Olga Neuwirth’s ... miramondo multiplo ... was one of the two highlights of the evening. Neuwirth at her best – the collaborations with Elfriede Jelinek and chamber work gems such as Quasare/Pulsare come to mind – is the most significant Austrian composer of her generation, but even a less seriously intended piece like ... miramondo multiplo ... puts a depth of intellect and meaning between itself and the irreverent ‘Third Viennese School’ of HK Gruber and Kurt Schwertsik, from which a part of its inspiration is derived. That this piece was originally programmed at the end of the concert and then moved to before the interval made for interesting proximity with the Boulez; echoes abounded, not only of ... explosante-fixe ..., but also Répons and Pli selon pli.I don’t have much to add to this review of the Klangforum Wien’s most recent concert, which you can read in full here. This extract is taken from towards the end, as the first paragraph is simply an introductory Liebesbrief to the Klangforum (albeit a well-deserved one). ‘One of the world’s finest contemporary music ensembles’ is putting it with restraint; ensembles like the London Sinfonietta, brilliant as they are, are great at expression and advocacy, but often lack the Klangforum’s discipline. The Ensemble intercontemporain are untouchable with anything that comes out of IRCAM, but aside from that aren’t the most versatile of groups and I harbour reservations about their Webern. Anyway, this is all tending towards the dangerously chauvinistic ‘we do it like nobody else’ Kulturnation BS – though how ironic that the Klangforum never gets a mention in that discourse – so I’ll stop there. Plus, if you live in New York you can experience the ensemble for yourselves in April – Alex Ross already does a great job of plugging Austrian Cultural Forum events, but here’s another plug anyway: two concerts on the 18th and 19th will mark 10 years of the ACFNY, the special significance being that the Klangforum inaugurated the venue on 18th April 2002. The programme is the same for both evenings and includes Kurtág, Staud, Sciarrino and a new work by Agata Zubel. Details can be found here.
Olga Neuwirth image credit: Sebastian Hoppe