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News & Reviews
- Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Steve Reich, Louis Andriessen, Philip Glass Featured in BBC Radio 3's "50 Years of Minimalism in Music"
Composers Steve Reich, Louis Andriessen, and Philip Glass, and Nonesuch Records President Robert Hurwitz have all contributed to the BBC Radio 3 documentary 50 Years of Minimalism in Music, which aired this past Saturday night. They and a number of other music pioneers spoke with American conductor Richard Bernas in this look back at five decades of Minimalism, "the musical language of our time." The program is available online at bbc.co.uk.
- Thursday, March 24, 2011
Louis Andriessen's "Anaïs Nin" to Receive UK Premiere in London Sinfonietta Concert Also Featuring His Classic "De Staat"
Louis Andriessen's Anaïs Nin will receive its UK premiere at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London on April 14 in a staging by the London Sinfonietta, with Cristina Zavalloni in the title role. The London Sinfonietta co-commissioned the work, which explores Nin's erotic memories of 1930s Paris, and will perform it in an all-Andriessen program alongside his minimalist classic from the 1970s, De Staat, featuring Synergy Vocals. The composer will be in attendance for the performance.
About this Album
A classic of European minimalism, Louis Andriessen’s De Staat opened a new association between this Dutch artist and Nonesuch Records. Conductor Reinbert De Leeuw leads the Amsterdam-based Schoenberg Ensemble in a performance of the 35-minute work, which was recorded in one take following a live performance in a Louis Andriessen / Steve Reich festival held in Amsterdam.
Andriessen wrote De Staat between 1973 and 1976; it was premiered in Amsterdam by the Netherlands Wind Ensemble in 1976, and the following year was awarded the first prize at UNESCOs International Rostrum of Composers. Edo De Waart led the U.S. premiere of De Staat with the San Francisco Symphony in 1983; it has since been performed at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute (‘84); Cal Arts (‘85); and as part of the New York Philharmonic’s “Horizons” Festival (‘86).
De Staat takes its text from Plato’s The Republic; in it, Plato argues that “any alteration in the modes of music is always followed by alteration in the most fundamental laws of the state.” While Andriessen disagrees, he is nonetheless interested in dealing with the political nature of music insofar as it concerns who the musicians are and what notes they have to play. Most particularly in De Staat, the unusual scoring requires that free-lance musicians be used; also, Andriessen employs a “hocketing” technique, in which the ensemble is divided into different groups, each providing “equality of possibilities for everyone.”
With its multi-layered structures, highly dramatic forms, and sheer volume, De Staat suggests the bright, clangorous continua of Balinese gamelan as well as the brittle, motoric polyphonies of Stravinsky’s Les Noces. Loud and aggressive, Andriessen considers the work his “essay” on the concept of music, democracy and the state.
Reinbert de Leeuw, conductor