Author Topic: Louis Andriessen's Annex  (Read 13031 times)

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Offline PSmith08

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Louis Andriessen's Annex
« on: June 30, 2007, 10:16:59 AM »
After some searching, I noticed (or, at least, I thought I noticed) that there isn't a dedicated thread to the Dutch composer Louis Andriessen. After hearing De Leeuw lead the Los Angeles Philharmonic in De Staat (1976) and Racconto dell'Inferno (2004) via the iTunes "DG Concerts" set, I've been fairly interested in Andriessen. His music clearly has a broad range of influences, from bebop to Stravinsky to American rock music, but it certainly eschews most establish styles. It might be safest, in my experience, to say Andriessen is post-serialist and post-minimalist.

Here is a BBC Radio 3 interview with Andriessen (John Tusa interviewing).

Here, too, is a link to some of his recordings.

If you're interested in the iTunes release, despite the plethora of drawbacks with iTMS and iTunes products, you can find it - and iTMS versions of many of the Andriessen recordings, including some OOP ones, at the iTMS.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2007, 08:35:06 PM by PSmith08 »

Offline Que

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Re: Andriessen's Annex
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2007, 10:28:19 AM »
Some info about Louis Andriessen at the institution for supporting and comproting Dutch contemporary composers Donemus.

Q

Offline Brewski

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Re: Andriessen's Annex
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2007, 10:32:07 AM »
Oh good, an Andriessen thread!  While I have not heard the two pieces you mention, two of his others are very high on my favorites list: Hoketus and Workers Union, both from 1975.  The latter, written for "any loud-sounding group of instruments" is absolutely riveting and diabolically difficult to play.  I've heard it live twice, once with Bang on a Can (who recorded it) and then with the International Contemporary Ensemble.  A friend just bought the score a few weeks ago and has promised to lend it to me when he's had a chance to look it over.  Here's the BOAC recording:



I also saw his opera, Writing to Vermeer, as part of the Lincoln Center Festival a few years ago, and it was one of the most astonishing works, visually, I've ever seen.  Huge projections of handwritten letters crawled over the set, which was overflowing with some 40,000 gallons of water, rushing over the stage and into a huge trough below.  The libretto is by filmmaker Peter Greenaway, who imagines three women in Vermeer's life writing to him while he is away, visiting The Hague. 

I have not yet heard the recording, released last year with the same personnel (I believe) which is supposed to be excellent. 



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Offline Maciek

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Re: Andriessen's Annex
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2007, 03:23:00 PM »
It might be advisable to add the composer's given name to the thread title, as Louis is not the only Andriessen composer out there (AFAIK). I realize this will somehow impair the alliterative punch but then this is just a suggestion, you may as well ignore me. 0:)

Louis Andriessen comes to Warsaw every now and then, so I have heard some of his music but not enough to form any final opinion. I do find the Bang on a Can recordings that Bruce mentions quite enjoyable but I've also heard some uninteresting music from him (the titles are gone, I'm afraid... ::)).

Lilas Pastia

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Re: Andriessen's Annex
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2007, 04:02:50 PM »
I have a disc of orchestral music by his brother Jurriaan. Excellent. I understand he is much, much less adventurous than Louie, though.

Offline PSmith08

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Re: Andriessen's Annex
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2007, 08:36:28 PM »
It might be advisable to add the composer's given name to the thread title, as Louis is not the only Andriessen composer out there (AFAIK). I realize this will somehow impair the alliterative punch but then this is just a suggestion, you may as well ignore me. 0:)

Despite the break in tradition and alliteration that such an alteration would entail, I have seen the light of your suggestion and have already made the necessary changes.

Offline Brewski

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Re: Louis Andriessen's Annex
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2007, 05:12:13 AM »
Over the weekend I listened again to the Bang on a Can versions of Workers Union and Hoketus.  While they both require virtuosity that is compelling on its own terms, I think Workers Union will perhaps get more play.  Hoketus probably drives some listeners mad with its spare construction: for much of the piece the musicians are rocking back and forth on just two notes (i.e., based on the medieval hocket), making it perhaps for hardcore minimalists only.  But Workers Union gets more interesting with each hearing. 

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Offline Christo

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Re: Andriessen's Annex
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2007, 05:38:27 PM »
I have a disc of orchestral music by his brother Jurriaan. Excellent. I understand he is much, much less adventurous than Louie, though.

Right. In my musical circles, there's little doubt as to the talents that were distributed among the large Andriessen family:

First comes, by a long distance, father Hendrik Andriessen, who is a major composer in his own right. Second comes his eldest son, Jurriaan Andriessen, with some fine works, and btw also a fine film music composer. And third or fourth (there are many more talented Andriessens, like e.g. another Jurriaan and also uncle Willem Andriessen) comes the angry young man of the musical family, Louis. Not so talented perhaps as a composer, but definitely with a succesful PR.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2007, 05:42:03 PM by Christo »
… music is not only an 'entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

Lilas Pastia

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Re: Louis Andriessen's Annex
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2007, 06:12:39 PM »
Thanks, Christo. I really like the Jurriaan disc I have (Berkshire symphonies etc, on NMC). What works of Hendrik would you recommend?

Offline Christo

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Re: Louis Andriessen's Annex
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2007, 03:17:06 AM »
Thanks, Christo. I really like the Jurriaan disc I have (Berkshire symphonies etc, on NMC). What works of Hendrik would you recommend?

All of them. But if you can find it, the NMC CD with his Miroir de Peine, Couperin Variations, Kuhnau Variations, Chormatic Variations. Otherwise the recently released ETCETERA twofer with his four symphonies (albeit sometimes in historic performances) and other orchestral pieces.
… music is not only an 'entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

karlhenning

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Re: Louis Andriessen's Annex
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2007, 03:29:53 AM »
Over the weekend I listened again to the Bang on a Can versions of Workers Union and Hoketus.  While they both require virtuosity that is compelling on its own terms, I think Workers Union will perhaps get more play.  Hoketus probably drives some listeners mad with its spare construction: for much of the piece the musicians are rocking back and forth on just two notes (i.e., based on the medieval hocket), making it perhaps for hardcore minimalists only.  But Workers Union gets more interesting with each hearing. 

There's something about Hoketus's relentlessness which I've always liked, Bruce;  but then, I don't revisit it all that frequently.  Curious about Worker's Union, and I want to revisit De Staat, too.

johnQpublic

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Re: Andriessen's Annex
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2007, 04:00:16 AM »


This disc is terrific!!!

The ever-changing cross-rhythms in these minimalistic pieces are endlessly fascinating. Sort of like an aural kaleidascope.

karlhenning

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Re: Andriessen's Annex
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2007, 04:02:03 AM »
This disc is terrific!!!

Yes, though the cover art is abysmal.

Fact is, I should have fetched the disc in long ago, were it not for the repellant cover.

Offline Brewski

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Re: Andriessen's Annex
« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2007, 05:38:06 AM »
Yes, though the cover art is abysmal.

Fact is, I should have fetched the disc in long ago, were it not for the repellant cover.

Aww...I like it!  Seriously!   :'(

Anyway, back to Workers Union for a second.  Apparently the score (which I hope to see soon) has no exact pitch specifications, but asks the performers to choose their own within a range.  Here are notes from the Los Angeles Philharmonic's performance.

And totally agree with your characterization of Hoketus as "relentless."

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karlhenning

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Re: Andriessen's Annex
« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2007, 05:46:18 AM »
Anyway, back to Workers Union for a second.  Apparently the score (which I hope to see soon) has no exact pitch specifications, but asks the performers to choose their own within a range.  Here are notes from the Los Angeles Philharmonic's performance.

You'd think (maybe), as a performer, that I'd like the "let the players choose their notes" gambit.  Somehow, that's always struck me as laziness on part of the composer;  now, maybe I'll find the score which revises that impression, someday . . . but, meanwhile, I find the composer's role in designating the pitch-content too big a part of The Fun . . . .

How do you like Writing to Vermeer and/or Rosa - The Death of a Composer, Bruce?

Offline Brewski

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Re: Andriessen's Annex
« Reply #15 on: July 03, 2007, 05:57:19 AM »
You'd think (maybe), as a performer, that I'd like the "let the players choose their notes" gambit.  Somehow, that's always struck me as laziness on part of the composer;  now, maybe I'll find the score which revises that impression, someday . . . but, meanwhile, I find the composer's role in designating the pitch-content too big a part of The Fun . . . .

How do you like Writing to Vermeer and/or Rosa - The Death of a Composer, Bruce?

The thing is, although the pitch specifications are not exact, the rhythms are, with the ensemble often playing in unison and navigating horrendously tricky meters that they all have to execute very precisely.  It was that "spin on a dime" quality that impressed me about the piece, the first time I heard it. 

I thought Writing to Vermeer was gorgeous, although I've only heard it once.  (Another recording on the "to get" list.)  But I confess my impressions may have been influenced by the production, which was not only one of the most complex I've ever seen, but also one of the most beautiful.  (I tried to find a good photo online...the one below is not bad but doesn't quite do it justice.  But it gives you an idea.)

I haven't yet heard Rosa, but friends who have say it's one of his best works.

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Offline Maciek

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Re: Louis Andriessen's Annex
« Reply #16 on: July 03, 2007, 02:19:48 PM »
What? He's written something called Rosa? :o Now they tell me! >:(

karlhenning

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Re: Louis Andriessen's Annex
« Reply #17 on: July 04, 2007, 09:27:47 AM »
Now, calm down, Maciek . . . .

Offline Maciek

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Re: Louis Andriessen's Annex
« Reply #18 on: July 04, 2007, 10:53:09 AM »
 ;D

Offline Brewski

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Re: Louis Andriessen's Annex
« Reply #19 on: July 11, 2007, 05:34:11 PM »
Here is the LOOS Ensemble playing Hout in Buenos Aires in 1995 (two parts).  (Andriessen wrote it for them in 1990.)  Quality is pretty good...the piece will either mesmerize you or drive you bonkers, but it's a very good example of his style.  ;D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Qtlq_PCqOE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eh_l4ueSj18

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