American minimalists: the audience’s revenge

Last Saturday, deSingel’s stage in Antwerp was in the hands of BL!NDMAN, a collective group of strings, saxophones, percussion, keyboard, tubax and electronics with a programme based around three iconic American minimalists – Philip Glass, Terry Riley and Steve Reich. These three composers, all well into their eighties, have known each other since the lateContinue reading “American minimalists: the audience’s revenge”

Transit: new combinations but also modesty

Transit, the annual festival of contemporary classical music, was all about movement this year. Three different venues in Leuven offered an overview of new classical work, with highlights including a concerto for harpsichord and violin alongside new pieces by Daan Janssens and Annelies van Parys. Of the 14 pieces heard by this reviewer, 13 beganContinue reading “Transit: new combinations but also modesty”

Pain and consolation in eleven centuries

Festival 20.21 in Leuven packed out last Thursday with Near the Cross, a largely vocal programme dedicated to the pain in Mary’s life. The Prague vocal ensemble Capella Mariana, specialising in polyphony and early Baroque, formed a duo with the Belgian Goeyvaerts String Trio dedicated to 20th- and 21st-century repertoire. A combination that was notContinue reading “Pain and consolation in eleven centuries”

Music as ritual through the ages

The annual Festival 20.21 kicked off last Monday in Leuven (Belgium) with a tribute to the way Johann Sebastian Bach developed the musical idiom. In the opening concert BACHC®AB, his Musikalisches Opfer was the thread along which the interweaving of past and present was spun. The name of the concert is a play on wordsContinue reading “Music as ritual through the ages”

Jan Michiels plays sparkling timbres in concerto Annelies Van Parys

By Wynold Verweij Those who think that balancing exercises mainly belong in a gym are wrong since last Saturday. In Annelies Van Parys’ piano concerto, Jan Michiels (piano) and Martyn Brabbins (conductor) with the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra showed that a sophisticated tuning of timbre, nuance and tempo can lead to an intense listening experience. TheContinue reading “Jan Michiels plays sparkling timbres in concerto Annelies Van Parys”

Antwerp Symphony gives wings to Van Hove’s Symphony IV

Sometimes you can hear from the first bar whether the collaboration between conductor, orchestra and composer is right. This rarity occurred at the premiere of Luc Van Hove’s Symphony IV, where the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Elim Chan, showed how energy, pride and pleasure can result in a gripping musical story. On paper, theContinue reading “Antwerp Symphony gives wings to Van Hove’s Symphony IV”

Jan Michiels revives Marcel Proust musically

Marcel Proust’s iconic chronicle A la recherche du temps perdu has been given a contemporary interpretation in a beautifully crafted recital by pianist Jan Michiels, complemented by live electronics (Juan Parra) and video art (Lise Bruyneel). The concert, last Saturday in De Singel in Antwerp, was announced as a cathedral of piano music, partly toContinue reading “Jan Michiels revives Marcel Proust musically”

The infinite melody of the number Pi

Anyone looking for the squaring of the circle often ends up in poetry. Or in music, such as Squaring the Circle by Heleen Van Haegenborgh, which premiered last Saturday at Zindering, the festival around the sound of silence in Mechelen, Belgium. The performance was in the hands of the percussion ensemble GAME. The piece forContinue reading “The infinite melody of the number Pi”

The slow hands of Jan Michiels

Transit 2021 honours the piano as a spiritual medium Slowly, after the last stanza by Osvaldo Coluccino, Jan Michiels’ hands slide from the keys to the edge of the keyboard. They form fists that rest on his knees. It is finished, silence and repentance have been stretched to the limit. The recital has ended, nowContinue reading “The slow hands of Jan Michiels”

Feldman’s sparkling harmonies by Het Collectief

Last Sunday, a few dozen listeners gave themselves over to Morton Feldman’s trio For Philip Guston for over four hours. With an unlikely degree of concentration, the three musicians of Het Collectief were able to convey a sense of adventure and freshness as if every note were new. By Wynold Verweij One of the characteristicsContinue reading “Feldman’s sparkling harmonies by Het Collectief”