Tonight, 17 February, the UK première of Klaus Simon’s arrangement of The Youth’s Magic Horn by Gustav Mahler will take place at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. Mezzo-soprano Kerri-Lynne Dietz and baritone Emmanuel Gendre share the stage with the RWCMD Orchestra (cond. Tomas Leakey).
Gustav Mahler: The Youth’s Magic Horn
for voice and ensemble or chamber orchestra | 70'
Arranger: Klaus Simon
prem. 17.02.2014, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff; Kerri-Lynne Dietz, ms; Emmanuel Gendre, bar; RWCMD Orchestra, cond. Tomas Leakey
I have always been a curious person, and have always reflected on my own work. When a composition was finished, I wanted to find out exactly what had happened in it. This made me open to new influences. (Friedrich Cerha)
Happy 88th Birthday Friedrich Cerha.
Cerha talks about his music:
German interview with English subtitles.
Watch arte’s and the hr-Sinfonieorchester’s video stream of the orchestra’s concert on 7 February 2014 at the Alte Oper Frankfurt:
On the programme were the world première of Friedrich Cerha’s Tagebuch and performances of Haydn’s Symphony No. 59, Prokofiev’s First Violin Concerto and Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances. The concert was performed by Arabella Steinbacher and the hr-Sinfonieorchester (cond. Andrés Orozco-Estrada).
Welser-Möst will also conduct the Vienna Philharmonic on 26 February at the Carnegie Hall, New York. This concert will be the first performance in the USA of Johannes Maria Staud’s On Comparative Meteorology.
Johannes Maria Staud: On Comparative Meteorology
new version 2010
for orchestra | 18'
prem. 26.02.2014, Carnegie Hall, New York; Vienna Philharmonic, cond. Franz Welser-Möst
Today, 6 February, Pierre Boulez will receive the 18th annual Cleveland Orchestra Distinguished Service Award in absentia.
Executive Director Gary Hanson on Boulez: "This award is in recognition of our genuine appreciation for Pierre Boulez"s decades of service to The Cleveland Orchestra. He has given us the gift of great music, new music, and the joy of music-making. We are grateful for what he has taught us and honored by his peerless international legacy."
Read more on the website of the Cleveland Orchestra.
On 3 May 1921, Alexander Zemlinsky received the following telegram: “have read your opera the dwarf with great enjoyment cologne is prepared to accept sole rights for world premiere would you be prepared to entrust your work to us Klemperer.” Zemlinsky’s opera in one act (librettist: Georg Klaren), which is based on Oscar Wilde’s fairy tale “The Birthday of the Infanta”, received its world première one year later, on 28 May 1922 in Cologne under Otto Klemperer.
The first reduced version of Zemlinsky’s Der Zwerg, arranged by Jan-Benjamin Homolka, will be premiéred on 6 February at the Wilhelma Theater in Stuttgart. Nicholas Kok conducts musicians of the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Stuttgart.
The Ensemble intercontemporain (cond. Matthias Pintscher) will perform Pierre Boulez’ Messagesquisse on 9 February as part of their second Turbulences Week-End. Also on the programme: Wolfgang Rihm’s Tutuguri VI (Kreuze), conducted by Michel Cerutti and performed by students of the Conservatoire de Paris.
Final corrections are being made. The clock is ticking and the pressure is on! We hope to send the material to the Royal Opera House in London this week.
Find out more about Through His Teeth.
Here is a collection of our interviews with composer Luke Bedford. Bedford talks about Through His Teeth, his stages of composing, the use of quartertones in his music, working with playwright David Harrower and gives insight into two scenes of his upcoming opera:
Read the full review on the New York Times.
Find out more about Jenůfa.
Leoš Janáček: Jenůfa
Opera in 3 acts from Moravian peasant life | 120'
3 3 3 3 - 4 2 3 1 - timp, perc(2), bells, hp, str - stage music: hn(2), toy tpt, xyl, bells, str(1 1 1 1 1)
31.01.2014; 02, 04, 05, and 07.02.2014, La Monnaie, Bruxelles; Sally Matthews/Andrea Danková, Charles Workman, Nicky Spence, Jeanne-Michèle Charbonnet, Carole Wilson, Ivan Ludlow, Alexander Vassiliev, Mireille Capelle, Hendrickje Van Kerckhove, Beata Morawska, Chloé Briot, Nathalie Van de Voorde, Marta Beretta; Choeur de la Monnaie, Orchestre Symphonique de la Monnaie, cond. Ludovic Morlot
In February and August of 2013, theatre director Bijan Sheibani, playwright David Harrower and composer Luke Bedford had two workshops at the ROH, in which they were working on the libretto with actors.
Luke Bedford on the workshops:
It might seem strange to have an opera workshop where there are no singers or musicians present, but from the beginning of this project I was clear that getting the text right was crucial before I started writing any notes. Therefore the workshops we had on the piece involved a few days working with actors and trying out various ways of telling the story.
The first idea was to set it all in one flat, where R had two women installed/imprisoned. David had written a few scenes exploring this idea, hints of which you can see in the final version of the text. And while this scenario certainly had intensity, it soon became clear that clamping the story into just one location was too restrictive. Especially when R had forbidden the women to speak to each other. This kind of idea has been touched upon in opera before, but we felt it wasn’t right for the piece that we wanted to make. Also, seeing the actors on the stage told us the mood was simply too dark: too monochrome. So David and I went away and thought about how to take the elements we liked from the workshop but find a better structure for them. After some work, we ended up the framework of the final piece: to focus on just one woman’s story and have a series of snapshots of A and R’s (and her sister’s) relationship, intercut with A being interviewed after the events.
The second workshop was on something close to the final draft of the text. Hearing how the actors read the lines was really useful to me – partly as they confirmed many of my own ideas where the key dramatic moments are, as well as the pacing of the work. And sometimes they would read a line or two very differently to how I’d imagined it – and this was also useful, even if I rejected ‘their’ way in the end. In fact, this has haphazardly evolved into a technique that I now use when working with text. I try and imagine the opposite of how I’ve set some lines, to see whether it works better than my first draft. Often it doesn’t, but just now and then it throws up something wonderfully unexpected – and it ends up in the final piece. One example of this is in scene 12, when R appears at A’s flat and pressures her to leave with him. My first idea was to have very dramatic, crashy, wild music. But then I stepped back and tried to imagine the scene with almost nothing happening and I knew straight away that this was stronger. In the ensemble, there are just six pitched, extremely high notes from the violin, and underneath the whole scene is the distant, otherworldly sound of a thunder tube.
Find out more about Through His Teeth.