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Tagged with 'Symphony'

Work of the Week - Bernd Alois Zimmermann: Sinfonie in einem Satz

March 2018 marks the centenary of Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s birth. Among the performances in celebration of this occasion are two concerts on 29 October featuring Sinfonie in einem Satz in its two versions, one with the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern and Peter Hirsch, and the other with the Gürzenich Orchester Köln conducted by Harmut Haenchen.

When approached by the Nordwestdeutcher Rundfunk Köln to compose a symphony, Zimmermann extensively deliberated on the form. He settled for a continuous 18 minute-long movement scored for large orchestra with extra woodwind, harp, organ, and a solo string septet.

Sinfonie in einem Satz was premiered in 1952 by the Kölner Rundfunk Sinfonie Orchester and Hans Rosbaud. Unfortunately the piece was slammed by critics who cited the inclusion of the organ as old fashioned. Unfazed, Zimmermann reworked the piece with Rosbaud’s assistance, removing the organ and rewriting the long and complex bars. This revised version was premiered a year later in Belgium. 

Bernd Alois Zimmermann – Sinfonie in einem Satz: a reworking of the symphonic form

The innovation in Zimmermann’s symphony lies in the protracted growth of its single movement, which ensnares the audience from the opening. Sinfonie in einem Satz maintains a nervous tension punctuated by unexpected accents, culminating in an explosive finale.
The thematic material develops by linking various musical germ cells to create an organic structure of the whole…with each cell passing through all stages of musical development via heavy dynamic evolution. - Bernd Alois Zimmermann

More performances of the revised version of Sinfonie in einem Satz by the Gürzenich Orchester will take place on 30 and 31 October. The original version can be heard again on 2 March 2018 at the Staatstheater in Mainz and on 5 May 2018 at the Köln Philharmonie. An award winning 2016 recording of the original version with conductor Peter Hirsch is available on the WERGO label.

Work of the Week – Krzysztof Penderecki: Symphony No. 6

The genre of the symphony includes many strange beasts: "Unfinished" works, others labelled "No. 0", and even some with alternate or multiple opus numbers. Krzysztof Penderecki’s Symphony No. 6 may well be one such oddity. His Symphonies No. 7 and No. 8 were completed decades ago and have enjoyed multiple performances, however, Symphony No. 6 has only recently been completed.

Long Yu will conduct the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra and baritone Yuan Chenye in the world premiere on 24 September.

Krzysztof Penderecki – Symphony No. 6: A farewell to the genre?

Subtitled “Chinese Songs”, Symphony No. 6 comprises eight songs based on Chinese texts connected by solo intermezzos played on the erhu, a Chinese stringed instrument. Evoking a melancholic atmosphere, the use of a small orchestra creates an intimate chamber music feel and at just under 25 minutes, the work contrasts his earlier extended symphonies. Penderecki has declared this to be his farewell to the symphonic genre - although one never knows what the future may bring.
I have spent decades searching for and discovering new sounds. I have also closely studied the forms, styles and harmonies of past eras. I continue to adhere to both principles … my current creative output is a synthesis. – Krzysztof Penderecki

Michael Sanderling will conduct the Dresdner Philharmonie in the German premiere on 5 May 2018.