Louis Andriessen (1939, Dutch)

I had already heard the music of Dutch minimalist Louis Andriessen, very influential in his country both as a composer and as a teacher, but nothing really stuck in mind. I finally came to one of his recognized masterpiece, De Tijd (time). Circa 40 minutes, slow-moving at a single tempo, ritualistic with its “space” chorus and regular, pulsating punctuations of percussion separating chordal blocks (Andriessen had the image of “blue columns”). A certain stupefied fascination emerges from the obstinate, slow-moving repetitive unfolding. I have two versions, both by Reinbert de Leeuw and his Schönberg Ensemble, the premiere recording on Elektra Nonesuch (recorded in 1990 but released only in 1993), and a live remake from  June 2005, both on Attacca and on the big Schönberg Ensemble commemorative set published by Etcetera in 2006. Interpretively and sonically there is little to chose between both, availability, price and liner notes all militate in favor of the Elektra Nonesuch disc.

De Tijd (1980-81). Schönberg Ensemble, Percussion Group The Hague, Netherlands Chamber Choir, Reinbert De Leeuw. Ekektra Nonesuch 7559-79291-2 (1993)

De Tijd. Schönberg Ensemble & ASKO Ensemble, Reinbert De Leeuw. Attacca 25100 (2005), Etcetera KTC 9000 – CD 20 (2006)

After that, I investigated more Andriessen, first pulling out of my shelves the CD from Attacca, Louis Andriessen: Melodie (Frans Brüggen, Louis Andriessen), Symfonie voor losse snaren (Caecilia Ensemble, Ed Spanjaard). Attacca Babel 9267-6 (1992). Melodie may be somewhat too long for its material and processes, but the Symphony is an extremely fascinating piece.

I continued my exploration of Andriessen with:

Louis Andriessen: Mausoleum (1979, rev. 1981). Charles van Tassel and David Barick (baritones), Asko Ensemble & Schönberg Ensemble, Reinbert de Leeuw / Hoketus (1975-77). Ensemble Hoketus. Donemus Composers’ Voice Highlights CV 20 (1992)

Louis Andriessen: De Staat. Netherland Blazers Ensemble, Lucas Vis. NBELive NBECD022 (2008), NBELive NBE75955 CD 7 (2009)

powerful music.

Comments are welcome