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Work of the Week – Aribert Reimann: Fragments de Rilke

‘La secret de la vie’, (the secret of life) is the topic of Aribert Reimann’s recent work, Fragments de Rilke, which will receive its world premiere on 23 February 2019 at the Berlin Philharmonie. This song cycle for soprano and orchestra was commissioned by the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin who will give the first performance as part of the Brahms-Perspektiven festival with chief conductor, Robin Ticciati and soprano soloist, Rachel Harnisch. Continue reading “Work of the Week – Aribert Reimann: Fragments de Rilke”


Work of the Week – Jörg Widmann: Babylon

On 16 February 2019, Jörg Widmann’s Babylon-Suite will be performed by Orchestre National de France under the direction of Nicholas Collon in the Radio France Auditorium in Paris as part of the Festival Présence. The performance will be accompanied by video-installations created by students of the École Estienne. Continue reading “Work of the Week – Jörg Widmann: Babylon”


Work of the Week – Gavin Bryars: Requiem

On the 9 February 2019, Dutch National Ballet will give world premiere of Gavin Bryars’ Requiem, ten-movement setting of liturgical texts, for orchestra, chorus, and vocal soloists with choreography by David Dawson. The performance will be the first of a seven to be given throughout February in Amsterdam with the final performance taking place on 1 March. Continue reading “Work of the Week – Gavin Bryars: Requiem”


Work of the Week – Pēteris Vasks: Symphony No. 2

Containing both immense soundscapes and delicate, lyrical melodies, Pēteris Vasks’ Symphony No. 2 for large orchestra is a work that oscillates between extremes. On 1 February 2019, the Winnipeg New Music Festival will perform the symphony’s North American premiere in Canada led by conductor Daniel Raiskin. Continue reading “Work of the Week – Pēteris Vasks: Symphony No. 2”


Work of the Week – Kurt Weill: Street Scene

On 22 December, Theater Münster will perform Kurt Weill’s opera Street Scene (1946), staged by Hendrik Müller and conducted by Stefan Veselka. Continue reading “Work of the Week – Kurt Weill: Street Scene”


Work of the Week – Wilfried Hiller: Momo

On 16 December, the world premiere of Wilfried Hiller’s children’s opera Momo will take place at Munich’s Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz, staged by Nicole Claudia Weber and conducted by Michael Brandstätter. Anna Woll will play the title role of Momo, alongside the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz chorus and children’s choir. Continue reading “Work of the Week – Wilfried Hiller: Momo”


Work of the Week – Bernd Alois Zimmermann: Des Menschen Unterhaltsprozess gegen Gott

To celebrate Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s centenary year, the Volksbühne Berlin will present his radio oratorio Des Menschen Unterhaltsprozess gegen Gott (The People’s Maintenance Payments case against God) staged for the first time on 26 November in a production by Christian Filips. A number of ensembles from Berlin will come together for the performance to form an immense cast, with Kai-Uwe Jirka conducting.

Living amongst the devastation of World War II in Cologne, Zimmermann composed Des Menschen Unterhaltsprozess gegen Gott based on Hubert Rüttger’s German translation of Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s play Los Alimentos del hombre. The oratorio was first broadcast in 1952 in collaboration with the Cologne Westdeutscher Rundfunk, but was subsequently largely forgotten. The work features elements of melodrama, opera and early electronic music, while also drawing upon the music of Germany’s post-war occupiers, such as the jazz of the Americans, the French timbre of Debussy, and musical quotations from the Ballet Russes.

Bernd Alois Zimmermann – Des Menschen Unterhaltsprozess gegen Gott: a radio oratorio

Des Menschen begins with Adam violating God’s command, resulting in his banishment from the Garden of Eden to live on earth working as a farmer. Adam quickly grows tired of his new life, so when he one day meets the Devil, he readily accepts the Devil’s advice to sue God for maintenance, beginning a great metaphysical trial.

“The peculiarity and significance of this dedication to the glorification of the Holy Eucharist, with such intimate combinations of words and music, lends itself perfectly to the form of radio oratorio … I am looking forward to this great and beautiful task, above all because it could rescue an almost completely unknown work by Calderón from undeserved oblivion.” – Bernd Alois Zimmermann

Further performances commemorating Zimmermann’s centenary year include Dialogues, Symphony in One Movement and Monologues by the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks in Munich on 14 December, and the WDR Symphony Orchestra will present a selection of Zimmermann’s works at the Kölner Philharmonie on 14 & 15 December, including his Violin Concerto.


Work of the Week – Anton Bruckner: Requiem in D minor and Libera me in F minor

On 22 November, the RIAS Kammerchor will perform Anton Bruckner’s Reqiuem in D minor and Libera me in F minor at the Berlin Philharmonie alongside the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, conducted by Łukasz Borowicz. They will perform using the new Anton Bruckner Urtext Complete Edition, edited by Benjamin-Gunnar Cohrs. Continue reading “Work of the Week – Anton Bruckner: Requiem in D minor and Libera me in F minor”