Louis Andriessen composes an ode to Frans Brüggen
world premiere

May

Louis Andriessen, Lucie Horsch, Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, Cappella Amsterdam

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With great regret, the Holland Festival 2020 has been cancelled. more info

‘A new spring and a new sound...’ are the opening words of Herman Gorter’s famous poem Mei (‘May’). Renowned, eighty-year-old composer Louis Andriessen was inspired by these words to create a new composition for choir and orchestra as an homage to his late friend, the conductor and recorder player Frans Brüggen (1934-2014). In addition to this world premiere, a recent composition by Polish composer Paweł Szymański will be performed, also written especially for the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century – which was founded by Brüggen – along with works by Bach (adapted by Brüggen), Mozart and Josquin des Prez. The young, talented flautist Lucie Horsch will play the recorder, the instrument that Brüggen loved so dearly.

programme

Symfonie nr 40 KV 550 (1788)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

 

Nymphes des Bois (1497)

Josquin des Prez

(ca. 1450-1521)

 

Concerto in D-Major

for flute and strings Bach, arrangement (1981)

Frans Brüggen (1934-2014) after BWV 49, 169 and 1053

 

interval

 

A la Recherche de la Symphonie Perdue (2018)

Paweł Szymański (1954)

dedicated to Frans Brüggen

 

Sweet (1964)

Louis Andriessen (1939)

dedicated to Frans Brüggen

 

May (2020)

Louis Andriessen (1939)

dedicated to Frans Brüggen 

background information

Frans Brüggen (1934-2014) did pioneering work as a recorder player and conductor for the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century in the field of early music and historical performance practices. 

Less well-known is Brüggen’s love of new notes. While causing a worldwide sensation in the sixties and seventies as a recorder virtuoso, he would invariably have a contemporary work on his music stand after the break. He often had these written for the occasion by composers such as Luciano Berio and his close friend Louis Andriessen.

 

Six years after Brüggen’s passing, the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century will be paying tribute to its founding father and conductor. The program includes the standard Brüggen repertoire, such as his personal reconstructions of Bach’s Flute Concerto in D Major and Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 (the first piece he recorded with the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century), as well as newer works.

 

Orchestra director Sieuwert Verster: ‘Considering Frans’ lifelong fascination for contemporary music, we thought it would be appropriate to honour him with a new orchestral piece by Louis Andriessen dedicated to him. This also allows us to fulfil one of Frans’ lifelong dreams. He would always say: ‘If we ever start playing new music with the orchestra, Louis is the composer who should write it’.

 

Verster had his doubts initially. Had Andriessen not refused to compose for the orchestra on principle for half a century? But then he went on to write Mysteriën for the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Agamemnon for the New York Philharmonic, and The Only One for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Verster: ‘It seems Louis had developed a taste for it, because he agreed right away when we presented our plans’.

 

With May for the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century and Cappella Amsterdam, Andriessen adds a fourth title to a recent string of orchestral pieces. Nevertheless, Holland Festival has a first: never before did Andriessen write for period instruments, and the major role for mixed choir is a rarity in his work as well. For the text of May, Andriessen ducked into his father’s library, where he stumbled upon the poem of the same title by Herman Gorter. With its daring metaphors and strong emotions, the work exemplifies the style of the Tachtigers, a group of writers who shook up the world of Dutch literature in the late nineteenth century with a ‘new sound’.

 

Besides Andriessen’s May, there will be two more premieres during this concert. For years already, the Polish composer Paweł Szymański has been a regular at the Chopin Festival, where the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century performs each summer. He dedicated his À la recherche de la symphonie perdue (2018) to Brüggen.

 

Lucie Horsch will play Louis Andriessen’s Sweet, a piece for recorder and tape that he wrote for Brüggen in 1964. After close contact about the score, Andriessen made a new version especially for Horsch.

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biographies

The Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century is a Dutch orchestra that consists of fifty top musicians, all specialised in eighteenth century and early nineteenth century music. 

It was founded in 1981 by the conductor and recorder player Frans Brüggen and violinist Lucy van Dael. In its current form, the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century consists of nearly sixty musicians from around the world. All play on period instruments or modern reproductions thereof. In terms of its makeup and size, the orchestra approaches the larger orchestras as these existed in London, Paris, and Vienna in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The orchestra specialises in music by composers such as Bach, Rameau, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and their contemporaries.

 

Since 2011, the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century has realised a variety of semi-staged opera productions such as, among others, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Le nozze di Figaro, Così fan tutte, and La clemenza di Tito, as well as Beethoven’s Fidelio. The orchestra tours regularly and has recorded a great many CDs with both Philips Classics and Glossa. Several of the orchestra’s recordings have received international awards. In 2010, the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century was awarded the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Prijs. In 2018, it received the Klassieke Muziekprijs from the Vereniging van Schouwburg- en Concertgebouwdirecties for its rendition of Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem with Cappella Amsterdam. Since Frans Brüggen’s passing in August 2014, the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century has kept with its tradition of doing five projects each year with various guest conductors, such as Kenneth Montgomery, Ed Spanjaard, and Jonathan Darlington.

 

Lucie Horsch (1999) grew up in a musical family and took recorder lessons from when she was five years old. In 2009, she gained national fame with a TV performance during the AVRO Kinderprinsengrachtconcert. Two years later, she began her studies at the Amsterdam Conservatory with Walter van Hauwe. She also studied piano with Jan Wijn. After a live TV performance on De Avond van de Jonge Musicus in 2013, Horsch was chosen to represent the Netherlands during the Eurovision Young Musician finals in Cologne. She was also a soloist with the Nederlands Blazersensemble during the official farewell of queen Beatrix in Ahoy. In 2016, Horsch won the prestigious Concertgebouw Young Talent Award.

 

Horsch has an exclusive record deal with Decca Classics, which released her debut CD with works of Vivaldi in 2016. For this recording, Horsch was awarded the Edison Klassiek in the category Het debuut. Her second album, Baroque Journey, was released in 2019. It was recorded in collaboration with the French lute player Thomas Dunford (also her duo partner) and the Academy of Ancient Music. This album was given an Opus Klassik Award.

 

Lucie Horsch has worked with the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, the Residentie Orkest, and the Gelders Orkest, among others. She also performed with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Staatsorchester Kassel, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. Horsch has played at the Festival Oude Muziek, the Internationaal Kamermuziek Festival Utrecht, the Grachtenfestival in Amsterdam, the Internationaal Kamermuziek Festival Schiermonnikoog, as well as at the Budapest Spring Festival and Festspiele MecklenburgVorpommern.

 

Horsch plays on recorders built by Seiji Hirao, Frederick Morgan, Stephan Blezinger, and Jacqueline Sorel in part with support from the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.

 

Louis Andriessen (Utrecht, 1939) studied piano, music theory, and composition with, among others, Kees van Baaren at the Royal Conservatory in the Hague. He taught composition himself here from 1975 on. He continued his studies with Luciano Berio in Milan at first, and later in Berlin.

 

In the course of the sixties, Andriessen developed a personal sound in which the music of Stravinsky, jazz, and American minimal music were major influences. He enjoyed international success with works such as De Staat (1976), Mausoleum (1979), and De Materie (1989) and made a name for himself as a founding father of the so-called Hague School.
In 1969, Andriessen collaborated with Reinbert de Leeuw, Misha Mengelberg, Peter Schat, Jan van Vlijmen, Hugo Claus, and Harry Mulisch to create the controversial opera Reconstructie, which expressed strong criticism of capitalism and the Vietnam war. In that same year, he was involved with the Notenkrakersactie, a protest against the conservative policies of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Andriessen remained critical of established music practices ever since, and politics were never far off in his work. With ensembles such as Hoketus and De Volharding, Andriessen was one of Dutch ensemble culture’s originators.

 

For half a century, Andriessen primarily composed for his own ensembles and refused to write for symphonic orchestras due to his musical and political beliefs. This changed in 2013, when he composed Mysteriën for the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. In 2018 and 2019, the New York Philharmonic and Los Angeles Philharmonic premiered Andriessen’s Agamemnon and The Only One. With May for the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, Andriessen completed his fourth orchestral work in a short time.

 

Since 1969, Andriessen’s music has regularly featured at the Holland Festival. His ‘film opera’ La Commedia premiered at the 2008 edition, followed by his opera Theatre of the World in 2016.

 

The chamber choir Cappella Amsterdam was founded in 1970 by Jan Boeke and has had chief conductor Daniel Reuss as its artistic director since 1990. The choir specialises in modern as well as early music, with a special focus on work from Dutch composers ranging from Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck to Louis Andriessen and Ton de Leeuw. Composers such as Robert Heppener and Jan van Vlijmen have written compositions especially for the choir. Cappella Amsterdam regularly contributes to opera productions, such as the Stockhausen cycle aus LICHT at the Holland Festival 2019, Stockhausen’s SONNTAG aus LICHT with the Cologne Opera (2011), and Wolfgang Rihm’s Dionysos at the Holland Festival 2010.

 

Cappella Amsterdam also played a major part in the Nono trilogy at the Holland Festival 2014. Besides closely collaborating with leading Dutch ensembles and orchestras like the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and Asko|Schönberg, Cappella Amsterdam also works with prominent international companies like the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, the RIAS Kammerchor, Ensemble Musikfabrik, Il Gardellino, and the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir. In 2010, the choir was nominated for the Amsterdamprijs voor de Kunst and the Edison Klassiek Publieksprijs. A 2010 recording of Frank Martin’s Golgotha was nominated for a Grammy. A 2012 CD of choir pieces by Leoš Janáček and the 2016 recording of Arvo Pärt’s Kanon Pokajanen were both awarded an Edison Klassiek.

 

In 2018, Cappella Amsterdam received the Klassieke Muziekprijs from the Vereniging van Schouwburg- en Concertgebouwdirecties for its rendition of Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem with the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century.

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Credits

music
Louis Andriessen
Johann Sebastian Bach
Josquin Desprez
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Paweł Szymański
recorder
Lucie Horsch
performed by
Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, Cappella Amsterdam

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