- Louis Andriessen (b. 1939)
- Boston Modern Orchestra Project
- Gil Rose, conductor
Music of Louis Andriessen
Cristina Zavalloni, mezzo-soprano; Monica Germino, violin; Boston Modern Orchestra Project;
Gil Rose, conductor (BMOP/sound 1011)
It was another strong year for the homegrown BMOP label, and this disc devoted to the major Dutch post-minimalist composer Louis Andriessen telegraphs the quality and integrity of the series as a whole.
© Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company
Composer Louis Andriessen turns seventy this year. In a disc celebrating the composer’s septuagenarian status with a quartet of recent works, the Boston Modern Orchestra project, conducted by Gil Rose, suggests that several through-lines between established tendencies and new collaborators have kept the Dutch composer’s work fresh, vibrant, and engaging.
Cristina Zavalloni is a mezzo with backgrounds in both jazz and classical music, whose work is particularly beloved of Louis Andriessen. She is the main protagonist for three of the four works here.
In his book The Rest is Noise, Alex Ross calls Louis Andriessen “the only major European minimalist.” You wouldn’t know that from the four works on this disc. True, there’s repetition, but not in the Glass/Riley/Reich sense of the word. Scored for percussion and three keyboards, the opening work, Bells for Haarlem, is built from long sustained chords that strike at unpredictable intervals, with a subtle melody taking shape as the piece progresses.
The classical CD world may be down, but it’s not out. To a great extent, recording companies are recycling older material, yet there is a lot of good, new stuff out. Here are a few that captured my attention.
La Passione and other works by Louis Andriessen, with Gil Rose conducting the Boston Modern Orchestra Project.
Andriessen is a Dutch minimalist whose many compositions include stage and dance works. His style borrows from Stravinsky, jazz, and American minimalism and especially Terry Riley. His music is anti-German and anti-romantic.
Dutch composer Louis Andriessen is known for his eclectic, experimental style. This collection - released to mark his 70th birthday, features two of his muses, Italian jazz and new music singer Cristina Zavalloni and American violinist Monica Germino.
This is an important album – to the uninitiated, it may seem strange, but stay with it, there’s a payoff at the end. Louis Andriessen is no stranger to adventurous listeners: he’s been a fixture of the avant garde for over forty years. This album begins with a carillonesque instrumental and then a series of art songs, all but one based on poems by legendary, mad Italian poet Dino Campana. Campana spent much of his life institutionalized, including his final years: his surreal, twisted, horrific imagery and sense of anguish compare with Baudelaire at his most crazed.
This new recording from Gil Rose and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project of music by Louis Andriessen carries a catalogue of disappointing turns and insipid organizational processes of otherwise promising musical events. The players themselves certainly deserve no rebuke. It is a sound, engaging, and artful execution that because of the clarity and precision of an accomplished performance, cannot help exposing some of the shortcomings in the writing itself.
Meanwhile the city’s other homegrown label, BMOP/sound, continues to impress. This scrappy in-house operation run by conductor Gil Rose and his Boston Modern Orchestra Project was launched early last year, and it has released a steady stream of impeccably produced, beautifully packaged discs with exacting and engaged performances of 20th- and 21st-century music. Several elegantly probing pieces by Brandeis-based composer David Rakowski were recently featured on a BMOP/sound disc called Winged Contraption, including his Piano Concerto in a strong performance by Marilyn Nonken.
BMOP/sound, the nation's foremost label launched by an orchestra and devoted exclusively to new music recordings, today announced the album release of Louis Andriessen: La Passione—one of several recognitions worldwide in honor of Andriessen's 70th birthday. A central figure in the international new music scene, Andriessen is best known for his propulsive rhythms, dissonant harmonies, and noisy, big-band sonorities, influenced by Stravinsky, jazz, and American minimalism.