A second great composer has left the world this week... I think Henze and Carter might now be sharing a few jokes at our expense over in the Beyond, and we know that at 103 Carter can be said to have had what's commonly called "a good innings" - but he was such a fixture that many of us somehow came to believe him immortal. Not so. But his music is. Complex, dazzling, vivid and unforgettable, it is work that needs to stay in the public eye and ear for long years ahead. He will be sorely missed.
There is a substantial tribute to him in the New York Times.
Here is his last filmed interview, discussing his Cello Concerto with the wonderful young American cellist Alisa Weilerstein.
Tuesday, November 06, 2012
Saturday, October 27, 2012
Sad news this morning that Hans Werner Henze has died at the age of 86. This great, generous, versatile and often startling composer has touched indelibly the lives of everyone who knew him. Operas, ballets, symphonies, concertos, choral works, chamber music, politically engaged music - everything poured prolifically from his pen. He was mentor to numerous younger composers and his music has an unmistakeable voice, edgy, sometimes unsettling, always overflowing with vitality.
Boulezian has just published a heartfelt and thorough essay on the man and his music. Here is the tribute from his publisher, Schott's. And the BBC's news report. And an interview from December 2009 in which he talks to Tom Service.
I deeply regret that I never met Henze, but I'll never forget my introduction to his music at university, many moons ago. There, the eclectic and astounding Peter Zinovieff, who taught us "acoustics" (though his classes certainly weren't about how to build a concert hall), used to talk about Henze a great deal. Zinovieff, a pioneer of the synthesizer, was the dedicatee of his Tristan, the tape parts of which were created at Zinovieff's electronics studio. He played the last section of this work to us. Wagner; a child's voice; the heartbeat of (if I remember right) a dog. Most of us took a little while to recover!
Among the best-known of his works is Ondine, the atmospheric ballet score composed for Frederick Ashton to choreograph, and associated forever with Margot Fonteyn. Here it is by way of tribute, starring Fonteyn herself and Michael Somes.