Passion: The Music of Louis Andriessen – Opening Concerts (4 October)

On Jimmy Yancey
Stub *
Beat the Retreat
The Thistle of Scotland
Step by Step [UK première]
Mr Anderson’s Pavane
Horses of Instruction

Delta Saxophone Quartet *
Steve Martland Band

Late Night Cabaret

Greetje Bijma (vocals) & Louis Andriessen (piano)

Reviewed by: Nick Breckenfield

Reviewed: 4 October, 2002
Venue: Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

It is now nine years since Louis Andriessen, Dutch composer, curated the second Meltdown festival. Since then Britain has had reported his ambitious operatic projects with Peter Greenaway – Rosa and, latterly, Writing to Vermeer, but have not had an opportunity to hear much of his music live, apart from Oliver Knussen’s Proms performance of Trilogy of the Last Day (August 1999). So all credit to the South Bank Centre and Amelia Freedman for bringing him over for a ten-concert festival stretching nearly two weeks entitled Passion.

The opening night was in two parts. First, perhaps Andriessen’s best-known British pupil, Steve Martland, brought his own band for a 100-minute romp through mainly his own music, but starting with a rather soft-grained version of Andriessen’s On Jimmy Yancey, notable from where I was sitting (right in front of Andriessen) for the composer’s constant conversation throughout. If composers can’t be bothered to sit quietly through their own music, why should they expect others to? Here the Steve Martland band was expanded to fit Andriessen’s American-influenced big-band requirements.

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