The German composer Hans Werner Henze left us today at 86, after a full, prolific and at times tumultuous life and career. This Telegramobituary provides an extensive overview of Henze’s life and work, and you’ll learn still more in this appreciation by Peter G. Davis published in The New York Times.
I first became aware of Henze’s music around 20 years ago, through a Cleveland Orchestra radio broadcast of his opera Die Bassariden conducted by Christoph von Dohnányi, and I consider myself fortunate to have seen and reviewed one of his later operas, Phaedra, last summer in Philadelphia.
Were it available, I would share a recording of Elogium Musicum Amatissimi Amici Nunc Remoti, which Henze completed in 2008 following the sudden, unexpected death of his longtime partner, Fausto Moroni Henze. (Read about it here and here.) Since that piece remains unrecorded, I’m offering instead the second movement, Dies irae, of another favorite latter-day Henze work, Requiem, a remarkable instrumental cycle composed from 1990 to 1993.
A very brief review of a lovely, thoughtful new opera… congratulations to composer Missy Mazzoli, performers Abigail Fischer and NOW Ensemble, producer Beth Morrison and everyone else involved. Three performances remain at The Kitchen this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, all officially sold-out.
My interview with bass-baritone Eric Owens, whose portrayal of Alberich was a highlight – perhaps the highlight – of the current “Ring” cycle at the Metropolitan Opera. Owens will present a recital of German and French songs at Zankel Hall on Tuesday, February 21.
A great deal of music by Philip Glass is being shared today on this, his 75th birthday. My contribution is “Hymn to the Aten,” from his third opera, Akhnaten, about a heretical Egyptian pharaoh and the birth of monotheism. For me, this is Glass’s most ravishingly beautiful piece, and countertenor Paul Esswood sings it gorgeously. The libretto is in Egyptian, Arcadian and Hebrew, but Glass directed that the “Hymn” be sung in the language of its audience; English was chosen for this CBS recording.
JUST RELEASED: Lincoln Center announces its 2012-2013 Great Performers season, featuring Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Valery Gergiev and the London Symphony Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, among many other spectacular performances. (And don’t forget to read what The New York Times had to say when it broke the story yesterday.)