Contemporary Music | Concertzender | Klassiek, Jazz, Wereld en meer

Contemporary Music

mon 27 jun 2022 19:00 

Today’s Music by Today’s Composers.

The New York ensemble Bang on a Can aimed to make New Music fun and comprehensible again. Since 1987, they have been delighting us with a continual stream of accessible, yet highly intelligent music.

It’s all well and good, the serial music à la Milton Babbitt that was taught at American universities, but it resulted in very morose and incomprehensible compositions. At least, that is what three New York composers felt.

Julia Wolfe, David Lang and Michael Gordon founded the collective Bang on a Can. The composers are also musicians, which clearly works in their favour. Their main influences are pop music and the minimal music of Reich and Glass, but all other influences are welcome too, especially those from the more radical side of avant-garde. As long as they can communicate with the audience.

This concert features a piece for four female voices by David Lang, Love Fail. The starting point is the love story of Tristan and Isolde, but that does not mean that the music resembles Wagner. On the contrary; we are reminded of Arvo Pärt. The music seems to quietly meander for a time, but then suddenly there is that jarring note in the place where you least expect it. In the hands of a competent foursome, this can produce some very exciting music.

In addition to their own music, Bang on a Can performs a lot of work by kindred spirits. There are plenty of them in New York: from veterans like Reich and Glass to a whole generation of younger composers. Nico Muhly is one of those kindred spirits. He too writes music that is easy on the ears and highly influenced by pop music, but, when one pays proper attention, turns out to be rather intelligent and well thought-out. In his Four Studies for Two Violins and Keyboard, he explores classical musical forms such as the canon.

  • David Lang [featured image], Love Fail. Natascha Young, Michaela Riener (soprano), Elsbeth Gerritsen (mezzo soprano), Fanny Alofs (alto).
  • Nico Muhly, Four Studies (2014): II. Fast Canons. Angela and Jennifer Chun (violin), Nico Muhly (keyboard)


Produced by: