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.