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Maxim Shalygin & Ludwig Ensemble

the composer

Maxim Shalygin

the symphony

Bruckner No. 8

het ensemble

Ludwig Ensemble

Sat. September 14, 20:15

Muziekgebouw, Amsterdam

the composer

Maxim Shalygin

Maxim is a Ukrainian-Dutch composer. In 2010, he moved to the Netherlands. He has written over 40 works in genres such as chamber music, vocal music, symphonic and electroacoustic music, and has also composed for theatre, ballet, and film. In recent years, he composed S I M I L A R for a specific number of identical instruments for top musicians who reproduce the most complex and refined colours of the score. His compositions combine a wide range of techniques with psychological insight and spirituality, unfolding the sounds of the instruments in all their sympathetic sonority. No academic formulas, no avant-garde radicalism, but rather a self-devised scale of playing techniques that never break the bond with sonority, thus maintaining a thoroughly tonal language. Maxim has a natural feel for typical Bruckner characteristics, such as building tension and sustaining a long line in a composition. Additionally, he chooses his focus and knows how to communicate it with his audience, making a relatively long work gain strength and attention. Similar experiences can be found in Todos los Fuegos el Fuego and Lacrimosa.

the new composition


Maxim on his new composition Bleeding: ‘I first encountered Bruckner’s music many years ago when I was a child in music school. At that time, this music left no impression on me, and in the future, I even avoided confronting it. But one summer, I started watching all of Bergman’s films, and when I got to Sarabande, I was struck by a moment where the protagonist listens to amazingly powerful music in his room. Immediately after watching it, I discovered it was the Scherzo from Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony. Since then, my relationship with Bruckner’s music has never been the same. Recently, I’ve found that this music, unlike any other from the nineteenth century, is close to the present. Particularly noteworthy is Bruckner’s use of time in his symphonies. That’s what fascinates me most about his music. At first glance, time seems stretched, but when you enter this flow of time, you feel as if you’re in a kind of weightlessness, floating without feeling your own weight. This is a rare feeling in music and one that I’ve tried to achieve in various ways throughout my life.’

‘In Bleeding, I decided to use only brass instruments because they hold a key position in Bruckner’s work. All the main themes are ‘spoken’ by brass instruments, and often the brass supports the melodic lines of the strings. The thunderous climaxes, of course, are incomplete without the destructive sound of brass. Therefore, I chose them as a symbol of Bruckner’s work, elevating them to the apotheosis of sound. Bleeding will be the next chapter in my life cycle S I M I L A R, which I started in 2017. Each new chapter in this cycle is written for a specific number of identical instruments. The homogeneous composition of the instruments allows my imagination to work to its fullest. It is necessary to create completely different sounds with similar instruments.’

be a reflection on the theme of time and space, using developments begun by Bruckner and attempting to elevate them to a new level. There are passages in Bruckner 8 that I’ve always wanted to stop and extend while listening to them. Places where Bruckner himself paid less attention but which contain great potential. For example, the finale coda material; unfortunately, Bruckner, after several bars of intense development, leaves the material and lets it collapse, as it were. I would like to start my symphony with this coda and let this material fully unfold, creating an enormous symphony of 60 minutes. I write each work as if it were my last. This piece presents a very complex creative challenge for me, requiring a special state of mind. I believe the artistic component of this work will be unique and unrepeatable.’

the ensemble

Ludwig Ensemble

Maxim was one of the first three composers approached by Bruckner Casco. When asked about her artistic interest in participating in Bruckner Casco, founder and former artistic director Peppie Wiersma of Ludwig replied that everything sounds very challenging, but then Ludwig would want to work with Maxim Shalygin. So it happened. LUDWIG’s programming is as thoughtful as it is adventurous. Peppie Wiersma effortlessly brings together composers from different periods, styles, and backgrounds. The musicians elevate the best music to the highest possible standard, free from the organizational and managerial norms and constraints of conventional ensembles and orchestras. Distinctive it certainly is: the musicians often interact directly with their audience, play from memory, experiment with different presentation forms, and collaborate with creators from other disciplines to challenge the way people experience a concert. Ludwig has frequently collaborated with soprano Barbara Hannigan and boasts several legendary performances with prominent soloists.


Symphony No. 8

Maxim Shalygin will begin his new composition with this coda from the Eighth Symphony. This coda-moment starts at 1:13:00. An iconic moment in music literature where all themes from the symphony are stacked upon each other.

Symphony No 8 (1887 versie), Eliahu Inbal Radio Sinfonieorchester Frankfurt.