In a poignant if unforeseen comment on the financial crisis in Greece, Kurt Weill’s opera The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny comes to the Megaron in Athens tonight in the acclaimed production from Madrid’s Teatro Real.
Art mirrors reality once again. The Madrid performance was accompanied by a public sector strike, with uncollected rubbish lying in the streets of the capital.
On the eve of his 60th birthday, three radio broadcasts portray the composer Wolfgang Rihm.
Wolfgang Rihm: Fremde Szene III
Karol Szymanowski: Mythes: 2. Narcisse
Christine Busch, vln; Conradin Brotbek, vc; Cornelis Witthoefft, pno
SWR2 | Listen live
Monday, 12.03.2012, 20:03*
Wolfgang Rihm: 3. Streichquartett
Wolfgang Rihm: Schrift-Um-Schrift
Wolfgang Rihm: Das Gehege
Andreas Göbel in conversation with the composer.
Kulturradio | Listen live
Monday, 12.03.2012, 21:04*
Wolfgang Rihm: Am Horizont
Arnold Schönberg: Bläserquintett
Bläserquintett Heinz Holliger
SWR2 | Listen live
Monday, 12.03.2012, 23:03*
* Vienna, Paris, Berlin time
See our overview of radio broadcasts this week.
Harrison Birtwistle’s Silbury Air for chamber ensemble was given its world première on 9 March 1977 by the London Sinfonietta.
“Silbury Air is named after Silbury Hill, a prehistoric mound in Wiltshire, the biggest artificial mound in Europe, being 125 feet high and covering more than five acres. Its use and purpose, after centuries of speculation, still remain a mystery.”
“A vigorous and eventful fifteen minute piece, full of sharp motoric rhythms that (until the very end) tend to accelerate.
The result is dramatic and immediately exciting, contradicting in its vitality the idea of static blocks of sound on which Birtwistle has usually relied, but equally showing the firmest possible architectural sense, with each section relating naturally and satisfyingly to the rest. With so much argument crammed into so relatively short a span, it is a work that cries out for early repetition.”
(Edward Greenfield, The Guardian 10.03.1977)
Luciano Berio’s La vera storia (Azione musicale in 2 parti) was given its world première on 9 March 1982 at the Scala in Milan.
“To say what happens in La Vera Storia is not easy, and I don’t know that it’s all that useful, granted that this is a work which tells its own story … If I weren’t afraid of being misunderstood or appearing rude, I wouldn’t even have written these lines.“
Wolfgang Schreiber said of the première: “Berio’s theme is tension, and the violent conflict between individual and state or society, of people and power, of freedom and authority.”
Emilio Pomàrico conducts musikFabrik. Thomas Möwes, Johannes Schmidt and Daniel Kirch sing the lead roles.
Listen live on Dutch Radio 4.
The picture left shows our promotion leaflet from 1979, with Richard Salter in the lead role at the world première in Hamburg.
At the 2012 Musiques Biennale en Scène in Lyon, Johannes Maria Staud’s work for string quartet and orchestra, Über trügerische Stadtpläne und die Versuchungen der Winternächte (Dichotomie II), is given its French première.
Pascal Rophé conducts the Arditti Quartet and the Orchestre National de Lyon (1 March).
Conductor Ilan Volkov’s new music festival Tectonics takes place in Reykjavik this weekend.
On the programme is a rare opportunity to hear Luciano Berio’s Accordo, a monumental work for four wind bands.
It looks like just about every young musician in Reykjavik will be taking part.
For the Italian speakers among you, here is Berio’s original programme note.
per quattro gruppi di bande (1980-1981)
Accordo, per quattro gruppi di bande con un numero illimitato di suonatori, non è forse un pezzo da suonare in concerto. È però tante cose diverse: è un incontro, una struttura di gesti, un accordo che prolifera e genera situazioni sempre diverse; è la combinazione e la messa in prospettiva, mobile, di elementi musicali estremamente semplici e familiari; è un piccolo tributo a un grande desiderio di pace nel mondo; è una parafrasi; è un Festival dell’Unità; è una trasformazione acustica; è una melodia; è un omaggio ai suonatori delle bande, che trovandosi assieme la sera dimenticano la stanchezza di una lunga giornata di lavoro. Accordo è anche un’opera sperimentale nella quale cerco di mediare contraddizioni tra dimensioni musicali apparentemente inconciliabili; è una trasfigurazione, dunque.
Accordo è forse difficile da organizzare ma facile da suonare; è fatto di discorsi semplici e concreti per interlocutori ideali che vorrebbero abbracciare il mondo; ha una speranza, dunque ...
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The first reviews of the Scottish Ensemble’s world première of Luke Bedford’s Wonderful Two-Headed Nightingale are in.
Kate Molleson in The Guardian calls it a “bold, dense and arresting blast of a composition – a work that forcefully reiterates Bedford’s voice and brilliantly showcased its fine set of players.” ****
Juliet Williams at Classical Iconoclast writes, “The soloists seem at times to be ‘joined at the hip’ but at other times to be locked in a power struggle.”
Kelly Apter in The Scotsman explains, that “offering no comfort, it made me sit up in my chair and listen, as Morton and guest violist Lawrence Power battled with each other, then came together in harmony, just as the conjoined twins who inspired the piece must have done.” ****
Alan Coady of Bachtrack.com writes “The dramatic tension in this piece derives from two solo lines which follow equal mindsets: striving to break free from the other; reunited and more happily resigned to the status of being a twin.” ****
And some goosebumps:
performance at the City Halls in Glasgow
is broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.
From the UE archives:
But what struck our eye was the notice on the right hand border of the programme:
“By official decree ladies are ordered to remove their hats!”
(Über behördliche Anordnung sind die Damen verhalten, die Hüte abzunehmen!)
Rules are rules!
Harrison Birtwistle’s Gawain’s Journey is performed by the RSO Munich tonight, conducted by Stefan Asbury. The concert also includes a new work by Enno Poppe and Charles Ives’ Robert Browning Overture.
Gerald Larner wrote in The Guardian that Gawain’s Journey is “a dramatic concert piece and a bruising but exhilarating experience for the audience.”