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G. Ricordi & Co. München
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Born in 1962 in Munich as the son of a Turkish immigrant, and now living in Berlin, Ali N. Askin is one of the most versatile composers of his generation. He has become known for many works for the concert hall (including the works for percussion ensemble published by Ricordi), for the theatre, film and television. He has also been constantly active in the fields of rock, jazz and club music, making use of remix and sampling procedures. In addition, he also worked closely with the composers Heiner Goebbels and Frank Zappa, whose works he partly arranged for performances by Ensemble Modern.
Recently his full-length chamber opera "insan. inşaat. istanbul" [Man. Building site. Istanbul] attracted attention when premiered in Wuppertal in 2011. Following his "Iterations" (2005) for spatially distributed string groups, composed for Ensemble Resonanz and the opening of the Hamburg Kaispeicher, Askin has now turned to his second major work for chamber ensemble: "What Can We Say But Yes" for prepared piano, strings and percussion was commissioned by the City of Ulm for the European Music Project, and this year’s “John Cage 100” festival, which will take place at the City Hall from April 26th to 29th.
Askin on his new composition: “The preparation of the piano is based on the celebrated ‘Sonatas and Interludes’ written by John Cage in 1948. This, and the fact that the title is a quotation from Cage, is the only direct connection between my work and the output of one of the 20th century’s most significant artistic figures. I was interested in the question of what I – as a composer who in 2012 is now half as old as John Cage would have been – would find to do with the ‘prefabricated’ sounds of this prepared piano (in conjunction with the ensemble), and how I could transplant it into my world of sound. Perhaps also a bit in the sense of the “objets trouvés” that Cage’s friend and fellow spirit Marcel Duchamp used in his ready-mades.”
The premiere of "What Can We Say But Yes" at the Ulm City Hall on April 27th will be undertaken by the pianist Antonis Anissegos and the Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss, conducted by Chatschatur Kanajan.
Ali N. Askin
What Can We Say But Yes (2012)
for prepared piano, 17 strings and three percussionists
Premiere: Ulm, 27th April 2012 / Duration: 30 min.
Sy. 4290 score / parts
On April 27th it finally happens: the third music theatre collaboration between Enno Poppe and Marcel Beyer (following "Interzone" and "Arbeit Nahrung Wohnung"") will make its stage debut. "IQ. Eine Testbatterie in acht Akten" [IQ. A Test Sequence in eight acts], a co-production of the Theater Basel, ZKM Karlsruhe and the SWR, will open this year’s Schwetzingen Festival. Two further performances in Schwetzingen Castle’s rococo theatre are set down for April 29th and 30th.
In each of the eight acts of "IQ", the situation of an intelligence test is realised in a different way: various test subjects submit to it (gradually becoming more resistant to the test’s logic) The press release for the Schwetzingen Festival reads: “The author Marcel Beyer has long been looking into human conditioning procedures, and shows us how even in the mother’s womb, one is attacked by verbal ‘noise’ from a measurements arsenal. […] He has assembled the libretto of IQ from the voices of testers measuring, and subjects being measured. Here both instruments and audience mutate into components of a hermetic testing system whose promise of happiness leads a female test subject to the sad formulation: “my days at the test generator are my very favourite days”. In all his works Enno Poppe is interested in numbers and chance, control and decay, technology and freedom, and his sonic world arises from the interaction of all forces. Anna Viebrock’s production, orientated towards “the question of that anonymous instance that sets the standard” is (space and light included) already part of the compositional process.”
Thanks to numerous previous joint projects, the production was able to come up with a ‘dream team’, optimally attuned to one another. The solo roles are taken by Anna Hauf (soprano), Rosemary Hardy (soprano), Omar Ebrahim (baritone), Katja Kolm (actress) and Ernst Surberg (keyboarder, actor); integrated into the stage action is Klangforum Wien, conducted by the composer, The set and staging are, as previously in "Arbeit Nahrung Wohnung", by Anna Viebrock, the lighting by Gerd Meier. Wolfgang Heiniger is responsible for the audio software.
IQ (2011-12) – A Test Sequence in eight acts
For six soloists, chamber ensemble and electronics
Text. Marcel Beyer
Soli: tester (actress), test director (soprano), female test subject (soprano), male test subject (baritone), assistant 1 (actor, keyboard), assistant 2 (actor, percussion)
2 cl (bcl. 2 cbcl). asax (barsax). hn (wtb). trp. perc. acc. / strings: 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. / live electronics
Premiere: Schwetzingen, 27th April 2012 / Duration: full-length
Sy. 3994 score / parts / live-el.
The title of Emmanuel Nunes’ new composition "Peter Kien – eine akustische Maske" can be traced back partly to the character of the same name in Elias Canetti’s first novel Die Blendung (eng. Auto-da-Fé) (1931/32), and partly to Canetti’s Theory of the Acoustic Mask, formulated in 1937.
The “speech form of a human being, what stays the same in how he speaks, this speech that has been created with him, that he has all to himself, that will only pass with him, is what I call his acoustic mask” (Elias Canetti, quoted from: Manfred Durzak, Conversation about the novel Die Blendung). Peter Kien, in Canetti’s novel the “greatest living sinologist” and manic book collector whose marriage to his housekeeper Therese Krummholz confronts him with life’s vulgarities, and drives him insane, so that he finally burns himself along with his books in a sort of auto-da-fé, has a particular way of speaking that becomes the basis for all the musical structures and sounds in Nunes’ four-movement work. Nunes subjected spoken recordings of some of Peter Kien’s monologues to thorough analysis and reformulated them compositionally.
"Peter Kien – Eine akustische Maske" for sixteen instrumentalists and live electronics – the first part of a planned full-length cycle for ensemble based on various characters and ‘acoustic masks’ from Auto-da-Fé – will be premiered on April 29th as part of the Wittener Tage für Neue Kammermusik, at the Witten Theatre Hall; the Collegium Novum Zürich will be conducted by Titus Engel. The live electronics for this work were evolved at the SWF Freiburg’s Experimental Studio, whose staff member Reinhold Braig will take care of the sound in Witten. On May 14th the Swiss first performance of the work will take place at the Zurich Tonhalle, with the same performers.
Peter Kien – Eine akustische Maske (2011/12)
1. Einsichten; 2. An die Bücher; 3. Die Erstarrung; 4. Irrfahrt
For sixteen instrumentalists and live electronics
Premiere: Witten, 29.4.2012 / Duration: c. 20 min.
Sy. 4183 score. / parts / live-el.
Elias Canetti: Die Blendung, novel. Hanser, Munich 1992, ISBN 3-446-17017-0 (Gesammelte Werke, Band 1)
German premiere of "Songs of Wars I Have Seen" in Munich
Heiner Goebbels, whose works for the stage and the concert hall have been represented in Ricordi & Co. Munich’s catalogue for a good twenty years, has been awarded the International Ibsen Prize (worth 330,000 Euros), as “a great creative personality of our times, who has revealed new artistic dimensions to the theatrical world”. Prize-winners in recent years included Peter Brook, Ariane Mnouchkine and Jon Fosse. The prize will be officially awarded during the International Ibsen Festival in Oslo (23.8.-9.9.2012).
The jury’s testimonial continues: [Goebbels] „has been responsible for an astonishing body of works for the most diverse disciplines, thereby exerting an important influence on creators of theatre, and musicians. His theatrical output ranges from large-scale works for the opera house to theatre installations without actors. Each work is fundamentally different in terms of character and form, and trail-blazing in the truest sense. He is a true innovator, whose works defy all conventional categorisation. He has researched and expanded the relationship between theatre and music, thereby further developing the basic elements of theatre in a way that keeps revealing new insights and possibilities. And thus he fulfils the basic mission of theatre: to expand our awareness of ourselves and the world. In addition, he is achieving pioneering work in the realm of implementing technological resources on the stage.”
Many of the qualities cited here are also typical of Heiner Goebbels’ works published by Ricordi in Munich, such as the full-length theatre pieces "Schwarz auf Weiß", "Landschaft mit entfernten Verwandten" and "I went to the house but did not enter", all developed and realised in collaboration with the versatile musicians of Ensemble Modern and the Hilliard Ensemble. In addition, in recent years the Ricordi catalogue has gained works that Goebbels describes as ‘staged concerts’, such as "Songs of Wars I Have Seen", on texts by Gertrude Stein, composed for The London Sinfonietta and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
A new production of Songs of Wars I Have Seen, directed by Heiner Goebbels, will get its first German performance on the 23rd and 24th May at the Münchner Kammerspiele. Onstage (also as actors) will be the musicians of the Munich Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Alexander Liebreich. Rounding out the programme are further works for chamber orchestra by Goebbels, and Hanns Eisler’s Fünf Orchesterstücke.
Then, in June, Goebbels is the guest composer-in-residence at the Third Ear / Cultural Olympiad festival in Birmingham. Another ‘staged concert’ will be on the programme, receiving its English premiere: "Walden" (1998/2008) on texts by the American transcendentalist philosopher Henry David Thoreau, in the version for ensemble with speaker that the Dutch ensemble Klang has been touring with for some years.
Heiner Goebbels, who celebrates his 60th birthday of August 17th this year, is currently (and till 2014) artistic director of the Ruhrtriennale festival, which this year takes place from August 17th to September 30th.
For more information, see:
Premiere of the Helge Letonja’s ensemble dance piece "The Drift" in Ludwigshafen; further performances in Bremen and Catania
On commission from steptext dance project (Bremen and Montréal Danse), the two composers Gerhard Stäbler and Kunsu Shim have come up with "The Drift", a roughly sixty-minute work for chamber ensemble with electronic playback and video that will have its premiere on April 4th 2012 at the Pfalzbau in Ludwigshafen, and will then be presented on eight subsequent evenings in Bremen (between 12.4 and 22.4) and Catania (28./29.4). The overall concept and the choreography come from Helge Letonja, and the players are the Rheinlandpfälzische JugendEnsemble Neue Musik conducted by Walter Reiter, with video stage sets by Kyungwoo Chun.
From the project summary for The Drift: „The ocean, a multilayered metaphor for desire with an organic life of its own, serves in Helge Letonja’s new ensemble dance piece THE DRIFT as both allegory and, at the same time, aesthetic reference. In this second production from his trilogy DisPLACING Future, the choreographer continues his work on the themes of migration and wandering: the world’s oceans separate and link abandoned homelands and longed-for coasts. Here one loses all trace of those who have not reached their goal. THE DRIFT explores their searches, asks what drives them, implants their stories in the rhythms of the ocean. Swarming behaviours, currents and turbulences become parameters of the dance, which begins where the individual meets the universal. The choreography and the music specially created by the renowned contemporary composers Gerhard Stäbler and Kunsu Shim create an interplay of storm and stillness, buoyancy and sinking, being sucked down and resisting. The swarm of dancers pulsates, absorbs, repels, divides and regathers. Resonances drift between bodies, video images, and the sounds of the orchestra playing live on the stage. With its international cast of five dancers from steptext dance project Bremen and Montréal Danse, THE DRIFT looks at the dynamics within an elementary community, at movements as motivators of change, at the ocean as a storer of memories, and at a life that is bigger than us.”
Choreography Helge Letonja l Dancers: Blenard Azizaj, Konan Dayot, Rachel Harris, I-Fen Lin, Peter Trosztmer l Composition: Kunsu Shim, Gerhard Stäbler l Video: Kyungwoo Chun l Direction: Kathy Casey, Anke Euler l Costumes and sets: Jules Hepp l Musicians: JugendEnsembleNeueMusik Rheinland-Pfalz/Saarland l Conductor: Walter Reiter l Light design: Laurent Schneegans.
For further information, see: www.steptext.de
Portrait Concert with the Hezarfen Ensemble at Istanbul‘s Villa Tarabya
For some time now, the Villa Tarabya on the Bosphorus has been a place that aims to cultivate cultural exchange between Turkey and Germany. The Goethe Institute in Istanbul will be inviting people to a concert on April 25th portraiting Samir Odeh-Tamimi in these historic surroundings. The Turkish Hefarzen Ensemble, under its artistic director Ulrich Mertin, will give the first performances in Turkey of four compositions by Odeh-Tamimi: "Anín" (1999) for eight instrumentalists, "Jabsurr" (2009) for cello and piano, and "Ahinnu II" (2002) and "Philaki" (2009), each for seven instrumentalists.
The Hefarzen Ensemble, based at the MIAM Center for Advanced Studies of Music at the Technical University, pursues the goal of being “an independent ensemble for contemporary art, music and intercultural projects, organised on a democratic basis”, and is this a pioneering project “that, placed at an interface between Eastern and Western traditions of art and music, offers attractive possibilities for combining these cultures” (to quote Ulrich Mertin). Ever since his half-year stay in Istanbul in 2008, as part of Ensemble Modern’s ‘into’ project, Samir Odeh-Tamimi has forged close ties with this city, whose precinct of Cihangir provided the title for one of his ensemble pieces.
For further information, see: www.hezarfenensemble.com