NPS makes audible (2010/2011)

Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Amsterdam

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.

© Hans Hijmering

1. Kingdom come

1 October 2010
Celso Antunes, conductor
Anthony Marwood, violin
Anna Enquist, voice

Ingram Marshall (1942)
Kingdom come (1997) for orchestra & tape
Steven Mackey (1956)
Beautiful Passing (2008) (Dutch premiere)
Ton Bruynèl (1934-1998)
Elegie (1972) for female voice and soundtracks
James MacMillan (1959)
The Exorcism of Rio Sumpúl (1989) (Dutch premiere)

War, loss and death are of all times and places. The common thread in Ingram Marshall’s idiosyncratic repertoire is working with electronics and a fascination with ethnic music. Both facets are reflected in his Kingdom Come. The trigger was a personal tragedy: in 1995, Marshall’s brother-in-law drove onto a landmine near Mostar. Steve Mackey’s recent Violin Concerto is heavily influenced by a personal experience: while Mackey was working on the concerto, he witnessed the dying process of his mother, who managed to face her own death and face it with peace: ‘Please tell everyone I had a beautiful passing.’ In Elegy by Ton Bruynèl, Anna Enquist declares fragments of text taken from a Greek tombstone amid an electronic field of expansive sounds. James MacMillan wrote The Exorcism of Rio Sumpúl in response to an armed helicopter attack in the valley of Rio Sumpúl in El Salvador. As if by some miracle, no one was killed.

2. Zimmermann & Rihm

6 Januari 2011
Alejo Pérez, conductor
Geneviève Strosser, viola

Wolfgang Rihm (1952)
Drängender Walzer & Sehnsuchtswalzer from Drei Walzer (1979/1988)
(Dutch premiere)
Wolfgang Rihm
– 2. Bratschenkonzert (“Über die Linie” IV) (2000/2002), 32’
Bernd Alois Zimmermann (1918-1970)
Un petit rien (1964), musique légère, lunaire et ornithologique d’après “Les oiseaux de lune” de Marcel Aymé (Dutch premiere)
Bernd Alois Zimmermann
Sinfonie in einem Satz (versie 1951) (Dutch premiere)

Zimmermann’s work is not extensive. Nevertheless, he holds a prominent place in Germany’s post-war music history. Zimmermann embraced both the serial principles, the avant-garde rigour of Darmstadt, and the great romantic tradition of Mahler. Added to his penchant for collages, jazz and the theatrical, it becomes clear that this composer was versatile. Fortunately, his publisher did not heed Zimmermann’s call to destroy the first version of his pithy Sinfonie. He regularly composed light music, such as Un Petit rien, written for a Hörspiel, for recreation, study and earning money. Wolfgang Rihm’s dramatic viola concerto came about after listening to a performance of Zimmermann’s Viola Sonata. And Rihm also occasionally chimes in as witness his Walzer, a fine New Year’s opening to this concert.

3. East – west, Germany best

10 March 2011
Otto Tausk, conductor
Viviane Hagner, violin

Györgi Ligeti (1923-2006)
Concerto românesc (1951)
Unsuk Chin (1961)
Violin Concerto (2001)
Isang Yun (1917-1995)
Symfonie nr. 2 (1984) (Dutch premiere)

Isang Yun’s music is full of intriguing images and metaphors rooted in Taoist philosophy. He linked European compositional techniques with East Asian thinking. ‘For me it’s about mysticism, connection, about worldview’ said the godfather of modern South Korean music, who, as a former political prisoner, had a turbulent life behind him. From a very different background, younger compatriot Unsuk Chin, like Yun, chose a life in Berlin. In 2004, she received the Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition for her Violin Concerto. In this work full of shimmering orchestrations and sonorities, Western and Eastern traditions meet. Her teacher Ligeti wrote his Concerto românesc even before he fled Hungary in 1956. This shrewd youthful work is full of effervescent Hungarian sentiments and rhythms.

4. Rest in peace

15 April 2011
Brad Lubman, conductor; James Wood, choir conductor
Nikolai Didenko, bass

James MacMillan
Nunc dimittis (2001) for choir and orchestra
text 1962 Book of Common Prayer
(Dutch premiere)
Alexander Raskatov
Alphabet of Death for bass and orchestra
text Velimir Chlebnikov (commission NPS, world premiere)
Avet Terteryan
Symfonie no. 6 (1981)
for chamber orchestra, chamber choir and nine fonograms

Death. Inexhaustible source of inspiration. James MacMillan, an avowed Catholic, believes in the religious and humane mission of art. ‘Now let go’ is the hymn of Simeon who passes away in peace after meeting Jesus in the temple. ‘When people die, they sing songs,’ Velimir Khlebnikov wrote. Alexander Raskatov chose texts by this founder of Russian Futurism. They are dark, mystical verses surrounding death. Finally, Terteryan’s large-scale, mystical sixth Symphony, a fascinating acoustic interplay between proximity and distance, foreground and background, light and shadow. In this ‘Requiem’, the composer strove to portray eternal memory.

© Hans Hijmering