MICHEL VAN DER AA (b.1970): Spaces of Blank for Mezzo-Soprano and Orchestra (Christianne Stotijn [mezzo], Ed Spanjaard [conductor]), OTTO KETTING (b.1935): Trajecten (Markus Stenz [conductor]), TRISTAN KEURIS (1946-1996): Antologia, SOFIA GUBAIDULINA (b.1931): Der Reiter auf dem weißen Pferd, MAYKE NAS (b.1972): No reason to panic (David Robertson [conductor]).
Catalogue Number: 11M104
Label: RCO Live
Description: Van der Aa's work, though a purely musical piece, incorporates elements of his multi-media career, incorporating live electronics (sparingly, altering the acoustic space to suggest sonic or architectural analogies to the metaphors of space, claustrophobia and vast emptiness in the poems by Emily Dickinson, Anne Carson and Rozalie Hirs). The music is fundamentally tonal and theatrically extrovert, with a vivid orchestral palette providing an evocative backdrop to the concentrated recitative of the lyrical vocal line. Ketting's Trajecten consists of four movements, tonal, combining elements of Stravinskyan neoclassicism, minimalism, jazz and lush neo-romanticism in an appealing, accessible idiom of considerable originality. Keuris, like Ketting, aims for emotional expressiveness over adherence too any specific musical doctrine, a by now familiar reaction to the strictures of 1960s serialism, and although Antologia is not strictly an exercise in functionally tonal writing, it nevertheless achieves an emotional potency and sense of narrative progression in no small part due to its eloquent tonal harmony. Gubaidulina's piece summarises material from her St John Passion of the previous year. An apocalyptic vision based on the Book of Revelation, the music juxtaposes neo-romantic grandeur and emotional impact with the composer's typical timbral experimentation, with much use of percussion and dissonant cluster textures. Nas' piece is a music-theatrical accompaniment to the rearrangement of the stage to admit a piano, a busy mechanical-minimalist analogy to the prompt efficient work of the stagehands, whose activities form part of the musical texture, progressing to a real sense of resolution and climax- a real piece of musical narrative, not the slightly silly experiment it could have been. Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. SACD hybrid.