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BBC Proms 2017

The 2017 BBC Proms season includes performances of a number of works from the Schott catalogue, including three premieres.

A BBC co-commission with the Bergen Philharmonic and Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Julian Anderson’s piano concerto The Imaginary Museum receives its world premiere by pianist Steven Osborne with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Ilan Volkov on 26 July. The world premiere of Gerald Barry’s Canada for voice and orchestra will be given by tenor Allan Clayton, in a programme on 21 August by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Mirga Gražinytë-Tyla, which also includes Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto. Receiving its UK premiere is Thomas Larcher’s Nocturne-Insomnia for chamber orchestra with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Robin Ticcati on 15 August.

On 28 July, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and James Gaffigan will perform The Seahawk, Korngold’s stirring overture from the 1940 film, and the BBC Philharmonic with John Storgårds will present Hindemith’s Symphony: Mathis der Maler on 10 August. Stravinsky’s ever-popular Firebird suite will also make an appearance on 29 August, with the Oslo Philharmonic and conductor Vasily Petrenko.


Julian Anderson wins BBC Music Magazine Premiere Award 2017

We are delighted that Julian Anderson has been announced winner of this year’s BBC Music Magazine Premiere Award for his second portrait disc with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Vladimir Jurowski.

The recording is a celebration of the long relationship between Anderson and the LPO, including the world premiere recording of Schott work In lieblicher Bläue poem for violin and orchestra with violinist Carolin Widmann, written for the ensemble during his tenure as composer in residence. Further works on the disc are Alleluia for chorus and orchestra, also a world premiere recording, and The Stations of the Sun for orchestra.

In lieblicher Bläue has been described as having a “a pearly new-dawn iridescence, as if the world has returned to a state of primal innocence” (Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph) and has had numerous performances by the likes of Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and The Hallé Orchestra since its 2015 premiere. It will be performed again on 21 October by Carolin Widmann and the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the BBC Total Immersion Day for Julian Anderson at the Barbican Centre.

Julian Anderson – profile
BBC Music Magazine Awards 2017


New Biography Announced for Sir Michael Tippett

A new biography of Sir Michael Tippett by writer and broadcaster Oliver Soden has been announced. Due to be published in 2019 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, the book will provide context for Tippett’s evolving and varied music, situating him within the wider musical, social and political narrative of the 21st century.

Soden’s authorised biography will also tell the full “dramatic” story of Tippett’s life, from his often turbulent childhood through to his old age, in which he developed a keen interest in popular culture while managing ill health. It covers his political activism, his experiences during two world wars, his relationships with men and women and his work’s open portrayal of homosexuality at a time when it remained illegal.

The Tippett Estate, the Tippett Foundation, and Tippett’s partner (Meirion Bowen) have given their full support to the book, and will open a number of private archives for the first time, allowing use of letters, manuscript scores, and private audiotapes as well as a number of never-before-seen photographs, an unpublished memoir by Tippett and his brother, and newly discovered correspondence and music manuscripts.

Believing a full-length biography to be well overdue, Soden comments: “Michael Tippett has been a passion since my schooldays and I am thrilled, honoured and not a little daunted to have become his biographer.”


Huw Watkins wins Stoeger Prize

The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s 2016 Elise L. Stoeger Prize has been awarded to Schott composer Huw Watkins. The Stoeger Prize is given every two years in recognition of significant contributions to the field of chamber music composition. Chamber Music Society Artistic Directors David Finckel and Wu Han commented on the announcement:

“Our jury members were universal in their admiration of his work, praising it as fresh and emotionally gripping, beautifully crafted and endlessly lyrical. He won their full endorsement and we agree that Watkins, as a composer of immense talent, is well suited to join the illustrious ranks of his predecessors.”

Amongst Watkins’ upcoming projects are a Symphony to be premiered by the Hallé Orchestra and Sir Mark Elder on 20 April, a new song cycle for soprano Ruby Hughes to premiere at Carnegie Hall this autumn, a new piano quintet commissioned by the Chamber Music Society to premiere in the 2018/19 season.

Future commissions include a new orchestral work for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, with whom Watkins is Composer-in-Association.


Andrew Norman’s Play receives European premiere at Musica Nova Helsinki

Andrew Norman’s Play for orchestra has been added to the opening concert of this year’s Musica Nova Helsinki festival on 1 February. The performance, given by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and André de Ridder, will be the European premiere of the complete version of the work.

Play was recently named the winner of the prestigious 2017 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition. Premiered by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project in 2013 and recorded on the orchestra’s own label, the piece has also been nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition, and critic and musicologist William Robin said it “might be the best orchestral work that the twenty-first century has seen thus far.” In October, the Los Angeles Philharmonic gave the premiere performance of Play in its revised form, having previously toured the work’s first section Play Level 1 internationally.

André de Ridder, this year’s artistic director of the Musica Nova festival, writes: “Andrew Norman already belongs to the most prolific composers working today, and his style is best described as breathtakingly exuberant and maverick. I’m proud to present the European premiere of Play at Musica nova.”


Anderson, Korngold, Maxwell Davies and Tippett shortlisted for 2016 Gramophone Awards

We’re proud to announce that recordings of works by Schott composers Julian Anderson, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, and Sir Michael Tippett have been shortlisted for 2016 Gramophone Classical Music Awards.

From the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s own label, Julian Anderson’s violin concerto In lieblicher Bläue is the opening track on an all-Anderson CD shortlisted in the contemporary category. Featuring three works conducted by Vladimir Jurowski, the release celebrates the Anderson’s tenure as LPO Composer in Residence (2010-2014) and has received rave reviews. In lieblicher Bläue was written for violinist Carolin Widmann and commissioned by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Seattle Symphony Orchestra and Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin.

Max 5 (c) Martin Lengemann resizedAlso in the contemporary category is the London Symphony Orchestra’s recording of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ Symphony No. 10 released on the on the LSO Live label. The work was premiered in 2014 by the orchestra along with the LSO chours, baritone Markus Butter Stone and conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano. A co-commission between the London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra e Coro dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra, the symphony is a deeply moving meditation on the nature of creativity, the artist’s relationship with the past and, ultimately, mortality.

Sir Michael Tippett’s String Quartet Nos. 1-5 are shortlisted in the chamber music category for Wigmore Hall Live’s recording by the Heath Quartet. Spanning a compositional period of over 60 years, the quartets document a fascinating progression of Tippett’s compositional maturation.

Shortlisted in the concerto category, Korngold’s Violin Concerto recorded on the Warner Classics label features Vilde Frang as violin soloist with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony conducted by James Gaffigan.

The Gramophone Awards are among the most prestigious in the world of classical music. 72 recordings have been shortlisted for honours in 2016 and the top three recordings in each category will be announced on 12 August.


Wang Xilin: German Premiere of Symphony No. 5

Mid-July 2016 sees the first German-Chinese Classical Music Festival in the south-Hessian town of Langen. From 12 to 17 July 2016, the festival offers music from a variety of eras, styles and themes, including programmes entitled “from Taoism to Bach”, “from Bach to the Great Wall”, “Orient meet Occident”, and “Music of Mourning Strings”.

A special highlight of the festival will be the final concert, featuring the German premiere of Chinese composer Wang Xilin’s Symphony No. 5 with the festival orchestra conducted by Muhai Tang. The Symphony for 22 solo strings was written between 2001 and 2006 and was its world premiere in 2006 by the Beijing Symphony Orchestra at the Chinese capital. In the concert at Langen, it is presented alongside Richard Strauss’ Metamorphosen for 23 solo strings and Franz Schubert’s Rondino for violin and strings.

Wang Xilin is one of the most significant composers in China, distinct for his expressive and dramatic musical language and his subversive politics. Wang was born in Kaifeng in Henan Province of China. In 1957, he was admitted to the department of composing and conducting of Shanghai Conservatory of Music where he studied with Liu Zhuang, Chen Mingzhi, Ding Shande and Qu Wei. Wang composed his Symphony No. 1 as his graduation work in 1962. This was followed by an appointment as Composer in Residence with the Beijing Central Radio Symphony Orchestra. Wang’s 1963 symphonic suite Yunnan Tone Poem was later awarded the highest prize given by Chinese government. Wang’s extensive oeuvre comprises eight symphonies, numerous concertos, symphonic suites, overtures, and music for film, as well as a body of chamber and vocal works.


Hans Werner Henze: 90th Birthday on 1 July 2016

Obituaries were published in more than twenty countries following the death of Hans Werner Henze in October 2012 in Dresden: an overwhelming universal expression of the international recognition of his creative works. Henze’s collegiate presence at rehearsals and premieres, and his gratitude towards the performers of his compositions have been sorely missed since.
Continue reading “Hans Werner Henze: 90th Birthday on 1 July 2016”


Work of the Week – György Ligeti: Lontano

Marking the tenth anniversary of György Ligeti’s death on 12 June, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra will perform Lontano for orchestra conducted by Jonathan Nott in the Konzerthalle Bamberg on 8 and 9 June, and on 11 June in the Vienna Konzerthaus.

Ligeti’s compositional techniques

The Italian performance instruction ‘lontano’ translating as ‘far away’ or ‘distant’, describes the style in which this work is performed. Ligeti’s music has a distinctive character with an often eerie atmosphere created by layering very quiet sounds that build and eventually merge together. He creates gripping tension that is favoured by film directors: Lontano has been used in films such as The Shining by Stanley Kubrick and Shutter Island by Martin Scorsese.

As an alternative to the serial music of his contemporaries, Ligeti created a stylistic device that he described as ‘Micropolyphony’. This compositional technique involves overlapping many musical lines, which move in different tempos and rhythms to form tone clusters. For Ligeti, bar lines are only used to help the orientation of the musicians, they do not mark any metric focal points.

The “harmonic crystallisation” within the area of sonority leads to an intervallic-harmonic thought process which is thereby radically different from traditional and also atonal harmony.  Technically speaking, this is achieved with the aid of polyphonic methods: fictive harmonies emerge from a complex vocal woven texture, gradual opacity and new crystallisation are the result of discrete alterations in the individual parts. The polyphony in itself is almost imperceptible but its harmonic effect represents the intrinsic musical action: what is on the page is polyphony, but what is heard is harmony. – György Ligeti

Bamberg Symphony Orchestra will also perform Ligeti’s San Francisco Polyphony on 8, 9 and 11 June. Other upcoming performances of Ligeti’s works include Mysteries of the Macabre, an arrangement of three coloratura arias from the opera Le Gran Macabre, performed in Zürich 10 and 11 June. Melodien for orchestra will be performed by Sinfonia Iuventus on 18 June in Warsaw and Städtisches Orchester Bremerhaven will perform Concert Românesc conducted by Marc Niemann on 20 and 21 June in the Stadttheater Bremerhaven.


Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik

Being Beauteous / Kammermusik 1958 Being Beauteous / Kammermusik 1958
18,50 €

Hans Werner Henze: Being Beauteous /
Kammermusik 1958

– WERGO-CD auf der Bestenliste 2/2016 –

Die WERGO-CD mit Hans Werner Henzes „Being Beauteous” wurde in die Bestenliste des Preises der deutschen Schallplattenkritik aufgenommen.

Die Kantate “Being Beauteous” nach dem gleichnamigen Prosagedicht Arthur Rimbauds komponierte Henze 1963 unmittelbar nach seiner ersten USA-Reise. In Manhattan und Harlem hatte der Komponist das Aufeinanderprallen der Gegensätze von Arm und Reich erfahren.

Bestenliste 2/2016

Hans Werner Henze: “Being Beauteous /
Kammermusik 1958”

WER 73342


Being Beauteous Kantate auf das gleichnamige Gedicht aus “Les Illuminations” von Arthur Rimbaud 
für Koloratursopran, Harfe und vier Violincelli (1963)
Kammermusik 1958 über die Hymne “In lieblicher Bläue” von Friedrich Hölderlin 
für Tenor, Gitarre und acht Instrumente (1958)

Anna Prohaska: Sopran / Peter Gijsbertsen: Tenor / NDR Sinfonieorchester /
Peter Ruzicka: Leitung