Wednesday, 19 August 2020

BCMG back on the road with Stockhausen in Birmingham and in Hannover

Stockhausen's Sternklang in Hannover with BCMG, Das neue Ensemble, Nordic Voices
Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (BCMG) will be giving a free live outdoor performance on Thursday (20 August 2020) in Brindley Place in Birmingham, in partnership with IKON. The programme of music by Stockhausen, Henze and Zimmerman is inspired by another forthcoming BCMG performance. On Saturday 29 August 2020, BCMG is joining forces with Das Neue Ensemble and Nordic Voices to give a rare performance of Karlheinz Stockhausen's Sternklang in a Hanover park, performing the work under the stars as the composer intended (the performance is sold-out).

In Birmingham, BCMG's free programme (its first live concert in Birmingham since lockdown) will consist of Stockhausen's Tierkreis (Zodiac) for solo cello performed by Ulrich Heinen alongside Hans Werner Henze’s Serenade for cello solo and Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s Four Short Studies.

In Hannover the players of BCMG will join forces with Das Neue Ensemble and Nordic Voices for Sternklang in Hannover's Königlicher Berggarten Herrenhausen on 29 August 2020. Stockhausen conceived Sternklang (Star Sound) as 'park music' to be played outdoors under the stars and it was premiered in 1971 in Berlin's English Garden, and the composer conducted the work in Birmingham in 1992 when BCMG performed it at Cannon Hill Park. The Hannover performance is led by Stephan Meier who is artistic director of both BCMG and Hannover-based Das Neue Ensemble, and they are joined by Oslo's four-piece a cappella group Nordic Voices.

Sternklang is scored for five groups of four instrumentalists and singers, positioned far apart across the outdoor space,  any instruments can be used and the amplified groups play solo and together, with ‘sound runners’ carrying music from one group to another and allowing strains from the different groups to be heard across the park. From the constellations Stockhausen devised musical ‘models’ from the positions of the stars so that “on a clear night, star constellations can be directly read from the sky and integrated as musical figures”. You can read more about the work in Paul Griffiths' article on the BCMG website.

Further details from the BCMG website.

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