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Klangforum Wien

Pre-Concert Talk

Olga Neuwirth, Martin Smolka, 18.30

Programme

  • Olga Neuwirth: incidendo/fluido
  • Martin Smolka: Angel Steps (world premiere of a work commissioned by the Prague Spring)
  • Clara Iannotta: a stir among the stars, a making way
  • Olga Neuwirth: ...miramondo multiplo...

Performers

  • Klangforum Wien
  • Bas Wiegers - conductor
  • Florian Müller - piano
  • Anders Nyqvist - trumpet

Price

500 CZK

Date

28 / 05 / 2021
Friday 20.00

Venue

Klangforum Wien © Lukas Beck 2

Prague Offspring

The Prague Spring has devised a new format dedicated to contemporary music. Over a period of two days, the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art in Holešovice will come alive with the latest from the contemporary international and domestic scene, and this primarily thanks to the contribution from one of the most high-ranking ensembles specialising in contemporary music, Klangforum Wien, who will assume the role of Ensemble-in-Residence for the next three festival editions. 

whirring and wailing of a Škoda MB

The first concert programmed for the new Prague Offspring format will begin – naturally – with the music of Composer-in-Residence Olga Neuwirth. “Klangforum Wien will perform two of her works,” says Programme Director Josef Třeštík. “In addition to her composition for piano and CD incidendo/fluido the programme also includes her masterpiece for trumpet and ensemble …miramondo multiplo…” Neuwirth wrote the piece for Swedish trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger, the Vienna Philharmonic and Pierre Boulez, who performed it in its original orchestral version at the Salzburg Festival in 2006. Festival visitors will also hear music by Italian composer Clara Iannotta, whose piece a stir among the stars, a making way constitutes a new addition to the Austrian ensemble’s repertoire. “One of the highlights of the evening will undoubtedly be the world premiere of Angel Steps, written by Martin Smolka as a commission for the Prague Spring,” Třeštík tells us. The title can be considered on various levels, it has various evocative indicators,” Smolka himself comments on the premiere. “Behind Mníšek you’ll find Malá Svatá Hora (Little Holy Mountain) and, from there, the road used to form a kind of natural flight of steps to the village of Voznice – fifty metres along the flat, then fifty metres down the hill, and so on, about five times in all. And this road was known as Angel Steps. The title also conveys something tangible, and you can hear the whirring and wailing of a Škoda MB loaded down with stuff. Childhood, parents, the Sixties and Seventies with all their whackiness. And, amid that atheistic wretchedness, were the Angel Steps of Little Holy Mountain.”

A central figure of contemporary music

Born in Graz, Austria, Olga Neuwirth (1968) has been a central figure on the international contemporary music scene since the beginning of the 1990s, when two of her mini-operas were staged at the Wiener Festwochen. She studied at the Academy of Music in Vienna and the San Francisco Conservatory, and then privately with Adriana Hölszky, Tristan Murail and Luigi Nono. One of Olga Neuwirth’s key collaborators is Austrian Nobel Prize-winning playwright and novelist Elfriede Jelinek, with whom she created two radio plays and three operas. Her music is performed and presented by some of the world’s most distinguished orchestras and festivals. In 1998, when she was aged 30, the Salzburg Festival dedicated two concerts to her music, and in 2002 she was appointed Composer-in-Residence of the Lucerne Festival. For Pierre Boulez and the London Symphony Orchestra she wrote the piece Clinamen/Nodus, and for the Vienna Philharmonic the composition Masaot/Clocks without Hands, which was performed in Cologne, in Vienna and at New York’s Carnegie Hall under conductor Valery Gergiev. Neuwirth has had a lifelong interest in film, literature, architecture and fine art, all of which have had a fundamental influence on her work. In addition to classical music compositions she has also produced several multimedia installations and short films, and she has written a series of articles and a book. In 2017, in association with IRCAM, she crafted a 3D sound installation to mark the fortieth anniversary of the Pompidou Centre in Paris. The Vienna State Opera’s production of her opera Orlando, based on the novel by Virginia Woolf, was one of the major talking points on the music scene in 2019. 

Viewing the world from different perspectives

The twelve-minute composition incidendo/fluido for prepared piano and CD was written in 2000 for Marino Formenti. Here, the body of the piano does not serve merely as a resonating case for the strings, but it is also resonated by a CD player placed inside the instrument. The soundtrack is a recording of the ondes Martenot, an early electronic instrument used, for example, by Arthur Honegger and Olivier Messiaen. Thus, in the work, the piano becomes an almost magical space, in which the distinctions between what the performer is playing and the sounds coming from the recording are melded together. 

The trumpet plays a key role in many of Olga Neuwirth’s compositions. She regards the instrument as a bridge between cultural worlds, from Haydn to Miles Davis. “Through my connection to jazz – Miles Davis was my role model – and to put it somewhat superficially, through this combination of air and metal, the sound of the trumpet provided me with the possibility of sounding utterly rough and forceful on the one hand, and utterly melancholic and distanced on the other,” states Neuwirth. She studied the instrument herself in her young days, however, after a car accident that caused severe injury to her jaw, she had to put it aside. She dedicated one of her most important works to her “lost friend”, as she describes the trumpet, a concerto for trumpet and orchestra entitled …miramondo multiplo… The piece, whose title might be translated as “viewing the world from different perspectives”, originated in 2006. A joint commission from the Salzburg Festival, Radio France and the Stockholm Concert Hall Foundation, it was written for the Swedish trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger, the Vienna Philharmonic and Pierre Boulez, who premiered the work in Salzburg to huge critical acclaim. A year later Neuwirth revised the piece for solo trumpet and chamber ensemble, and it is this version which will be performed by members of Klangforum Wien.

Clara Iannotta © Astrid Ackermann 2

Clara Iannotta

Clara Iannotta (1983) is regarded as one of the most distinctive Italian artists on the current scene. Her works are commissioned and performed by the finest ensembles and orchestras specialising in contemporary music, such as Quatuor Diotima, Ensemble Intercontemporain, JACK, the Munich Chamber Orchestra and the WDR Symphony Orchestra. Born in Rome, she studied in Milan, at the Paris Conservatoire, IRCAM and Harvard University, and her teachers have included Alessandro Solbiati, Frédéric Durieux, and Chaya Czernowin. She currently lives in Berlin and she is also Artistic Director of the international contemporary music festival Die Bludenzer Tage zeitgemäßer Musik. In 2020 the prestigious label Wergo released a CD featuring her oeuvre for string quartet. The acoustically opulent composition for large ensemble a stir among the stars, a making way was commissioned by Klangforum Wien. The premiere was to have been held in Vienna’s Konzerthaus in the spring of 2020, however, due to the coronavirus pandemic, it took place in September of that year, hosted by the Klangspuren Schwaz festival in Innsbruck. 

Martin Smolka web

Martin Smolka

Martin Smolka (1959) is one of the Czech Republic’s most noteworthy contemporary composers and he is also one of the most established artists on the international scene. 

Theater Basel, Wüstenbuch, 09/10
©Judith Schlosser, j_schlosser@bluewin.ch, Bankverbindung: ZKB, 1137-0586.405, IBAN: CH70 0070 0113700586405

Klangforum Wien

Klangforum Wien was established by composer and conductor Beat Furrer in 1985, since which time the ensemble has fundamentally influenced the contemporary music scene. It works closely with some of the world’s most distinguished composers and, through its commissions, it supports the genesis of a series of new works. Over the last thirty-five years or more, Klangforum Wien has become one of the most respected world ensembles specialising in contemporary music and has expanded into an important institution incorporating a variety of activities, from its own magnanimous projects and its involvement in what are often full-length multimedia works, to various educational ventures. The ensemble’s recording catalogue contains more than seventy CDs, and they have premiered over five hundred new compositions, including works that are now considered iconic, such as in vain by Georg Friedrich Haas or the opera Lost Highway by Olga Neuwirth. Klangforum Wien is regularly invited to principal international festivals and concert venues in Europe, the United States and Japan, they have won numerous awards, and they collaborate with first-rate conductors. Today Klangforum Wien comprises 24 musicians from ten different countries. Highlights of their current season include performances at Wiener Festwochen, Acht Brücken and ManiFeste in Paris. The ensemble appeared at the Prague Spring in 2018, when they presented works by Enno Poppe and Bernhard Lang and also gave the world premiere of a new composition by Luboš Mrkvička commissioned by the festival.

bas wiegers 6

Bas Wiegers

Bas Wiegers has been Principal Guest Conductor of Klangforum Wien since 2018. After studying in Amsterdam and Freiburg he began a successful career as a violinist specialising in early music.