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On December 1st the Berlin ensemble work-in-progress (cond. Gerhard Müller-Goldboom) and the Arabian al-Kindi ensemble will give a further performance of what is probably Klaus Huber's most unusual chamber music composition: "Die Erde tanzt auf den Hörnern eines Stieres" is an assemblage for two ‘Western’ musicians with fully notated parts, and four Arab musicians who sing and play according to their own musical traditions. Their activities are supplemented by tape playbacks, including concrète everyday sounds.
Two days later, on December 3rd, the Resonanz Ensemble from Hamburg, conducted by Robert HP Platz, will interpret Nikolaus Brass's "Strahl" for solo flute and eleven strings, and Robert HP Platz's "Branenwelten", likewise for flute and strings. In both cases, the soloist is Carin Levine.
A new orchestral composition by Nikolaus Brass will be heard in Germany for the first time on December 5th at the Hubert-Burda-Sall of the Jewish Centre in Munich, along with works by Gustav Mahler and Gideon Klein.
"Voci sommerse" was commissioned by the Friends of the Jakobsplatz Orchestra for its 2011 tour of Uzbekistan, with its conductor Daniel Grossmann. The title means something like “submerged voices”, and may thus refer to the numerous compositional voices that were brutally silenced during the Nazi era, as was also the fate of Gideon Klein (1919-1945).
The premiere of "Voci sommerse" was on November 5th in Samarkand (Uzbekistan), with follow-up performances on 6.11 in Qarshi, 7.11. in Bukhara, and 9.11. in Tashkent. Concerning his piece, the composer writes: “Though frequently fractured and overlaid with heterogeneous, raw, dissonant sonic layers of differing densities, ‘residues’ of song, echoes of ‘cries’ keep appearing; their origins are indecipherable. In Voci sommerse, the composition’s harmonic field is enriched by the acoustic frictions and irritations that occur when ‘natural sounds’ , i.e. ‘natural notes’, crop up in the context of the customary tempered tuning. The natural overtones, and especially the frequently heard 7th partial, plus a rich spectrum of differently tuned thirds, evoke a very particular mood, where something familiar seems to be perceived far off. The music ‘speaks’ of this familiar thing as something that has been lost.”
On commission from the Mainfrankentheater in Würzburg, Reinhard Febel has recently written a new orchestral work that will be premiered in the concert hall of the Würzburg Hochschule für Musik on December 8th and 9th. Reinhard Febel explains his new work’s title as follows: “The word “stelle” has many associations for me, and listeners too should be able to link it to many different things. For an Italian, “stelle’ (with lower-case ‘s’) naturally means, above all, ‘stars’. Here I see a connection with the piece’s pointillist structures, which I have always found particularly attractive. But in German, of course, a ‘Stelle’ is also a place, somewhere that can be geographically located. In Schumann, for example, there is the ‘Haunted Spot’ in Waldszenen, relating to a mysterious place – perhaps to a crime spot. And then, in a musical context, one might associate the word Stelle (= passage) with the so-called ‘beautiful passages’ in a classical piece.” "stele" will be interpreted by the orchestra of the Mainfrankentheater, Würzburg, conducted by General Music Director Enrico Calesso.
Later in the 2011/2012 season there will be an unusual opera production at the Mainfrankentheater, where the director will be the composer himself. Febel’s "Triptychon" (consisting of the three chamber operas "Frida", "Raum 13" and"Gespensterhaus") for two singers, two actors and ensemble, previously staged in separate parts at the Taschenoper (Pocket Opera) festival in Salzburg, and in full at the Kiel Opera, has been re-named "Morde in Bildern" [Murders in pictures] for the Würzburg production. The set design is by Stella Kasparek, and the costumes are by Kristopher Kempf. The premiere is on February 22nd at the Museum im Kulturspeicher.
In mid-October Gerhard Stäbler’s ensemble composition "Nähte der Luft" for seven players and speakers was premiered at the Lemberg Philharmonic; it was composed in 2010 on commission from the “nostri temporis” ensemble from Kiev, which recently made a big impression in Germany at the 2010 Darmstadt Summer Courses. The piece is based on the poem “Life means Dying” by Serhiy Zhadan. In the Ukraine Serhiy Zhadan is regarded as one of the most important young poets, and he is also receiving more and more attention in Germany. Zhadan himself took part as a speaker at the premiere in Lviv, and a further performance in Kiev. Both performances were sponsored by the Goethe Institute in the Ukraine, as a follow-up project from the previous year’s “Play-streets – Street Plays” festival, also organised by the Goethe Institute, which opened with a ‘concertante intervention’ by Stäbler and Zhadan on Kiev’s culture street, the Andriyivskyy Descent.
At the end of October came a Gerhard Stäbler portrait concert mounted by the “Neue Pegnitzschäfer” in cooperation with the Neues Museum in Nuremberg. A central feature was the premiere of "demnach – An unfolded quartet for horn solo and action groups with skateboards, concrete mixers and vacuum cleaners", on a poem by Frank Schablewski. This composition was written for Wilfried Krüger, the Nuremburg horn player, and for many years artistic director of the “Neue Pegnitzschäfer”. The performance took place in two parts: one on the forecourt in front of the Germanisches Museum, with young skateboarders from the Nuremberg scene (Part I), the other in Nuremberg’s Neues Museum (Part II). Krüger appeared as soloist, and the unusual ensemble comprised the percussionists from the KlangKonzeptEnsemble, the “Neue Pegnitzschäfer”, and four skaters from Nuremberg’s Skateboardfreunde.
Gerhard Stäbler is currently about to finish his new opera "Erlöst Albert E.", with a libretto by Matthias Kaiser. In it, Kaiser and Stäbler take an unusual approach to one of the most important personalities to come from the city of Ulm: Albert Einstein. The premiere of this full-length work will be given next year at the Ulm Theatre, on June 14th 2012. Once again, alongside the Ulm Theatre’s professionals, there will be children and young people both onstage and in the orchestra pit, involved in evolving and performing this project. For follow-up performances, with additional ‘performance parts’, there are plans to involve not just the Ulm Theatre, but also other venues in the city, e.g. Ulm Cathedral.
“Fabien Lévy’s ‘Querwüchsig’ was like one of Satie’s puppet dances reimagined for the 21st century, with shades of ‘film noir’ and cartoon music.” So wrote The Telegraph after the first performance of the revised version of "Querwüchsig" by Fabien Lévy on the 26th of November. The Ensemble Linea presented their new version of the piece for 13 instruments at the Huddersfield Festival of Contemporary Music 2011.
Lévy discussed the title as follows: “‘Querwüchsig’ is a german neologism formed from the root words Quer (diagonal) and Wuchs/Wüchsig (to grow or sprout), and echoes the German Urwüchsig (lusty, primitive) or Wildwuchs (uncontrolled growth). The title derives in part from the rapid progress of the piece, which sprang forth (something quite rare in my music) despite the chaos of relocating from place to place (from Berlin to New York in 2006), and also by the character of the music, in which wild and hairy thematic cells move violently from one part to another in a technique inspired by the cross-rhythms of Central African polyphony which I have developed over the years and have applied to every musical parameter.”
“We met at my house looking for inspiration for Dai’s creative mind. I first freely demonstrated the instrument’s more conventional characteristics – its timbre, resonance, harmonics, gentle dynamics, and colours in the middle register. Then I moved to more experimental, extended techniques, for example treating the bass like a big guitar (many taxi driver’s preferred description of the bass!), using arpeggio chords, fast tremolo and slap effects.” This is how the double bassist Enno Senft describes his collaboration with composer Dai Fujikura for his double bass concerto that premiered on the 5th of November at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall. The solo double bassist, who performs with the London Sinfonietta, has often worked with Fujikura and has performed many (world) premieres with him. The result is like an imaginary journey into the interior of the solo instrument.
Dai Fujikura explains the concept: „For the concerto, I wanted to describe the journey of a man picking up the instrument for the first time, playing it with the palm/flesh of his hands, hits the double bass strings by hand to produce a gentle, gong-like sound.”
On the 28th of October in Stuttgart, the premiere of "flicker" was performed: Fujikura’s chamber music composition for cello and piano. The Ensemble Cross Art will present it twice in December, on the 9th of December at the Art Museum in Stuttgart and on the 19th of December in the Stuttgart Musikhochschule.
For more information: www.ensemblecrossart.com
On December 6th the Trio Coriolis present an evening of new music and film at the Munich Untergrund im Einstein. This will include the premiere of the string trio "...steigt die Flamme singt..." (2010), a work for viola, cello, and double bass by the Lörrach composer Thomas Lauck.
On December 3rd, at the Gare du Nord, the Phoenix Basel ensemble conducted by Jürg Henneberger will give the first Swiss performance of Enno Poppe’s ensemble composition "Schrank". The same concert will also include "Salz" for nine instrumentalists.
The opening concert of the IMATRONIC Festival of electronic music, at the Zentrum für Kunst- and Medientechnologie (ZKM) in Karlsruhe on November 23rd, included the premiere of a composition by Bojidar Spassov. "La folia" (2009), which lasts about half an hour, is conceived for piano, trombone, electronics and live video. The interpreters were Mike Svoboda and Catherine Vickers; Bojidar Spassov himself took care of the sound projection.
As part of the "Supernova 3" concert series at the Tonhalle in Düsseldorf, on November 19th the Ensemble Aventure gave the first performance of the expanded version of "KLANG-MOMENTE – Neun Stücke für acht Instrumente" (2009-2011) by Thomas Bruttger, who has already had a long-lasting collaboration with this ensemble. The second performance, likewise by Ensemble Aventure, took place on November 21st at Freiburg im Breisgau.