Friday, 8 January 2010

Hans Werner Henze - intelligent interviews EXTRA

HERE is a link to a very good interview with Hans Werner Henze by Ivan Hewett. It's worth reading because it's quite penetrating, addressing real issues in Henze's music. Brutalized by his Nazi father, Henze turned his back on overt "German-ness" even before he moved to Italy. In Italy he embraced communism but Italian leftwingers saw him as a "champagne socialist". The point about Henze is that he doesn't fit categories. Hence the adventurous range of styles , the seeming contradictions, the controversies. Which the composer enjoys playing up tremendously. The blowup about The Raft of the Medusa hurt tremendously, and was one of the few times the composer was silenced, temporarily, before bursting back with Versuch über Schweine which is one of the most anguished, extreme things he's ever written. He's no fool, he's figured out how the world seems to need either/or categories. That's why he relishes being provocative and has a twinkle in his eyes. More recently he's taken on Helmut Lachenmann.

And HERE is a link to the article in Die Zeit written at the time of the Phaedra premiere, by Volker Hagedorn. It is an important article. Phaedra will be on at the Barbican on 17th January, with the same cast as in Berlin and Frankfurt. It's a major event, but it's not an "easy" opera. So read this article for background. I'll do something later, too. as I think it's one of the key works of our time even though it drove some critics nuts. But then, driving people nuts has often been the sign of something innovative!

And since I wrote this, Andrew Clark has popped up in the FT with an even more interesting article, definitely not written by someone who scans Spotify for "tracks" of Henze. This time the interview focuses on the new Henze pieces, Elogium musicum, and Immolazione, the first will be heard in London on 16 January and the second in Rome, in June. Read his article HERE

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