Staatspreis]!
Also we’d like to make mention of Daniel Ender’s brand new book “Metamorphosen des Klanges”, a study of Beat Furrer’s compositional oeuvre that was presented on 4 December 2014 in Vienna.
Find out more about Beat Furrer on his website.
After highly acclaimed performances of A Pierre Dream: A Portrait of Pierre Boulez (Pablo Heras-Casado conducted the CSO), the west coast première of A Pierre Dream will be performed at next year’s Ojai Festival by mezzo-soprano Peabody Southwell and the International Contemporary Ensemble (cond. Steven Schick).
Find out more on the programme of the Oija Music Festival.
Watch the trailer of A Pierre Dream:
Thus did my wise longing, born in the mountains, cry and laugh in me; a wild wisdom, verily! –my great pinion-rustling longing.
And oft did it carry me off and up and away and in the midst of laughter; then flew I quivering like an arrow with sun-intoxicated rapture:
– Out into distant futures, which no dream hath yet seen, into warmer souths than ever sculptor conceived, – where gods in their dancing are ashamed of all clothes:
The world première of Alejandro del Valle-Lattanzio’s Flügelbrausend [pinion-rustling], whose title originates from a phrase of Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra, took place Tuesday night under the baton of Marie Jacquot at the MuTh in Vienna.
The 28-minute piece by the winner of the Ö1 Talentebörse composition prize 2013 is scored for flute, clarinet, electric guitar, marimba, violin and violoncello and was performed by Shkelzen Doli, Thomas Lechner, Sylvie Lacroix, Friedrich Kleinhapl, Hidan Mamudov and Edi Köhldorfer.
A recording of the concert will be broadcast on 7. December at 19:30 on Ö1. Listen live.
One year after the death of director Patrice Chéreau, his critically acclaimed staging of From the House of the Dead will be performed at the Staatsoper im Schiller Theater in Berlin.
When his production was performed in 2009 at the MET, critics were thrilled:
“Critics aren't supposed to use the word ‘perfect.’ It sounds excessive and insincere, because, after all, nothing in life or art is absolute. But when confronted with a production of such overwhelming excellence as From the House of the Dead at the Met, the urge to use the P-word is just about irresistible.” (The New York Post, 16 November 2009)
“Leoš Janáček’s From the House of the Dead, is a total triumph, perhaps one of the finest things that the Met has ever done.” (The New Yorker, 30 November 2009)
Watch the Staatsoper Berlin’s trailer on YouTube:
Leoš Janáček: From the House of the Dead
Opera in 3 acts | 100'
critical-practical version (by Sir Charles Mackerras and John Tyrrell)
7.12.2014, Staatsoper im Schiller Theater, Berlin; Tom Fox, Pavlo Hunka, Eric Stoklossa, Stefan Margita, Peter Straka, Vladimir Chmelo, Jiri Sulzenko, Heinz Zednik, Ladislav Elgr, Ján Galla, et al.; Staatsopernchor; Staatskapelle Berlin, cond. Simon Rattle
Further performances: 10, 13, 17 and 21.12.2014
Jay Schwartz’ Music for Chamber Ensemble will be performed this Saturday, 6 December, at the Amphithéâtre of the Cité de la musique. Here are Franck Ferville’s snapshots of conductor Paul Fitzsimon and the ensemble intercontemporain from the rehearsals.
Schwartz’ compositions employ aspects of the physics of sound and utilize tonality in the context of the physics of organic harmony, making use of the overtone spectrum, microtonality, and glissandi in a poetic context with a captivating sensuous drawing power and an unabashed emotional disposition.
View Jay Schwartz’ composer profile on the website of the ensemble intercontemporain.
The composer on Music for Chamber Ensemble:
Music for Chamber Ensemble is a geometry of lines and curves and intersections following the musical laws of horizonal time and vertical intervals, and the architectural laws of structure and proportion.
In the structure of Music for Chamber Ensemble, lines originating from diametrically opposed points follow a course whose metamorphosis leads to a catharsis. All events point to or take their reference from this catharsis. It is my objective in my work to craft the architecture of a piece into a single scope of time. My guidelines are principles of architectural harmony, as well as the employment of empirical and intuitive methods of experimenting with time and musical memory, which yield results that correspond often astonishingly to principles of proportion millenia old.
In his article “Songs of exiles: rescuing ‘degenerate music’ from the shadows,” baritone Peter Brathwaite writes about the Nazi’s campaign against the so-called ‘degenerate music’ and his own mission to bring this music to a new audience. Together with pianist Nigel Foster, Brathwaite performed a critical song-based reconstruction of the infamous Düsseldorf exhibition of 1938 at the London Song Festival this November.
Find the full article on The Guardian.
We’ve recently updated the Exile and Persecution section of our website. Universal Edition has always been a key publisher of 20th century music; as such, it also provided an artistic haven for a great many persecuted and exiled composers. You can find the page here.
Violist Tabea Zimmermann recently published the article In defence of the viola on The Guardian:
I think the viola came into its own after the 19th century, when people were tiring of Paganini’s faster-and-faster-and-higher-and-higher pyrotechnics, and we moved into an expressionist era, when colours and nuances became more important. And yet the instrument’s capacities are still being developed today. Many composers are writing for the viola, and we need to be open-minded in finding new repertoire. (Tabea Zimmermann, The Guardian, 28 November 2014)
One of these pieces is Georges Lentz’ Monh for viola, orchestra and electronics, which was premièred in 2005 by Zimmermann and the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg. Find a [German] interview with Zimmermann on Monh on YouTube: