Thursday, December 29, 2011

"La Girò" Dutch Premiere

"La Girò"(2010-11), violin concerto for violinist who plays, but also sings and talks, will have its Dutch première on 12th January 2012 in Amsterdam, at Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ. It will be performed by Monica Germino (violin, voice), Asko|Schönberg ensemble and conductor Reinbert de Leeuw.

Here, Monica Germino to whom "La Girò" is dedicated, talks about it, and plays some of its parts.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Family LP

The cover of LP with Andriessen's music for 1974 Lodewijk de Boer's film

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Family Revisited, Review and Concert Video

Frits van der Waa sends the translation of his November Music concert review published in De Volkskrant on October 11th. What follows are fragments of Clazz ensemble playing live at the Dutch Classical Music Meeting - Muziekgebouw aan het IJ - Amsterdam - on October 17th 2011. "The Family Revisited"(1973-2011) and "That happens in Vietnam" are included.

Den Bosch is now the place to be for new music lovers. The annual festival November Music presents an overview of the latest developments in composed and improvised music. Incongruentially, the first evening of the festival focused on music from the past. The concert by the Clazz Ensemble, labeled His Master’s Choice, offered a concise overview of mostly older works by Louis Andriessen, at 72 still the foremost Dutch composer. The protagonist managed to slip in some new notes, though: only the evening before the concert he tossed off a new violin accompaniment for an Italian song singer Cristina Zavalloni had planned as an in-between. Typically, even a casual composition like this contains the poignant harmonies that are among Andriessens musical fingerprints. Zavalloni and Monica Germino, her peer on the violin, who did some lovely singing as well in Xenia Fragments, gave strong performances of several Andriessen compositions.
There was a real premiere as well, Monument for Graettinger, especially composed for the Clazz Ensemble. Robert Graettinger, arranger for the Stan Kentons Orchestra and composer of a few strikingly revolutionary pieces, is one of Andriessens long-standing idols. The new piece is a short but strong statement, full of gritty, complex harmonies, countrerbalanced with melancholy melodic lines. The Clazz musicians, operating on the boundaries between classical and jazz music (hence the name), had opportunity to add improvisations of their own.
One of the more substantial pieces in this program is The Family Revisited, a forceful new version of the music Andriessen wrote in 1973 for the movie The Family. Arranger Dick de Graaf took the position of the great saxophone player Piet Noordijk, deceased only a month ago, who played many solo parts in the original score. The performance was accompanied with scenes from the movie, which unfortunately turned out to be rather old hat and mainly distracted from the music.

The Family Revisited (1973-2011)

That happens in Vietnam (1972-2011)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Y Después Video

The video of "Y Después" (1983) for voice and piano is now online.
Music: Louis Andriessen
Text: Federico García Lorca
Vocal: Astrid Seriese
Ensemble: De Volharding
Film/Dance: Betsy Torenbos

This is the original text in Spanish by Federico García Lorca (1898 - 1936), followed by English translation:

Sólo Queda el Desierto (Y Después)

Los laberintos
que crea el tiempo
se desvanecen.

(Sólo queda
el desierto)

El corazón
fuente del deseo,
se desvanece.

(Sólo queda
el desierto)

La ilusión de la aurora
y los besos
se desvanecen.

Sólo queda
el desierto.
Un ondulado

Only the Desert Remains (And Then)

The labyrinths
that time creates

(Only the desert

The heart,
fountain of desire,

(Only the desert

The illusion of dawn
and kisses

Only the desert

Translated by Cola Franzen

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"La Girò" Photo Log

Monica Germino in "La Girò", Milan, Sept 5th 2011, Teatro Dal Verme
Photo Copyright All rights reserved by MITO SettembreMusica
Monica Germino, Louis Andriessen after "La Girò" World premiere, Milan, Sept 5th 2011, Teatro Dal Verme
Photo Copyright All rights reserved by MITO SettembreMusica

"La Girò" World Premiere

MITO Settembre Musica Festival: 5 & 6 September in Milan & Torino - world premiere of La Girò (2011) by Louis Andriessen
Louis Andriessen’s La Girò (2011), composed for violin and large ensemble, features Monica Germino as soloist, and has a distinctly Italian theme. The title refers to Anna Girò, a high-profile singer and muse of Antonio Vivaldi.
Andriessen: “In La Girò I am musing about a composer I admire a lot: maestro Antonio Vivaldi. The piece would not have become the 'performance' it is without its dedicatee, the violinist Monica Germino. The soloist (La Girò, perhaps?) does not only play the violin. She also sings an Italian song, whispers and talks, tells stories and dreams. The ensemble consists of a small chamber orchestra, with an added piano, harp, cimbalom and some percussion. The piece has four parts: the first three form a kind of concertino while the actual musical drama takes place in the fourth, slow part.”
World premiere: MITO Settembre Musica Festival (2011), Milan and Turin, Italy
5 September, 21.00: Teatro Dal Verme; Milano, Italy - Live broadcast by Italian National Radio 3
6 September, 21.00: Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi; Torino, Italy
Monica Germino, violin/voice; David Atherton, conductor; London Sinfonietta; Sound Intermedia
Info London Sinfonietta
Info Boosey

Netherlands premiere: 12 January 2012, 20.15
Donderdagavondserie-PROMS: The dreams of Anna Girò; Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ in Amsterdam
Monica Germino, violin/voice; Reinbert de Leeuw, conductor; Asko|Schönberg
Live broadcast by Dutch National Radio 4 (NTR)

USA premiere: 28 February 2012, 20.00     
Green Umbrella Series: Walt Disney Hall, Los Angeles, CA, U.S.A.
Monica Germino, violin/voice; Cristina Zavalloni, voice; Reinbert de Leeuw, conductor; L.A. Philharmonic New Music Group

Monday, August 22, 2011

"Workers Union" and "De Volharding" in Seattle

The Box Is Empty performs Louis Andriessen's "Workers Union" and "De Volharding" (Perseverance). 
Thursday 25 August 2011, 8:00 p.m., at the Chapel at the Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside Avenue North, Seattle, WA.
With Ivan Arteaga, Holly Carlton, and Jay Gillespie, saxophones; Nicole Herrald, Chris McGann, and Erik Reed, trumpets; Steve Herrald, Jen Hinkle, and Masa Ohtake, trombones; Amanda Harris, piano; Maria Mannisto, amplified voice; and Evan Woodle, percussion.  Jeremiah Cawley, conductor.

Painting "Louis Andriessen" by Ward Schumaker

During 2009-10, an artist Ward Schumaker made a series of paintings named after different composers. This is the one named after Andriessen.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Anais Nin DVD Release

Monday, June 6, 2011

Symposium: Time, Realism and Convention in Recent Opera

Those of you in UK who read this blog may be interested to attend the symposium at Centre for research in Opera and Music Theatre, University of Sussex, Brighton, this Wednesday. The paper "Writing to Vermeer: Singing Letters and Opera after Drama" will be presented.
More info here.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Seattle Concert

Wed, Mar 09, 2011, 8:00 pm
PONCHO Hall, Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle
The program features the Seattle premiere of six of Andriessen’s signature works, many showcasing the virtuoso violinist Monica Germino, plus Andriessen’s collaboration with British filmmaker Peter Greenaway "M is for Man, Music, Mozart".

Letter from Cathy (2003) for voice and ensemble
XENIA (2005) for violin and voice

Passeggiata in tram in America e ritorno (1998) for solo voice, amplified solo violin and large ensemble

Le Voile du Bonheur (1972) for (singing) violinist and piano

M is for Man, Music, Mozart (1991) for jazz singer and large ensemble with film by Peter Greenaway
Y Despues (1983) for solo voice and large ensemble

Monday, February 7, 2011

Inanna Letter

When going through some of my old email correspondence, I found the email sent to a friend in London, just after the world premiere of "Inanna" in Amsterdam. It is a nice reminder to this piece:

Subject: Short Inanna report
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 01:36:19 +0100

One hour ago I came back from "Inanna" world premiere. (At the moment I am living in Rotterdam at friend's house and I still don't know where I am going to settle permanently for three months...)

> >INANNA: small scale, but quite strong work, in my opinion. Site specific - as it is often the case with ZT Hollandia - it was performed in the old gas factory "Westergasfabriek". It has three acts, without intermission, lasts for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
> >Libretist is Hal Hartley - earlier I saw the film ("New Maths" that he did with Andriessen), and I was delighted with the unusual relation between visuals and music, avoiding stereotypes. Inanna is sung/spoken in Dutch, English and Sumerian. Ensemble-six players: electric violin, db clarinet, quartet of saxophones
> >Andriessen’s Music: repetitive, harsh, with many replicas on his own mature musical language - "Rosa" like saxophone hoqueting passages, "De Stijl" like boogie-woogie "field", "De Staat" like entrance of the voice parts...
> >Music is not continuous, there are also spoken parts. The most interesting issue that music raises is how we today hear/imagine the music of Sumerian time and culture -It could be that Andriessen's music is the 'false simulacrum' of Sumerian music
> >Roles: Inanna, the goddess of fertility and heaven, Ereshkigal, Inanna's sister, the goddess of the underworld, Enki, their father, the god of waters, Dumuzzi, Inanna's husband, Gesthinanna, Dumuzzi's sister + 2 eunuchs + 3 Yes-men (do you know who is the Yes-man?) >All the voices are without vibrato
> >Time: undefined, it could be both now and "then", it is mythology
> > Except in chorus they never sing simultaneously.
> >Plot: very simple, even deliberately banal - Inanna wants to go to the underworld, and "they" don't let her. Finally, she manages. I think that libretto is constructed to ironically problematize the world of great opera mythologies.
> >Inanna could be interpreted in parallel with Glass’ "Akhnaten" - think that would be extremely interesting.
> >Direction: Pol Koek. Quite informal, but with few interesting interventions - Enky is in the aquarium-like space filled with the water, stone rain is falling on the stage like the symbol for Enky's anger... chamber atmosphere...
> >Start: this music theatre piece starts with 'lecture' in Dutch, which is held by the "museum girl", about Sumerian culture

> >Now I feel that I am really tired. >I will check about other performances of “Inanna” and will let you know. I hope that those fragments gave you the idea about it. I was impressed, so I thought that I should write you immediately. Until soon, J>

Electric violin custom-made by maker Dave Bruce Johnson of Violectra was built in 2003 to match exact proportions as Monica Germino's acoustic violin and had its first performances in "Inanna".

Friday, January 28, 2011

Photo Archive

Just discovered two nice old photos made by Co Broerse:

Luciano Berio, Jeanette Yanikian and Louis Andriessen after the première of Berio's Formazioni; Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, January 15th, 1987.

Jeanette Yanikian, Farewell concert of Hoketus; Frascati, Amsterdam, September 14th, 1986.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Book of Music

Louis Andriessen keeps records of his work in 'book of music'. For each piece, he notes instrumentation (bezetting), duration (duur), movements (onderdelen), place (plats), date (datum), agent and the publisher. This is a page where 'the birth' of "La Commedia" was noted in October 2007.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Implied Harmonies Photo Log

Back to blogging: photos from Hartley's short film "Implied Harmonies" that tells the story of how "La Commedia" was made. More here.