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Arnold Schoenberg

Arnold Schoenberg sounds out of an endearing piece of kindergarten drama. #HF21

There is a direct, inverse, link between musical talent and acting ability. The techniques needed to play a musical instrument are completely different from the registers you need - physically and mentally - for acting. So the better you master your instrument, the worse the acting. The musicians of Klangforum Wien master their instrument at the very, very... 

Gaudeamus: as a 75-year-old younger than ever

Anno 2020, Music Week is buzzing like never before. Even corona has barely caught on. How many 'Mozarts' have emerged by now I will leave open, but the rich and varied off- and online offerings create some choice stress. At 75, the organisation is younger than ever: Gaudeamus is the place to be.

Ekaterina Levental: 'I come from the very bottom of society, didn't even have the right to be here, was even less than a junkie.'

Singer, harpist and theatre-maker Ekaterina Levental (Tashkent, 1977) came to the Netherlands as a refugee in 1993, where she built a successful career. Together with her partner Chris Koolmees, she made the triptych De Weg, De Grens and Schoppenvrouw, in which she sings of her own difficult road to happiness. With her pocket performances, she holds up a mirror to us: 'We are quick to judge a... 

Why you shouldn't miss 'Im wunderschönen Monat Mai' at Paradiso

On Wednesday 16 January, Reinbert de Leeuw will present his cycle Im wunderschönen Monat Mai at Paradiso. A unique opportunity to see him at work once more in his globally believed masterpiece. In 2003, he surprised friend and foe alike with this composition inspired by songs by Schumann and Schubert. Was that not swearing in church? Arnold Schoenberg had the Romanticism... 

Why it's good that De Nederlandse Reisopera is coming to you with Die Tote Stadt.

In 1920, Erich Wolfgang Korngold experienced triumphs with his psychological opera Die tote Stadt. The work was performed in more than eighty cities at the time, with unanimous critical acclaim. The opera then disappeared from the stage for a long time but is nowadays performed again sparsely. So it is good that the Nederlandse Reisopera is bringing this almost forgotten piece back to the stage.... 

Klaas de Vries finds neotonic heaven: 'I can't resist composing'

Dutch composer Klaas de Vries (Terneuzen 1944) pairs Stravinskyian clarity with southern sensuality. He harbours a love for poets such as Pablo Neruda and Fernando Pessoa, and his work excels in recognisable melodies and rhythms. 'However innovative, to be communicative, music must always contain a traditional element,' he said. On 28 and 30 November, Asko|Schönberg will play... 

Arnold Schoenberg is dead, long live Arnold Schoenberg!

Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951) is often accused of driving audiences out of the hall with his drive for innovation. After all, his twelve-tone system swept away the foundations of tonality, which had provided listeners with a safe haven for centuries. Deprived of its foothold, it would have turned its back on contemporary music forever. Nonsense, because not only did Schoenberg write fantastic works, but also... 

Grażyna Bacewicz: 'A composer doesn't want to repeat himself'

In Poland, her name appears on street signs and school buildings, and statues of her can be found in public parks. Grażyna Bacewicz (1909-1969) was the first Polish woman to achieve international success as a composer. Her work can even be found on one of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra's CD anthologies. Yet she is still virtually unknown here in the country. Unjustly so, as she wrote... 

Roaring, pounding big band overwhelms with conspiracies #hf16

A big band, a ticking clock, conspiracy theories and twelve-tonality. Mix that in a theatrical setting and it can go whooping out of control. Yet composer Darcy James Argue manages to make it a propulsive and energising whole, with help from director Isaac Butler and cinematographer Peter Nigrihi.

The trio is fascinated by conspiracy theories and what such theories say about us. They draw on the entirety of postwar US history and there is a wealth of material there to vi...

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With George Pieterson, music life loses another coryphée

Last Sunday, 24 April, clarinetist George Pieterson died at his home in Amsterdam, aged 74. 'George was an iconic player with a big musical heart,' says his former student Frank van den Brink. 'He invariably went full steam ahead and whichever recording you listen to, his playing is always remarkable. You didn't necessarily have to put up with his... 

Erik Voermans 'From Andriessen to Zappa': enthusiastic plea for elitist music

Erik Voermans (1958) is one of those people who writes down what you think yourself, but would never air publicly. The music editor of Het Parool likes to pose as your unsuspecting neighbour's boy, watching the music world with amazement. Take the phenomenon of opera: 'That's when someone with a knife in his taas walks around for half an hour singing that he's going to die.' If he... 

Singing Gustav Mahler and stammering Beat Furrer touch the soul

Mahler on a programme by Asko|Schönberg - the face of avant-garde atonality, is that possible? For regular guest conductor Etienne Siebens, this is no question: in his programmes, he likes to explore the boundaries between beloved classics and composers still alive. On Thursday, 4 February, he places the ensemble version of Mahler's romantically singing Fourth Symphony - performed with... 

Forever waiting for Godot: Pierre Boulez died

He would have turned 91 on 26 March, but died Tuesday night, 5 January, in his hometown of Baden-Baden. Pierre Boulez was the last surviving composer of the group that changed the direction of music after WWII. His fellow maestros preceded him: Karlheinz Stockhausen died in 2007, Luciano Berio in 2003, Karel Goeyvaerts in 1993 and... 

Pierre Boulez turns 90 yet again

This year was a celebration of two composers from two seemingly completely different planets. The Estonian Arvo Pärt (b 1935) turned eighty, the Frenchman Pierre Boulez (b 1925) ninety. One is unparalleled among a wide audience for his eloquent 'tintinnabulist style', the other is applauded by a select group of insiders for his avant-garde compositions, which the general public, however, experiences as incomprehensible... 

Franz Liszt: from virtuoso keyboard lion to ascetic innovator

Franz Liszt (1811-1886) was revered in his own time as a true devil's advocate, whose virtuoso piano playing set many a woman's heart racing. But above all, he was an innovator, whose ambition was to "hurl a spear into the infinite space of the future". The Concertzender highlights life and work for two hours on Wednesday, 2 December 

Arvo Pärt's music: not always a warm bath

What titles come to mind when you hear the name Arvo Pärt? Sonatina opus 1; Symphony no. 1; Perpetuum mobile, or Fratres; Für Alina; Spiegel im Spiegel? My guess is the second set, because it was with pieces like these that Pärt conquered the world in the late 20th century. Audiences flocked in droves to immerse themselves in his sonorous sound world, but... 

"This piece already carries history with it"

Terezín, 1944. In the most deplorable conditions imaginable, Victor Ullmann completes the opera Der Kaiser von Atlantis. The camp authorities forbid a first performance after a few rehearsals. The unmistakable allegory on Hitler and his downfall leads to one of the rare forms of censorship in the camp, which the Nazis showed as an example to the Red Cross.... 

7 bridges - 5 concerts

Next Tuesday, 29 September, the 7 Bridges Festival begins in the heart of Amsterdam. It is an initiative of pianist Edward Janning, driving force behind the Erard Ensemble playing on authentic instruments. In five concerts, he will take us past the Amstelkerk on the Amstelveld, Museum van Loon and Museum Geelvinck on Keizersgracht, the Stadsarchief on Vijzelstraat and the Goethe Instituut... 

Orlando Festival is broad and varied - with one blind spot: the female composer

Thursday 20 August sees the start of the annual Orlando Festival again in Kerkrade. Established in 1982 by cellist Stefan Metz, this event has been luring young musicians to Rolduc Abbey for over three decades to train in musical practice. Named after the then renowned Orlando Quartet, the festival traditionally pays close attention to strings, but other instruments are not forgotten either.... 

Lulu and Kentridge's clothes

Lulu, the opera that Alban Berg left unfinished on his death in 1935, is considered an undisputed masterpiece, which is frequently performed. The opera is at the Muziektheater for the third time this millennium, but for the first time with the third act completed by Friedrich Cerha. South African artist William Kentridge will direct. He and the performers were honoured after the... 

New music loses advocate Ton Hartsuiker

Monday 18 May 2015 he will be cremated in Utrecht: Ton Hartsuiker, tireless champion of new music in our country. In recent years, his health was ailing; he would narrowly miss his 82nd birthday. He was active as pianist, music educator, conservatory director, administrator and radio presenter. Even after his retirement in 1998, he did not consider quitting his... 

Pierre Boulez is alive!?

He is the last surviving avant-gardist, and it will not have escaped new-music lovers that he turned 90 on Thursday, 26 March. I mean, of course, Pierre Boulez, the composer and conductor who once declared Schoenberg dead and suggested that perhaps opera houses should be blown up because of their moldy programming. The same man then tirelessly broke a lance for the music of Arnold Schoenberg ... 

Photo: Monique van de Wijdeven

The 10 theatre performances you actually wanted to see in 2014, even if you had to leave Amsterdam for half of them

It's raining annual lists and we're merrily joining in. As subjective as anyone, after all, no one sees everything, and opinions on taste can always differ. Of course, also in this list many performances in or from the Randstad, but half of them were not yet shown there. And all genres mixed together. As long as it is theatre. With the only limitation: no repeats, apologies Ring and Lohengrin (DNO), St John Passion (NRO). And no dance, because for that our partner dance audience

Scenic world premiere Gurre-Lieder is triumph for Pierre Audi and Marc Albrecht

More than a century we had to wait, but at last Arnold Schoenberg's Gurre-Lieder also to be seen. Surprisingly, it is not. Reportedly, the composer was against it, as it concerns a cantata. However, director Pierre Audi and conductor Marc Albrecht show very convincingly with this scenic world premiere that Gurre-Lieder hid an opera that yearned for the stage light.

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