"Life" will have its American premiere this evening in Carnegie Hall. Martijn Padding's "Mordants" and Andriessen's "Dances" will also be performed. The last concert of "Three Naughty Boys and Three Crazy Girls" series brings improvized music performed by Ernst Reijseger, cello, Cristina Zavalloni, voice and Andrea Rebaudengo, piano.
More about Andriessen Carnegie Hall events here.
This is fragment of "Dances" (part II) played by ensemble of the Rotterdam Conservatory conducted by Henk Guittart.
Tonight at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles "La Commedia" (concert performance) will have its American premiere. For more details click here.
"La Commedia" has five parts:
I The City of Dis or The Ship of Fools
II Story From Hell (Racconto dall'Inferno)
IV The Garden of Earthly Delights
V Luce Etterna (Eternal Light)
Parts I and IV are named after Hyeronymus Bosch's paintings.
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.
Part I: The City of Dis or “The Ship of Fools” - Synopsis by Louis Andriessen
It opens with a psalm text in Latin introducing Das Narrenschiff, followed by the sixteenth century recruitment text for the guild of the Blue Barge. Anyone indulging in throwing dice, dancing and capering with pretty women is welcome. “With such folk the Barge is loaded.” Then Beatrice appears. She tells (in Italian) about her request for Virgil to help Dante on his expedition through the afterlife. There are some men in a boat on their way to Dis, the burning city in Hell. On the roof of the flaming towers they see screaming furies. Near the end someone walks on the water. Dante concludes the first act with the words: “I was certain that she was sent from heaven”.
Part I: The City of Dis or "The Ship of Fools" - Synopsis by Hal Hartley
The Terrifying Orchestra of the 21st century, also known as "The Guild", play their music on the streets of Amsterdam. They finish for the day, divide up the money, and go to their favorite bar, the Ship of Fools, where Lucifer, a local businessman with failed political ambitions, witnesses everything. Meanwhile, two young social activists from the suburbs, Maria and Lucia, arrive in town to hand out political pamphlets during the visit to the city of a famous public figure - Beatrice. Dante, a lady television journalist from Italy, is preparing her on-camera report of this important event. Maria is saddened to see her friend Lucia seduced by the young, tattooed, horn player, Farfarello, and taken to the Ship of Fools. At the bar, the Guild get drunk, dance, argue, fight, and try to make out with each other's wives and girlfriends. A ferocious fight breaks out between Calcabrina and Libbicocco.
Hartley and Andriessen offered two different synopses for "La Commedia". This fact contributes to the view of the opera as an impossible synchronization. Hartley wrote the synopisis of film, and Andriessen synopsis of musical dramaturgy. There is an ambivalence between characters of Dante's "Comedy" and their contemporary embodiments. For Andriessen, Lucifer is «the fallen angel, in part III and Cacciaguida, an angry thug with frightening opinions in part V», and for Hartley «An angry and resentful businessman with frustrated political ambitions”. For Andriessen, Dante is «at once the famous Italian poet of 14 century Florence on his journey through hell, purgatory and heaven as described in his Divine Comedy, as well as a TV News anchor woman reporting on current affairs across Europe», and for Hartley only «television news journalist from Italy”. For Andriessen Beatrice is «Dante’s true love and guide in heaven. But she is also "a popular statesperson of some sort», and for Hartley she is «a famous foreign public figure visiting Amsterdam”.
Significant characters of "La Commedia" are also members of the musical guild, symbolizing the institution of music, and its functioning in the flux of capital. With colorful Italian devils’ names, Andriessen and Hartley are parodying the tradition of senseless operatic plots. In Hartley's film central role is given to musical guild and their Amsterdam adventures. In Andriessen's interpretation there are direct references to the world of Dante's Comedy and Hyeronymus Bosch's paintings.