Andriessen: Anaïs Nin; De Staat Zavalloni/Synergy Vocals/London Sinfonietta/Atherton: review


This release signals the start of a new partnership between Signum and the London Sinfonietta. The recordings are taken from the orchestra's concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall last April, which included the British premiere of Anaïs Nin, Louis Andriessen's stripped-down music-theatre portrait of the erotic diarist, composed around the voice of the soprano Christina Zavalloni. It explores Nin's relationship with lovers Antoine Artaud, Henry Miller and René Allendy using extracts from her diaries, along with the incestuous one with her father, the Spanish composer Joaquín Nin. It's a curious, detached journalistic piece, with Andriessen's reedy instrumental music often cutting across the meaning of the texts, and the few striking moments are overwhelmed by the performance of De Staat, conducted by David Atherton, that follows it. Composed in the 1970s as "a contribution to the discussion about the place of music in politics", De Staat remains one of Andriessen's supreme achievements, an epic rechannelling of Stravinskyan rhythmic energy into his own raw-edged minimalism. That, much more than the newer work, is the reason for buying this disc.


Andrew Clements

The GuardianTramp

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