Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 in Review

(Photo of Amsterdam I made in March 2009)
This is a bit of Andriessen Year-in-Review:
"Garden of Eros" by Attacca Records
"La Passione" by BMOP/sound

Image de Moreau Box by MCN

The Hague Hacking
Christiaans Andriessens uitzicht op de Amstel

Andriessen@70, Music on Main, March, Vancouver
Louis Andriessen - Jongensjaren, May, The Hague
Birthday concerts on June 6 (Nocturnen, The Hague Hacking, Vermeer Pictures, La Passione), Amsterdam

Looking forward:
Carnegie Hall Residency
Louis Andriessen has been appointed to hold the Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair at Carnegie Hall for the 2009-2010 season. Celebrating his 70th birthday in 2009, Andriessen will have works performed by longtime champions, including the Bang on a Can All-Stars, the Asko/Schoenberg ensemble, Reinbert de Leeuw, and John Adams, as well as protégés and recent muses such as Greetje Bijma, Martijn Padding, and Christina Zavalloni. Spring performances at Carnegie Hall will feature key Andriessen works in their New York premieres, other works by Andriessen as well as composers he has mentored, and a series of intimate late-night concerts devoted to improvisational music—a key influence on the composer himself.  Program details here.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Composer of the Year 2010

Louis Andriessen has been named Musical America Composer of the Year 2010 in November. On December 14 he was in New York City for the official Musical America awards ceremony at Lincoln Center:

Other 2010 honorees are: Joshua Bell - Instrumentalist of the Year, Elina Garanca - Vocalist of the Year, Warren Jones - “Collaborative Pianist” of the Year, conductor Riccardo Muti - Musician of the Year.

Los Angeles Times music critic Mark Swed's article on Andriessen retrospects his art and life.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

From one of Jongensjaren concerts in The Hague, May 2009.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Andriessen on Andriessen Documentary

Boosey and Hawkes anounces new documentary on Andriessen directed by Tommy Pearson of Red Ted Films.
The video combines an interview filmed at Andriessen's apartment in Amsterdam with extracts from key works including De Staat, M is for Man, Music, Mozart, and Writing to Vermeer.

See here.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Blokken Graphic

To continue in graphic manner - one of the pieces contained in "Souvenirs d'enfance" (1966) is Blokken whose peculiar score suggests edgy sound.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Rosa, the Death of a Composer Drawings

In 2000 the group of Belgrade based artists and theorists founded Walking Theory. Our first theory performance looked like series of theatricaly performed fragments of lectures. Mine was partly based on concept of the death of the author, and theorization of Andriessen's and Peter Greenaway's horse drama "Rosa". Alleged conspiracy against composers inspired visual artist Sinisa Ilic to make few drawings.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Belgrade Archive 2004

These days I am back to my Belgrade archives. In 2004 Louis Andriessen was in Belgrade together with Gilius van Bergeijk, Bernhard Lang and Jasna Velickovic, where their lectures and pieces were part of Composers in First Person festival. You can see photos from this event here.
I made few more pictures:

Louis Andriessen and pianist Nada Kolundzija talking about performance details of Image de Moreau (2004)

Portrait of Louis Andriessen walking along river Danube in Zemun, Belgrade (2004)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Workers Union in Boston

New Music Festival at Boston Conservatory includes performance of Workers Union (November 15th).
"Only in the case that every player plays with such an intention that his part is an essential one, the work will succeed, just as as in the political work".
Here you can see Bang on a Can All Stars performing this piece.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rosa Lecture

In 2001 Peter Greenaway gave a lecture on opera, film and death at European Graduate School. He talks about video, films, movies, cinema and opera; continuity, dramaturgy, the differences between musical, opera, theatre, and producing, filming, directing; the death of composers Anton Webern, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and John Lennon. The case study of his lecture is exclusively Rosa, The Death of a Composer, a Horse Drama. The whole lecture is available:

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Singing Anatomy

The first anatomical theatre was built at the University of Padua in 1594. I was intrigued by the fact that even music was played live during some of the public dissections performed in such venues. The first opera was believed to be Dafne by Jacopo Peri, created in Florence around 1597 or 1598. Its creation could be interpreted as a kind of public dissection of what was thought to be a Greek tragedy. Theatricality of human body is emphasized by offering drama of its interior, and at late 16th century it was, obviously, tendency in different spheres of life.

It looks like in "Man is for Man, Music, Mozart" Peter Greenaway already had that in mind.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Memory of The Memory of Roses

Frits van der Waa sends these beautiful photos he made during the recording session for "The Memory of Roses"on July 1993 in the Walloon Church, Amsterdam. The Memory of Roses score was illustrated by some of them.

Louis Andriessen

Annette den Heijer and Louis Andriessen

Ron Ford and Reinbert de Leeuw

Louis Andriessen, Gerard Bouwhuis, Stanley Hoogland, Ronald Brautigam, Annette den Heijer

Andriessen and Ronald Brautigam working on "Menuet for Marianne"

Louis Andriessen and Freek de Jonge working on "Commentaar"

Greetje Bijma

Werner Herbers recording "Vergeet mij niet"

Annette den Heijer, Louis Andriessen, Ron Ford

Tomoko Mukaiyama playing "The Memory of Roses"

Walter van Hauwe playing "Ende"

Louis Andriessen

Reinbert de Leeuw and Louis Andriessen playing "Jolie commentaire"

Margriet de Moor and Ron Ford, who plays "Deuxième Chorale"

Caecilia Andriessen and Louis Andriessen

Stanley H, Willem, Louis Andriessen and Frits van der Waa

Vera Beths playing/singing "La Voile du Bonheur"

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Racconto dall' Inferno in Venice

Cristina Zavalloni and Orchestra Sinfonica del Teatro La Fenice with conductor Tito Ceccherini will perform Andriessen's "Racconto dall' Inferno" at Teatro alle Tese in Venice tonight. More info here.

This is short excerpt of Zavalloni performing "Racconto" last year in Budapest.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Composer

This picture (Louis Andriessen and flute player Govert Jurriaanse in the early 60s) appeared in the programme book for the Dag in de Branding festival "Jongensjaren" on May 23d 2009 which was devoted to Andriessen's early works.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

La Commedia, Genesis of Film and Video

Picturesque photo from the film set of La Commedia (March 26-April 1, 2008, Amsterdam). More pictures here.

There are also detailed notes on editing process by Kyle Gilman.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

De Materie Video Excerpts, from 1989

Two excerpts from De Materie, part I and part III (De Stijl) emerged recently. Wilson's dreamlike imagery worked very well with harsh repetitiveness of musical structures.
Recordings are from the world premiere of the piece in 1989.
Beppie Blankert, dancer/speaker
James Doing, tenor
Materie Orkest, Netherlands Chamber Choir, Reinbert de Leeuw, conductor
Robert Wilson, staging director
The Netherlands Opera

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Andriessen Photo Log

Muziekgebouw aan ´t IJ, Amsterdam, September 8th, 2008; Reinbert de Leeuw 70 years;
Photo by Co Broerse

Donemus HQ, Amsterdam, September 22th, 1994
Photo by Co Broerse

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Second International Conference on Music and Minimalism

Starts today at University of Missouri-Kansas City with paper on Andriessen's music:

"The music you write is about the composers you like’: Intertextuality in the work of Louis Andriessen” by Maarten Beirens (KU Leuven, Belgium).

Complete program of the conference is available at the conference web site.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

De Staat on BBC Radio3

For all of you who were not in London for Prom 58 - broadcast including Steve Martland "Beat the Retreat", Louis Andriessen "De Staat" and Cornelis de Bondt "Doors Closed" (London premiere) is available here for six more days.
And there is already detailed review of Prom 58 here.

The Hague, Hacking Views

This photo of Den Haag made in 2003 by superimposing rhythms of different grids makes vivid remembrance to this nice city hacking views.

Photo by Mirko Lazovic

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Hague Hacking Reviews

Labeque sisters, Photo by David Rose

Descriptive reviews from Guardian, The Independent, Evening Standard and Telegraph. As most often is seen, reviewers are more occupied by describing formal issues, than by denoting what new work problematizes in broader context of music and culture.
Hot discussion about "The Hague Hacking" developed on Google Group. Although occasionally banal, it offers more contextualization than official reviews.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Proms 2009 Composer Portraits on BBC3

Andrew McGregor talks to Louis Andriessen and introduces performances of his pieces (programme below) at Royal College of Music, London, August 17th (broadcasting available on BBC3 web site until tomorrow).

A Very Sharp Trumpet Sonata
Chris Evans, trumpet

A Very Sad Trumpet Sonata (UK premiere)
Chris Evans, trumpet

Image de Moreau
Richard Uttley, piano

Alexandra Rahlina, violin

Bells for Haarlem
Richard Uttley [piano], Thomas Besnard [celesta], Catherine Ring [percussion]

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Hague Hacking on BBC Radio 3

The Hague Hacking Proms 2009 performance is currently accessible via BBC here and you can see Robert Adlington's programme note here (p. 8).

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

From Liszt viaTom&Jerry to The Hague and the Other Way Round

Replying to complaints about "Rosa, the Death of a Composer" political incorrectness Andriessen said: 'The violence in Rosa is theater; it has more to do with cartoons than with the world around us. I have never heard anyone complaining that Tom & Jerry are politically incorrect, but they are, constantly.'(From The Art of Stealing Time edited by Mirjam Zegers). Tom and Jerry are mentioned again in connection to "The Hague Hacking". Now the award winning 1946 cartoon "Cat Concerto"could be both seen as mediator of 'classical music' and brilliant critique of its world.

More about double piano concerto "The Hague Hacking" by Andriessen himself and the text by John Henken.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

De Staat CD by Nederlands Wind Ensemble and Lucas Vis

"De Staat" performance of Nederlands Blazers Ensemble (Nederlands Wind Ensemble) conducted by Lucas Vis is on CD published in 2008 by the ensemble's own label NBElive. CD review by Liam Cagney is available here. The same crew will perform "De Staat" on August 28 in Royal Albert Hall, London.

Proms: The Hague Hacking UK premiere and De Staat

On August 17th and August 28th The Proms feature two Andriessen's compositions in Royal Albert Hall, London.

Prom 43 programme

"Esa-Pekka Salonen makes his first Proms appearance as the Philharmonia’s new Principal Conductor.

The Labèque sisters return for their third and final appearance this season, (see Proms 1 & 32), to celebrate the 70th birthday of the Dutch composer Louis Andriessen with the UK premiere of his new concerto – partly inspired by a Tom and Jerry cartoon, partly by a hardcore brand of house music – which they and Salonen premiered in Los Angeles in January. (Andriessen’s 1970s classic De staat is performed in Prom 58.)

Dance drives the rest of the programme, from Falla’s fiery flamenco vision of a midnight exorcism to Ravel’s magical fairy-tale evocations and the relentless crescendo of his Boléro".

Prom 58 programme

"The Netherlands Wind Ensemble, 50 this year, marks the 70th birthday of radical Dutch Minimalist Louis Andriessen and the 50th of his leading British pupil Steve Martland with performances of Andriessen’s classic polemic De Staat and Martland’s jazz-rock ‘dance fantasia’ Beat the Retreat, commissioned by the BBC for its 1995 Purcell tercentenary celebrations.

Another former pupil of Andriessen, Cornelis de Bondt creates an idiosyncratic death ritual in Doors Closed out of a fusion between the funeral march from Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’ (Prom 25) and Dido’s Lament from Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (Prom 76). Two of tonight’s works call for two or more pianos, in a nod to our Multiple Pianos celebration".

Here you can find Mark Swed's review of world premiere of "The Hague Hacking" performed on January 16 this year in Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, by Katia and Marielle Labèque and LA Philharmonic conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Greeting by Stravinsky

The 'Greeting Prelude' (1955) by Igor Stravinsky performed in Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, by the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Reinbert de Leeuw on June 6, 2009, on the occasion of the 70th birthday of Louis Andriessen.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Andriessen Interview on BBC Radio 3

Transcript and recording of the extensive interview by John Tusa that is not dated, but must have been held in 2002 or so.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"..and he doesn't even slow down!" Andriessen cartoon

Caption: "..and he doesn't even slow down!"

Frits van der Waa made this cartoon in 1993, explaining:

"I would say the figure on the left doesn't need any explanation. The tiny figure on the right is Louis Andriessen, at the moment the most succesful Dutch composer, who composed several impressive works with even more impressive titles, like Time, Matter, Contra Tempus, Velocity and so on, all of which can be found in this drawing".

It would be interesting to see how from today perspective similar cartoon would look like.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Letter from Cathy

The text of letter that Cathy Berberian wrote to Louis Andriessen on April 20, 1964 used in "Letter from Cathy" (2003) written for Cristina Zavalloni, now available on CD.

April twenty-seventh, nineteen sixty-four

Dear Louis,

Do not worry about me. Sometimes bad situations can change one's life into a better one. Thank God I have passed the worst part. Being back in Europe, and Milan, has made everything else seem like a nightmare that I want to forget as soon as possible.

In the meantime, I am working like a beaver.

Concerning my concerts in Los Angeles: Stravinsky came especially to hear me do "Circles". We went the next night to his home for dinner. He kissed my hand and both cheeks and said I was marvelous, etcetera and that my voice was "peut-être trop unique pour écrire la musique pour elle - après tout, si vous n'y êtes pas, qui pourra le faire?"

A lovely compliment but it cut my legs short since I had been aiming to ask him to write a small piece. He had just finished a piece for baritone and three clarinets which he said I could do fantastically. Three days later Robert Craft said that Stravinsky decided to change the piece for me: mezzo soprano and three flutes! I just heard today that the new version is already finished and that I will perform it in New York in November, at the same time that I will do the other Stravinsky pieces for Columbia Records. Not bad, huh! I miss Amsterdam and its wonderful streets and fantastic people and Louis and Jeanette and Hotel Cok, bami goreng and beefsteak tartare.

...I send you both my blessing and Love


Here you can see short excerpt from director Carrie de Swaans' 1994 VPRO production "Cathy Berberian: Music is the Air I Breathe". Documentary includes interviews with Louis Andriessen, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Luciano Berio and Cristina Berio.

Monday, July 20, 2009

New Releases: Garden of Eros

Garden of Eros. Complete works for String Quartet by Louis Andriessen
  • Quartet in two movements, 1957
  • Facing Death, 1990
  • Garden of Eros, 2002
  • ...miserere... , 2006
  • Johann Sebastian Bach’s Prelude in b minor from the Well-Tempered Clavier BWV 869 arranged for string quartet with the first six bars augumented with a viola part by Igor Stravinsky, now completed by Louis Andriessen, 2006
Available at Attacca Records, June 2009.

Schoenberg Quartet
Janneke van der Meer, violin
Wim de Jong, violin
Henk Guittart, viola
Viola de Hoog, cello

Friday, July 17, 2009

New Releases: La Passione

The new BMOP/sound release (date of June 2009) includes Andriessen's "Bells for Haarlem" (2002), "Passeggiata in tram in America e ritorno" (1998), "Letter from Cathy" (2003) and "La Passione" (2002). Performers are extraordinary Cristina Zavalloni (mezzo-soprano) and Monica Germino (violin) with Boston Modern Orchestra Project conducted by Gil Rose.
More info here.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

De Staat - Rock band, HF 1978 video and "Christiaans Andriessens uitzicht op de Amstel"

In Dutch city of Nijmegen, rock band named after Andriessen's "De Staat" emerged. Watch Kunst and Cultuur De Muzen TV program made by Bas Andriessen who follows the frontman of the band Torre Florim on his visit to Louis Andriessen in his Kaizersgracht studio. For you who don't understand Dutch, program also includes intriguing archive video of "De Staat" from 1978 Holland festival in Carre Theatre - Nederlands Blazers Ensemble conducted by Lucas Vis (one of the the pianists is Reinbert de Leeuw, Jan Wolff plays the horn, fwd to 13'00'') and video of Orkest De Ereprijs performing recent Andriessen's piece "Christiaans Andriessens uitzicht op de Amstel" (2009)composed for 15th edition of Young Composers meeting in Apeldoorn (fwd to 36'50'').

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Andriessen Football Cartoon

Frits van der Waa sends this story and illustration:
When Louis was ten years old and the Andriessen family moved to The Hague, Peter Vos [now a well-known illustrator] was his bosom friend. He often came to stay and they would play Pirates, and Indians, and football. Louis had an album in which he collected pictures of football players. He had a complete set, but one got lost. Peter drew a suitable replacement for him.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Hal Hartley La Commedia Interview

Filmmaker Hal Hartley was interviewed by Oliver Kerkdijk for Odeon Magazine (DNO's house magazine) in March 2008 about film opera "La Commedia" premiered last June in Amsterdam. Article contains nice pictures of the performance.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

La Commedia photo log

I made these photos in Amsterdam while walking along river Amstel in June 2008: vivid atmosphere around Carre theatre where the world premiere of film opera "La Commedia" by Louis Andriessen and Hal Hartley took place.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"Don't get too Comfortable" Interview with Andriessen and "Radio Andriessen"

Excellent interview with Andriessen made by David Pay, Artistic Director of Music on Main in Vancouver festival, Andriessen @ 70.

Listen to "Radio Andriessen" at the festival website.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Battle drawings

Joost Swarte made these fun drawings for the cover of the 1993 book De Slag van Andriessen edited by Frits van der Waa.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

De Volkskrant Review of Andriessen's Birthday Concerts in Amsterdam

Frits van der Waa wrote a review and provided an English translation:

Ecstatic chords and bitter dissonances

Precisely at the point where the music reaches its buoyant climax, an enigmatic figure emerges from the wings and pounds an enormous tam-tam. Then he comes forward and reads the last paragraphs of Kees de jongen [Young Kees] by Theo Thijssen: "It was a happy, ringing music, a jubilant march, that resounded within him."Amsterdam's mayor Job Cohen has chosen an apt quotation. Composer Louis Andriessen, on whom Cohen is about to bestow the Silver Medal of the City of Amsterdam, has never forgotten what it is like to be a boy, although he has turned seventy this very day. And the music that resounds within him has found its way to the outside world during at least half a century, and especially on this occasion, a musical marathon, organized by the Holland Festival to celebrate his anniversary.

The oldest work on the program, Ricercare, dates from 1949, when Andriessen really was a boy. It is a composition by his father Hendrik. By hindsight, the older Andriessen's music reveals some predilections of the younger one: references to Bach, long, ascetic melodic lines, and bittersweet dissonances. Nevertheless, it is clearly music from another era. The world of Canticum Sacrum by Igor Stravinsky, Andriessen's 'other' father, has a much more topical feeling to it, and from Andriessens's Nocturnen, composed when he was 20, it is evident that this world had quite an appeal for him. Soprano singer Barbara Kozelj projects straight, yet expressive tones that fit Andriessens music to a T.

Together with the Asko/Schönberg Ensemble, the piano playing sisters Katia and Marielle Labèque give a streamlined performance of The Hague Hacking, Andriessen's most recent composition. The word 'hacking' refers to the hoquet, his favorite compositional technique, where the instruments engage in a crossfire of rapidly interlocking notes and chords. Starting from a bare and austere beginning, the music embarks on some detours and interludes and finally unfolds into an almost ecstatic hymn - its major chords are still spiced with oblique pitches, though. Preludio all'Infinito, a new work by Diderik Wagenaar, with Andriessen one of the founding fathers of The Hague School, boasts similar ecstatic harmonies. For a piece from The Hague it is remarkably multidimensional. The clearly discernible segments are welded together by sophisticated correspondences, resulting in an unrelenting absorbing quality.

In a series of shorter compositions, written as homages for the septuagenarian, De Kruisfiguur, a quatre-mains work by Cornelis De Bondt stands out as a typically Haguian work with harsh traits. Thereupon singer Cristina Zavalloni and violinist Monica Germino take the limelight in La Passione from 2002, in which Andriessen confronts their soloist qualities with a robust ensemble. On texts by Italian poet Dino Campana, Andriessen practically condenses all of his compositions in one piece. It leads to a music that seemingly flies off the hook all the time, while maintaining a crushing impact which continues even when the final notes of this resounding birthday party have died away.

Frits van der Waa

Louis Andriessen 70. Concerts by the Radio Filharmonic Orchestra, Groot Omroepkoor and Asko/Schönberg Ensemble conducted by Reinbert de Leeuw and Jurjen Hempel. 6 juni. Concertgebouw and Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, Amsterdam.

Original Dutch version published in De Volkskrant, June 8, 2009.

and can be found also on Frits van der Waa personal web site:

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Andriessen's Birthday Concerts

For all of you who are not today in Amsterdam for Louis Andriessen 70th birthday festivities including three concerts presented by Holland festival and Zaterdag Matinee (12.00 Concertgebouw, 14.15 Concertgebouw, 20.30Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ) it is possible to listen the concerts online at Dutch Radio 4.

Concert programs:

12.00 Concertgebouw

1. Greeting Prelude/Igor Stravinsky
2. Ricercare/Hendrik Andriessen
3. Nocturnen/Louis Andriessen
4. Canticum Sacrum/Igor Stravinsky

14.15 Concertgebouw

1. Preludio all'infinito/Diderik Wagenaar (firstperformance)
2. The Hague Hacking/Louis Andriessen (Holland première)
3. Vermeer Pictures/Louis Andriessen (arr. Clark Rundell)

20.30 Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ

1. La Passione/Louis Andriessen
2. Various works especially for the occasion of Louis Andriessen's birthday
3. Folksongs/Luciano Berio

For the announcements of the concerts see this link at Boosey & Hawkes.

See more about the two piano concerto The Hague Hacking (Haags Hakkûh, 2008) performed by Katia and Marielle Labèque at Boosey & Hawkes.