Global Austria (2), Tuesday 27 March 2012, 7.00pm | Austrian Cultural Forum London
Entry Free, advance booking essential.


Ensemble Amorpha return to the Austrian Cultural Forum to present Global Austria (2). A concert of works by composers whose creative lives have been shaped by the musical energies of Austria. It will include composers who are native Austrians alongside those who have been or are still creatively active in the country.

The international nature of the work that the ACF London does gave rise to the first Global Austria programme in 2011. The idea was simple to unite the music of a collection of composers who had been influenced by Austria. This took the form of young composer who had studied/lived in Austria, established composers working in Austria and figures from Austria’s rich musical tradition. This premise underpins the second Global Austria project with a focus on the string trio. This simple combination of instruments presents a distinctly different challenge to that of the string quartet, it invites a very contrapuntal approach in some composers, whilst others use the string texture to create a type of single trio instrument in itself. We will hear prime examples of both approaches and much more this evening.

Programme

Schoenberg - String Trio Op.45

Wozny - Surfacing

Schubert - String Trio D.471

Styles - String Trio

Schoenberg – String Trio Op.45
The String Trio Op.45 was commissioned by the music department of Harvard University for a symposium on Musical Criticism in spring 1947. It was premiered by members of the Walden String Quartet at Harvard (in Cambridge, Massachusetts) on 1 May 1947. Schönberg had begun work on the piece already in June 1946, but the majority was composed between 20 August – i.e. only two-and-a-half weeks after Schönberg suffered a severe heart attack – and 23 September. This traumatic episode, which Schönberg survived only through an injection directly into his heart, took its toll on the 71-year-old composer, and Schönberg told Thomas Mann (as reported in “Die Entstehung des Doktor Faustus”) that his Trio reflected his physical and psychological suffering during this period. The single-movement work is divided into five sections: three “parts” and two “episodes.” Part three begins like Part one and recapitulates aspects of the whole work. Thematic development is spread throughout the work. The piece ends with a 12-note statement in the violin in which the basic motifs are presented. The variety of surface details (abrupt dynamic contrasts, expressionistic string effects, variations in tone) stand in contrast to the rigorous serialism that undergirds the work’s structure.
Camille Crittenden © Arnold Schönberg Center

Wozny - Surfacing
The idea of volatile, fragile, "infirm" sounds was a sort of starting point for this piece. These sounds fade away more and more throughout the piece. At last single sound-events surface, now and then.

Schubert – String Trio D.471
The one-movement trio was written in 1816, a prodigious year, during which Schubert composed over two hundred works, including dances, songs, sacred music, solo piano works, chamber music, symphonies, and other orchestral works-- all while working full-time as a teacher in his fathers school. It is a perfect example of the young composer’s 18th-Century approach to chamber music having been written for home performance. Like many of Schubert’s youthful works the trio shows the strong influence of Mozart, in its use of three-bar and five-bar phrases and circle-of-fifth progressions. It bears some resemblance to Schubert’s effervescent Fifth Symphony, written the same year and in the same key.

Styles - String Trio
This piece is concerned with possibilities. Musical possibilities that are conceivable but remain out of reach or they consistently present themselves as struggle to attain. Herein lies the tension of the piece. There is a fight to reach that which is perhaps not possible. How do we try and reach that which is beyond us? The music evolves, it tries to change, becomes something new so as to access new possibilities for itself. This attempt to change is in vain, it cannot, it is another struggle that provides tension and an evasive resolution.

Ensemble Amorpha Musicians

Alexandra Wood - Violin
Fiona Winning - Viola
Sarah McMahon - Cello

Composers

Luke Styles
Born in 1982, Luke Styles is a UK based composer currently the Glyndebourne Young Composer in Residence and part of the PRSF New Music Incubator Scheme. He moved to the United Kingdom in 2001, to pursue a BMus (composition) degree at the Royal Academy of Music, following which he completed a postgraduate degree with Detlev Müller-Siemens in Vienna and then a second postgraduate degree with Prof. Wolfgang Rihm in Karlsruhe, Germany. Luke returned to the UK to study with George Benjamin at Kings College London on an Association for Cultural Exchange Study Tours Scholarship, completed in 2009.

Luke has been the recipient of numerous awards and commissions including, the Wolfgang-Rihm scholarship 2008, DAAD scholarship for 06/07, PRSF New Works commission, RVW Trust commission, Britten-Pears Foundation funding, Exposure Dance ROH2 commission, Sonic Arts Network Expo 2005 commission. Luke’s music has been played throughout the world with radio broadcasts on the ACB, BBC, and SWR2, at festivals such as the, Wien Modern, Aldeburgh Festival, Deal Festival, Tete a Tete Opera Festival, Darbar Festival, Berio Omaggio and the Karlsruhe Silent Film Festival.

Luke has worked with the London Sinfonietta and attended courses such as the Darmstadt International Summer Course for New Music, European Choral Composers Course, the 2010/2011 Jerwood Opera Writing Programme and presented work at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. Luke is also a freelance lecturer, director of Ensemble Amorpha and currently teaches composition at the Junior Trinity College of Music. Recent and upcoming performances include the Sydney Opera House, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and Glyndebourne.

Joanna Wozny
Joanna Wozny was born in the Polish city of Zabrze in 1973. She earned a master’s degree in philosophy studying from 1992 to 1999 in Katowice, Poland. In 1996 she also commenced studies in composition and music theory at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz with Gerd Kühr and Beat Furrer, from which she graduated with honours in 2003. During the 2002/2003 academic year, Wozny also received composing instruction from Younghi Pagh- Paan. Since 2007, all works by Joanna Wozny have been published by Edition Juliane Klein in Berlin. Joanna Wozny lives as a freelance composer in Graz.

As a composer, Joanna Wozny has received numerous awards and honours including a grant from the Stefan Batory Foundation (Warsaw) in 1997, an Advancement Award for Music from the City of Graz in 2001, the Austrian State Scholarship for Composers in 2005 and 2008, the Andrzej Dobrowolski Composition Scholarship of 2008, the Erste Bank Composing Commission of 2010 and the SKE Publicity Award of 2010. In 2003 and 2004, she was invited to be Composer in Residence at the Artists Encounter of St. Lambrecht’s Abbey, in 2010/11 she was the Young Composer in Residence of the ensemble PHACE | CONTEMPORARY MUSIC, and in 2001 she was Composer in Residence at the venue Art Station St. Peter in Cologne.

Wozny’s oeuvre encompasses the entire spectrum of instrumental music - from solo and chamber music works to ensemble and orchestra compositions, as well as choral and other vocal works and electronic music. She has written works commissioned by the Cultural Centre of the Minorites in Graz, the ORF, the Munich Radio Orchestra, the Klangspuren Festival of Contemporary Music in Schwaz, Vienna Mozart Year 2006, Warsaw Autumn and the Musikprotokoll concert series in Graz. Her compositions have been featured at numerous major festivals including Wien Modern, Musikprotokoll Graz, Ultraschall Festival Berlin, Warsaw Autumn and Forum Neuer Musik in Cologne. Ensembles performing her works have included the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Munich Radio Orchestra, Klangforum Wien, Ensemble Wiener Collage, PercussioNova, ensemble courage, PHACE, the EWCM and Ensemble Mosaik.