Friedrich Cerha, back in the day
Tonight from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. CDT on 98.7WFMT Chicago and via free streaming anywhere in the world at wfmt.com I'll be presenting what I am pretty sure is the North American radio première of sections I, II, and III (about 237 minutes of music) of Friedrich Cerha's seminal 1960-61 Spiegel (Mirror) from the new and first-ever recording of the full 90-minute work recently released in Europe on the KAIROS label.
The work was recorded, with Sylvain Cambreling leading his SWR-Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden and Freiburg, in Bregenz, Austria, in 2006 and is at last available. (Cerha, b. 1926 in Vienna, had to wait more than 10 years for the first full live performance of the piece, in 1972, in Graz.) In the CD box, 18 (!) composers comment on the importance of this much discussed but rarely heard work. Pierre Boulez notes:
"I have always regarded Friedrich Cerha as one of the most important personalities of his generation. I have followed his composing with great interest whenever I had the opportunity to listen to a work or read it during its creation. I am delighted that an album has now appeared which makes it possible to get an impression of his music’s remarkable development. I hope that this will serve to create an awareness of his true significance. " -- Paris, 21 Dec. 2009.
Cerha just received the 2011 Salzburg State Music Prize as I reported here earlier this month from Salzburg. And I'll also be playing a work for solo guitar by the winner of the 2011 Junior/Promotion Prize, the Berlin-based Spaniard Elena Mendoza, b. 1973 in Seville, also from a (2008) KAIROS release.
If you tune in to WFMT from 8 p.m. CDT you have an additional treat -- the broadcast of the fascinating and outstanding July 27 Ravinia Festival Martin Theatre concert hosted and conducted by music director James Conlon of three early jazz-influenced works by Erwin Schulhoff, Wilhelm Grosz, and Darius Milhaud with pianist Di Wu, singers Ronnita Nicole Miller and Brian Mulligan, and members of the Chicago Chamber Musicians. You'll miss the great pantomime performance of Milhaud and Jean Cocteau's Le boeuf sur le toit, but you'll hear everything just fine.
The program will be posted at wfmt.com/criticalthinking later this week for free podcast/download/streaming.