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Music publicist Maarten Brandt: 'For one note from Mahler's Ninth, I would give the gift of Shostakovich's entire oeuvre'

Sounding Alchemy, is the name of the chunky volume recently published by music publicist Maarten Brandt (1953). It has 715 pages, including illustrations and an extensive index. In 98 articles, Brandt unfolds his views on music and music programming. He dedicated the beautifully designed book to his admired Marius Flothuis, programmer of the Concertgebouw Orchestra for many years. His heirs received a first copy during... 

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... 

Klaas de Vries finds neotonic heaven: 'I can't resist composing'

Dutch composer Klaas de Vries (Terneuzen 1944) pairs Stravinskyian clarity with southern sensuality. He harbours a love for poets such as Pablo Neruda and Fernando Pessoa, and his work excels in recognisable melodies and rhythms. 'However innovative, to be communicative, music must always contain a traditional element,' he said. On 28 and 30 November, Asko|Schönberg will play... 

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... 

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,... 

String quartets Mantovani & Schubert: 'Schwingende Luft'

Unlike older colleagues, Bruno Mantovani (Châtillon, 1974) did not suffer from the modernist umbrella shadow that Pierre Boulez long cast over French musical life. He writes lyrical melodies as much as dissonant tone clusters and jazzy chords spiced with a pinch of microtonality. That he was appointed director of the Paris Conservatoire in 2010 illustrates how strong the musical climate... 

Festival Musica Sacra offers little and big treasures

Festival Musica Sacra concluded on Sunday 18 September with a riveting performance of Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel's Brockes-Passion. Conductor Peter van Heyghen led the Flemish ensemble Il Gardellino through the colourful work of this relatively unknown contemporary of Bach with great dedication and precision. With his lively rhythms, glowing arias and wonderfully beautiful chorales, Stölzel thrusts his contemporary into the... 

The 5 concerts you don't want to miss at Musica Sacra

Last year, arts festival Musica Sacra was all about 'the road', inspired by the many pilgrim routes that lead to holy places. This year, Maastricht is all about the 'sacrifice of love'. At first sight, an anachronistic theme, which seems at odds with sentiments in our current society. The aggression against asylum seekers, the ruthless pursuit of profit by... 

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... 

Pascal Gallois: formidable champion of the bassoon #HF16

Bassoonist Pascal Gallois gets laughs when he tries in vain to insert the flowers he has just received into the tube of his instrument. Also in the now classic Dialogue de l'ombre double by Pierre Boulez, he manages to make the audience chuckle on Sunday 19 June, when he produces a kind of elephant-like trumpet with much misfiring. His performance is part of the ''Save the bassoon', which will conclude on Sunday 25 June with a concert at the Holland Festival Proms at the Concertgebouw. For this hundreds of (amateur) bassoonists ON. Action successful, in other words.

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... 

Ursula Mamlok: atonal music with heart

With the death of Pierre Boulez on 5 January, modernism seemingly came to an end, but the two-year-old Ursula Mamlok (1923) is still alive and kicking. Although the German-American Mamlok hopes to turn 93 on 1 February, she is steadily composing.# In 2009, she wrote Aphorisms II for two clarinets, in which, as in all her pieces, she manages to couple atonality with a warm-blooded... 

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... 

Pierre Boulez turns 90 yet again

This year was a celebration of two composers from two seemingly completely different planets. The Estonian Arvo Pärt (b 1935) turned eighty, the Frenchman Pierre Boulez (b 1925) ninety. One is unparalleled among a wide audience for his eloquent 'tintinnabulist style', the other is applauded by a select group of insiders for his avant-garde compositions, which the general public, however, experiences as incomprehensible... 

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... 

Minimal Music Festival figurehead: 'I'm not a minimalist'

Wednesday 8 April kicks off the fourth edition of the biennial World Minimal Festival at Amsterdam's Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ. For five days, the capital will be dominated by the immensely popular music movement, which invariably attracts packed halls. Several parts of this instalment are already sold out, including the opening concert with special guest Terry Riley. There are still... 

Pierre Boulez is alive!?

He is the last surviving avant-gardist, and it will not have escaped new-music lovers that he turned 90 on Thursday, 26 March. I mean, of course, Pierre Boulez, the composer and conductor who once declared Schoenberg dead and suggested that perhaps opera houses should be blown up because of their moldy programming. The same man then tirelessly broke a lance for the music of Arnold Schoenberg ... 

Composer Henryk Górecki: art or kitsch?

This Saturday, 14 February 2015, Reinbert de Leeuw will conduct the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in Polish composer Henryk Górecki's (1933-2010) Fourth Symphony at the NTR Saturday matinee. Górecki established his name overnight in 1992, when the CD of his Third Symphony shot to the top of the classical charts like a flare. The recording of this Symphony... 

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