A is for Awesome, All-encompassing, Andriessen

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Louis Andriessen has exerted a vital influence on American music over in the last few decades. Of course he’s Dutch and has stayed close to home most of his career, but the strength of his convictions and principles have traveled well.

Traveled, of course, through his amazing music, which communicates a free, revolutionary spirit that was and is in many ways a counter to the classical establishment. Rejecting the traditional orchestral world, Andriessen typically uses mixed ensembles, usually with amplification to create works which are political, critical, jazzy, jolting, often extremely aggressive, and by turns serious and funny.

Be on the lookout for two types of pieces:

1) Big mixed electro-acoustic chamber ensemble works with relentlessly insistent rhythmic lines–Hout (Wood,) Hoketus (Hocketing,) De Snelheid (Velocity.)

2)Even bigger quasi-theatrical pieces that embody big concepts, like De Staat (The Republic,) De Tijd (Time,) Die Materie (Matter.)

Luckily, we’ll have time for all of that, along with two of his collaborations with Peter Greenaway, M is for Man, Music, Mozart, and the remarkable Writing to Vermeer, an epistolary semi-opera which includes electronic contributions from his eminent younger compatriot and one-time student Michel Van der Aa.