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Andriessen: Writing to Vermeer

Album Summary

>Andriessen, Louis : Writing to Vermeer
Performers Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Writing To Vermeer is the sixth Nonesuch release from Louis Andriessen, the most highly regarded contemporary composer working in the Netherlands today, an influential and iconoclastic figure whose work has been presented on stages throughout the world. Vermeer is Andriessen's second collaboration with filmmaker-conceptual artist-provocateur Peter Greenaway (The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, Her Lover) as librettist and director. This multimedia opera contrasts the alluring stillness and warm glow of the domestic scenes painted by Dutch master Johannes Vermeer with the clangorous political, social and economic turmoil of the encroaching outside world during the late 1700s. Premiered to critical acclaim in Amsterdam in 1999, the ambitious piece has been subsequently performed at Australia's Adelaide Festival and the Lincoln Center Festival in New York City. In a four-star review of its Dutch engagement, in Billboard, columnist Bradley Bamberger remarked, 'The mixture of poetic speculation, tragic Dutch history, and Vermeer's sweetly haunting pictures is deeply touching, and Andriessen's rich, humane score makes for the ideal emotional agent.' Andriessen himself, who is best known for his earlier, rigorously minimalist pieces, has said, "Like all Dutch kids, I grew up with Vermeer's images; the music is serene because of the serenity in those pictures, which I love. The ideal was to create music that somehow approached the beauty of those paintings." Atlantic. 2006

Writing to Vermeer is the sixth Nonesuch release from Louis Andriessen, the most highly regarded contemporary composer working in the Netherlands today, an influential and iconoclastic figure whose work has been presented on stages throughout the world. Vermeer is Andriessen's second collaboration with filmmaker-conceptual artist-provocateur Peter Greenaway as librettist and director. This multimedia opera contrasts the alluring stillness and warm glow of the domestic scenes painted by Dutch master Johannes Vermeer with the clangorous political, social and economic turmoil of the encroaching outside world during the late 1700's. "'Writing to Vermeer' is a dazzling fusion of music and visual imagery...as much a virtuoso display of theatrical technology and film techniques as a triumph of musical and dramatic vision....its most striking characteristics are the sheer beauty of the sound world in which strings are far more prominent than in any other of his works, and the always lucid, elegant word setting, while orchestral interludes and electronic interjections introduce the violence and stridency of a country preparing for war." -BBC Music Magazine



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Works Details

>Andriessen, Louis : Writing to Vermeer
  • Performers: Susan Bickley (Mezzo Soprano); Brenda Duijkeren (Voice); Wendy Epen (Voice); Melanie Greve (Soprano); Barbara Hannigan (Soprano); Jan Kistemaker (Voice); Tomoko Makuuchi (Soprano); Susan Narucki (Soprano); Marjolein Niels (Mezzo Soprano); Violet Noorduyn (Soprano); Jacob Schroevers (Voice); Martine Straesser (Alto); Marije Stralen (Soprano); Michel Van der Aa (Electronics)
  • Conductor: Reinbert Leeuw
  • Ensemble: ASKO Ensemble
  • Running Time: 101 min. 47 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Language: English
  • Studio/Live: Studio