Music Web International reviews John Cage: Sixteen Dances

While we are now fairly used to the idea of the chance operations in his music, it all had to start somewhere for John Cage, and Sixteen Dances is seen as a turning point in his career. This was the last work Cage composed before he committed himself entirely to the use of chance operations. It also represents an intermediate step on the way towards Cage’s deployment of techniques that work with predefined collections of sounds.

Media Date 
December 1, 2009
Media Source 
Music Web International
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Sixteen Dances is a central work of our 20th century Western musical heritage, and having it in such a fine SACD recording as this is a genuine delight.

Media Contact Name 
Dominy Clements

BMOP takes on Cage's masterpiece and comes out dancing

John Cage’s 1951 Sixteen Dances was constructed by using a table of 64 different sounds arranged into eight rows of eight columns. Only one of the sounds could appear at any point in the piece. The chart’s contents gradually change as the piece progresses, as the sounds are grouped into musical phrases. Sometimes the music is as spiky and pointillistic as Webern, yet other times repeated melodic fragments bubble up to the surface, only to dissipate just as your inner ear assumes that rhythmic groove might transpire.

Media Date 
December 1, 2009
Media Source 
Gramophone
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Rose and BMOP serve John Cage’s undervalued brilliance as an orchestrator with the utmost care and conviction.

Media Contact Name 
Jed Distler

Andriessen: at seventy, a composer finds new muses

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.

Media Date 
November 5, 2009
Media Source 
Sequenza21
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Andriessen gives the accompanying orchestra swaths of stark verticals and powerful polytonal harmonies.

Media Contact Name 
Christian Carey

Recording wonderfully preserves 'Nixon' opera

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.

Media Date 
October 28, 2009
Media Source 
Door County Advocate
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Andriessen is a fascinating composer and worth hearing.

Media Contact Name 
Marty Lash

Lucid Culture reviews Louis Andriessen: La Passione

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.

Media Date 
September 5, 2009
Media Source 
Lucid Culture
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Play this back to back with the Rites of Spring and enjoy both the similarities and the innovations of this strange and often riveting album.

Spirited and pliable performances of subtle, emotive European minimalism

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.

Media Date 
November 1, 2009
Media Source 
Gramophone
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Highly recommended.

Media Contact Name 
Jed Distler

Fanfare reviews Louis Andriessen: La Passione

The music of Louis Andriessen (b. 1939) becomes ever more fascinating as he grows older. A contemporary of Glass and Reich, he hit the big time in 1976 with De Staat, a wild, aggressive choral-instrumental minimalist masterpiece. Always an original (“I like the impossible, to put myself in a difficult situation. I see composing as an experiment.”), he produced a few noisy loudnesses along the way. I remember a large-ensemble piece at Tanglewood with, I think, eight double-bass clarinets growling and clattering away.

Media Date 
November 1, 2009
Media Source 
Fanfare
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For anyone unacquainted with Andriessen, I recommend this stunning disc as a starting point. For the rest of us, it is a necessity.

Media Contact Name 
James H. North

American Record Guide reviews Louis Andriessen: La Passione

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.

Media Date 
November 1, 2009
Media Source 
American Record Guide
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If you like your modernism mid-century, you will enjoy this. Gil Rose's group couldn't be better.

Media Contact Name 
Allen Gimbel

MUSO reviews Louis Andriessen: La Passione

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.

Media Date 
October 1, 2009
Media Source 
MUSO
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Media Quote 

This collection features two of Andriessen's muses, Italian jazz and new music singer Cristina Zavalloni and American violinist Monica Germino.

Media Contact Name 
Cathryn Scott

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