Universal Edition - Blog

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.

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.

Gottfried von Einem: Melos and Logos

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 10 June 2014

Melos und Logos (c) Melos und Logos FestivalThis year’s Gottfried von Einem festival “Melos und Logos” takes place on 14 June in Oberdürnbach, Maissau. Among the works performed will be Einem’s String Trio (Aleksa Aleksić, vln, Nadežda Aleksić, vla, Ana Aleksić, vlc), Lotte Ingrisch will talk about the composer’s sources of inspiration.

The full programme can be downloaded on the website of the Gottfried von Einem Foundation.

ATTHIS in New York

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 10 June 2014

Opera Cabal: ATTHIS (c) Opera Cabal

The Chicago-based Opera Cabal partners with the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (cond. Peyman Farzinpour) to present the first North American stage premiere of Georg Friedrich Haas’ monodrama ATTHIS, with lyrics by the ancient Greek poet Sappho.

Emmy Award-winning stage director Habib Azar directs the production, which premières on 12 June.

View the full score.

Albrecht Dümling on ATTHIS:

Georg Friedrich Haas begins his composition (named after a young girl who was Sappho’s pupil) with consonant sounds, as the voice emerges almost imperceptibly from the swelling major third in several string octaves. In slow motion, as it were, the singer recites the Greek words mete moi meli, mete melissa [“no honey for me, no bees”] on a single pitch – a lover’s lament, sung while the major third first turns gradually into a minor third, then a tritone and finally a seventh.

Then the German words untergegangen ist der Mond [“the moon is sunken”] follow, first as if spoken and then sung in cantabile melisma. The score calls for three types of singing: rough, in the lowest register, almost spoken, then cantabile,espressivo and melodious and, thirdly, as glissando, whereby the three types of singing must be clearly differentiated: “The effect should be like that of changing instruments, or imitating a vocal trio.”

Read the full text.

Georg Friedrich Haas: ATTHIS
for soprano and 8 instruments | 40'
staged prem. 12. and 13.06.2014, The Kitchen, New York; Ariadne Greif, s; ACME, cond. Peyman Farzinpour

love songs without words, dedicated to the ensemble recherche

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 06 June 2014

ensemble recherce (c) Maurice Korbel

During preparations for their 25th anniversary in 2010, the ensemble recherche came to the conclusion that “There are no love songs anymore!”. So they request such pieces for the celebration from various composer friends; more than 30 love songs were written in the process and more are in progress: one could almost speak of a new “trend”. (Kornelia Bittmann)

WERGO has recently released a two-and-a-half-hour double-CD set that features 30 love songs that are dedicated to the ensemble recherche – an ensemble that, since its founding in 1985, has premièred more than 500 works and released about 50 CDs, many of which have been awarded international prizes including the annual German Critics’ Award and the Diapason d’Or.

Their latest CD, which features works by Georg Friedrich Haas, Johannes Maria Staud and Hans Zender, has been highly praised by critics and public alike (“ensemble recherche’s amorous collection reclaims the love song from the embrace of pop music”, Andrew Clements for The Guardian) and already makes us hope for a follow-up CD.

ensemble recherche: liebeslieder; WERGO

Music for 12 Cellos in New York

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 06 June 2014

Jay Schwartz with Bálint Varga and Sir Harrison Birtwistle (c) Marion KalterJay Schwartz’ Music for 12 Cellos will be performed this Sunday by Music from Salem at Hubbard Hall.

The composer about the work:

This composition expounds on the spatial aspects of an ensemble of 12 cellists seated in a wide circle. A performance of this piece requires a spatial situation in which the cellists can be positioned in 12 equidistant positions around the audience. A three-dimensional sound experience and the illusion of travelling sound is achieved by this ensemble constellation, a sound metamorphosis which unfolds concretely around the audience.

In a concert of US premières Jay Schwartz’s M for baritone and ensemble has recently been performed at the Ny Phil Biennial. Matthias Pintscher conducted musicians of the New York Philharmonic, listen to the program on wfmt.

Jay Schwartz: Music for 12 Cellos
for 12 violoncellos | 20'
08.06.2014, Hubbard Hall; Music from Salem

The Making of The Cunning Little Vixen: Production Diary #3

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 05 June 2014

The third and final part of the Cleveland Orchestra’s production diary of Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen follows the cast through the rehearsals as the day of the première approaches:

Behind The Opera: The Cunning Little Vixen

The Making of The Cunning Little Vixen: Production Diary #1

The Making of The Cunning Little Vixen: Production Diary #2

Arvo Pärt in New York

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 05 June 2014

Arvo Pärt at the Met, 02.06.2014 (c) Universal Edition, Wolfgang Schaufler

Here are some excerpts from the media coverage on Arvo Pärt’s recent visit to New York, you can read the full texts by clicking on the respective links. Scroll down to view a video recording of the full performance of Kanon Pokajanen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Temple of Dendur.

Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim of the New York Times reviews the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra’s and the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir’s concert on 31.05.2014 at Carnegie Hall:

No other living composer has so fervent a following or such a diverse group of fans. When Mr. Pärt, bearded, frail and smiling shyly, took a bow at the end of the evening – this was his first visit to New York in 30 years – the roar that greeted him seemed unanimous. (Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, The New York Times, 03.06.2014)

Arvo Pärt at Carnegie Hall, 31.05.2014 (c) Universal Edition, Wolfgang SchauflerGeorge Grella’s take on the concert at Carnegie Hall (cond. Tõnu Kaljuste):

The music could belong to any era, the ritual of the service it’s built on holds the passage of time in abeyance, the shape moves from meditation to transcendence. (George Grella, New York Classical Review, 01.06.2014)

Arvo Pärt in an interview with Keith Jarrett:

Silence can be both that which is outside of us and that which is inside a person. The silence of our soul, which isn't even affected by external distractions, is actually more crucial but more difficult to achieve. (Keith Jarrett, npr music, 02.06.2014)

Vivien Schweitzer reviews Kanon Pokajanen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Temple of Dendur:

The singers sat in a circle, rendering the work with a power and purity of tone that fully revealed its mystical, serene qualities. (Vivien Schweitzer, The New York Times, 03.06.2014)

Watch the full concert at the Met on npr music:

 Kanon Pokajanen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Temple of Dendur, npr

Full recording of Vykintas Baltakas’ Eine kleine Nachtmusik

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 04 June 2014

On 29 May Japanese violinist Takao Hyakutome presented his first solo CD, which features exclusively new music, including Vykintas Baltakas’ Eine kleine Nachtmusik and works by Edo Frenkel, Hikari Kiyama, Mateu Malondra and Brian Ferneyhough.

Listen to the full recording of Hyakutome’s rendition of Baltakas’ piece on SoundCloud:

The CD has been released on ChampdAction.

Two foxes at the pantheon of opera’s unforgettable couples: The Cunning Little Vixen

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 02 June 2014

I think [Leoš Janáček] has an emotional impact on audiences which is so immediate that that’s what makes him really God in the opera world. (Franz Welser-Möst, The Making of The Cunning Little Vixen: Production Diary #1)

Here is a collection of the amazing reviews of Franz Welser-Möst’s and the Cleveland Orchestra’s semi-staged production of Leoš Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen:

To the pantheon of opera’s unforgettable couples, from Mozart’s Figaro and Susanna to Puccini’s Tosca and Cavaradossi, I’d like to add a pair that lies a considerable distance from them: two foxes. (Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times, 23.05.2014)

The capacity audience gave the production an immediate well-deserved standing ovation. Bravos were numerous — as were a few expressions of “Wow.” (Alan Montgomery, Opera News, 17.05.2014)

The Cleveland Orchestra’s digitally enhanced production of Leoš Janáček’s opera, The Cunning Little Vixen, […] is beguiling in concept and brilliant in execution. (Daniel Hathaway, Classical Voice North America, 19.05.2014)

Watch the production diaries of The Cunning Little Vixen #1 and #2 on YouTube.

Prominent guests at the Kennedy Center

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 28 May 2014

Evelin Int-Lambot, Arvo Pärt, Toomas Hendrik Ilves and Nora Pärt (c) Universal Edition, Wolfgang Schaufler

Pärt at the Kennedy CenterToomas Hendrik Ilves, the President of the Republic of Estonia, his wife Evelin Int-Lambot and Arvo and Nora Pärt were present at yesterday’s concert at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.

Among the pieces performed were Adam’s Lament, Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten and Fratres, Tõnu Kaljuste conducted the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra.

Vykintas Baltakas: performance and CD presentation

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 28 May 2014

Japanese violinist Takao Hyakutome will present his first solo CD on 29 May 2014. The ChampdAction recording features exclusively new music, including Vykintas Baltakas’ Eine kleine Nachtmusik and works by Edo Frenkel, Hikari Kiyama, Mateu Malondra and Brian Ferneyhough. Having performed the Egyptian première of Eine kleine Nachtmusik earlier this year, the violinist is already more than familiar with the piece.

The CD presentation will be celebrated with a live performance by Hyakutome.

Vykintas Baltakas about his piece:

Vykintas Baltakas (c) Emanuel MaesThis miniature, played on only one-string on the violin, is a lullaby which I’ve been singing to my daughters for several years. My music in this piece was partially inspired by fractal ideas where a large image is created of many small images of the same shape. I couldn't think of a better title than Eine kleine Nachtmusik. However this is the only reference point to Mozart, borrowed with great respect.

Vykintas Baltakas: Eine kleine Nachtmusik
for violin solo | 7'
29.05.2014, ChampdAction, deSingel, Antwerp; Takao Hyakutome, vln

Connectome at the Royal Ballet

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 27 May 2014

Natalia Osipova (c) Natalia Osipova Alastair Marriott’s upcoming one-act ballet Connectome will première this Saturday in a triple bill evening from the Royal Ballet, featuring Frederick Ashton’s The Dream, Jerome Robbin’s The Concert and Connectome, which is danced to the music of Arvo Pärt, including Fratres, Vater Unser and Silouan’s Song.

Although the première is already sold out, tickets for later dates are still available.

The Independent has attended the rehearsals for Connectome, which is Marriott’s first commission for the Royal Ballet, and interviewed the ballet’s core member Natalia Osipova. Read the full article on The Independent.

Pärt in the U.S.

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 27 May 2014

Arvo Pärt ProjectThere is great art; and there is popular art. Many people believe that there is a stark difference between the two. […] Very few artists are taken seriously in both realms. One of them is the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. (Anne Midgette, The Washington Post, 23 May 2014)

Arvo Pärt has come to the East Coast for the first time in 30 years, here’s what The Washington Post has to say about the composer.

Upcoming performances of works by Arvo Pärt.

Raschèr Quartet performs Lament

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 26 May 2014

Raschèr Saxophone Quartet (c) Felix Broede
When I am laid in earth may my wrongs create
No trouble in thy breast,
Remember me, but ah! forget my fate.

Jay Schwartz’ Lament for solo voice and saxophone quartet will be performed on 28 May by mezzosoprano Christina Bock and the Raschèr Saxophone Quartet at the Bayerische Musikakademie Marktoberdorf.

The composition is based on Dido’s Lament from Purcell’s opera Dido and Aeneas, the lyrics are taken directly from Nahum Tate’s libretto after Vergil’s Aeneis.

View the full study score.

Jay Schwartz on Lament.

Jay Schwartz: Lament
for solo voice and saxophone quartet | 12'
28.05.2014, Marktoberdorf, Bayerische Musikakademie; Christina Bock, ms; Raschèr Saxophone Quartet