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2021/07/30

Work of the Week – Carl Orff: Die Bernauerin

In celebration of Carl Orff’s 125th anniversary on 10 July 2020), Die Bernauerin was scheduled to be performed for the first time at the Orff Festival in a reduced version  by Paul Leonard Schäffer. This premiere has been postponed to 4 August 2021 due to COVID-19 pandemic. What performance location could have been better suited to this ‘Bavarian piece’ than the Florian-Stadl in the Andechs monastery where Orff was buried in the
pilgrimage church?

‘I am an old Bavarian, born in Munich, and this city, this region and this landscape have given me a great deal and exerted a significant influence on my personality and works.’ (Carl Orff )

Carl Orff created a memorial for his homeland with his work Die Bernauerin which was influenced in equal parts by Friedrich Hebbel’s drama of the same name and by traditional songs. The composition presents the moving story of Agnes Bernauer who was married well above her status to Albrecht III of Bavaria in the 15th century. Orff undertook intensive studies to enable him to write his libretto in the authentic Bavarian language of that period. Text and music play an equally signifi cant role and the vernacular colouring highlights the onomatopoetic and rhythmic material of the dramatic form.

Illustration: Die Bernauerin, Staatsoper Stuttgart 1965 · Figurines by Liselotte Erler

 

2021/05/18

Elbphilharmonie Hamburg: Online Premire of Toshio Hosokawa’s new Violin Concerto

Genesis – creation is the title of Toshio Hosokawa’s new Violin Concerto which he wrote for violinist Veronika Eberle. As part of the International Music Festival Hamburg, the world premiere will take place on 19 May 2021, 8 pm local time (6 pm UTC), after the date had to be postponed multiple times. It will be live streamed on the YouTube channel of the Philharmonic State Orchestra Hamburg, Kent Nagano is conducting.

“Veronika Eberle gave birth to a baby last November. I composed the piece as a present for
her and her baby. In the concerto, the soloist represents a human being, while the orchestra is imagined as nature and the universe surrounding him. At the beginning, the orchestra repeats wave motions suggestive of amniotic fluid, then the melodic line of the violin solo (= life) is generated from the inside of ‘cradle’, and is developing while imitating melodies inside the orchestra, then becomes independent of it, conflicts with it, however, finally finds a harmony inside the orchestra and dissolves into it.” Toshio Hosokawa

Toshio Hosokawa
Violin Concerto
Genesis · 18’
19 May 2021 | Hamburg (D)
Elbphilharmonie
Veronika Eberle, violin
Philharmonic State Orchestera Hamburg
Kent Nagano, conductor

Commissioned by Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra (SOČR) and Grafenegg Festival

 

2021/02/02

World Premiere of an early Violin Concerto by Hans Werner Henze

On 4 February 2021, 21:05 GMT Konzertmusik for violin and small chamber orchestra by Hans Werner Henze will receive it’s world premiere. After several attempts to perform the work had to be cancelled in 2020, the Bavarian Radio will broadcast a studio recording with Peter Tilling and the Ensemble risonanze erranti. This will officially mark the world premiere of the composition.

Konzertmusik is the earliest work composed by Hans Werner Henze and published by Schott: the concerto for violin and small chamber orchestra, written when he was only 17. It was not until the end of World War II that he was able to devote himself intensively to composition: a short time later, he was signed by Schott. The composition reveals its inspiration from Paul Hindemith. In its chamber music structure, a series of instruments from the ensemble including flute, trumpet and the first player of violin I repeatedly take on small solo passages and accompany the solo violin in groups of two or three. In the finale however, a ‘genuine’ virtuoso violin concerto unfolds in miniature.

Porträt Hans Werner Henze: © Schott Music / Hans Kenner

2020/10/12

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.”

2020/09/14

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.

Continue reading “Work of the Week – Toshio Hosokawa: The Flood”

2020/09/07

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

2020/08/31

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

2020/08/24

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

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])

2020/02/24

Work of the Week – Pierre Jalbert: Ephemeral Objects

On 28 February, Pierre Jalbert’s Ephemeral Objects for cello and piano will receive its world premiere at Middlebury College, Vermont. The new work, which was commissioned by Middlebury Performing Arts Series in celebration of its 100th Anniversary, will be performed by cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han. Continue reading “Work of the Week – Pierre Jalbert: Ephemeral Objects”