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2020/08/10

Work of the Week – Pedro Halffter: Dalí and Beethoven

The world premiere of Pedro Halffter’s Dali and Beethoven will take place at the Arp Museum inside the former Rolandseck train station at Remagen in the German Middle Rhine Valley on 16 August as part of the Beethoven 250 anniversary festival, BTHVN2020. The first performance of Halffter’s piano quintet has been much anticipated after the original premiere in March needed to be postponed. 

Dalí and Beethoven forges a link between the two iconic artists referenced in its title, with Halffter expressing a special affinity towards Beethoven – regularly conducting the composer’s symphonies – and that his own family shares a personal connection to Dalí. In turn, Halffter has drawn influence for his composition from a number of the painter’s works including an early portrait of Beethoven.

The venue of the premiere is itself dedicated to surrealist and contemporary painters – a fitting setting for the quintet’s premiere performance. 

The music should be understood as a sensory walk through a typical Dalí landscape in which I imagined being able to touch the imaginative figures. A meditative and yet highly contrasted essence is created within a surreal world of sounds and thoughts. (Pedro Halffter)

Pedro Halffter – Dalí and Beethoven: a link between two exceptional artists

Dalí and Beethoven was commissioned by the academy Villa Musica Rheinland-Pfalz and will be performed by young musicians alongside cellist Alexander Hülshoff and the composer at the piano. 

Festival attendees will be able to see the premiere performance of the work in two concerts at 11am and 3pm. 

Illustration: Adobe Stock / krisana, Photo: realcirculodelabradores

2020/07/28

Mikis Theodorakis: 95th Birthday on 29 July 2020

Mikis Theodorakis’ life has been characterised by his political commitment to the Greek people, personal persecution and banishment. For many years, the composer lived in exile in Paris, but returned repeatedly to his native country. During the 1960s, he was a member of the Greek parliament and held the post of a government minister from 1990 – 1992. In 1993, Theodorakis was appointed as the general music director of the Symphony Orchestra and Choir of Hellenic Radio and Television. He gained an international reputation for his soundtrack to the film “Zorba the Greek” which is also available in a ballet version and as an orchestral suite. Theodorakis also composed cantatas, chamber music, and orchestral works. Many of his operas were based on dramas from Ancient Greek mythology. His oratorios Axion Esti and Canto General were performed worldwide.

Schott Music warmly congratulates Mikis Theodorakis on the occasion of his 95th birthday.

2020/07/15

Opera & Orchestra: Reduced Versions and Small Ensembles

Due to the new regulations, space has become a concern for many concert and operatic performances. With imaginative smaller-scale adaptations, some large-scale works can still be performed under the current circumstances. During the past few months, we as well as our partners have added numerous arrangements to our publishing programme and now provide you with a list of these new additions and other useful resources for social distancing in concert and opera.


New at Schott: Classics for small orchestral forces arranged by Joolz Gale

Joolz Gale © Gavin Evans

From Beethoven’s “Fifth” over piano concertos by Mendelssohn and Mozart to Sibelius’ “Third” and Strauss’ “Ein Heldenleben” – for his Ensemble Mini, Joolz Gale has arranged numerous classics from the concert repertoire in an ingenious fashion. Schott now provides you with the performance material of his arrangements.

Browse works


(Chamber-)Orchestra Works by Number of Players

New online planning resource: Filter our orchestral works by the number of required musicians. Categories:

 


Chamber Operas

Small-scale works for the music theatre are available in our brochure “Chamber Opera”. You can download the extensively annotated volume here as a PDF document or read the epaper on Issuu.

 


Reduced Versions of Grand Operas

Viktor Ullmann has not only wirtten tragic works but also a very amusing short opera The Broken Jug  after Heinrich von Kleis (reduced by Richard Whilds for the Bavarian State Opera). Kurt Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins  is, thanks to HK Gruber’s ingenous reduction, now available for an ensemble of 15 players. Carl Orff’s Die Kluge has recently been added to our catalogue in a small version which may also be performed by professional ensembles. Moreover, a reduced version of his Der Mond will be published shortly.

Discover more reduced operas Opern


Staged Song Cycles

Among the smallest instrumentations are Songs and Lieder such as Jörg Widmann´s humorous cycle Das heiße Herz for medium voice and piano or Aribert Reimann’s arrangements of cycles by Brahms, Schubert and Mendelssohn for string quartet. From various of Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Lieder Theatre Coburg created a full evening on the main stage, quite similar to Staatstheater Darmstadt´s scenic/video version of Christian Jost’s Dichterliebe. By the way: Do you know Erwin Schulhoff´s jazzy and satirical Lieder from the 1920s?

 


“Corona” Series of Chamber Orchestra Works

This is not a joke but a traditional series from the Schott Group publisher Moeseler: The traditional series called “Corona” contains classical repertoire for small orchestras in sales editions.


String Orchestra Repertoire

Strictly strings: When your winds have to be silent, here are the works for you. Quite often, solo strings can be used and therefore the exact number of players can vary.

 


Foto: Adobe Stock / metamorworks

2020/07/06

Nikolai Kapustin 1937–2020

Jazz as a process of maturity

Obituary for the pianist and composer Nikolai Kapustin

The composer and pianist Nikolai Kapustin died on 02 July 2020 in Moscow at the age of 82.

Nikolai Girshevitch Kapustin was born on 22 November 1937 in Nikitovka, a suburb of Horlivka in the Ukraine. His mother introduced him to the piano while he was still a child and he created his first compositions at the age of 13, ultimately producing his first piano sonata. In 1952, Kapustin travelled to Moscow accompanied by Piotr Vinnichenko, his then piano teacher, to take the entrance examination for the Academic Music College. He studied piano in the class of Aurelian Rubach. In 1956, he passed the entrance examination for the Moscow Conservatory where he studied piano with Alexander Goldenweiser and received his diploma in 1961. Kapustin never studied composition as a specific subject, instead preferring to develop his abilities through self-tuition.

Kapustin first experienced jazz during his studies at the Music College and immediately recognised its natural mode of expression. He founded a jazz quintet while still at the Moscow Conservatory and became a member of the big band. After his final examinations, he joined the big band conducted by Oleg Lundstrem, a pupil of Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. He composed works for this ensemble including his First Piano Concerto op. 2 in which he was able to place his own instrument at the heart of the composition. In 1972, he left the band to join the orchestra “Blue Screen”. After the dissolution of the ensemble in 1977, he was offered a position in the State Symphonic Film Orchestra under the direction of the conductors Georgy Garanyan, Yuri Serebryakov and Konstantin Krimetz. During this period, he composed his Second Piano Concerto op. 16 whose success offered him the opportunity to become a member of the Union of Soviet Composers.

Deep inside, everything was seething

From the 1980s onwards, Kapustin primarily dedicated himself to composition, but still played the piano, chiefly in performances of his own works for radio and television broadcasts. His music at this time was characterised by elements of jazz linked with classical forms such as the sonata and the suite.  The most striking features of his music were its seething nature, virtuosity and its almost physical attraction. The Suite in the Old Style op. 28 dating from 1977 is typical for his style with its interspersed jazz improvisations within a Baroque structure modelled on Bach partitas. Kapustin explained the apparent paradox of through-composed jazz present in his compositional output in his customary calm and modest outward manner:

I was never a jazz musician. I have never attempted to be a genuine jazz pianist, but have to slip into this role for the benefit of my compositions. I am not interested in improvisation – and what would a jazz musician be without improvisation? Any improvisation on my part has naturally been notated and has improved during the process which has allowed it to mature.

His compositional output includes numerous works for piano including a series of 20 piano sonatas and six piano concertos. This is augmented by concertos for solo instruments such as the cello and saxophone, compositions for big band, string and wind orchestras and chamber music for a broad spectrum of instrumental combinations.

From secret tip to worldwide phenomenon

Prior to the year 2000, Kapustin’s music had remained a secret tip among jazz musicians within the former Soviet Union, but since the beginning of the new millennium, his works have become known throughout the world via internet and become exceedingly popular among younger pianists due to their cross-genre character. The much accoladed CDs issued by Steven Osborne (2000) and Marc-André Hamelin (2004) featuring Kapustin’s works have also contributed to the composer’s international reputation. Today, his compositions find increasing popularity in the recitals of renowned pianists and are steadily achieving the status of classics of the 20th and 21st century.

With the death of Nikolai Kapustin, we have lost a fascinating artist and a genuine individual who achieved unexpected international fame in his mature years. We were only privileged to accompany him as his publisher for a brief period and are thankful for the years of creative and genuinely friendly cooperation.

2020/06/17

Work of the Week – Christian Jost: Dichterliebe

photo: Adobe Stock / Arman Zhenikeyev

These days, there is a renaissance of song recitals. Song cycles offer a welcome opportunity for concert or scenic events with a very limited number of persons involved. Either with piano accompaniment or arranged for ensemble, they gain popularity. A special project is planned to commence on 20 June at Staatstheater Darmstadt: Christian Jost’s Dichterliebe. Eight singers from the theatre will alternate in singing the vocal part of the cycle, the nine instrumentalists from the State Orchestra Darmstadt will play under the baton of Jan Croonenbroeck.  

The form of presentation is the special element of the project: It will be shown in front of a audience and online as a live concert with film, directed by Franziska Angerer, stating:

“Wir machen einen Film — was nicht heißt, dass wir das Theater damit ersetzen wollen. Ganz im Gegenteil: Ich glaube, es ist wichtig, dass wir die Leerstelle Theater auch als solche gelten lassen. Und auch wenn wir uns nun filmisch mit der „Dichterliebe“ auseinandersetzen, verwenden wir trotzdem theatrale Mittel. Gerade für dieses Projekt eignet sich das Medium Film an sich jedoch sehr gut. Der Komponist Christian Jost beschreibt seine Komposition als einen assoziativen Strom, der Schumanns und Heines Lieder wie Inseln in sich trägt und miteinander verwebt. Hierdurch entstehen viele Zwischenräume, die sich mit den Mitteln des Films wunderbar erschaffen lassen; man hat andere Möglichkeiten und Zeitlichkeiten als im Theater, was ganz wunderbar ist.”

Christian Jost – Dichterliebe: das Prinzip des Weiterdenkens

Dichterliebe was commissioned by the Berlin Konzerthaus and the Copenhagen Opera Festival, and received its world premiere at the Berlin Konzerthaus in 2017. The work is inspired by Robert Schumann’s well-known Dichterliebe op. 48 based on poems by Heinrich Heine. Jost’s reinterpretation changes and increases the cycle’s instrumentation, as well as doubling its length, effectively integrating Schumann’s romantic art song with his own modern style. The music is further supplemented by video sequences which provide a visual representation of the songs’ themes.

The 16 songs of Schumann’s cycle tell a sorrowful story of lost love. The singer’s expressions shift through pain, indifference, sorrow and joy, perhaps in a dream or perhaps reality. In Heine’s poems, the river Rhine acts as a symbol for this stream of emotions, and Jost’s songs also flow. The tenor seems to surface time and again out of the dense, wave-like instrumental accompaniment of legato ostinato, and the harmonies and melodies of Schumann’s composition are developed by Jost into a tonal stream. For example, the short motifs from Schumann’s piano accompaniment are expanded by Jost throughout the whole cycle with greater depth.

The four scheduled performances of Dichterliebe take place on 20, 27 and 28 June as well as 11 July. 

photo: Adobe Stock / Arman Zhenikeyev

2020/06/05

World Premiere of Toshio Hosokawa “Texture” at the Digital Concert Hall by Berlin Philharmonic

Toshio Hosokawa’s new piece, Texture for octet will be premiered at the Digital Concert Hall by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra on June 6th. The first performer is the Philharmonic Octet Berlin.

Texture was co-commissioned by the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation and the Japan Arts Corporation for the Philharmonic Octet Berlin, and is dedicated to the ensemble. The instrumentation of octet is the same as Octet D803 by Franz Schubert which is the ensemble’s specialty; clarinet, bassoon, horn, violin 2, viola, violoncello and double bass.

The instrumentation is divided into the following 2 groups; a group consisting of a string quartet and another consisting of clarinet, bassoon, horn and double bass. Each group plays melodies with a lively calligraphy-like shape, an unforced linear of the Eastern brushstrokes which is one of the characteristics of Hosokawa’s music. In this piece, like the Yin and Yang of the East, just as polar opposite elements, such as man and woman, high and low, strength and weakness, light and dark coexist and complete each other – become tied together without defeating the other, whilst gradually shaping the sound of the universe.

Toshio Hosokawa
Texture (2020)
for octet

World Premiere

June 6, 2020, 19:00  Philharmonie Berlin (Berlin, Germany)
June 7, 2020, 13:00  Philharmonie Berlin (Berlin, Germany) Broadcast from Digital Concert Hall by Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Philharmonic Octet Berlin (Wenzel Fuchs [clarinet], Mor Biron [bassoon], Stefan Dohr [horn], Daishin Kashimoto, Romano Tommasini [violin], Amihai Grosz [viola], Christoph Igelbrink [cello], Esko Laine [double bass])

2020/05/24

Happy Birthday: Enjott Schneider 70

Enjott Schneider, born in Weil am Rhein in 1950, is one of the leading German composers of film music with over 600 soundtracks and numerous awards to his name. His music for Schlafes Bruder, Stalingrad, Herbstmilch and many other films will never be forgotten. Schneider’s compositional output also includes full-length operas, oratorios, symphonies and concertos alongside chamber music, sacred works and organ music. As professor of music theory and later as Germany’s first professor of film music, he passed his knowledge to innumerable students at the Munich Musikhochschule. He has also displayed equal enthusiasm in his long-term post as a board member of GEMA [German performing rights association] (chairman from 2012 to 2017) and as president of the Deutscher Komponistenverband [German Association of Composers] to support his fellow composers.

Schott Music offers its heartfelt congratulations to Enjott Schneider on the occasion of his 70th birthday on 25 May 2020 and has recently published a new catalogue of his works.

2020/05/11

Work of the Week – Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevroniya

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s penultimate dramatic composition was as ambitious as its exceedingly long title suggests. From 15 May, Dutch National Opera Amsterdam’s production of The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevroniya, conducted by Marc Albrecht, will be available to watch on OperaVision. Director Dmitri Tcherniakov, who was also the stage designer for the production, created a visual language that is both realistic yet magical, and which was highly acclaimed by the international press. 

The four-act opera is set in the mythical city of Kitezh and is likely to be inspired by a thirteenth century duchy at the Volga River. Legend has it the city disappeared while under siege by enemy forces. Rimsky-Korsakov combined this Russian version of the Atlantis myth with a retelling of the invasion of the Mongol army  during the thirteenth century.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevroniya – “A Russian Atlantis”

This war is the backdrop for a love story between the virtuous farmer’s daughter Fevroniya and the Duke of Vsevolod. Their marriage is prevented by the assault of the enemies during which Vsevolod is killed. In her grief, Fevroniya prays for help for the people of Kitezh and a golden fog surrounds the city rendering it invisible to the invaders. Ultimately, Fevroniya also dies but the spirit of her fiancé brings her back to the hidden city where the opera culminates in a Wagnerian ascension of the loving couple. 

Prior to the opera’s premiere, Rimsky-Korsakov faced his own personal Kitezh when in 1905, as riots against the Tsar spread throughout Russia, he supported protesting students and was suspended from his professorship. Only when public opinion shifted in his favor and he was reinstated could the first production of The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevroniya find its way to the stage. 

Marc Albrecht, conducting the ambitious and beautifully sounding Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest, was not only able to form an arc of tension over three long and unshortened acts  of the masterfully crafted score. He also miraculously balanced the epic inner act and the lyric framing acts in a way that the action on the stage and in the pit came to perfect harmony. The production, subsequently to be shown in Paris, Barcelona and Milan is an ambassador for the huge masterwork by Rimsky-Korsakov which hopefully leads to a general revival of his operas. – Uwe Schweikert (review in ‘Opernwelt’)

The production, which is also available on DVD and Blu-ray, will be available to stream on OperaVision until August. The performance material is available from M.P. Belaieff publishers, exclusively distributed by Schott Music. 

photo: Dutch National Opera / Monika Rittershaus

2020/04/13

Work of the Week – Krzysztof Penderecki: The Devils of Loudun

Composer Krzysztof Penderecki passed away recently at his home in Poland, aged 86. As a tribute to the legacy left by one of the world’s foremost composers, Hamburg State Opera have made their original production of Penderecki’s The Devils of Loudun available to stream on demand for free from 13 April. This world premiere production from 1969 is part of a series of videos from the era of the legendary intendant Rolf Liebermann that the theatre is offering during its present shutdown. It was directed by Konrad Swinarski with costume and stage design by Lidia and Jerzy Skarzynski, and conducted by Henryk Czyz.

The opera is set in the small French town of Loudun, a showplace for sensational occurrences in 1633-34 that were extensively documented and gained renown around Europe, regarded with a mix of fervent repulsion and voyeurism. Urbain Grandier, the village priest of Loudun, was accused in 1633 of having bewitched the nuns, above all Prioress Jeanne of the newly founded Ursuline-Cloister. Under torture he admitted to regretting his lapsed lifestyle and having had relationships with two women – one of whom expected a child from him – but refused steadfastly to confess to his “Devil’s Work” despite “proofs” of the same. In the summer of 1634 he was burned at the stake. For years afterwards the obsessions of the nuns occupied doctors and exorcists, the events ending only as Cardinal Richelieu withdrew his financial support of the cloister.

Krzysztof Penderecki: The Devils of Loudun – an opera about tolerance

The trial against Urban Grandier was included in François de Pitaval’s collection of famous criminal cases. This source, along with the autobiographical recollections of Prioress Jeanne from 1644, and two reports of the trial from 1634 and 1693, were used by Aldous Huxley in 1952 as the basis for his non-fiction novel, The Devils of Loudun. Eight years later John Whiting dramatised Huxley’s writings, and this was the starting point for Penderecki’s libretto (translated into German by Erich Fried). 

For Penderecki, The Devils of Loudun is a work about tolerance and intolerance. Grandier was the victim of political intrigue, where even Jeanne was not really his enemy, but a victim of religious-political fanatics; her erotic neuroses exaggerated by Richelieu’s handiwork into a necessary possession by the Devil. – Wolfram Schwinger 

This world premiere production will be available on Hamburg State Opera’s streaming service until 27 April.

2020/04/06

Work of the Week – Toshio Hosokawa: Meditation to the victims of Tsunami (3.11)

+++ After the following story was published, we learned that the concert and live-streaming had to be cancelled as well. +++

On 11 April, the NHK Symphony Orchestra will perform Toshio Hosokawa’s Meditation to the victims of Tsunami (3.11) as part of a livestream concert conducted by Masaru Kumakura. The concert has been organised to replace the orchestra’s scheduled public performance in response to ongoing restrictions of COVID-19.  Continue reading “Work of the Week – Toshio Hosokawa: Meditation to the victims of Tsunami (3.11)”