Aron and Fazio play Andriessen with Sinfonietta
The lauded Dutch composer, Louis Andriessen, has written several large-scale works in the minimalist vein. The work in question, De Staat ("The State"), is nearly 40 minutes in length. Scored for four sopranos, four oboes, four violas, four trumpets, four trombones, four French horns, two pianos, two harps, two electric guitars and electric bass, it is a masterpiece of whirling complexity. The instrumental combination, with dynamic indicators mostly at forte or above, creates a compelling wall-of-sound that is remarkable in its ability to overwhelm the listeners.
The guitar parts are famously difficult; in some passages, at the tempo required, nearly impossible. But Stephen Fazio and I, in a delightful side-by-side performance opportunity, rose to the occasion and delivered the parts with purpose. We also played a similarly-scored work by Michael Gordon called No Anthem.
Under the expert direction of Oberlin's Tim Weiss, the Oberlin Sinfonietta played the pieces in our gorgeous large auditorium, Warner Hall, and again on tour, at the Brooklyn Museum in New York. The Brooklyn engagement was as part of Bang On A Can's 30th-Anniversary Marathon Concert. We were part of an extraordinary line-up that included musicians from a wide array of styles and genres, and played in the ravishing Beaux-Arts Court, a high-ceilinged space with extraordinarily ambient sound, fabulous architectural detail and artwork on the surrounding walls. No Anthem, written by Bang On A Can founding member, Michael Gordon, received it's US premiere. The concert programs are reproduced at the end of the post, including program notes and texts.
Here are some shots of the ensemble in Warner Hall at Oberlin:
After the Brooklyn performance, the capacity crowd gave a rousing ovation to the ensemble and Tim Weiss, it's famous conductor. Here are some pics from the performance in Brooklyn:
Many thanks to Tim Weiss for his leadership and vision in programming remarkable and important new works, and to Andrea Kalyn, Oberlin Conservatory's Dean, for supporting our trip to Brooklyn. And additional thanks to Elaine Li, Fabian Fuertes, and Danielle Hinrich for their behind-the-scenes work to make it possible.