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Jan Müller-Wieland: The Latest News

Jan Müller-Wieland (born 1966) has been awarded the 2002 Furtherance Prize of the Ernst von Siemens Foundation. Each year the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize is awarded to a composer, interpreter or musicologist who has made an outstanding achievement in the international music world. Additionally, appropriated allocations are granted annually for the furtherance of young composers, ensembles, institutions and individuals in Germany and abroad who have especially dedicated themselves to contemporary music.

The work Vagabondage by Jan Müller-Wieland received its premiere performance at a concert given by the "ensemble acht" in October 2001 at the Free Academy of the Arts in Hamburg. The composer has supplied the following commentary concerning his work:

"This octet contains my wanderer fantasies. The form of the one-movement piece arose out of the basic idea of being a vagabond. Whilst writing it I notice, however, that a kind of sonata form had arisen in the background. One musical theme will particularly strike the listener. It is a plain flourish in the bassoon, sounding after 150 bars. Later, it turns up in the first violin. For me personally, it represents a quasi-quotation of Jewish Klezmer music. The reference came about through my preceding opera "Nathan's Death" based on George Tabori."

On 21 January 2002 the song "Tänzerin" (Lady Dancer) by Müller-Wieland was presented in Berlin for the first time during the course of the German radio festival "Ultra-Schall." The internationally renowned soprano Claudia Barainsky sang, accompanied by the pianist Axel Bauni, for whom the composer is planning a new song cycle based on texts by Giorgio Caproni in 2002.

The pianist Siegfried Mauser will be the soloist in the world premiere of a new Piano Piece (with tape) by Müller-Wieland at the Munich Biennale 2002. Another piano piece is currently being composed to celebrate the 75th birthday of Wilhelm Killmayer.

Müller-Wieland has just completed work on a Violin Concerto for Daniel Hope with the title "Ballad of Ariel." It will receive its premiere as a commission from the Berlin Konzerthaus on 12-15 September 2002 by Daniel Hope and the Berlin Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Vladimir Fedoseyev.

Press Comments on "Nathan's Death"

On the occasion of the world premiere on 6 October 2001 in Görlitz of Jan Müller-Wieland's new opera Nathan's Death based on a subject by George Tabori, Irene Tüngler wrote the following in the Neue Musikzeitung (11/01):

"Jan Müller-Wieland, who has been able to create sensual music of deep feeling from the musical material accumulated at the end of the 20th century, returns to a beginning in this work. He has immersed himself in the parlando river of early opera with the dominance of the word over sound. Especially Nathan, fascinatingly embodied by Matteo de Monti in terms of both singing and acting, has unbelievable amounts of texts to come to grips with. The music, dictated by the word (always understandingly singable!) requires a reduction of the large orchestral apparatus (completed by a most noticeably employed celesta) over long stretches. A march-like kind of music is only allowed to romp during the five orchestral interludes and at the end.

"A third decisive element in Müller-Wieland's score is the use of familiar musical idioms of the three cultures appearing in the work. At the beginning is a Bach Chorale, played calmly as a string pizzicato, then followed by Nathan's first long parable narration. Later one hears motifs from East European Stedl music, with nasal wind sounds reminiscent of Arab bazaars briefly resounding. The Chorale remains the main motif of the opera - as consciously geographically and historically incorrect as the other "typical" reminiscences, but just for that reason so well suited for involving the piece and each of its listeners in an entire network of associations."