Phœnix

Hersch & Ah Young Hong

The evening begins in the Middle Ages and then takes a big jump to the present day.

We are extremely happy to present Michael Hersch with his new composition for soprano and ensemble: “one step to the next, worlds ending”. We’ve collaborated 2021 in the music theater production “Poppaea”, and are pleased to continue with this new special program focus last season’s great experience. Our soprano soloist Ah Young Hong – splendid in the title role in “Poppaea” – will take on the solo part.

The concert program is framed by newly arranged works from the 14th century: by Guillaume de Machaut as well as by Jacob de Senleches and Jean Galiot. These belong to the style epoch of the “Ars subtilior”, which developed further from Machaut’s musical ideas. We perform them in an arrangement by Erik Oña. The Argentine composer, who died in 2019 had taught at the Electronic Studio of the FHNW in Basel since 2001.

The program is complemented by the compositions “After Serra” and “Aequilibria”.

American composer Jason Eckardt refers to the monumental sculptures of visual artist Richard Serra. One of Serra’s sculptures – “Intersection” – stands on the place in front of the “Theater Basel” since 1992.

Islandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir captivates in her music with soft, spherical sounds.

The concert closes as it began with the motet “Puis qu’en oubli” by Guillaume de Machaut in the arrangement by Michael Hersch.


Program

Guillaume de Machaut (approx. 1300–1377) “Puis qu’en oubli” for soprano and string quartet (arr.: Michael Hersch, 2020) – ca. 3’ Jason Eckardt (*1971) After Serra” for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano (2000) – 15’ Anna Thorvaldsdottir (*1977) “Aequilibria” for ensemble (2014) – 14’ Jean Galiot (14th c.) “Le Sault Perilleux” ballad for mezzo soprano, speaker (voice-fry) and ensemble (arr.: Erik Oña, 2004) – 8’ Jacob de Senleches (14th c.) “Je me merveil”  for ensemble (arr.: Erik Oña, 2004) – 3’30” Jacob de Senleches (14th c.) “La Harpe de Mellodie”  for mezzo soprano and ensemble (arr.: Erik Oña, 2004) – 3’ Michael Hersch (*1971) “one step to the next, worlds ending” songs on texts by Jan Zwicky (2022, WP, commission EPhB) – 20’
Ah Young Hong
soprano
Lucas Rößner
speaker
Jürg Henneberger
conductor
Christoph Bösch
flute, alto flute, bass flute
Antje Thierbach
oboe
Toshiko Sakakibara
clarinet, bass clarinet
Lucas Rößner
bassoon
Alexandre Labonde
horn
Michael Büttler
trombone
Daniel Stalder
percussion
Manuel Bärtsch
piano, organ positive
Friedemann Treiber
violin
Daniel Hauptmann
violin
Petra Ackermann
viola
Martin Jaggi
cello
Aleksander Gabryś
double bass
Phœnix

Pioneers of New Music: New Viennese School

With great passion and dedication, EPhB  regularly devotes itself to the New Viennese School,

The three pioneers of this style have had a decisive influence on European New Music. With his students Alban Berg and Anton Webern, Arnold Schoenberg created music that on the one hand is deeply rooted in Romanticism, and on the other – to quote Stefan George, whose poems were often and willingly set to music by the three composers – this music breathes “air from another planet”. The “dodecaphony” invented by Schoenberg – the twelve-tone technique – has influenced generations of composers and was the initial spark for further style-forming tendencies such as serial music.

In this program, songs for high soprano with ensemble are heard, framed by original instrumental pieces and arrangements of larger orchestral works, in keeping with the tradition of the “Verein für musikalische Privataufführungen” (Society for Private Musical Performances) founded by Schönberg in 1918 – which was dissolved again as early as 1921.


Program

Arnold Schönberg (1874–1951) “Herzgewächse” (Maurice Maeterlinck) for high soprano, celesta, harmonium and harp op. 20 (1911) – 4’ Arnold Schönberg (1874–1951) “Suite op. 29” for clarinet in Eb, clarinet, bass clarinet, violin, viola, cello and piano (1925/1926) – 29’ Anton Webern (1883–1945) “Sechs Stücke op. 6” for orchestra, (1909, version for chamber orchestra 1920) – 12’ Anton Webern (1883–1945) “Zwei Lieder op. 8” on poems by Rainer Maria Rilke for voice and instruments (1910) – 5’ Anton Webern (1883–1945) “Sechs Lieder op. 14” on poems by Georg Trakl for voice and instruments (1917/1921) – 6’ Alban Berg (1885–1835) “Lied der Lulu” and “Adagio” from the opera “Lulu” (Frank Wedekind), for soprano and orchestra (1927–1935), arranged for soprano and ensemble by Jürg Henneberger (2022) – 10’
Svea Schildknecht
soprano
Jürg Henneberger
conductor
Christoph Bösch
flute, piccolo
Antje Thierbach
oboe, English horn
Toshiko Sakakibara
clarinet, bass clarinet
Benjamin Pallagi
clarinet in Eb
Richard Haynes
bass clarinet
Aurélien Tschopp
horn
Nenad Marković
trumpet
Michael Büttler
trombone
Consuelo Giulianelli
harp
Daniel Stalder
percussion
Manuel Bärtsch
piano, celesta
Ludovic Van Hellemont
harmonium, celesta
Friedemann Treiber
violin
David Sontòn Caflisch
violin
Petra Ackermann
viola
Stéphanie Meyer
cello
Aleksander Gabryś
double bass
Phœnix

Tim Hodgkinson, Wang Lu & Swiss Composers

English composer and multi-instrumentalist Tim Hodgkinson has become known primarily as an experimental rock and improvisation musician. Among other things, he founded the politically and musically radical group “HENRY COW” together with Fred Frith in 1968. He has also written compositions for classical formations. In 2003 the Ensemble Phoenix Basel played his quartet “Repulsion”, which was released as a live recording on our portrait CD (“United Phoenix Records”, 2004). His new work “under the void”, which he wrote for us, will finally have its world premiere after seven years.

After his studies Colombian composer Leonardo Idrobo stayed in Basel. We’ve followed his work closely and have premiered one of his early works in 2011. We look forward and are curious for his new work.

Christophe Schiess from Biel contributes a newly composed piece for us after a creative break due to family reasons. Since he had studied with Georg Friedrich Haas in Basel, you can find his name more often in our programs. Christoph Schiess is now himself teaching in Basel.

The three world premieres are complemented by an ensemble piece by Chinese composer Wang Lu. “Backstory” has an open, intuitive form. Seemingly loose yet tightly wound blocks of sound rub up against buoyant grooves.


Program

Leonardo Idrobo (*1977) New work for ensemble (2022, WP, commission EPhB) – 15’ Christophe Schiess (*1974) New work for ensemble (2022, WP, commission EPhB) – 15’ Wang Lu (*1982) “Backstory”  for ensemble (2016) – 7’30” Tim Hodgkinson (*1949) “Under the Void”  for ensemble (1916–1918) – 20’
Jürg Henneberger
conductor
Christoph Bösch
flute, piccolo, bass flute
Antje Thierbach
oboe
Toshiko Sakakibara
clarinet, bass clarinet
Lucas Rößner
bassoon, contraforte
Aurélien Tschopp
horn
Nenad Marković
trumpet
Michael Büttler
trombone
Daniel Stalder
percussion
João Pacheco
percussion
Miguel Pisonero
piano
Friedemann Treiber
violin
Daniel Hauptmann
violin
Petra Ackermann
viola
Alessandro D’Amico
viola
Stéphanie Meyer
cello
Aleksander Gabryś
double bass
Phœnix

Protest Music?

In September 1971, prisoners at Attica Prison in upstate New York revolted against prison conditions and took several prison guards hostage. On the governor’s orders, the National Guard subsequently stormed the prison, killing 32 people. Among them was Sam Melville, a bomber who had written a letter to his brother in spring 1971 that was published in a magazine. Back after a long trip to Italy, the American composer and pianist Frederik Rzewski read the letter in the magazine and was moved by the poetic quality and the description of time experience. This was the cause for him to write  “Coming Together,” a piece for variable ensemble and speaker; a composition that has become a prime example of music as resistance; consistently constructed and with a precisely calculated final climax.

The Palestinian composer Samir Odeh-Tamimi has developed his own musical language. Drawn from Western European avant-garde and Arabic musical practice, it radiates a special power. His enthusiasm for European classical music and the aesthetics of New Music led him to Germany at the age of 22. There he also found his way back to the musical culture of his country of origin. Since 2016, Samir Odeh-Tamimi has been a member of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin.

Like our third guest Mathias Spahlinger, he however already since 1996. The German composer creates  works extremely consistent and uncompromising, versatile, conceptual and with great care between aesthetic autonomy and political awareness. In 2014 he was awarded the Grand Art Prize of the Academy of Arts  (Grosser Kunstpreis der Akademie der Künste), thus receiving the highest honor for his life’s work.


Program

Frederik Rzewski (1938–2021) “Coming Together” for speaker and ensemble (1971) – 20’ Samir Odeh-Tamimi (*1970) “Alif” for Alto and ensemble (2014) – 16’ Mathias Spahlinger (*1944) “Verlorener Weg I & II” for ensemble (1999/2000) – 36’
Sylvia Nopper
alto
Lucas Rößner
speaker
Jürg Henneberger
conductor
Christoph Bösch
flute, piccolo
Antje Thierbach
oboe
Toshiko Sakakibara
clarinet, bass clarinet
Raphael Camenisch
alto saxophone, baritone saxophone
Nenad Marković
trumpet
Michael Büttler
trombone
Maurizio Grandinetti
electric guitar
Consuelo Giulianelli
harp
João Pacheco
percussion
Ludovic Van Hellemont
piano
Friedemann Treiber
violin
Daniel Hauptmann
violin
Alessandro D’Amico
viola
Martin Jaggi
cello
Aleksander Gabryś
double bass
Blanko

Blanko 2023

We conclude our season with the series “Blanko”. The main focus lies in this ongoing project on discussing  the language of today’s music in a free form. Ensemble Phoenix Basel invites two experimental musicians from the fields of noise, free improvisation, sound art, etc. to collaborate.

Svetlana Maraš will open the evening. The Serbian composer and sound artist works in fields between experimental music and sound art. Since 2021, she is co-director of the Electronic Studio Basel and professor of creative music technology at the Hochschule für Musik FHNW.

Fred Frith takes over in the second half of the concert. The English multi-instrumentalist is best known for his guitar playing and likes to use all kinds of everyday objects to make his instruments sound. From 2011 to 2020 he taught improvisation at the Hochschule für Musik Basel.


Program

Svetlana Maraš (*1985) New work for ensemble (2023, WP, commission EPhB) Fred Frith (*1949) New work for ensemble (2023, WP, commission EPhB)
Christoph Bösch
flute
Toshiko Sakakibara
clarinet
Lucas Rößner
bassoon
Nenad Marković
trumpet
Michael Büttler
trombone
Janne Jakobsson
tuba
Maurizio Grandinetti
electric guitar
João Pacheco
percussion
Samuel Wettstein
keyboards
Aleksander Gabryś
double bass
Thomas Peter
electronics
Fabrizio Di Salvo
sound design
Christoph Bösch
artistic direction