Violin Concerto - Hysteresis

Violin Concerto - Hysteresis

Janine Jansen / Kari Kriikku / Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

Label: Disquiet Media
Format: CD
Barcode: 0608917400526
Catalog number: DQM 05
Releasedate: 11-03-16
- Two recent pieces of Van der Aa are combined on this album: Violin concerto with RCO and Janine Jansen (recorded live at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam in November 2014, duration 26") and Hysteresis for solo clarinet, ensemble and soundtrack, performed by Amsterdam Sinfonietta and Kari Kriikku (recorded in session at Stadsgehoorzaal Leiden in September 2015 - duration 17').


Two recent pieces of Van der Aa are combined on this album: Violin concerto with RCO and Janine Jansen (recorded live at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam in November 2014, duration 26") and Hysteresis for solo clarinet, ensemble and soundtrack, performed by Amsterdam Sinfonietta and Kari Kriikku (recorded in session at Stadsgehoorzaal Leiden in September 2015 - duration 17').

The concerto is composed in the traditional three movements. Van der Aa describes the first as abstract, the second as more direct and melodic, and the third as very fast, performed at breakneck speed and close to the edge of possibility. Like Van der Aa’s other recent pieces – the opera Sunken Garden and the clarinet concerto Hysteresis – it also includes allusions to popular styles; in this case to jazz and bluegrass.

Violin concerto
Van der Aa has described the partnership of Jansen and the RCO as his “dream team”. It combines an orchestra with whom he now has a long-standing and intimate relationship, and a soloist with a magnetic stage presence and a heart-on-sleeve style of playing, ideally suited to Van der Aa’s direct and physically expressive music. As “house composer” for the RCO since 2011, he was able to work unusually closely with the players, checking details throughout the period of composition. He has also been free to write the works he chooses. In this case, it was Jansen’s personality that served as inspiration, and the composer claims that “If Janine had played the flute, I would have written a flute concerto.”
The piece has its roots in the classical concerto, but he couldn’t resist giving it a distinctly theatrical quality. “As an opera director, I love the theatrical possibilities of having someone who is the embodiment of the work.” The theatre begins in Jansen’s presence and personality, but extends across the whole stage. The lead violinist and cellist are drawn in as secondary soloists, and with Jansen often form a trio of their own.

Hysteresis refers to the way in which a system depends both on its current environment, and its past. That is, the idea that non-living things can have a sort of ‘memory’ of previous states, which they carry into their present. It was originally used in material science – to describe, for example, how certain metals become magnetized when brought into contact with a magnetic field, and stay magnetized after that field has been removed. In his clarinet concerto Michel van der Aa extends this idea into more speculative realms: can musical material (note sequences, rhythms, chords) retain some ‘memory’ of itself even after it has been worked with? Is it identifiably the same stuff, does it behave similarly, even when the magnet has been taken away? Of course, questions like these have been an underlying consideration for composers for centuries, but in his clarinet concerto Van der Aa brings them to the fore.
With an enviable international reputation, violinist Janine Jansen works regularly with the world’s most eminent orchestras including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker and the New York Philharmonic. She was the Featured Artist at the 2014 BBC Proms, culminating in an appearance at the internationally-renowned Last Night of the Proms. 
Following acclaimed performances in recent years, this season Janine returns to the San Francisco Symphony (Michael Tilson Thomas), Orchestre de Paris (Paavo Järvi) and Royal Stockholm (Sakari Oramo) and Rotterdam (Valery Gergiev) Philharmonic orchestras. Appearances with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra include concerts with Andres Orozco-Estrada and the world premiere of Michel van der Aa’s Violin Concerto conducted by Vladimir Jurowski; she also performs the work with Andrew Litton and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra.
Janine undertakes a number of European tours this season, including concerts with the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and Sir Antonio Pappano and the London Symphony Orchestra and Daniel Harding. She takes her famous interpretation of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons on tour with the Amsterdam Sinfonietta and directs the Chamber Orchestra of Europe in concerts in Germany, France and the Netherlands. A devoted chamber musician, she undertakes two recital tours with pianist Itamar Golan, in the Netherlands and the USA. Janine established and curates the annual International Chamber Music Festival in Utrecht, which takes place in June each year. Particularly renowned for her success in the digital music charts, Janine records exclusively for Decca Classics. Future releases include Bartók’s Violin Concerto No.1 with the LSO and Brahms’ Violin Concerto with Santa Cecilia, both conducted by Pappano. Past recordings include an album of concertos and sonatas by Bach, Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No.2 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Jurowski, the Beethoven and Britten Concertos with Paavo Järvi, Mendelssohn and Bruch with Riccardo Chailly, and Tchaikovsky with Daniel Harding. Janine has also released a number of chamber music discs, including Schubert’s String Quintet and Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht. Janine Jansen has won numerous prizes, including four Edison Klassiek Awards, three ECHO Klassik awards, the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, NDR Musikpreis for outstanding artistic achievement and, most recently, the Concertgebouw Prize. She has been given the VSCD Klassieke Muziekprijs for individual achievement and the Royal Philharmonic Society Instrumentalist Award for performances in the UK. Janine studied with Coosje Wijzenbeek, Philipp Hirschhorn and Boris Belkin.
Janine currently plays the very fine 1727 ‘Baron Deurbroucq’ Stradivarius kindly loaned to her through ‘The Beare’s International Violin Society’.

Michel van der Aa

Through the great history of Western musical history, the violin concerto follows a track that runs parallel to the evolutionary highway. It moves in the same direction and broadly follows the transitions from baroque to Viennese classical and from early to late romanticism, as well as surrendering to twelve-tone music and neo-classicism to follow markets and styles in the 20th century. 

It keeps up, yet it stands one step behind. The history of the form contains no major turning or tipping point, such as Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony,Wagner’sTristan und Isolde or Schoenberg’s Klavierstücke Op. 11. 'Modernism’, in the broadest most general meaning of the word, almost completely bypasses the medium. There are such rarities as Stravinsky’sViolin Concerto, taking take their hinterland and medium as subject matter on a conceptualist basis.There are only a very few anti-concertos that intentionally shun virtuosity, with the possible exceptions of Feldman’s Violin and Orchestra or Rihm’s Gesungene Zeit, though even the latter stays within the confines of the genre, with its philosophically ecstatic calm.

If one disregards the idiom, rhetorical development has been virtually non-existent since Berg. The violin concerto remains a lyrical-romantic enclave for the virtuoso, even today; the concertos by Dutilleux (l’arbre des songes) and Thomas Adès sit broadly in harmony with the post-romantic tradition. But this is not really the playground where Michel van der Aa likes to play. It is not in his nature to jump on board the repertoire rollercoaster and fraternise unthinkingly with received genres. To imagine him writing a string quartet or piano sonata would not rate too highly on the scale of probabilities. The virtuoso and concertante elements are closer to his liking, but definitely not in the spirit of the usual musicianly ping-pong match between soloist and orchestra.

Van der Aa has a fascination for issues of identity, and shifts the concept of dialogue to the internalised conversation of players and personalities with themselves and their material, a self-contained monologue that only becomes critical at the point when they come into contact with other players and the outside world. That is the moment when things become interestingly dangerous for a theatrical composer of his ilk. Themes are the sound and the ‘ego’, figures in the mirror of the soul as seen by others, a stranger whom they may be keen to encounter but can only stratification of the vista. Using targeted intrusions to the physical sound world, with overtones and tonal attacks recorded on soundtracks Van der Aa confronts his audience with Escher-like distortions of perspective in the acoustic reality. The distinctions observe in a distorted version. Titles such as Here [to be found], Mask and Second Self reflect this approach; the intriguing, aesthetically fascinating electro-acoustic sound manipulations reflect the confusing between the real and the synthetic blur into an aural maze, precise but beyond comprehension, in which the ear, seduced by virtuosity, is left hunting for the other and the self.
Even in his earliest pieces, the ‘mechanism Fabrik , ICE,Tokyo Sinfonietta, Ensemble Modern, Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Chamber Players, SWR orchestra Baden-Baden & Freiburg, the ASKO|Schoenberg ensemble, Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Phiharmonia Orchestra London and the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra.

Van der Aa has won acclaim for his multimedia works for the stage and concert hall; not only the operas One, After Life and The Book of Disquiet, but also Up-Close, and Transit for piano and video. He has directed both the filmed and staged elements of all of these works. His operas have been staged in more than a dozen countries, with After Life, Sunken Garden and The Book of Disquiet being regularly revived. In 1999 Michel Van der Aa was the first Dutch composer to win the prestigious International Gaudeamus Prize. Subsequent awards include the Matthijs Vermeulen prize (2004), a Siemens Composers Grant (2005), the Charlotte Köhler Prize for his directing work and the interdisciplinary character of his oeuvre (2005), the Paul Hindemith Prize (2006), and the Kagel Prize (2013). Michel van der Aa has won the 2013 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition for his multimedia work Up- Close. In 2015 Michel van der Aa has been awarded the prestigious Johannes Vermeer Award, the Dutch state prize for the arts.

Michel van der Aa is published by Boosey & Hawkes, and his stage works are represented by Intermusica.