Published in: Maya Trochimczyck (ed.) - The Music of Louis Andriessen, Routledge Publishing, New York 2002.

Louis Andriessen and his Habitat

1. The Family and the Country

When asked how he became a composer, Louis Andriessen will usually answer: "I merely joined my father's business."1) Indeed, with the Andriessens, music is a veritable family trade. This trade, or trait, goes back to Louis's great-grandfather, Cornelis Andriessen (1816-1893), who was a choir conductor and music teacher in Hilversum. Three of his sons pursued a musical career, notably Nicolaas Hendrik Andriessen (1845-1913), Louis's grandfather, who in 1871 became the organist of the Sint-Jozefkerk in Haarlem and also worked as a choir conductor, teacher, and composer. After the early death of his first wife, Geertruida Koot (1847-1884), Nico Andriessen married Gesina Vester (1857-1939). She was a painter and through her the Andriessen genome became enriched with visual artistry as well.

The Andriessens came of good Roman-Catholic stock: Gesina Andriessen bore nine children, of whom six reached adulthood and three became nationally renowned and recognized artists. The eldest son, Willem (1887-1964), became a well-known pianist. The youngest, Mari (1897-1979), earned fame as a sculptor. He was the maker of the statue De Dokwerker, a memorial of the strike of 25 February 1941 when thousands of people stopped working to protest the German attacks on Amsterdam Jews. It was the second son, Hendrik Franciscus, who not only was to become one of the most esteemed Dutch composers of his time, but also the father of an even more successful one.

Hendrik Andriessen was born on 17 September 1892 in Haarlem, a quiet city about 20 kilometres west of Amsterdam.2) He started professional life as a journalist, but after the death of his father in 1913 he took over his father's job as an organist. In 1919 he married Tine Anschütz, who, coming from a Lutheran family, had to convert to the Roman-Catholic faith. Over the years Hendrik Andriessen worked as music critic, teacher, conductor, and organist. He had a remarkable talent for improvisation and was a prolific composer. In 1937 he was appointed director of the Utrecht Conservatory. He was a teacher at the Amsterdam Conservatory and his brother Willem was the director there. As a result, the Andriessen family moved to Utrecht, where Louis was born on June 6, 1939. Hendrik Andriessen was a great admirer of César Franck and an outspoken francophile. He disliked Brahms and Wagner. His compositions bear witness to these predilections: they are well-structured and rich in invention, and clarity and colourfulness prevail. Although he was no modernist, Hendrik Andriessen experimented with bitonality, and some of his later compositions (the Fourth Symphony of 1954 and the string quartet Il Pensiero of 1961) are based on twelve-tone-rows, which he used purely melodically. Spurred on by his faith, he wrote a great deal of religious music and organ works, but also songs, chamber music and several orchestral works. His Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Johann Kuhnau (1935) for string orchestra is still frequently played.3) From 1949 to 1957, Andriessen was director of the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, and from 1952 to 1963, he was a professor at Nijmegen University. He died on 12 April 1981. Hendrik Andriessen was not a revolutionary or even a modern composer like his contemporaries Stravinsky and Schoenberg. In fact, Dutch musical life was a kind of backwater, only slightly perturbed by the stormy weather abroad, and would remain so until well in the '60s.

The most innovative Dutch composer of the interwar period was undoubtedly Willem Pijper (1894-1947).4) He also was pro-French and anti-German (a natural reaction, as his predecessors had heavily been influenced by Mendelssohn, Brahms and Mahler). Pijper introduced polytonality and polymetrics in his music, worked with octotonic scales and introduced a method of composition which he called "germ-cell technique." He wrote several striking works, which sometimes are marred by his excessive predilection for Spanish-flavoured rhythms. Later in his life, he adopted a more austere style. Because Pijper had many students, his influence was felt for many years after his early death.

The Netherlands had one really visionary "modern" composer, though, in the person of Matthijs Vermeulen (1888-1967), a figure whose position is comparable to that of Charles Ives, because his true stature was recognized only in the last stages of his career. In 1920, Vermeulen left the Netherlands for France, where he – wrongly – expected to find more opportunities to get his music performed. At the end, his self-chosen exile lasted for twenty-five years; only after his return to the Netherlands, when the war was over, did he gain a certain recognition. The bulk of his work consists of seven impressive but unwieldy symphonies that are characterized by non-tonal, interwoven polymelodic textures that even today are unpalatable to some listeners. Notwithstanding the mixed reception of his work, Vermeulen was a much admired figure in Dutch musical life, especially because of his passionate, high-minded reviews and essays on music.

The end of the Second World War formed a kind of watershed in Dutch musical life. Although the country had been systematically robbed during the German occupation, in the long term the arts benefited from it, because the Germans had laid the foundation for a system of governmental subsidies. During the years after the war, with prosperity increasing, nine of the eleven Dutch provinces built up or established their own professional orchestras. The Dutch broadcasting organisations formed their own orchestras as well. Obviously, there were also the respectable, more or less "national" orchestras: the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, the Residentie Orkest (Hague Philharmonic) in The Hague, and the Rotterdam Philharmonic. The postwar years saw the emergence of several organisations that would be of vital significance for Dutch contemporary music, and especially for composers. In 1945, the Donemus Foundation was established, a combination of a (subsidized) publishing house and a marketing organization for Dutch music.5) In the same year, Walter Maas, a German Jew who throughout the war had been living in hiding in the Netherlands, founded the Gaudeamus Foundation that developed into an international meeting point for composers. Finally in 1948, the first Holland Festival was organized. For many years to come it would be practically the only institution that kept up with recent musical developments.

2. Andriessen's Musical Education

This was the cultural landscape that the young Louis Andriessen found himself in at the end of the 1950s: A country that in a way had missed out on modernity, but that boasted a solid infrastructure suitable not only for the dissemination of symphonic, but also for contemporary music – two categories that initially had a good deal of overlap. Soon, however, times would change.

Louis was the youngest of six children, four of whom chose music as their profession (his sisters Heleen and Caecilia became musicians, and his brother Jurriaan became a composer). His first teacher was, naturally, his father. "To this day," Louis Andriessen said once, "whenever I'm composing I still feel as if this very strict and critical father is looking over my shoulder."6) Hendrik instilled him with a predilection for French music and an antipathy for high-blown Romanticism. Even more important, however, was the influence of his brother Jurriaan (1925-1996), who was Louis's senior by 14 years, and an up-and-coming composer. In 1949, Jurriaan went to the United States and returned with a collection of big band music (Stan Kenton among others) the impact of which can still be heard in Louis's music today. Louis was a precocious talent, as was demonstrated in 1999 during the premiere of his String Quartet,7) a youthful work from early 1957. For a 17-year old composer, it is a remarkably self-assured and deftly written composition, even though it owes a lot to Bartók and Stravinsky (note that the Quartet is the first evidence of Andriessen's life-long fascination with the latter composer). From the same year stems Andriessen's first published composition, a Sonata for flute and piano; this work stylistically follows the tradition of 20th-century French music.

At the time, Andriessen was a first-year student at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, where he studied composition with his father's successor, Kees van Baaren. Van Baaren (1906-1970) was one of the earliest Dutch composers who used – and taught – twelve-tone techniques (although he employed them rather freely). His open-minded approach was a crucial influence on Louis and his co-students.8) It is significant in this context that Andriessen's second published work – scored for two pianos – is appropriately called Séries.9) Written in 1958, it is one of the earliest wholly serially organized works by a Dutch composer. The very first Dutch twelve-tone composition, however, may have been the orchestral piece Due Canzoni composed by Otto Ketting a year earlier.10) But twelve-tone serialism was much in the air at that time: not only members of Andriessen's generation, but even older composers like Ton de Leeuw (1926-1996) went through a serial phase.11)

Nonetheless, there was change in the air: For the first time developments abroad were closely followed in the Netherlands. Henk Badings (1907-1987), a prolific composer who didn't eschew experiments, was the pioneer of Dutch electronic music. He was also involved in the development of the electronic studio at Philips in Eindhoven, where Edgard Varèse produced his famous Poème électronique for the World Exhibition of 1958 (Brussels). This studio would be the origin of the well-known Utrecht Institute of Sonology, housed since 1986 at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. Though The Netherlands became an important centre for electronic music and, with Jan Boerman (b. 1923), even brought forth one of the greatest composers in this field,12) electronic composition still occupies a marginal position in Dutch musical life. It is also marginal in the life of Louis Andriessen who realized only two compositions for tape, In Memoriam (1971) and Il Duce (1973). After graduating from the Royal Conservatory in 1961, Andriessen continued his studies with Luciano Berio, first in Milan (1962-63), later in Berlin (1964-65). Berio taught him the importance of "good bass notes"; prominent bass lines are still a striking feature of Andriessen's music.

3. Musical Revolutions

For Andriessen, the 1960s were formative years. Having come to terms with serialism, he and his co-students discovered fresh musical ideas in the music of such wildly divergent composers as Charles Ives, Erik Satie and Guillaume de Machaut. Andriessen dabbled in collage music, graphic notation, live electronics, improvisation and so on, thereby proving his capacity for musical mimicry that he retained through his career, but not yet showing a real identity. In hindsight, however, several works offer interesting glimpses of an Andriessen-to-come, especially Contra Tempus (1968) which opens with four pianos, producing a mishmash of Hoketus-like blows, and also contains the isolated trumpet interjections that appear in De Materie, part 1.13)

The most noticeable young composer of the '60s was Andriessen's co-student from The Hague, Peter Schat (b.1935). Schat shared Andriessen's early fascination with twelve-tone composition but later shed the shell of serialism and – like Andriessen – engaged in experiments of all kinds. However, his grip was more secure and his experimentation resulted in a number of striking works, such as the multi-media-performance Labyrint (a kind of opera) (1966) or To You (1972), a noisy manifesto for soprano, guitars, keyboards and six giant hummingtops.14) Later, Schat set out on a quest with the aim of providing Schoenberg's dodecaphonic principles with a harmonic foundation. After the formulation of his Tone Clock theory in the 1980s,15) his music took on traits that most people would perceive as neo-Romantic.

In the 1960s, Schat and Andriessen were revolutionaries, as were their colleagues and former co-students Reinbert de Leeuw (b.1938), Misha Mengelberg (b.1935), and Jan van Vlijmen (b.1935), each of them brilliant in their own right. This group became known as "The Five" because of their joint composition, Reconstructie, a political opera that was produced by the Holland Festival in 1969. The subject of this opera was the struggle of two main characters: the Commendatore and Don Giovanni (or, as they were referred to, Che Guevara and the "imperialist.") With five so vastly different composers, it was no wonder that Reconstructie turned out, as Leo Samama put it, a "hotchpotch which was at the time very exciting and got on everybody's nerves, be it positively or negatively."16)

The Five had attracted attention earlier: In 1966 they organized a public protest against the artistic direction taken by the Concertgebouw Orchestra. At stake was the alleged conservatism of the programs (which, as far as new music was concerned, was indeed dominated by the older generation, the Pijper-pupils). The protesters hoped to have Bruno Maderna,17) champion of new and old music, appointed as second conductor, next to Bernard Haitink.18) It didn't work out. The Five, however, did not stand alone; they were the spokesmen for a larger group that called themselves the "Notenkrakers" ("Nutcrackers", a play on the Dutch word "noot" which means "nut" as well as "musical note"). By the end of 1969, things came to a standstill when the Notenkrakers, still fighting for a more progressive artistic course, disturbed a concert in the Concertgebouw, which led to a minor riot. To the great disappointment of the Nutcrackers, the old Matthijs Vermeulen, whom they held in great esteem for his critical views, condemned their actions. By that time the 1960s already belonged to the past and a lot of illusions had gone with them. Nonetheless, in the 1970s the hoped-for revolution took the form of a gradual evolution which resulted in considerable changes in the Dutch musical landscape. Its main feature was the emergence of the "ensemble culture", as it is called today.19)

Louis Andriessen was a key figure in that development, though certainly not the only one. During the 1960s and 1970s, numerous composers and musicians were involved in all kinds of "alternative" concerts. These adventurous music-makers included the Nederlands Blazers Ensemble, formed in 1959 by the musicians of the Concertgebouw itself, who loved equally Mozart and modernist composers, such as Stravinsky and Schat. In 1966 the Amsterdams Studenten Kamer Orkest was founded by Peter de Buck and composer Jan Vriend (b. 1938). This orchestra, consisting of amateurs and music students, soon focused exclusively on contemporary music, with works by modernist composers Edgard Varèse and Iannis Xenakis highlighting the direction of the programming. During the seventies the student group gradually evolved into the fully professional Asko Ensemble.

After his hilarious The Nine Symphonies of Beethoven (for Orchestra and Ice-Cream Vendor's Bell) of 1970, Andriessen vowed to never again write music for the symphony orchestra (a vow which he has more or less kept). Instead, he formed a group of musicians for whom he wrote a minimalist piece in the vein of Terry Riley's In C, called De Volharding [Perseverance].20) The group decided to stay together under that name, and to perform as a political orchestra meant to cross – or even erase – the borders between musicians and composers, between improvised and composed music, and between high and low culture. Although these lofty ideals had to give way to the principle of high-standard performances over the years, De Volharding Orchestra still flourishes with its characteristic stubborn sound. During the first years of the group's existence Andriessen served as its pianist and he composed several pieces for them. Later on in 1975-77, another composition – the by now well-known Hoketus – led to the establishment of the group of the same name. This group explored its rough-hewn, amplified sound and minimalist aesthetics until it disbanded in 1986. For his Symphony for Open Strings (1978) Andriessen again organized a new orchestra; this one, however, did not survive and the experiment had no further consequences. Its lack of longevity perhaps had to do with the practical limitations of writing for open strings.

Meanwhile, Andriessen had found his own voice,21) partly through his temporary adoption of minimalist techniques, partly through his exploration of unison playing. This device he gleaned from his younger colleague Diderik Wagenaar (b.1946), who ended his Kaleidofonen I for alto saxophone of 1969 with a section where piano and sax play in unison.22) As Gene Carl later wrote: "Gilius van Bergeijk tells the story that Andriessen was sitting in the first row at the première, and, when it ended said: 'Monophonic, great! I'm going to do that, too!'"23) This idea pervades the music he composed in the early '70s (of course, the concept of "unanimity" served as a political metaphor for the anarchist-Marxist-oriented composer).

Andriessen's first unison piece is the rather simplistic Volkslied (1971) in which the "Wilhelmus", the Dutch national anthem, through exchanging of notes, gradually makes way for the socialist hymn "The International". More subtle are the wavering unisons in Melodie (1972-74) for recorder and piano. Obviously, De Staat [The Republic], a work that provided Andriessen with an international breakthrough in 1976, is the apogee in his exploitation of unison playing.24) Elmer Schönberger wrote in 1993: "If there is one post-war composition that has changed Dutch music thoroughly, it is The Republic [...] Now, there is a split between those who were witness to it, and those who were not."25)

4. The Hague School and the Five

Two years later, in 1978, Andriessen was appointed as teacher at the Royal Conservatory, where, by that time, several composers had gathered; the group became known as The Hague School. As composer Gene Carl, one of the first to mention the term in writing, put it in 1987: "The Hague School may be characterized as writing loud, aggressive, rhythmically energetic music devoid of all neo-Romantic sentiment, and often manipulated electronically."26) He names, among others, Andriessen, Wagenaar, Huib Emmer (b.1951), Cornelis de Bondt (b.1953), and Gilius van Bergeijk (b.1945) as The Hague School's typical representatives. The latter one belongs to the small group of Holland "conceptual" composers. His ideas are often based on technical manipulation that he very steadfastly takes to its extremes. For example, his composition BAC (1968-1970) is an arrangement for a barrel organ of Bach's Double Concerto for violin and oboe, with the last beat of each bar removed (as is Bach's name in the title) and finally put together to form a fourth movement. It may seem a gimmick, but in general Van Bergeijks techniques poetically justify themselves, as can be heard in the second movement of his On Death and Time (1980), a subtle and gradual deformation of Schubert's lied Der Tod und das Mädchen. Van Bergeijk had a distinct influence on Andriessen's approach of integrating ideas and formal design. The systematic note-exchange in Andriessen's Volkslied is a case in point.

The other members of the group of The Five did not spend their days in idleness, either. Reinbert de Leeuw and Jan van Vlijmen again attempted a collective composition, the opera Axel that was produced in 1977. Nonetheless, their effort to simultaneously combine Wagner and Satie, as well as transcend their music, failed and the opera ended up on the shelves of Donemus. After that, De Leeuw virtually stopped composing and concentrated on his activities as a performing musician, especially as the conductor of the Schönberg Ensemble. This group had been founded in 1974 by the viola player Henk Guittart who was at the time a student at the Royal Conservatory at The Hague. The group's primary objective was the performance and promotion of the music of the Second Viennese School (Schoenberg, Berg, Webern), but it played contemporary music as well. Since the 1980s Schönberg Ensemble has been cooperating closely with the Asko Ensemble, and this combination has been involved in most performances of Andriessen's major works.

Reinbert de Leeuw was also active in several functions, such as chair of the Netherlands' Composers Association, Geneco (short for Genootschap voor Nederlandse Componisten). One of the achievements that was at least partly due to his efforts was the establishment of the Fonds voor de Scheppende Toonkunst (Fund for the Creation of Music), a semi-governmental organisation that since its initiation in 1982 has been responsible for the administration of the financial resources earmarked for composers.

Jan van Vlijmen served in several important positions. In 1970 he succeeded his former teacher Kees van Baaren as director of the Royal Conservatory. From 1984 to 1987, he was the manager of the Netherlandse Opera that in 1986 received its own venue in the Amsterdam Muziektheater – the first opera house The Netherlands has ever had. In later years, van Vlijmen directed the Holland Festival (until 1997). In the meantime, he managed to compose a considerable amount of fine music that is in many ways indebted to serial thinking.

Misha Mengelberg, pianist and chess player, the least academic musician of them all, accomplished for improvised music what Reinbert de Leeuw did for composed music. In the 1960s, thanks to him and other innovative musicians, such as Willem Breuker (b. 1944) and Han Bennink (b. 1942), The Netherlands developed its own, peculiar kind of avant-garde jazz that, for lack of a better term, is now called "improvised music." Actually, there is a fair amount of composing involved in this kind of music, and several musicians/composers such as Theo Loevendie (b. 1930), Maarten Altena (b. 1943), and Guus Janssen (b. 1951) are, or have been working in both fields.

In 1971, the improvisers set up the BIM, short for Bond van Improviserende Musici (Union of Improvising Musicians) with Mengelberg as its first chair. Another organisation, the SJIN (Stichting Jazz in Nederland), was responsible for the distribution of government funds; this institution was comparable to the Fund for the Creation of Music established later. In 1973, Breuker, Mengelberg and other musicians rented an old warehouse on the Oude Schans in Amsterdam and christened it the BIMhuis ("Bim-house"). Up to this day it is the Netherlands's most important stage for all kinds of improvised music.27) The BIMhuis was an example for all those musicians who were active in the field of twentieth-century music. In 1980, horn player Jan Wolff (a former member of the Concertgebouw Orchestra as well as De Volharding), established a Centre for New Music on the Weesperzijde. The building was on the bank of the river Amstel, on the very spot where in former centuries the city's icebreaker had been moored; therefore it was appropriately called De IJsbreker.28) Within a few years this term was a household word, a synonym for modern music; the place itself was a stage for all those as yet unmentioned groups who had been formed during the 1970s, and whose number only would increase in the years to come.

Within a span of about a dozen years, the contemporary music scene has become an integral part of Dutch musical life (as have the early music movement and the phenomenon now called "world music"). Obviously, this was only possible because the governmental administration (national or local) was willing to pay for it. Without that support, all these organisations, from Donemus through the Fund for the Creation of Music, to De IJsbreker, could not have been possible. Up to the 1980s, most of the Dutch orchestras had steered along, following their old course. The one exception was the Residentie Orchestra of The Hague that developed an adventurous style of programming in the 1970s. The Orchestra's concerts featured all kinds of 20th-century music as well as pioneering work in the field of Dutch early music. The Concertgebouw Orchestra (which was not such a paragon of conservatism as the Nutcrackers would have it) remained faithful to the old repertoire with the occasional performance of a contemporary composition. Actually, the most conservative orchestras were located in the provinces – these groups were under the greatest pressure to pander to the taste of their public. In contrast, the radio orchestras with programs determined by the various broadcasting organisations were much more adventurous.

In the 1980s, a shift came about. This transformation was partly related to the emergence of the early music movement. In 1981, recorder player Frans Brüggen (the dedicatee of Andriessen's Melodie) set up the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century that soon presented stunning performances of Viennese classics. This was a straight blow to the face of the traditional orchestras that saw a part of their territory taken from them. At the same time, the political pressure and the lobbying of the previous years began to bear fruit. Dutch politicians began to realize there was an imbalance between the publicly-supported sectors of the symphony orchestras and of the ensemble (or chamber) music. This new awareness resulted in a reorganization in the mid-1980s: some orchestras were dissolved and others had to merge. The money freed by these changes went to the several initiatives mentioned above (it certainly was not Big Money – the total investment in the arts being less than 0.4 percent of the national budget – but it helped),29) and musical culture blossomed. Many Dutch cities built new concert halls, the first and foremost being the Utrecht Muziekcentrum Vredenburg, which opened its doors in 1979. The notion that an original way of programming was likely to yield more subsidies led to a proliferation of mini-festivals beside which the once-so-unique Holland Festival seemed to pale. And the "ensemble culture" continued budding and thriving.

By this time, the Five clearly had gained importance and became members of the new establishment. Even Schat, the most independent of them, has not lacked opportunities for getting his music performed. For Andriessen, De Staat [The Republic, 1976], was the beginning of a series of monumental works such as Mausoleum (1979), De Tijd [Time, 1981], and De Snelheid [Velocity, 1983], culminating in his large four-part music theater piece De Materie [Matter] which was staged by Robert Wilson in 1989 in the Amsterdam Muziektheater.30) Although written with an eye set toward theatrical performance, De Materie is actually conceived as "absolute" music – a kind of four-part symphony – as such it constitutes the summit of Andriessen's output. Clearly, though, he is very prolific and his list of works includes, besides the major pieces mentioned above, numerous smaller compositions of all kinds: from simple ditties, through theatre music, film scores, to choral, chamber and "ensemble" music, often exploring new grounds, as in the unexpected micro-tonality in the quartertone bassoon duet Lacrimosa (1991). In the same year Andriessen collaborated for the first time with the British film director Peter Greenaway (b.1942), providing music for the video M is for Man, Music, Mozart (performed by De Volharding). Greenaway and Andriessen joined forces again in the highly successful operas Rosa (1994) and Writing to Vermeer (1999); both premieres took place at the Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam under the musical leadership of Reinbert de Leeuw; the musicians came from both the Schönberg and Asko Ensembles.

Ever since the 1960s, Dutch composers have been very open-minded; this attitude has resulted in a widely varied palette of styles and idioms. If there is any general trend traceable, it is – similarly to other countries – a shift toward greater comprehensibility. In this area, important Dutch figures are Ton de Leeuw (1926-1996), who, influenced by Eastern philosophy, developed an original modal way of writing, and Tristan Keuris (1946-1996), who, never at ease with the serial doctrine, evolved towards an "expanded" tonality, culminating in the Symphony in D that he wrote in 1995 (its title already was a manifesto). Of the younger generation, the only composer who from an early age has been as remarkable a personality as Andriessen and his fellow-travellers is Guus Janssen. In his compositions as well as his improvisations, his fresh and uninhibited approach to musical conventions results in music that can be lucid, hilarious and disturbing at the same time. These qualities came especially to the fore in his two operas on libretto's by Friso Haverkamp, Noach (1994) and Hier° (2000).31) There are a lot of composers in the Netherlands. In 1996, the Donemus catalogue contained 541 names, almost thrice as much as 25 years before (and one has to pass a ballot to be admitted).32) This growth is partly due to the influx of composers from other countries. With facilities such as Donemus and Gaudeamus, with its ensembles and conservatories, The Netherlands has become an attractive country for composers. Over the years dozens of foreign composers, many of whom came initially as students, have become part of Dutch musical life. Among them are many Americans (Gene Carl, Ron Ford, David Dramm, Jeff Hamburg and Vanessa Lann), but also the by now internationally known Klas Torstensson from Sweden, Calliope Tsoupaki from Greece, and Hanna Kulenty from Poland. A majority of them would not have come to Holland at all if it had not been for Louis Andriessen. It is a strange notion that The Netherlands, traditionally a country with little self-esteem as far as music is concerned, has brought forth a composer of international significance and influence. In fact, this has not happened since the days of Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621). It may of interest, therefore, to close this article by observing that Andriessen created a homage to his predecessor in the Dutch-themed opera Writing to Vermeer (1997-8) by quoting a number of melodies for which Sweelinck had composed keyboard variations.


1. This quotation comes from an unpublished interview I conducted with Louis Andriessen in Amsterdam on October 16, 1992.
2. Anton de Jager, Paul Op de Coul, and Leo Samama, eds., Duizend kleuren van muziek: leven en werk van Hendrik Andriessen (Zutphen: Walburg Pers, 1992).
3. This work was released (with several other compositions by Hendrik Andriessen) on NM Classics 92023.
4. This and the following biographical accounts are based on entries in The Essential Guide to Dutch Music: 100 Composers and Their Work, Jolande van der Klis, ed. (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press/Muziekgroep Nederland, 2000).
5. Johan Kolsteeg, Eén groot oeuvre: Donemus: vijftig jaar tussen componisten en publiek (Amsterdam, Donemus, 1997).
6. Unpublished interview with Andriessen, op. cit., October 16, 1992.
7. The String Quartet was performed on June 2, 1999 by the Camilli Quartett, in the Walloon Church, Amsterdam; the concert was a live broadcast on the Dutch Radio celebrating Andriessen's sixtieth birthday (that took place four days later).
8. See Ernst Vermeulen, "Kees van Baaren's Antischool," Key Notes 26, no. 1 (1992): 14-17.
9. This work for two pianos was released in 1999 on NM Classics 92074.
10. According to Louis Andriessen's comment, Ketting's work was preceded by Ton de Leeuw's String Quartet no. 1, also of 1958. Otto Ketting (b. 3 September 1935, Amsterdam) is a composer and conductor; he studied with K. A. Hartmann in Munich. Ketting composed several operas, three symphonies, chamber, and electronic music.
11. Ton (Antonius) de Leeuw (1926-66) studied with Henk Badings, Oliver Messiaen, and Hartmann. He also studied ethnomusicology with Jaap Kunst. From 1959 until his death, he directed composition classes in the conservatories in Amsterdam and Utrecht; he also lectured at the University of Amsterdam and directed the Amsterdam Conservatory beginning in 1972.
12. Boerman's complete tape music was released as 5 CDs on CV-NEAR 04-08.
13. An interesting collection of early Andriessen (Nocturnen, 1959; Ittrospezzione III, 1965; Anachronie I, 1967; Contra Tempus, 1968 and Anachronie II, 1969) has been released on Donemus Composer's Voice CV 54.
14. A hummingtop [in Dutch: bromtol] is a children's toy, a top that rapidly spins around when its corkscrew-like axis/handle is pushed, and thereby emits a buzzing, humming sound. Schat's hummingtops were speŽtacularly big, almost a man's height, and they made a very low sound.
15. Peter Schat, "The Tone Clock, or, The Zodiac of the Twelve Tonalities," Key Notes 17 (1983): 7-14; for a recent English version see the reprint in a collection of essays, Peter Schat, The Tone Clock, trans. Jenny McLeod, Contemporary Music Studies no. 7 (Chur, Switzerland: Harwood, 1993).
16. Leo Samama, Zeventig jaar Nederlandse muziek 1915-1985 (Amsterdam: Querido, 1986),228.
17. Bruno Maderna (1920-73), ltalian conductor and composer; student of Malipiero (composition) and Herman Scherchen (conducting). Maderna was associated with the Darmstadt new music courses and the international modernist avant-garde; from 1967 he was a professor at the University of Rotterdam; from 1972 he conducted the RAl symphony orchestra in Milan.
18. Bernard Haitink (b. 1929 in Amsterdam) debuted as a conductor with the Concertgebouw Orchestra and served as its director from 1961 to 1988; he also conducted the London Philharmonic Orchestra (1967-79), and the Covent Garden orchestra (since 1987). Haitink specializes in performances of Mahler, Bruckner, and Beethoven.
19. See P. Janssen and J. Bons, eds., Ssst! Nieuwe Ensembles voor Nieuwe Muziek (Amsterdam: Uitgeverij International Theatre & Film Books, 1996); E. Voermans, "A Yacht, a Barge and Loads of Surtboards" (on Dutch ensemble culture), Key Notes 29 no. 4 (1995): 7-9.
20. See Kevin Whitehead, "Once You Start, You Keep Playing Till the End: De Volharding at 25," Key Notes 31 no. 3 (1997): 4-7; and Rudy Koopmans, 10 jaar Volharding. (Amsterdam: Van Gennep, 1982). A recording of Andriessen's composition De Volharding was issued by Emergo Classics EC 3940-2.
21. While reading through a draft of this text, the composer comrnented, "Own voice? Never searched for it."
22. The composer claimed yet another source for this technique, borrowed also "from Bach, who had it from Vivaldi."
23. Gene Carl, "A Sense of Escalation: Diderik Wagenaar's Discrete Evolution," Key Notes no. 24 (1987): 14-22; cited from p. 15.
24. Released on Elektra Nonesuch 7559 792512.
25. Elmer Schönberger in Frits van der Waa, ed., De Slag van Andriessen (Amsterdam: De Bezige Bij, cited from p. 210).
26. Gene Carl, op. cit.
27. Kevin Whitehead offers an excellent survey of this subject in New Dutch Swing: Jazz + Classical Music + Absurdism (New York: Billboard Books, 1998).
28. Sytze Smit, "De IJsbreker," Key Notes 26 no. 3 (1992): 8-13; G. Mak, Een bres in de stad: de geschiedenis van de IJsbreker (Amsterdam: De IJsbreker/Trouw, 1987).
29. Jan Blokker, "Wij zullen dan maar hopen dat we er met een kleiner bedrag afkom,en:" Het Holland Festival en de Hollandse samenleving (The Hague: Staatsuitgeverij, 1987).
30. Mausoleum is recorded on Composers' Voice CV 20; De Tijd on Elektra Nonesuch 7559; De Materie on Elektra Nonesuch 79367-2; De Snelheid is as yet not available on CD. 31. Noach was released on Composers' Voice 42/43.
32. Johan Kolsteeg, Eén groot oeuvre: Donemus: vijftig jaar tussen componisten en publiek (Amsterdam: Donemus, 1997), 205.

See also my Louis Andriessen cartoon
© Frits van der Waa 2007