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. BMOP/sound's latest CD Louis Andriessen: La Passione evolves out of two muses of the composer—Italian jazz and new music singer Cristina Zavalloni, and American violinist Monica Germino.
Zavalloni, for whom Andriessen has written most of his recent vocal works ("I waited 40 years to find that voice!"), first introduced the composer to the literary texts of expressionist poet Dino Campana (1885-1932). Based on the poet's Canti Orfici (Orphic Songs), he composed Passeggiata in tram in America e ritorno (1998), a setting of brooding sensuality featuring a trembling violin performed by Germino, a brass ensemble, and vocal accompaniment by Zavalloni. He found the combination of Zavalloni's voice and the violin so rich that he decided to compose another piece for them, La Passione (2002). Campana's passion, as it is reflected in his surrealist poetry, was the main inspiration for the musical language of these compositions.
Andriessen also composed Letter from Cathy (2003) at the request of Zavalloni, on the occasion of a Cathy Berberian tribute concert in Italy. Having accumulated more than 30 letters from Berberian herself, Andriessen selected the complete text of a letter in which she describes her meeting with Stravinsky. According to Andriessen, Zavalloni is the only singer comparable to Berberian, sharing her superb musicality, flexibility, and multi-genre singing style.
As an eminent Dutch composer currently living in Amsterdam, Andriessen pays homage to his homeland in Bells for Haarlem (2002), a piece for two keyboards and two percussion, commissioned to celebrate the opening of the restored concert building in Haarlem. Based on two famous bells in Haarlem and in collaboration with a visual artist, the rhythmic and melodic process of the composition is engraved into the glass walls of the renovated building.
BMOP/sound, the Grammy-nominated label of the acclaimed Boston Modern Orchestra Project, explores the evolution of the music formerly known as classical. Its eclectic catalog offers both rediscovered classics of the 20th Century and the music of today's most influential and innovative composers. The label's 2008 recordings received several accolades including "Best of 2008" CD nods by The New York Times, National Public Radio, Time Out New York, and Downbeat Magazine. Recent releases include Derek Bermel: Voices, David Rakowski: Winged Contraption, and John Harbison: Full Moon in March. Upcoming releases include John Cage: Sixteen Dances, Ken Ueno: Kaze-no-Oka, Elliott Schwartz: Chamber Concertos I-VI, Alan Hovhaness: Exile Symphony, Dominick Argento: Jonah and the Whale, and William Thomas McKinley: RAP.