NPS makes audible, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ Amsterdam (2009/2010)

The NPS is a broadcaster that makes high-quality, independent and pluralistic programmes. From this broad interest, the NPS chooses to present four programmes, each with a different approach, to be heard on Radio 4, under the umbrella NPS MAKES AUDIBLE. For these activities, the NPS finds a good partner in the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic with whom it has a long tradition of distinctive programming.

1.Double play

4 December 2009
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies conductor
Dimitri Ashkenazy clarinet
Gunther Haussknecht bagpipes

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies  Jimmack the Postie (1986)
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies Strathclyde Concerto nr. 4 (1990) for A-clarinet & orchestra
(Dutch premiere)
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies Last Door of Light (2008)
(Dutch premiere
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise (1985)

This new episode of Double Play focuses on Sir Peter Maxwell Davies (b. 1934). It has been many years since this double talent took to the podium in the Netherlands to conduct his own work. Sir Peter Maxwell Davies is recognised worldwide as one of the leading composers of our time. His musical significance to British musical life has earned him the designation “Master of the Queen’s Music” in addition to the predicate “Sir”. An ability to showcase a wide range of musical styles – from serious symphonies to light-hearted musical theatre and compositions for and by children – no doubt contributed to this. The now 75-year-old Davies draws much of his inspiration from backgrounds, stories and events of Scottish culture, particularly that of the Orkney Islands where he lives reclusively. These islands are also threatened by global warming. Sir Peter Maxwell Davies reports on it in his most recent composition Last Door of Light.

2. The De-stressing

20 February 2010
Otto Tausk conductor
Sonia Wieder-Atherton cello
Ralph van Raat piano

Cornelis de Bondt (1953) Il tempo guisto from Gran Sinfonia (2010)
(commission NPS/Nederlands Fonds voor Podiumkunsten) (world premiere)
Pascal Dusapin (1955) Celo (1996) for cello and orchestra
Gavin Bryars (1943) Piano Concerto (The Solway Canal) for piano, choir and orchestra (world premiere)
(commission NPS/Borletti-Buitoni Trust)

Email bombardment, the incessant stream of text messages, buzzing, saluting and bleeping mobiles, flashing television pictures – zapping, multitasking – tailgaters. Fast, fast, fast! In this hectic existence with its information overload, do we ever come to rest? The De-stressing is a musical protest against the hyper-stimulating environment. The motto is slow but not boring. The musical information flow is kept slow. Cornelis de Bondt will deal with the phenomenon of tempo and speed in his new piece to be written. There will certainly be movement but slow: running fast and yet not advancing a metre, as if you were running on a fitness machine. Celo by Pascal Dusapin, the French composer whose music regularly runs through NPS programmes like a thread for a season, is written in one big, slow undulation: impressive and poignant. Englishman Gavin Bryars, who has also been called a cult figure, really only writes slow music – an ideal composer, therefore, to invite to contribute to this concert. And who knows, this evening might lead to many tetha waves in the brain.

3. The magic of sound – new sounds from France

14 May 2010
Brad Lubman conductor
Ian Pace  piano
Miny Dekkers accordion

Régis Campo (1968) Lumen (2001)
(Dutch premiere)
Pascal Dusapin (1955) À Quia (2002) for piano and orchestra
(Dutch premiere)
Gérard Pesson (1958) Wunderblock (Nebenstück II) (2005) for accordion and orchestra
‘Tentative d’effacement du Maestoso de la 6ème Symphonie de Bruckner’
(Dutch premiere)
Éric Tanguy Sinfonietta (2003)

French modern orchestral music is really not all about Olivier Messiaen, Henri Dutilleux and Pierre Boulez. With this programme, the NPS wants to draw attention to other composers who equally co-determine that music. Notable figure is Régis Campo who writes mostly optimistic music, leaning on the musical ideas of the Groupe des Six. His motoric Lumen is full of colours and orchestral inventions. Pascal Dusapin, who picked up his ideas from Iannis Xenakis, is a builder of lines, of grand gestures and discourses. That makes the listener not easily lose the thread in his music. À quia is a French term, taken from medieval rhetoric. If for a moment a speaker could not find words to continue, he would involuntarily mutter ‘quia quia quia’. The expression is still current in France. Dusapin uses the fact in the relationship between piano and orchestra. Gérard Pesson stumbles across remnants of Bruckner’s sixth symphony in his Wunderblock. Éric Tanguy, in his Sinfonietta, which leans heavily on tradition, shows himself to be a composer who does not need technical concepts and aesthetic theories to arrive at a compelling musical argument. Memories of his stay at the Villa Medici in Rome led to a composition with an optimistic character.

© Hans Hijmering