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Tectonics 2013: Impressions

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 21 May 2013

David Fennessy, Prologue (c) Sarah Standke, Universal EditionThe world première of David Fennessy’s Prologue (Silver are the tears of the moon), which opened the second Tectonics Festival in Glasgow on 11 May 2013 (the first took place in Iceland in March 2012), was a great success. Ilan Volkov conducted the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

Tectonics Festival, Panel (c) Sarah Standke, Universal EditionWe also took a photo of the panel discussion with David Fennessy, Hildur Gudnadóttir, Alvin Lucier, Ilan Volkov and Fiona Talkington in the Candleriggs Bar.

If you didn’t manage to attend the two-day festival, here is a short introductory video of Volkov talking about it. I’d say that the festival’s mixture of genres is a great idea, and am eagerly awaiting to see who will be on the programme next year:

More Wozzeck

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 16 May 2013

Wozzeck (c) ENOAnother great review of Wozzeck (con. Edward Gardner), this time from The Guardian. Tim Ashley describes Carrie Cracknell’s production of Berg’s “masterpiece”. Highlighting that Cracknell’s production distances itself from a psychoanalytic or symbolic interpretation of the opera (reminding the audience of trauma caused by war and poverty - Wozzeck, played by Leigh Melrose – has just returned from Iraq or Afghanistan), Ashley describes the opera as musically astonishing, Melrose “giving the performance of a lifetime [...], a major achievement for conductor Edward Gardner [...], an outstanding achievement to which no one can remain indifferent.”

Read the full review on The Guardian.

Alban Berg: Wozzeck
Opera in 3 acts | 105’
Further performances: 18, 23 and 25 May, English National Opera, London
Leigh Melrose, Wozzeck; Sara Jakubiak, Marie; Tom Randle, The Captain; James Morris, The Doctor; Bryan Register, The Drum-Major; ENO Orchestra, cond. Edward Gardner

The Boulanger Trio with Friedrich Cerha

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 16 May 2013

Boulanger Trio, Friedrich Cerha (c) Österreichisches Kulturforum BerlinThe marvelous Boulanger Trio and Friedrich Cerha at the Österreichisches Kulturforum Berlin [Austrian Cultural Forum Berlin].

Newsletter: Renewal and The Mermaid

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 15 May 2013

UE Newsletter 05/2013Find our latest Newsletter here, covering Bedford, Zemlinsky and Boulez, and world and national premières by Patterson, Rihm, Halffter and Staud.

Rethinking Wozzeck

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 14 May 2013

Gavin Plumley reviews Carrie Cracknell’s (you can follow her on twitter) new production of Berg’s Wozzeck at the ENO on his wonderful blog. If you haven’t seen the piece yet – in this or any other interpretation – this hopefully will work as an incentive to do so.

Some extracts (and I’ve heard similar):

Wozzeck is a relentlessly chilling opera. But in English National Opera's incisive new production, the piece shocks afresh. […] At the heart of the tale is Leigh Melrose's superb performance in the title role. […]The rest of the cast is likewise wholly committed to Cracknell and Gardner's reading. […]

and finally:

This is, quite simply, one of the best things ENO has done for years, confirming that John Berry should back innovative theatrical and operatic talent, rather than flirting with cinema.

Read the full review

Alban Berg: Wozzeck
Opera in 3 acts | 105’
Further performances: 15, 18, 23 and 25 May, English National Opera, London
Leigh Melrose, Wozzeck; Sara Jakubiak, Marie; Tom Randle, The Captain; James Morris, The Doctor; Bryan Register, The Drum-Major; ENO Orchestra, cond. Edward Gardner

Berio's SOLO at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 10 May 2013

Luciano Berio (c) Universal Edition, Eric Marinitsch, 2000Christian Lindberg and the Orchestra e Coro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino perform Luciano Berio’s SOLO on 11 May in Florence during the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. Zubin Mehta conducts. Berio wrote the ‘concerto’ for trombone and orchestra in 1999 for Lindberg:

“It’s not a concerto in the real sense of the word, even if the solo part is extremely, almost absurdly difficult. The orchestral element is partially generated from the trombone voice, but the development and substance of the discourses differ enormously. The trombone and orchestra occasionally share the same key note, but they do not communicate with each other. SOLO is thus less of a concerto and more of an encounter between two solitudes.” (Luciano Berio)

Luciano Berio: SOLO
for trombone and orchestra | 22’
5 1 5 1 - 4 4 3 1 - alto sax, t.sax, str(12 0 8 8 6)
11/5/2013, Florence; Christian Lindberg, tbn; Orchestra e Coro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, cond. Zubin Mehta

Tom Service on Karlheinz Stockhausen

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 10 May 2013

Tom Service (c) Tom Service, The Guardian

Tom Service’s highly recommendable contemporary composers series ended this week with “the most divisive figure of them all:” Karlheinz Stockhausen.

Karlheinz Stockhausen, Refrain (c) Universal EditionBut what made this composer so polarizing? Service provides a link to a very entertaining YouTube-channel where we can experience the composer’s “infectious combination of charisma, blazing intellect and force of will” and points out the importance of intuition and experience in his music.

You can read the full article on Tom Service’s Blog.

World première of Saxordionphonics in Witten

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 10 May 2013

Baltakas, UA Witten (c) Universal Edition, Sarah Standke

Vykintas Baltakas, Emilio Pomàrico, Marcus Weiss (sax), Teodoro Anzellotti (acc) and the WDR SO Köln at the world première of Saxordionphonics on 28 April 2013 in Witten.

Prologue (Silver are the tears of the moon)

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 08 May 2013

Werner Herzog: Eroberung des NutzlosenPrologue (Silver are the tears of the moon) constitutes the first part of a trilogy of pieces I am composing based on the diaries of the German film director Werner Herzog which he kept during the troubled production of his 1982 movie Fitzcarraldo and later published as the book Conquest of the Useless. The movie itself concerns the doomed efforts of a turn of the century rubber baron to build an opera house in the middle of the Peruvian jungle and the central, iconic image from the movie of a steamship being hauled over a mountain has been somehow translated here into a gigantic glissando, starting in the depths of the orchestra and slowly climbing. I wanted this piece to have all the grandeur and over-the-top emotions of a romantic opera overture and as I began to compose, that wish became more and more literally realised with snatches of Rigoletto writhing in the undegrowth accompanied high above by the “melancholy peeping” of tree-frogs.

(David Fennessy)

The world première of David Fennessy's new orchestral work Prologue (Silver are the tears of the moon) will be held on 11 May in Glasgow. Ilan Volkov conducts the BBC Scottish SO.

David Fennessy: Prologue (Silver are the tears of the moon)
for orchestra | 10’
3 3 3 3 - 4 2 3 1 - Table Guitar, timp, perc(3), pno, str(12 10 8 8 6), frog guiros
world prem. 11/5/2013, Glasgow; BBC Scottish SO, cond. Ilan Volkov

Composer portrait: Georg Friedrich Haas in Schwetzingen

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 08 May 2013

Georg Friedrich Haas (c) Eric Marinitsch, Universal Edition

The Schola Heidelberg and Walter Nußbaum present a composer portrait of Georg Friedrich Haas at the Schwetzinger SWR Festspiele on 9 May 2013. Among the pieces played will be the Hertervig-Studien and SCHWEIGEN.

Later that day, the Kairos Quartett will perform Haas’ String Quartet no.3, In iij. Noct.” in complete darkness, with the four musicians playing from memory in different parts of the room. Darkness, [...] is not present in this piece merely as an absence of light, but becomes the key theme of the work” (Georg Friedrich Haas)

SWR2 LogoFor those who cannot attend: a recording of the concert will be broadcast by SWR2 on 18 May:

Schwetzinger SWR Festspiele 2013
Recorded on 9 May 2013
ATTHIS; de terra fine; SCHWEIGEN; Hertervig-Studien
Sarah Wegener, s; Tianwa Yang, vln
Kairos Quartett; Members of the Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart of the SWR; Schola Heidelberg, cond. Walter Nussbaum
SWR2 | Listen live
Saturday, 18/5/2013, 20:03

David Fennessy: 13 Factories available for stream

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 08 May 2013

Talea Ensemble (c) Talea EnsembleWQXR offers a stream of the Talea Ensemble’s performance of David Fennessy’s 13 Factories. You can stream a recording of the US première, which was given by conductor Eduardo Leandro and the Talea Ensemble on 20 April 2013.

WQXR stream


Posted by Johannes Feigl on 07 May 2013

Regarding yesterday’s post about the world première of Passaggio 50 years ago: as we rummaged through our archives, we found some interesting photos. In November 2000, Luciano Berio visited us at UE where he found – and corrected – a slip of the pen.

Luciano Berio (c) Eric Marinitsch, Universal Edition

David Sawer at the New Music Biennial 2014

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 07 May 2013

David Sawer (c) David SawerThe PRS for Music Foundation has announced the twenty UK based composers who were chosen to write 12-minute works for the New Music Biennial 2014, the successor of New Music 20x12. The commissions, ranging from contemporary classical, folk and jazz to world, electronic and urban music, will be performed at London’s Southbank Centre and in Glasgow in July and August 2014.

David Sawer was commissioned by Onyx Brass to write a piece for brass quintet that will be presented in informal and free outdoor performances across Britain’s historic bandstands, outdoor festivals, and public spaces, intending to bring contemporary music out of the concert hall and on to the village green.

BBC Radio 3Performances of all works will be broadcast by BBC Radio 3 and made available via digital download by NMC Recordings.

Vladimir Jurowski and the London Philharmonic: Webern, Berg, Bartók and Martinu

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 06 May 2013

Vladimir Jurowski (c) Roman GontcharovAndrew Clements of The Guardian reviewed Vladimir Jurowski’s latest programme with the London Philharmonic, which, focusing on the years leading to the outbreak of the World War II, brought together Webern, Berg, Bartók and Martinu.

He describes it as “an exceptional concert, thoughtfully planned and delivered with tremendous accuracy and intensity”. You can read the full review on The Guardian.

A biography of Mahler

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 06 May 2013

Jens Malte Fischer: Gustav MahlerFirst published in Germany in 2003, Jens Malte Fischer’s biography of Gustav Mahler is finally available in English, translated by Stewart Spencer. Find out more on The Guardian, where it has been reviewed as “a masterly and indeed monumental biography.”

Also, if you don't know Universal Edition's Gustav Mahler: The Conductors' Interviews yet, you might have a look.