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Tagged with 'Paris'

Work of the Week – Peter Eötvös: Harp Concerto

A new concerto for a celebration: Peter Eötvös's 80th birthday will be celebrated with a symposium and gala concert in Paris next weekend. Among other works by the Hungarian composer, his new Harp Concerto will see its world premiere. Eötvös wrote the concerto for harp and orchestra for the virtuoso Xavier de Maistre (pictured), who will perform it for the first time on 18 January with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France conducted by Gergely Madaras at the Maison de le Radio et de la Musique.

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Work of the Week – Kurt Weill: The Seven Deadly Sins

The Seven Deadly Sins (Die sieben Todsünden) is one of Kurt Weill’s best-known and most frequently performed works. On 21 September, a new orchestration of the ballet chanté for 15 players will receive its premiere at Beethovenfest Bonn with Ensemble Modern and soloist Sarah Maria Sun conducted by HK Gruber. The new version has been created by Gruber and Christian Muthspiel in collaboration with the Kurt Weill Foundation and Schott Music.

The Brecht text is not a period piece. It is absolutely contemporary. In our day The Seven Deadly Sins is a manifesto against capitalism run amok, and it's a dangerous piece - for the capitalists. Because it lays bare how the world works: if you are honest, you have to pay the price, here, during this life. It is even more timely than it was twenty or thirty years ago.  (HK Gruber)

The Seven Deadly Sins: An Iconic Work in a New Orchestration

Initiated by the Kurt Weill Foundation, the new orchestration of The Seven Deadly Sins will for the first time enable fully staged performances by smaller ensembles, theatres and dance companies. The work has received innumerable successful interpretations and the new version will open up further possibilities for creative productions in even more varied settings. The soprano soloist in Gruber and Muthspiel’s version is accompanied by a male vocal quartet and the following ensemble: 1(pic).0.2.1-

HK Gruber is regarded as a leading Weill expert, having frequently conducted, performed and recorded The Seven Deadly Sins and other works throughout his career. This new orchestration is characterised by its high level of fidelity to the original work, retaining Weill's original keys and using the ensemble in innovative ways to match the characteristic timbres of the orchestral version.

Playing on double-standards that are placed on the sisters, Anna 1 and Anna 2, as they make their seven-year journey through different US cities, the highly ironic and satirical work features some of Weill’s most recognisable music. It incorporates numerous popular American musical styles including foxtrot, polka, and barbershop. Despite being sung in German, the work was a success at its premiere performance in 1933 in Paris where Weill was living in exile, and it received a UK premiere at the Savoy Theatre that same year.

photo: Staatstheater Stuttgart / Bernhard Weis

Work of the Week – Toshio Hosokawa: Futari Shizuka

Toshio Hosokawa’s music straddles two cultures, with influences from traditional Japanese music and the world of European art music. This is evident in his new chamber opera, Futari Shizuka (The Two Shizukas), which will be premiered on 1 December at the Autumn Festival in Paris by Ensemble Intercontemporain with conductor Matthias Pintscher, soprano Kerstin Avemo and Nô performer Ryoko Aoki.

Futari Shizuka is a 12th century play from the Nô tradition, one of the four Japanese theatre traditions alongside Kyogen, Kabuki and Bunraku. Nô combines sets, dance, chanting, and masks with a fixed narrative structure to convey the story to audiences. With a new libretto by Japanese author Oriza Hirate, Hosokawa’s version of Futari Shizuka tells the story of Shizuka, a dancer whose ghost takes possession of a young refugee girl at the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, Helene.

Futari Shizuka by Toshio Hosokawa: a fusion of the traditional and contemporary

Two musical cultures come literally face to face in Hosokawa’s opera with the role of Helene sung by a classically trained opera singer and Shizuka performed by a Nô artist.
Many artists in Japan want new art that shows underlying influences from Europe and America. Many Japanese intellectuals think it is remarkable when I talk about my Japanese influences. They say you do not need to do this because the world is one…but traditional Japanese music is very different and I stand between Japan and Europe, which I find hard and I feel alone. – Toshio Hosokawa

On 3 December, the German premiere of Futari Shizuka will be presented at the Cologne Philharmonie. Hosokawa’s companion piece, the one-act opera The Raven, can be seen on 7 and 10 December at the Théâtre National in Luxembourg.

Work of the Week – Jörg Widmann - Au cœur de Paris

Jörg Widmann’s Au cœur de Paris (“In the heart of Paris”) was written in celebration of Orchestre de Paris’ 50th anniversary. The piece will be premiered on 1 November at the Philharmonie in Paris with Daniel Harding. The concert will also feature Widmann, who is their Artist in Residence, performing his Fantasie for solo clarinet.

Paris is the city of love: one can easily conjure images of lovers walking hand in hand along the Seine, the silhouette of the Eiffel Tower behind them. Accordion music wafts through the midsummer air and you can almost taste the red wine. Widmann was inspired by two Edith Piaf chansons about being in love, La vie enrose and La ciel de Paris. In La vie en rose, a woman sings about her immortal love to a man, while La ciel de Paris is a declaration of love to the city.

Jörg Widmann Au cœur de Paris: a musical expression of love

Piaf’s melodies linger in the mind long after the song has finished playing. Widmann teases the audience by quoting these melodies, orchestrating them to pair the deep emotion with a musical lightness.

There are always sounds at the beginning. These sounds gradually solidify over weeks, they compress. During this time I do not write. Then suddenlyI cannot stand it so I write, I write furiously until the piece is finished. Jörg Widmann

The concert will be repeated on 2 November at the Philharmonie in Paris and broadcast live. It will be available for viewing on Arte Concert for six months.