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Steve Reich receives the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 24 September 2014

On Sunday, 21 September, Steve Reich was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 58th International Festival of Contemporary Music of the Biennale di Venezia.

From the website of the Biennale Musica 2014:

Steve Reich (c) La Biennale di Venezia“Steve Reich is the charismatic exponent of a new and original way of understanding music that has been embraced enthusiastically by a vast audience and has had a powerful influence on younger generations in America and abroad. His language, vibrating with a rhythmic pulsation that carries a powerful emotional impact, has been enriched over time, thanks to his refined and cultured experimentation, by experiences borrowed from various musical traditions that have inspired compositions now considered as contemporary ‘classics’.”

Previous UE composers who have received the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement include Luciano Berio (1995), Friedrich Cerha (2006), György Kurtág (2009), Wolfgang Rihm (2010) and – most recently – Pierre Boulez (2012).

“Mahler 9 – reduced yet memorably rendered”

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 19 September 2014

Argento Chamber Ensemble (c) Sabrina Weisz

“But there is a concomitant gain in the clarity of the line, and the Symphony No. 9 is an endless line. Galante formed and followed it with exceptional shape and focus.”(George Grella, New York Classical Review, 16.09.2014)

With the New York Times calling it a “wonderfully committed and beautifully executed performance”, Michel Galante’s rendering of Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 last Monday was a clear success. The Argento Chamber Ensemble and the JACK Quartet built an ambitious program around the symphony, which was performed in Klaus Simon’s arrangement for ensemble.

Furthermore, we’d like to draw your attention to two (!) recent recordings of Simon’s arrangement, one by Ensemble Mini (cond. Joolz Gale) and the other by Camerata RCO (cond. Gustavo Gimeno), but more on that soon.

View the full score of the Symphony No. 9 for ensemble.

UE Newsletter mid-September 2014

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 18 September 2014

UE NewsletterWe just sent out our latest newsletter, covering the following topics:

Arvo Pärt in his 80th year

Scenic world première of Gurre-Lieder in Amsterdam

Foerster’s opera Eva rediscovered

Rihm’s Sextett premièred in Amsterdam

Klaus Simon’s arrangement of Berg’s 4 Pieces for clarinet and ensemble in Rovaniemi

View the newsletter online: German | English

Subscribe to our newsletter: German | English

Kurt Weill in Edinburgh and Tokyo

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 18 September 2014

The Threepenny Opera (c) New National Theatre

Artistic director Miyata Keiko has opened the New National Theatre’s fifth season with a production of The Threepenny Opera. The work forms the ninth production in the series “JAPAN MEETS─A Look at the Lineage of Contemporary Drama”. The production will be running until 28 September.

Ute Lemper (c) Elena Torre, CCOn 15 August, German chanteuse and actress Ute Lemper joined the Scottish Chamber Orchestra for an evening of “Weimar Republic decadence” at the Edinburgh International Festival, with music by Kurt Weill, Hanns Eisler and Igor Stravinsky.

The two-and-a-half-hour long programmewill be available for stream for four weeks on BBC Radio 3, where you can also find a list of works performed.

 

Hear and Now: Georg Friedrich Haas

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 17 September 2014

Georg Friedrich Haas (c) Universal Edition, Eric Marinitsch

On Saturday at 22:30 CET/CEST, Robert Worby presents a focus on Georg Friedrich Haas, with performances recorded earlier this year. On the programme: Introduktion und Transsonation (Klangforum Wien, cond. Ilan Volkov), the Concerto for baritone saxophone and orchestra (Marcus Weiss, sax; BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, cond. Ilan Volkov) and the String Quartet No.2 (Arditti Quartet).

BBC Radio 3Listen to Hear and Now on BBC Radio 3.

Rihm’s Trio Concerto premièred at the Musikfest Berlin

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 17 September 2014

Jukka Pekka Saraste (c) WDR, Thomas KostTonight’s performance of Transitus forms a prelude to the world première of Wolfgang Rihm’s Trio Concerto for violin, violoncello, piano and orchestra. The Concerto will be performed by Trio Jean Paul and the WDR Sinfonieorchester under the baton of its chief conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste.

View the full score of Transitus.

Wolfgang Rihm: Trio Concerto
for violin, violoncello, piano and orchestra | 25'
prem.17.09.2014, Philharmonie; Trio Jean Paul: Ulf Schneider, vln; Martin Löhr, vlc; Eckart Heiligers, pno; WDR SO Köln, cond. Jukka-Pekka Saraste

Wolfgang Rihm: Transitus
for orchestra | 15
17.09.2014, Philharmonie; WDR SO Köln, cond. Jukka-Pekka Saraste

Read the full programme of the Musikfest Berlin:

 

Bálint András Varga: Drei Fragen an 73 Komponisten

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 16 September 2014

Do today's composers draw inspiration from life experiences or from, say, the natural world? What influences, past and present, have influenced recent composers? How essential is it for a composer to develop a personal style, and when does this degenerate into self-repetition?

These are questions about which some of the most important composers of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century often have quite strong feelings – but have seldom been asked.

For Three Questions for Sixty-Five Composers, Bálint András Varga, long-time member and companion of Universal Edition, has put these questions to 65 composers. Eight additional interviews have been included in the German edition of the book, which is published by ConBrio and was released earlier this month, on 5 September: Drei Fragen an 73 Komponisten.

A [German] preview of Varga’s interview with Alfred Schnittke is available on nmz.

We are proud to see that 24 of the interviewees are published by UE:

Gilbert Amy, Luciano Berio, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Pierre Boulez, Friedrich Cerha, Edison Denisov, Morton Feldman, Georg Friedrich Haas, Mauricio Kagel, Ernst Krenek, György Kurtág, György Ligeti, Arvo Pärt, Henri Pousseur, Steve Reich, Wolfgang Rihm, Peter Ruzicka, Alfred Schnittke, Gunther Schuller, Johannes Maria Staud, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Tōru Takemitsu, Gerhard Wimberger and Hans Zender.

Three Questions for Sixty-Five Composers

Drei Fragen an 73 Komponisten

 

Cerha and Beethoven at the Proms

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 15 September 2014

Listen to the Proms première of Friedrich Cerha’s Paraphrase on the Opening of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, which was performed together with Beethoven’s Ninth at the Prom 75 by the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra (cond. Alan Gilbert).

In the programme, Gilbert introduces the Paraphrase as “highly atmospheric […] [It] sets up kind of a wonderful stepping-stone from which you can enter the world of Beethoven 9. To me it sort of opens the world of possibility […] it lets the Beethoven really stand on its own.”

The composer on Paraphrase: “I hope very much that the gap between my Paraphrase and Beethoven’s work will not be perceived as an irreconcilable divide between two foreign elements, but that the pieces can instead be experienced as two related elements.”

View the full score of Cerha’s Paraphrase on Universal Edition.

A gift to Arnold Schönberg

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 15 September 2014

Schönberg, Gift (c) Arnold Schönberg

Arnold Schönberg’s birthday gift from his pupils for his 50th birthday: a beautiful album with their photographs and dedications. Read the whole book on the website of the Arnold Schönberg Center.

The Triumph of Time

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 15 September 2014

But the music’s real triumph lies in its unfaltering sense of movement. […] From start to finish the work treads like some implacable giant, and because its two main climaxes emerge from the bowels of a unitary experience they generate a violence and despair that transcend rhetoric. The word is on the tip of my pen and I can withhold it no longer. There are elements of greatness in this work. (Peter Heyworth, The Observer, 04.06.1972)

Harrison Birtwistle (c) Universal EditionListen to Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s The Triumph of Time in its entirety on BBC Radio 3 – the programme will still be online for 7 days.

Based on the homonymous allegorical painting by the sixteenth-century artist Pieter Bruegel, the 30-minute piece was first performed in 1972. This recording is from a performance by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Pierre Boulez.

Happy Birthday Arnold Schönberg!

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 13 September 2014

Happy Birthday Arnold Schönberg!

Arnold Schönberg (c) Universal Edition

This is the perfect opportunity to make mention of the “Schoenberg at 140” conference, which starts today, 13 September, the day of Arnold Schönberg’s 140th anniversary.

The conference is hosted by Department of Music and Performing Arts of the Canterbury Christ Church University, panel topics include 1914: Pierrot and His War – Arnold Schönberg’s melodrama Pierrot lunaire and the image of war, The Uncanny Topic in the Fünf Orchesterstücke Op. 16: A Key to Schoenberg’s Unconscious and also Aber Verleger und Autoren können auf Dauer nicht Freunde sein. Arnold Schoenberg and his Publishers.

View the full programme.

The Arditti Quartet at 40

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 12 September 2014

BBC Radio 3: Hear and Now

In the second episode of Hear and Now’s “The Arditti Quartet at 40” a performance of Wolfgang Rihm’s Fetzen and Fetzen 2 will be broadcast. The quartet was recorded earlier this year during a three concert marathon at the Barbican Centre’s Milton Court. The programme is presented by Ivan Hewett.

Listen to the performance and an introduction by Ivan Hewett live on BBC Radio 3 at 23:00 British Summer Time.

More Universal Edition radio highlights are available on our Performance Calendar.

Happy Birthday Arvo Pärt

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 11 September 2014

Arvo Pärt in his 80th year

Happy 79th Birthday Arvo Pärt!

To initiate the upcoming celebrations and honour the composer in his 80th year of birth, Universal Edition will be collecting upcoming performance dates, reviews, new CD releases and more on a dedicated blog. If you’ve got anything to share, let us know via hashtag #ArvoPart80 – get tweeting!

Brecht’s and Weill’s Der Jasager in Budapest

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 10 September 2014

Bertolt Brecht’s and Kurt Weill’s school opera Der Jasager will be performed today by Eszter Novák and students of the University of Theatre and Film Arts at the Budapest Festival Theatre. Zsolt Jankó conducts the Budapest Festival Orchestra.

The school opera goes back to the Japanese fable Tanikô, a play from the Nôh theatre. Weill composed Der Jasager in the first half of 1930, pausing only for the turbulent première of Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny on 9 March 1930. The term “school opera” gave Weill a number of possibilities for combining the concepts of “education” and “opera”: the opera teaches the composer – or a whole new generation of composers – to approach the operatic genre in a new way. But it is also a question of re-training the process of operatic performance, with the end goal of staging the work so naturally and simply that children become the ideal performers. And finally, Weill also considered “school operas” as meant for use in schools: “it is thus essential that a piece for schools should give children the opportunity to learn something, beyond the joy of making music.”

 

Haas’ Ein Schattenspiel in South Africa

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 09 September 2014

Jill Richards (c) Jill Richards

Jill Richards, South African concert pianist and an acclaimed performer of new piano music, will perform Georg Friedrich Haas’ Ein Schattenspiel on 11 September at this year’s Unyazi Festival, which is part of the Fak’ugesi Digital Africa festival, in Johannesburg.

The concert pianist writes about her experiences with Ein Schattenspiel on her (highly recommended) blog:

But of course the interesting thing about Ein Schattenspiel is the real time sound processing. What I play is picked up, delayed, pitch shifted upwards by 50 cents and then played back. I am playing with myself, and need to read the “other” piano part so as to play in time with it. This is pretty interesting sometimes as I have perfect pitch and the pitch shifts play gentle havoc with my eyes and ears…what I read is not exactly what I hear!

Also the time delay becomes shorter and shorter, so it starts to feel like a real game of catch up – if I play too slowly, I will be overtaken by my “other” self.

Read the full text on Jill Richards’ blog.

An introduction to Ein Schattenspiel by Therese Muxeneder is available on the festival’s website.