Monday, 22 February 2016

Louis Andriessen at the Barbican

Now 76, Dutch composer Louis Andriessen is philosophical about the past and the future when interviewed on BBC Radio 3 about the series of concerts devoted to his music at London's Barbican Centre and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama's Milton Court nearby. He doesn't think of the series (which took place on 9, 12 and 13 February) as a retrospective since much of the work played is "recent" -- with a 60-year composing career behind him, he regards anything written after 2000 as recent. He listens to this work in terms of what he can do better for the next composition, recognising, though, that there might not be "too many years left" to write. But he adds with a chuckle: "You never know of course -- maybe Elliott Carter."

 Claire Seymour reviewed for Opera Today the first concert in the series: works by Andriessen's pupil the late Steve Martland and by Steve Reich framing Andriessen's La Passione for "large ensemble" (as he puts it), mezzo soprano, violin and chorus. She writes:

In La Passione, Andriessen’s 2002 song-cycle on texts by the Italian poet Dino Campana (1885-1932), the two soloists, singer and violinist, are both accomplices and adversaries. Though stylistically and formally the work has more in common with Stravinsky than with Bach, there is a nod in the direction of the latter’s Passions in the quasi-obbligato function of the violin part, which, in Andriessen’s words, ‘shadows the voice in a diabolic way, exploring the threatening nature of much of the poetry, like the world of a Bosch painting'. 

For the full Opera Today review, go here.. The full concert is available for the next 18 days on the BBC Radio 3 iPlayer, go here to listen. 

The series continued on 12 February with the UK premiere of Andriessen's opera La Commedia (available on the BBC iPlayer for 28 days -- go here to listen) and on 13 February with works including De stijl, and the UK premieres of Rose's Horses and Mysterien (available on the BBC iPlayer for 21 days -- go here to listen).

There's lots more about Louis Andriessen on this site (go Andriessen in the Search  This Blog box).

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