Certain composers have suffered rather weird fates, from Lully's lethal foot infection--he jabbed it while beating time--to the accidental shooting of Anton Webern (or was it a murder conspiracy?). That fact is just one of the many seeds that have germinated into the fictional case (re)presented in Rosa: The Death of a Composer, the first in the ongoing series of collaborations between leading Dutch avant-garde composer Louis Andriessen and director-librettist Peter Greenaway. The result is a Chinese box-like dramaturgy, many-tiered, self-referential, and frankly too complex to summarize handily but which involves hippophilia, an abusive relationship, geometric obsessions, multiple nudity, old-fashioned Westerns, and art's slippery, illusory nature. Greenaway has in fact created a film from the original 1994 stage production--but even without its stylized bleed of visuals and streaming text, the bizarrely arresting quality of this one-of-a-kind opera comes across on Nonesuch's premiere recording. Andriessen's score is a fascinating melange of nervous minimalism--preempting the style's tendency toward predictability--fierce Stravinskian rhythmic displacements, frosty harmonies that gather like a miasma, and half-jazz, half high-opera vocalism. Most impressive of all is how Andriessen avoids the kind of standard-issue postmodern pastiche that's the usual payoff but instead actually creates a believable sound world for the story's unique mix of parody and menace. Longtime Andriessen interpreters Reinbert de Leeuw and the Schönberg Ensemble give the score a biting, disturbing edge, while Marie Angel surmounts the outrageous demands (not just vocal) made on her without faltering. The anti-romantic Andriessen is a seriously undervalued composer--he lacks the star power of Glass or Reich--but his intensely probing visions of music and its place in culture (as in De Materie) open labyrinths of discovery. --Thomas May
87468NL. Andriessen - Rosa: Death of a Composer (CD)http://oldies.scdn5.secure.raxcdn.com/i/boxart/large/95/075597955927.jpg?v=336.9822.48USDOutOfStockNonesuchCDClassical-MusicL-Andriessen2009-10-30
To place an order or for customer service, call toll-free 1-800-336-4627 or outside the United States, call 1-610-649-7565
Open Monday-Friday: 8am-10pm,
Se habla Español!
Spanish-speaking representatives available,
Monday-Friday: 9am-4pm (Eastern Time)