Robin Ticciati is the new chief conductor of DSO in Berlin

Robin Ticciati heißt der Nachfolger von Tugan Sokhiev an der Spitze des Deutschen Symphonie-Orchesters Berlin. Der 32-jährige Engländer übernimmt die Position des Chefdirigenten und Künstlerischen Leiters des Hauptstadt-Klangkörpers ab der Saison 2017|2018 für zunächst fünf Jahre. Erst im September 2014 gab der Chefdirigent des Scottish Chamber Orchestra und Musikdirektor der Glyndebourne Festival Opera seinen Einstand in Berlin beim DSO mit Anton Bruckners ›Romantischer‹ Symphonie. In der aktuellen Spielzeit wird er am 28. Februar 2016 zum Orchester zurückkehren, mit der Violinistin Vilde Frang und Werken von Debussy, Korngold, Ravel und Widmann.

Arvo Pärt – Fratres (1984)

The 1984 ECM album Tabula Rasa was the vehicle that introduced the revolutionary music of Arvo Pärtto audiences outside Eastern Europe and initiated what was to become one of the most extraordinary musical careers of the late 20th century. Like many of the first generation American minimalists, he limited himself to diatonic harmonies and generated pieces by setting processes in motion, but the radical simplicity he achieved was the result of religious contemplation that was at least as, if not more, formative than his quest for a new musical aesthetic. The result was music suffused by an unhurried, luminous serenity, and while it was distinctly contemporary, it had an archaic quality that tied it to the music of the very distant past.

Fratres, originally for chamber orchestra, is undeniably Pärt´s most popular work and exists in well over a dozen versions, two of which are included here. Gidon Kremer and Keith Jarret bring great nuance and sensitivity to the version for violin and piano. They play somewhat loosely with details of the score, but they are entirely in sync with the spirit of the piece, and it’s a gripping performance. The violin part is hugely virtuosic and Kremer is breathtaking, particularly in the crystalline purity of the outrageously high harmonics that end the piece. The arrangement of Fratres for 12 cellos is an altogether more lyrical and meditative version, and the cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra play it with gorgeous tone and depth. [source]

A1: Fratres : Piano – Keith Jarret / Violin Gideon Kremer (11:26)

A2: Cantus In Memory Of Benjamin Britten : Dennis Russel Davies – Conductor / Staatsorchester Stuttgart (5:00)

A3: Fratres: Performer – The 12 Cellists Of The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Performer (11:51)

B1: Tabula Rasa: Saulius Sondekis – Conductor / Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra / Alfred Schnittke – Piano (Prepared) / Gideon Kremer – Violin / Tatiana Gindenko – Violin (26:08)

Recording: Fratres, October 1983, Basel / Cantus in memory of Benjamin Britten , January 1984, Stuttgart / Fratres (for 12 celli), February 1984, Berlin / Tabula Rasa, November 1977, Bonn, (Live recording by West German Radio, Cologne) / Released on EMI Records

 

[Dedicated Ronnie Rocket, thanks for inspiration]

Philip Glass – Symphony No. 4, ‘Heroes’, Neuköln (1996)

Heroes Symphony is a symphony (also known as Symphony No. 4 “Heroes”) composed by American composer Philip Glass in 1996 based on the album “Heroes” by David Bowie. Glass also based his earlier Low Symphony on the David Bowie album, Low. [source]

“Neuköln” is an instrumental piece written by David Bowie and Brian Eno in 1977 for the album “Heroes”. It was the last of three consecutive instrumentals on side two of the original vinyl album, following “Sense of Doubt” and “Moss Garden.”

Neuköln (correctly spelled with a double “L”) is a district of Berlin. Bowie lived in Berlin for a time in 1977, although not in Neukölln but in Schöneberg. The music has been interpreted as reflecting in part the rootlessness of the Turkish immigrants who made up a large proportion of the area’s population. NME journalists Roy Carr and Charles Shaar Murray described “Neuköln” as “a mood piece: the Cold War viewed through a bubble of blood or Harry Lime’s last thoughts as he dies in the sewer in The Third Man. The final section features Bowie’s plaintive saxophone “booming out across a harbour of solitude, as if lost in fog.” [source]

The six movements of Symphony No. 4 : 1. Heroes (5:53) / 2. Abdulmajid (8:53) / 3. Sense of Doubt (7:20) / 4. Sons of the Silent Age (8:18) / 5. Neuköln (6:41) / 6. V2 Schneider (6:48)

Composer – Philip Glass  / Associate Conductor – Michael Riesman / Principal Conductor – Dennis Russel Davies / Orchestra  – American Composers Orchestra / Written By David Bowie and Brian Eno

[link to movement four: Sons of the Silent Age]

[Link to the Aphex Twin remix from the album “Heroes” Symphony: From the Music of David Bowie & Brian Eno.]

Grazyna Bacewicz – Concerto for Strings (1948)

Grażyna Bacewicz (February 5, 1909 in Łódź – January 17, 1969 in Warsaw, Poland) was a Polish composer and violinist. She is only the second Polish female composer to have achieved national and international recognition, the first being Maria Szymanowska in the early 19th century.

Concerto for String Orchestra (1948)
Amadeus Chamber Orchestra conducted by Agnieska Duczmal

Her father and brother Vytautas identified as Lithuanian and used the last name Bacevičius, the other brother Kiejstut identified as Polish. Her father, Wincenty Bacewicz (lith. Vincas Bacevičius), gave Grażyna her first piano and violin lessons. In 1928 she began studying at the Warsaw Conservatory, where she initially took violin and piano classes, and graduated in 1932 as a violinist and composer. She continued her education in Paris, having been granted a stipend by Ignacy Jan Paderewski to attend the École Normale de Musique, and studied there in 1932-33 under the guidance of Nadia Boulanger. At the same time she took private violin lessons with Henri Touret. Later she also left France in order to learn from the Hungarian violinist Carl Flesch.

After completing her studies, Bacewicz took part in numerous events as a soloist, composer, and jury member. During the 1930s, she was the principal violinist of the Polish Radio orchestra, which was directed then by Grzegorz Fitelberg. This position gave her the chance of hearing a lot of her own music. During World War II, Grażyna Bacewicz lived in Warsaw, continued to compose, and gave underground secret concerts (premiering her Suite for Two Violins).

Bacewicz also dedicated time to family life. She was married in 1936, and gave birth to a daughter, Alina Biernacka, a recognized painter. After the war, she took up the position of professor at the State Conservatory of Music in Łódź. At this time she was shifting her musical activity towards composition, tempted by her many awards and commissions, and it finally became her only occupation in 1954 after serious injuries in a car accident.

Most of her compositions are for the violin. Among them are seven violin concertos, five sonatas for violin with piano including two for violin solo, seven string quartets, two piano quintets and four symphonies.

Arnold Schoenberg conducts Verklärte Nacht [fragment] (1928)

This work describes a man and a woman walking through a dark forest on a moonlit night, wherein the woman shares a dark secret with her new lover: she bears the child of another man.

Schoenberg conducts Verklärte Nacht (fragment) recorded in Berlin 1928. Verklärte Nacht (or Transfigured Night), Op. 4, is a string sextet in one movement composed by Arnold Schoenberg in 1899 and his earliest important work. Composed in just three weeks, the work was inspired by Richard Dehmel’s poem of the same name, along with Schoenberg’s strong feelings upon meeting Mathilde von Zemlinsky (the sister of his teacher Alexander von Zemlinsky), whom he would later marry. Schoenberg, the 20th-century revolutionary and later inventor of the twelve tone technique, is perhaps best known among lay audiences for this early tonal work. The piece derives its stylistic lineage from German late-Romanticism. Like his teacher Zemlinsky, Schoenberg was influenced by both Johannes Brahms and Richard Wagner and sought to combine the former’s structural logic with the latter’s harmonic language, evidenced in the work’s rich chromaticism (deriving from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde) and frequent use of musical phrases which serve to undermine the metrical boundaries. The work comprises five sections which correspond to the structure of the poem on which it is based, with themes in each section being direct musical metaphors for the narrative and discourse found in the poem. As such, the piece is one of the earliest examples of program music written for a chamber ensemble. The original score calls for two violins, two violas and two cellos. In 1917, Schoenberg produced an arrangement for string orchestra (a common practice at the time), and revised this version in 1943. There is also a version for piano trio by Eduard Steuermann. The string orchestra version is the one most often recorded and performed. The work has also served as the basis for several ballets. Verklärte Nacht was controversial when it was premiered in 1902. This was due to the highly advanced harmonic idiom as well as, perhaps, Dehmel’s explicit references to sexual themes in the poem. The work does indeed employ a richly chromatic language and often ventures far from the home key, though the work is clearly rooted in D minor. A particular point of controversy was the use of a single ‘nonexistent’ (that is, uncategorized and therefore unpermitted) inverted ninth chord, which resulted in its rejection by the Vienna Music Society. Schoenberg remarked “and thus (the work) cannot be performed since one cannot perform that which does not exist”. The work was premiered on March 18, 1902 in the Vienna Musikverein by the Rosé Quartet, Franz Jelinek and Franz Schmidt. Arnold Rosé and Albert Bachrich played the violin, Anton Ruzitska and Franz Jelinek the viola, and Friedrich Buxbaum and Franz Schmidt the cello.













Morton Feldman – Piano (1977)

One of the most complex of Feldman’s major works for piano solo, “Piano” uses four and sometimes six separate staves for its dense contrapuntal passages. In terms of rhythmic and textural complexity this piece has more in common with the String Quartet (1979) and the other pieces of the “Berlin period” than the later piano works.

Roger Woodward, the dedicatee, performs.

Art by Mark Rothko.








Morton Feldman – Neither (1977)

Neither, opera in 1 act for soprano & orchestra (1977)

Sarah Leonard, soprano
Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
Zoltan Pesko

The Rome Opera commissioned Morton Feldman to write an opera in 1977. In the same year, the composer collaborated with Irish writer Samuel Beckett, and Neither was completed and premiered. It is not an opera. There are no scene changes, no characters except for one unnamed female singer who performs only sixteen lines of text over the course of more than fifty minutes. There is neither plot nor chorus. However, with creative use of lighting, the work can be effectively staged despite the lack of operatic conventions. Many of Beckett’s late plays rely on little more than lighting to convey their visual worlds. Beckett and Feldman held each other’s work in high regard. Their first meeting was awkward, Feldman being the famously gregarious New Yorker while Beckett was a laconic, unsocial Irishman. They did not actually work together on the project. Beckett simply handed off completed text and the composer set it to music. It is a haunting work with a weird and sublime quality that does credit to both artists.

One of its most compelling qualities lies in the way Beckett and Feldman created and manipulated a text that demonstrates the variable effects of memory. Beckett began with a text that is broken up like poetry, and translated it into French. Then, retranslating one of the fragments into English, Beckett found that the line had been slightly altered from the original. He applied this operation to each fragment several times until the text was almost unrecognizable. This required him to forget what the original fragments said. Feldman’s mature music was likewise grounded in the moment, in the annulment of the listener’s memory of what has taken place beforehand; in the composer’s unique musical outlook, memory is of minor importance. What matters is sustaining the initial idea in a collection of moments until the possibilities of the initial idea have exhausted themselves. In art forms that traditionally depended so much upon memory, Beckett’s and Feldman’s approaches, and their confluence here, had revolutionary aspects.

Both the text and music are eerie in the extreme, suggesting a superficial comparison to Schoenberg’s Erwartung–which features a deranged woman singing of her confusion while the atonal soundscape suggests a Wagnerian treatment of dementia. Neither features a woman singing of something even more difficult to grasp, something unknowable, pointing toward an uncomfortable and unfamiliar world with music in which each moment erases the significance of its predecessor. Erwartung is an excellent example of expressionism, depicting the artist’s journey inward, confronting the inner torments of the subject, and Neither is a unique example of abstract expressionism, which rarely finds a voice in anything resembling an operatic format. The singer’s part conveys a feeling that does not have a name. Neither shocking nor conventional, she illustrates the character of the work. As in Erwartung, the singer in Neither is isolated, but the two states of isolation are different. Erwartung has a subject that cannot grasp the world due to a mental illness, which causes anxieties that unaffected people suffer to a lesser degree. Neither instead involves a truth: that there is no deferring death, whether one’s surroundings are familiar or unfamiliar. This is not madness, but rather a clear yet uncomfortable idea. Listeners learn nothing about the subject in Neither, and never know whether to feel sympathy or aversion toward her. The opposite is true in Erwartung; listeners experience both these emotions. Neither is a strikingly rewarding and original work that completely succeeds; indeed, it is probably almost-opera’s greatest statement. [Allmusic.com]

Art by Ouattara Watts

The first 10 minutes with visuals:




The complete opera:










Read more about the opera here and here.

Morton Feldman – Orchestra (1976)

Despite the explosion of Morten Feldman’s popularity and recordings of his works in recent years, his orchestral music has not received the attention it deserves. Orchestra is a walk through the orchestral landscape. Patterns come and go of their own accord as the music moves into unexplored territories. An important bridge between Feldman’s middle and late works. [Source]