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Work of the Week – Gerald Barry: No People.

On 18 October at the Donaueschingen Festival, Ensemble Musikfabrik and with conductor Mariano Chiacchiarini will give the world premiere of Gerald Barry’s No People. for 13 instruments. The work which has been commissioned by SWR, draws on Barry’s earlier work by the same name.

Please note:
After the publication of this article, the Donaueschingen Festival was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, we would like to invite you to learn about this interesting composition.

Continue reading “Work of the Week – Gerald Barry: No People.”


Werk der Woche – Viktor Ullmann: Der Kaiser von Atlantis

Two new productions of Viktor Ullmann´s one-act chamber opera The Emperor of Atlantis or Death’s Refusal are opening in Germany this week. On 26 September the opera opens at Landestheater Neustrelitz, and on 27 September Deutsche Oper am Rhein will present a new production at Opernhaus Düsseldorf. With its compact cast of characters and instrumentation, as well as its timeless staggering subject matter, it is the piece of the hour. 

The opera is a parable of a cruel emperor, whose senseless war is claiming many lives. Death puts an end to the chaos by refusing his duty – now, everyone lives for eternity. The king becomes disempowered, but the people long for a release from the pain of life. Only the voluntary death of the emperor can restore death’s original purpose.

Ullmann wrote The Emperor of Atlantis while imprisoned at the Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1943, based on a libretto by Peter Kien, a fellow prisoner. The opera was rehearsed by a chamber ensemble founded with the permission of the SS, but its performance was prohibited after the final rehearsal. Just before his deportation to Auschwitz in 1944, Ullmann handed the score and libretto to a friend who was able to save both manuscripts.

Viktor Ullmann – The Emperor of Atlantis: a theatrical memorial

I composed quite a lot of new music in Theresienstadt, mostly for satisfying the demands of conductors, directors, pianists, singers and thus for the leisure activities in the Ghetto […]. I need to emphasize that my musical work was encouraged and not inhibited by Theresienstadt. We were not merely succumbing to grief at Babylon’s streams, and our cultural will was equal to our will to live; and I am convinced that all those who have attempted to shape reluctant material in either life or art would agree with me. – Viktor Ullmann

There will be two further performances at Landestheater Neustrelitz with the last night being presented on 24 October. In Düsseldorf, the Deutsche Oper am Rhein will run for a further eight performances until 19 November. Several versions and manuscripts of the opera are available that show the work in various stages before and after its censorship. A new Eulenburg study score from Schott (ETP 8067) shows each version together in one edition.

photo: Deutsche Oper am Rhein / Hans Jörg Michel


Work of the Week – Toshio Hosokawa: The Flood

On 16 September, Ensemble Intercontemporain directed by Matthias Pintscher presents the world premiere of Toshio Hosokawa’s The Flood at the Philharmonie de Paris. The work, which has been jointly commissioned by the ensemble and the Ojai Music Festival in California, was originally scheduled to premiere at the festival in June.

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Work of the Week – Jörg Widmann: Zeitensprünge

The Staatskappelle Berlin celebrates its impressive history as it marks its 450th anniversary this year. The earliest sources mentioning the orchestra date from 1570. On 11 September, the world premiere of a new work by Jörg Widmann commissioned specially for the occasion, Zeitensprünge (Leaps in time), will be given in a concert conducted by Daniel Barenboim at the Berlin State Opera House. 

The title Zeitensprünge is a pun about musical time-travel and stylistic escapades. Widmann explores the multiple stylistic periods through which the orchestra has lived during its long history, with the opening bars featuring an off-stage ensemble playing renaissance dances. Only when the musicians enter the stage does the idea of conducting start to take form, and a concert of today’s understanding commences. 

Jörg Widmann – Zeitensprünge: A Concerto for Orchestra in a nutshell

Though Zeitensprünge is a condensed 10-minute orchestral work of only 450 bars (one for each year of the Staatskapelle´s history), it nevertheless has everything a full-scale Concerto for Orchestra needs. There are solos from nearly every section of the orchestra, ensembles such as fanfares emerge from the texture, medieval winds and consorts play next to each other, and Widmann uses a variety of musical forms to lead to a brilliant final canon that symbolises many becoming one. 

“When I sit in front of a sheet of manuscript paper, I don’t keep thinking ‘you have to invent something new’. Not at all. My head is full of harmonies, connections and combinations that have never been heard before. My problem is to find forms for them. I am now in a stage of fighting to find these new forms.” – Jörg Widmann 

Photos:Marco Borggrve, Adobe Stock / spuno


Work of the Week – Christian Jost: Concerto noir redux

2020 is the 200th anniversary of the Berlin Konzerthaus, a concert hall that started life as a theatre. In celebration of this anniversary as part of Musikfest Berlin, Christian Tetzlaff will perform the world premiere of a new violin concerto by Christian Jost on 6 September. The concerto, entitled Concerto noir redux, will be accompanied by Konzerthausorchester Berlin and conducted by Christoph Eschenbach. 

Concerto noir redux was originally intended to bear the same title as his opera Journey of Hope – Voyage of Despair. However, after the cancellation of the original premiere in March 2020, Jost chose instead to make changes to the music in response to recent events.

Christian Jost – Concerto noir redux: music from the lockdown

The result was not only a smaller orchestra, necessitated by social distancing, but a work that expresses a darker character and soundworld. Concerto noir redux is now one of two versions of the work Concerto noir, each with the same solo part.

Usually, I compose with a clear idea of the musical structure and of the sounds, and therefore of the course of the resulting work. But this time it was different. There was an initial thought for the opening in which the solo violin gradually separates from unison with the first violins. From this starting point the work should virtually compose itself. The resulting single-movement concerto with a single tempo (quarter = 76 espressivo) is driven by rhythmic ‘cells’. I completed the composition more or less simultaneously with the end of the lockdown, and since this had given rise to a work with predominantly dark shades of colour and sound, I considered Concerto noir to be a perfect title. Christian Jost

Photos: Adobe Stock / lakkot, Joe Quiao


Heinrich Poos 1928–2020

Master of polyphonic choral music – an obituary

On 19 August 2020, the composer Heinrich Poos died at the age of 91. The composer, who lived in Rhineland-Palatinate and Berlin, stands in the great tradition of the polyphonic choral music of Heinrich Isaak, Heinrich Schütz and Ernst Pepping and is one of the most important German choral composers of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Poos was born on 25.12.1928 in the Protestant parsonage of Seibersbach (Soonwald). It was here that domestic and church music, together with his environment influenced by Protestantism, laid the foundation for his later thinking and work at an early age. After completing his amateur examination in church music in Oldenburg (1946), Poos studied at the Berliner Kirchenmusikschule [Berlin School of Church Music] with Ernst Pepping, Gottfried Grote and Herbert Schulze (state examination in church music in 1954) and completed his musical education from 1955 to 1957 with Erich Peter and Boris Blacher at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik. From 1955 to 1970 he worked as a choirmaster and organist in various Berlin communities. During that time, he also studied musicology, philosophy and theology at Freie Universität Berlin. In 1964 Poos received his doctoral degree with a thesis on the vocal œuvre of Ernst Pepping. After having worked as a lecturer of music theory at both Technische Universität Berlin and the Berlin Hochschule für Musik since 1965, he became professor of music theory at the Berlin Hochschule der Künste in 1971. After his retirement in 1994, he accepted a teaching position at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt/Main. Poos was working as a musicologist and composer until his last breath.

Poos was always in “search of new music that rather wants to be music than new”. This search was “laborious”, he admitted in his essay “Beziehungszauber”. The fact that he underwent this effort again and again bore rich fruit in the form of an extensive œuvre, especially in the area of vocal music. His main œuvre has been published by Schott Music. It is characterized by masterful polyphony, bold sonority and an intellectual musical interpretation of the texts. In addition to Bertolt Brecht, whom he had met personally, his passion was for the writers of ancient Greece. With their subtle interpretation of texts, his choral works make major works of classical literature accessible to musicians and listeners of today. His important works include the choral cycles “Pax et Bonum” (1981), “Hypostasis” (Jakobs Traum, 1992), “Epistolae” (1999) “Zeichen am Weg” (1999), the Orpheus Fantasies (2001) and the Brecht cycle “Was hast du gesehen, Wanderer?“ (2006).

The compositional and scientific literary work of Poos has achieved great national and international recognition, including, among others, the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (1987), the Composition Award of the Union of European Choral Federations (1991), the Peter Cornelius Medal of the Rhineland-Palatinate (1999), and the Geschwister Mendelssohn Medal (2013). With him, we have lost a fascinating artist, who saw himself as a craftsman and a fighter for music and who emphasized in every publisher’s interview how much he enjoyed his profession. To the question “Mr. Poos, how are you?” he always replied: “I have work to do.

The Schott publishing house was privileged to accompany Poos for over six decades and is grateful for the creative, fruitful and always trusting cooperation. His works have found their place in the large and extremely rich repertoire of European choral music and will continue to resound – beyond this day.


Work of the Week – Akiko Yamane: Arcade

On 26 August, Arcade, a new 20-minute orchestral work by Akiko Yamane will receive its world premiere at Suntory Hall, Tokyo. The concert, which is part of the 2020 Suntory Summer Festival will be given by the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Yoichi Sugiyama.

Yamane describes Arcade as drawing on the idea of drone music that programmatically expresses a consumerist society where the needs and desires of the people are seemingly under control. Below the surface, however, their internal desires and contradictions become apparent. Arcade has been commissioned by the Suntory Arts Foundation. 

Akiko Yamane – Arcade: State of uncertainty within a fragile society

I seek to depict this idea with a quality of sound that a person can feel on their skin. The sound fluctuates according to subtle changes within the listener’s body, or in accordance with a particular place or space and so on. In this piece, I stop and turn my attention to the various layers of sound and focus on their essence. Akiko Yamane 

Photos: Adobe Stock / topntp, Coco


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


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.


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