Andriessen master among minimalists
Works by Lang, Gordon, Andriessen, Moore, Wolfe and Nyman, the Bang on a Can All-Stars.
March 25, Muziekgebouw, Amsterdam.
For more than twenty years there has been a lively exchange of musical ideas between New York and Amsterdam. The central figure on the Dutch side is composer Louis Andriessen. The organisation Bang on a Can, in which composers and musicians cooperate is the focus on the other side of the ocean.
The six-member core group, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, brought a handful of pieces to the stage of the Amsterdam Muziekgebouw (Music Building), including Andriessen's latest composition Life, especially written for the ensemble.
An important aim of Bang on a Can is the removal of musical boundaries. The musical DNA of the composers involved still contains considerable traces of minimal music: almost all pieces in this program consist of interweaving notes, usually with a rather static harmonic background, the basis for unfolding rhythmic and melodic patterns. All in all, the sound is often more interesting than the actual notes. Characteristic ingredients are mixtures of electric guitar and amplified cello, the acrobatics of reed player Evan Zyporyn and a - colorful - rhythm section consisting of bass, percussion and keys.
Andriessen's new work, Life, a collaboration with video artist Marijke van Warmerdam, offers tranquil images of leaves, a couple on a bench, blinds and a window. Andriessen's music for the four short parts follow the mood, and features some striking timbral combinations. This new work doesn't contain great surprises, but what Andriessen does with a handful of notes still is way ahead of the sonic carpets of his Anglo-Saxon colleagues.