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Karlheinz Stockhausen

And Stockhausen saw that it was good - aus LICHT in Holland Festival #HF19

'Then he could split into three and was a singer, dancer and trumpet player,' says a girl on the screen prior to Michael's Jugend. She is one of the little children who tell at the beginning of each day what aus LICHT is about. A good find by Pierre Audi and his artistic team, because the universe that Karlheinz Stockhausen gives us... 

Tannhäuser at DNO: not director's theatre but subtle take on hypocrisy surrounding courtly and earthly love

A petition was recently started to restore Olivier Keegel's press accreditation by The National Opera. He was denied press passes because he frequently expressed negative views on Pierre Audi's programme choices on the blog Operagazet and in Het Parool. Moreover, he denounced his penchant for "director's theatre", in which, according to him, the content falls prey to a far-fetched... 

Ligeti festival - tribute to adventurous and idiosyncratic composer

Hungarian composer György Ligeti (1923-2006) suffered under several dictatorships; the Nazis killed his father and brother during World War II, and after the War the communists forced him to write sweet 'folk music'. After the 1956 Hungarian uprising, he fled to Vienna and then to Cologne. In the West, he unpopularised into an idiosyncratic composer, who already... 

Goeyvaerts and Ustvolskaya: man and woman with hammer

In February 2017, The Collective combined the radical music of Galina Ustvolskaya with the heavenly chants of Hildegard von Bingen. Less strange than it seems, as both were deeply religious and composed from inner necessity. On Thursday 26 October, Spectra Ensemble places Ustvolskaya alongside Karel Goeyvaerts at Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ. Ustvolskaya is well enough known here in the country by now, but who was... 

String theory inspires organ concert: Peter Eötvös conducts KCO in Multiverse

On Thursday 19 October, Peter Eötvös will conduct the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in the Dutch premiere of his organ concerto Multiversum, which he commissioned for the company. His brand new composition is flanked by works by György Ligeti and Claude Vivier. Transylvania's rich musical tradition Hungarian composer and conductor Peter Eötvös (Székelyudvarhely, 1944) grew up in Transylvania. Towards the end of... 

Mantra (II) Stockhausen with middle finger raised is highlight #HF17

Smoothly they descend the stairs of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. Lucas and Arthur Jussen are dressed to kill. With their fussy-cut, see-through costumes, they have already won their first battle before they have even played one note of Karlheinz Stockhausen's Mantra. Not only in their outfits, but also in their quirky playing, the young pianists show guts. Lovely, such a... 

Mantra (I): Pushing for Jussen brothers swaying Stockhausen #HF17

Lucas and Arthur Jussen are 'hot'. You could call the young piano brothers the headliner of this Holland Festival Proms. Well before the start of their concert, visitors are therefore already gathering in the corridors around the main hall of the Concertgebouw. Everyone is out for a good seat. To sit, because standing, as we know it from... 

Jussen piano brothers step out of their comfort zone at Holland Festival #hf17

Among classical music-loving audiences, the two young pianists Lucas (1993) and Arthur (1996) Jussen need little introduction. For many years, the talented piano brothers have been filling halls like the Concertgebouw with four-handed or otherwise, interpretations of classics such as Beethoven, Mozart and Schubert. With the avant-garde piece Mantra by Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928-2007), to be performed as part of the Holland Festival,... 

How I found love for opera in Sexyland. (And how you can too) #0FF17

A prelaunch of the Opera Forward Festival OFF [hints]From 18 to 31 March at De Nationale Opera (formerly the Muziektheater/Stopera)[/hints], among other venues, was organised last night at Amsterdam's new society Sexyland. I was impressed. Pretty surprising. Opera Nopera Disclaimer: the author of this one is not an opera director. The last two operas I saw were both by Philip Glass (the true... 

Why I love that the Holland Festival is programming Stockhausen's 'Aus Licht'

Towards the end of the year, we are inundated with lists. The best CDs, the best books, the performances you shouldn't have missed, etcetera. In this sea of choices from reviewers and other opinion makers, one post stands out, from opera critic Olivier Keegel. He started a veritable petition to prevent Karlheinz Stockhausen's 'Aus Licht' from being performed in June 2019,... 

Olga Neuwirth sticks to old avant-garde #HF16

It is good that the Holland Festival dares to stick its neck out, by making Olga Neuwirth (1968), unknown here, its focus composer this year. On reflection, by the way, I would have preferred to hear her high-profile opera Bählamms Fest in a staged version once, rather than Le Encantadas. This piece composed last year did not quite manage to live up to the high expectations... 

Erik Voermans 'From Andriessen to Zappa': enthusiastic plea for elitist music

Erik Voermans (1958) is one of those people who writes down what you think yourself, but would never air publicly. The music editor of Het Parool likes to pose as your unsuspecting neighbour's boy, watching the music world with amazement. Take the phenomenon of opera: 'That's when someone with a knife in his taas walks around for half an hour singing that he's going to die.' If he... 

Krzysztof Penderecki: 'In chamber music you can't gloss over anything'

In 1961, Krzysztof Penderecki (Dębica, 1933) put his name on the map in one fell swoop with Lament for the Victims of Hiroshima. This avant-garde, expressionist piece for string orchestra flogs the ears with heavily dissonant harmonies full of microtones. With this uncompromising orgy of sound, the Pole struck the mental and physical inferno caused by the atomic bomb on the Japanese city in 1945 in the... 

Forever waiting for Godot: Pierre Boulez died

He would have turned 91 on 26 March, but died Tuesday night, 5 January, in his hometown of Baden-Baden. Pierre Boulez was the last surviving composer of the group that changed the direction of music after WWII. His fellow maestros preceded him: Karlheinz Stockhausen died in 2007, Luciano Berio in 2003, Karel Goeyvaerts in 1993 and... 

Mantra for 2 pianos by Stockhausen: iconic masterpiece

By 1970, Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928-2007) had run out of 'intuitive' compositions in which the performer had to choose his or her own path from a series of written instructions. Like Intensity, for example, whose score consists of this text: Play the individual notes with such dedication until you feel the warmth radiating from you. Play on and keep them on as long as you can.... 

Satie in the supermarket

In the 1970s, Reinbert de Leeuw stormed the popular charts with recordings of Erik Satie's early piano music. He managed to strike exactly the right chord with his ultra-rare performances of pieces like Gnossiennes and Gymnopédies. The albums sold like hot cakes and were awarded gold and platinum records. Two decades later, he recorded them... 

Unsuk Chin: 'Holland is more open to new music than other countries'

In 1985, Unsuk Chin (Seoul 1961) won the Gaudeamus Music Prize with Spektra for three cellos, six years later she made her breakthrough with her Akrostichon-Wortspiel for soprano and ensemble composed for the Nieuw Ensemble. In 2004, she won the Grawemeyer Award, the world's most prestigious music prize; in 2007, she made a deep impression with her opera Alice in Wonderland. Tomorrow, Thursday 22 October. 

The 5 concerts not to miss at Musica Sacra

From Thursday 17 September onwards, Maastricht will be dominated by four days of arts festival Musica Sacra. Started in 1983 as the European Festival of Religious Music, other art disciplines are now also presented, in atmospheric churches and other historical venues. This year's theme is 'The Way', loosely inspired by the pilgrimage route to pilgrimage site Santiago de Compostela, with the central question of whether... 

The best CDs of 2014

What would the end of a year be without favourites lists? Therefore, herewith my choice of the three best CDs/DVDs of 2014. Unsuk Chin: 3 Concertos Korean-German composer Unsuk Chin is considered one of the most important composers of our time. She has been awarded many times, including the prestigious Grawemeyer Award (2004) and the no less important South Korean Ho-Am... 

Reinbert de Leeuw defies limits of orchestra in Saturday Matinee

Reinbert de Leeuw turned seventy-five last September, but already in May the VPRO honoured him with three full-length broadcasts on Radio 4. Together with Aad van Nieuwkerk, I made a selection from his best recordings of Kagel, Ustvolskaya and Louis Andriessen, among others, about which I also let him speak. This was followed in September by a real Reinbert festival and his own magazine. The magazine not only highlighted him... 

A century of new music: Ruyneman and De Leeuw

This month, Reinbert de Leeuw celebrates his seventy-fifth birthday. Not only are television, radio, internet media and the written press devoting extensive attention to the no small achievements of this champion of contemporary music, but he is also being honoured with his own festival, 'Reinbert 75'. This is organised by the Asko|Schönberg, co-founded by him, the Residentie Orkest and the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague, where he took up teaching fifty years ago. In da...

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VPRO honours Reinbert de Leeuw

On 8 September next, pianist, composer and conductor Reinbert de Leeuw hopes to turn 75 and this will be celebrated with a range of events. These include a three-day festival dedicated to him in The Hague and Amsterdam at the end of September, and he will be the central composer in the NTR Saturday Matinee next season. In addition, a CD box set of his recordings will be released, and later this year I hope to publish my recently completed biography on Reinbert de Leeuw. Together with producer Aad van Nieuwkerk, I made ...

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Delft opens with fewer chamber music surprises than other years

For another 15 years, the Delft Chamber Music Festival, so named to reflect its international character, has encompassed 15 years. Violinist Isabelle van Keulen handled the chamber music festival's programming for the first ten years, Lisa Ferschtmann - also a violinist - took over from her five years ago. But even this already successful festival fears the upcoming budget cuts. A pity, because what... 

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