The premiere recording of Andriessen’s recent song cycle The only one, for female jazz singer and large ensemble, is released on Nonesuch with vocalist Nora Fischer, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen.
Louis Andriessen’s The only one is out now on Nonesuch Records (7559791730). This world premiere performance by the Los Angeles Philharmonic was commissioned by the LA Phil with generous support from the MaddocksBrown Fund for New Music as part of its centennial celebrations. The live recording dates from May 2019 at Walt Disney Concert Hall, conducted by LA Phil Conductor Laureate Esa-Pekka Salonen with solo vocalist Nora Fischer. Additional The only one commissioners include NTR ZaterdagMatinee and BBC Radio 3 and performances have taken place to date in Los Angeles, Musikfest Berlin, the BBC Proms in London and the NTR ZaterdagMatinee series in the Netherlands.
> View a video clip of the premiere performance
> Listen to the recording on Spotify
> Buy the recording
> View the score of the work
Two artistic discoveries influenced Andriessen as he wrote The only one. The first was a collection of poems by the Flemish poet Delphine Lecompte from The animals in me. “These witty, intelligent, experimental, and sometimes scabrous poems immediately fascinated me. My focus turned to faraway America, with its great tradition of songwriting,” he says.
His second discovery was the work of Nora Fischer, an Amsterdam–based singer known for developing dynamic creative projects that fuse classical and pop music. Andriessen says, “The depth of her versatility has strongly influenced the musical language of the piece.” He further explains that “the piece flirts a bit with certain kinds of pop songs and light music, and starts out with a beautiful song.”
“Andriessen used bits of old music, an allusion to the Dies Irae motif and some Minimalism, a jazz riff here and a Mexican brass allusion there, as he often has", says the Los Angeles Times. "But he always remakes it into a complex and powerfully blatant new thing, and here edge-of-your-seat operatically so."
Louis Andriessen, according to London’s Guardian, is “not only the leading Dutch composer of our time, but one of the most important figures in European music in the last half century, whose influence has spread far beyond that of his own works”. His music has explored politics, time, velocity, matter, and mortality in five works for large ensemble: De Staat (Nonesuch, 1991), De Tijd (Nonesuch, 1993), De Snelheid, De Materie (Nonesuch, 1996), and Trilogy of the Last Day. His stage works include the Theatre of the World (Nonesuch, 2017, also an LA Phil commission), La Commedia (Nonesuch, 2014), Writing to Vermeer (Nonesuch, 2006), and Rosa: The Death of a Composer (Nonesuch, 2000), as well as the monodrama Anaïs Nin. Nonesuch also released an album with his De Stijl and M is for Man, Music, Mozart in 1994. Andriessen’s recent awards include the Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music, the Caecilia Prize, and the Grawemeyer Award.
“…surprises tumble out of Louis Andriessen’s wonderfully puzzling The only one, a song cycle with orchestra written in 2019 for the electrifying, shape-shifting voice of the soprano Nora Fischer… plenty of jolts remain in these kaleidoscopic settings of cryptic poems by Delphine Lecompte interpreted by Fischer with a mix of jazz abandon, lieder elegance, childish sing-song and screaming… Each of them is gripping.”
“The cycle has the feel of a cabaret, with overtones of Kurt Weill and flashes of colour drawn from jazz, urban classical and Latin America. There is a panache to it that is typical of Andriessen’s imagination and yet the mood is unusually self-absorbed, as the inward-looking psychological stresses of the central character come to the surface.”
December brought the premiere of Louis Andriessen’s May for choir and orchestra, written in 2019 as a tribute to Frans Brüggen. Due to the composer’s illness this work will be the final new score in Andriessen's output. The performance by the Orchestra of the 18th Century and Cappella Amsterdam in the ZaterdagMatinee series can still be heard on an NTR radio stream – scroll back to the 5 December concert to listen.
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