Author Topic: Aha Aa  (Read 1934 times)

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Offline UB

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Aha Aa
« on: February 10, 2012, 01:49:29 PM »
Michel van der Aa is a young - born in 1970 - Dutch composer who seems to be very much up and coming - especially in Europe.

I find his music to be a kind of blend of minimalism, spectral, and electronics. I like it more than I expected when I first started to listen to his music in earnest. He is not a plink, plonk, screech composer. Although there are times when that happens it always seems to be for a purpose and not just for effect. I think that his music might be a good introduction for someone who is honestly interested in moving into what is often called ‘challenging’ modern music but it is not for someone who thinks Shostakovich went too far with his late String Quartets.

The best way to get to know about him and his music and to see if he might fit into your listening world is to go to his very well constructed website and just browse around.

If you go into his multimedia section you can listen to clips from most of his works. There is a good 12 minute interview by the NY Public Radio in English lets him tell you about his music. The biography by Jonathan Reeder is also very informative. But of course the best way to get to know him is to listen to his music.

So before you buy anything you can go to YouTube and listen to a number of his pieces. I suggest you listen to Auburn from 1994 which is the earliest work of his that I have on CD and then to Mask which is from 2007. Both of these works are for acoustical instruments and soundtracks. Then watch Transit, also from 2007, which is for piano and video projection. Aa seems to be moving from mainly sounds to sights and sounds. By the time you get through these three pieces you will know if you want to hear more.

If you do decide to expand your listening I suggest you buy the “Here Trilogy” and the “Spaces of Blank, Mask, and Imprint” CDs that are available as downloads from Amazon. If anyone springs for the “One chamber” or ‘Up-Close" DVDs please let me know if you think they are worth the price.
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Offline lescamil

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Re: Aha Aa
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2012, 02:42:47 PM »
I have a few of disks and there are some definite hits. I haven't made my way through all of them yet, but I really enjoy both Spaces of Blank and Imprint. Spaces of Blank is a really nice song cycle that also uses electronics (used very tastefully). Imprint is a unique work, in that it calls for a baroque orchestra with a solo violin that also doubles playing a positive organ (the keys are held down with weights and serves as a sort of pedal point). Imprint is a great work that reminds me somewhat of Lutoslawski. I don't really hear the minimalist influence in either of these works. It does have a very eclectic sound to it, though, which definitely gets my ears perked up.
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Offline starrynight

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Re: Aha Aa
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2012, 11:01:53 PM »
Imprint sounds like it has more interest to me than some of his other work that I've heard.  His music can sound a bit abstract and lacking the individuality to make it have emotional impact for me despite his professionalism,  Imprint though might appeal to me more, seems a bit different.  Glad you think he is young as well, that means I am. :D

Offline springrite

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Re: Aha Aa
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2012, 05:51:28 AM »
He will probably be first in most composer alphabetical listing, I guess.

Well, Bing A of China will probably retain that honor for me.
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Offline UB

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Re: Aha Aa
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2012, 07:14:13 AM »
Imprint sounds like it has more interest to me than some of his other work that I've heard.  His music can sound a bit abstract and lacking the individuality to make it have emotional impact for me despite his professionalism,  Imprint though might appeal to me more, seems a bit different.  Glad you think he is young as well, that means I am. :D

What works have you heard of his? Have you heard his early piece Oog for cello and soundtrack? In his music the soundtracks integrate well with the instrumental parts so that I find that they add to the experience.

Since I was born over 3 decades before he - and it seems you - were, I consider him young.
I am not in the entertainment business. Harrison Birtwistle 2010

Offline starrynight

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Re: Aha Aa
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2012, 11:04:23 AM »
Ok, I'm not complaining about it anyway.  :D

Anyway this piece.  It does have some interesting changes of texture and mood, it certainly needs a good performance with intensity and energy (maybe the case for other pieces then).  Justa de Jong I like in it, Xenia Ensemble I just don't.