The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra has a long standing tradition of performing Bach’s Passions in the period before Easter. Since 2009 these are alternated with newly composed works. The Scottish composer James MacMillan launched the new tradition that same year with his St. John Passion.
For 2017 two composers were commissioned to write an alternative Passion. The Serbian-Swedish Djuro Zivkovic based his Mystical Sacrifice for tenor, choir and orchestra on texts from the Slavonic orthodox rite. He told me how different the orthodox view of Christ’s suffering is: where Westerners concentrate on his death, the Easterners see him as a living person, focussing rather more on the resurrection after his execution.
The Azeri-German Franghiz Ali-Zadeh sought inspiration in the poetry of Nasimi Imadeddin, a Sufi preacher, poet, theologian and more, who was brutally executed in Aleppo in 1417. In her Nasimi-Passion for baritone, choir and orchestra Ali-Zadeh integrated elements from the Azeri Mersyie-tradition and quotes from the chorale ‘O Hilf, Christ, Gottes Sohn’ from Bach’s St. John Passion.
Both pieces had a great impact on the audience, that responded with minutes-long ovations in the Main Hall of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw.
The concert of Sunday 9 April was broadcast live on Radio 4, you can listen to it here.
The Noord Nederlands Orkest presents the world première of La lucerna del mondo; Adagio by the Dutch composer Jacob ter Veldhuis, aka JacobTV. The concert forms part of the radio series AVROTROSVrijdagconcert, and will be broadcast live on Radio 4. On the programme, too are works by Roussel, Poulenc – Pianoconcerto with the soloist Louis Lortie – and Debussy.
Jacob TV and conductor Antony Hermus will be my guests.
It was a very lively introduction and the audience really enjoyed JacobTV’s new piece.
In 2014 cultural centre Zael was the first to invite me to present my biography Reinbert de Leeuw: mens of melodie. It was a really pleasant evening with a very attentive and participating audience.
Now organizer Adriaan Meij has asked me to come and present a bird’s-eye-view of contemporary music, starting ca 1900 and ending in the present. One of the composers I’ll talk about is JacobTV, one of the best-known composers from northern Holland.
In 2014 Adriaan’s son Salomon video-interviewed me about my book, you can view it via this link.
The lecture was a great success. People had come from all over Holland (The Hague, Amsterdam, Nieuwegein) to participate in my lecture. Very lively and inspiring, with a very interactive audience.
The critic of Meppeler Courant honoured it with a 5* review.
The Dutch violinist Liza Ferschtman presents a concert with two of her favourite works: the string octets by George Enescu and Felix Mendelssohn. She will also première a new octet from the young Dutch composer Mathilde Wantenaar. During my introduction I’ll talk with Ferschtman and Wantenaar.
Both Ferschtman & Wantenaar proved to be very eloquent speakers, it was a lively and enlightening introduction to a memorable concert. Wantenaar’s Octet was beautifully crafted and held its own in the monunental surroudings of Mendelssohn & Enecsu. And what a performance! Liza Ferschtman and her seven friends played with such intensity and superb craftsmanship that it almost made me weep. Absolutely stunning!
Talk with Carola Bauckholt and Christina Kubisch about their new compositions for Nieuw Ensemble, commissioned by Muziekgebouw and AMMODO. Kubisch wrote two new works: Seven Magnetic Places and Wien Landstraße; Bauckholt composed Point of Presence.
The introduction is followed by a public rehearsal. Entrance to both events is free, but please reserve tickets via this link. The compositions will be premièred two days laterm on Thursday 9 February at 20.15 hrs., info and tickets here.
8 February: some 250 people attended the talk and rehearsal, both were a huge success.
Introduction to concert of recorder quintet Seldom Sene, that plays music by Greek composers. I’ll talk to Aspasia Nasopoulou and the players about her piece Ten Dipoles that she composed for recorders and aerophones designed by Horst Rickels and Ernst Dullemond. On the programme is also her award-winning Lelia Doura and a new work that Thanasis Deligiannis composed at the request of Orgelpark.
The audience was very grateful for our introduction to the aerophones, and the concert was a great success. ‘Ten Dipoles’ sounded terrific in the ample acoustics of the Orgelpark.
Introduction to concert of Het Collectief and Psallentes, who are playing works by Hildegard von Bingen and Galina Ustvolskaya. I’ll talk to pianist Thomas Dieltjens, leader of the ensemble Het Collectief, and Hendrik Vanden Abeele, founder and leader of the choir Psallentes. Free for those who have a concert ticket.
In spite of terrible weather a crowd turned up for the introduction and the concert. The talk with Dieltjens and Vanden Abeele was really inspiring. I wrote a review of the concert, you read it here.
Introduction to public rehearsal Riflesso sul’arco Richard Rijnvos with Ives Ensemble in the Main Hall. I’ll talk with Rijnvos about his new piece, and after the rehearsal there is room for questions from the audience. Entrance free, but please reserve tickets through this link.
Update 11 January.
A crowd had gathered for the public rehearsal. I spoke with Richard Rijnvos about his new piece, and the musicians of the Ives Ensemble illustrated some extended techniques and other features. It was a huge success!
Pre concert talk with composer Richard Rijnvos & pianist John Snijders about the concert of the Ives Ensemble with a.o. the world première of Riflesso sul’arco, that Rijnvos composed as a companion piece’ to go with Swinging Music of Kazimierz Serocki.
Pre concert talk on concert of Noord Nederlands Orkest / Hans Leenders, celebrating the 80th birthday of both Philip Glass and Steve Reich.
My pre concert talk attracted such a crowd (some 250 people), that it had to be transferred to the Small Hall. Both my introduction and the concert were a huge success.
9 December 19.30 hrs, TivoliVredenburg Utrecht
AVROTROSVrijdagconcert, Ensemble from Radio Philharmonisch Orchestra: Ketting: The Curious Music that I Hear; Mahler/Simon: Fourth Symphony
Pre concert talk with conductor Karel Deseure
12 December 21.45 hrs, Ostade A’dam
Meet & greet with composer Meriç Artaç and director Ingrid Askvik after performance of their new production Zonderland
18 December 14.15 hrs, TivoliVredenburg Utrecht
Russian National Orchestra / Michail Pletnev: Shostakovich Festival Overture; Rachmaninov 3rd Piano Concerto with Seong-Jin Cho; Tchaikovsky Swan Lake
Pre concert talk
This was a memorable concert, with Pletnev giving the orchestra and the pianist free reign, often just leading them with a nod of his head. Seong-Jin Cho played by heart, with impeccable technique and dynamics. And what a lush sound from strings, winds, harp player and percussion section. Such remarkable orchestral soloists, among them flutist Maxim Rubtsov. The hall went beserk and the orchestra played an encore.
17 & 18 November 19.15 hrs, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ Amsterdam
Amsterdam Sinfonietta The American Four Seasons Philip Glass, pre concert talk with Isabelle van Keulen & Willem de Bordes
24 November, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ Amsterdam
Cappella Amsterdam Again and Again David Lang
- 16.45 hrs: Introduction to solitary, a piece David Lang composed for Cappella Amsterdam, that will be premièred that evening. My guests are conductor Daniel Reuss, mezzosoprano Inga Schneider and tenor Adriaan De Koster. Entrance is free, but please reserve your ticket via this link.
17.30-18.00 hrs: public rehearsal of solitary. I’ll moderate. Also free on reservation.
- 19.15 hrs: Cappella Amsterdam Again and Again David Lang, pre concert talk, free for those who have a concert ticket.