Andriessen’s "La Commedia" was selected from a wide international field of entries, and the Grawemeyer’s prize announcement describes how the composer “uses Dante’s epic poem as a springboard for subtle and ironic commentary on modern life, drawing a multilingual libretto from the Bible and other sources.
Andriessen on winning the Grawemeyer Award:
“Just before the Second World War, I was born in a sidestreet by a small canal in the medieval centre of Utrecht. Believe me, 71 years later, getting the world-famous Grawemeyer Award for La Commedia seems to be completely unreal. How could this happen?"
“When I was four years old my father walked with me over the bridge of the canal to St Catherine’s Cathedral. In that church he played the organ and conducted the choir which twice a week included 40 boy trebles (girl sopranos were permitted only 25 years later). Did it all start sometime then? Perhaps it was hearing him play the organ when I started composing ten years later (I simply began by imitating my father and my 14-year-older brother Jurriaan). My father taught me: “Don’t think you are important, we are just worms, but we have the duty to serve the music and write as well as we can”.
“I am very grateful for the prize. Let us remember my wife Jeanette, who always provided valuable critical input about my compositions and supported me throughout the 50 years we lived together. She suffered a serious illness during the time I was working on "La Commedia" and died before the first performance. The complete five-part score is dedicated to her.”
To read the entire press release click here.
Foto: "La Commedia"