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Brucknercasco

Reza Namavar & Maxim Shalygin

the composer

Reza Namavar & No.3

the ensemble

New European Ensemble

the composer

Maxim Shalygin

the ensemble

Ludwig Ensemble

Saturday September 14, 20:15

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New piece by Reza: Bruckner and Reza both build an enormous piece with little thematic material; such a theme is unrecognizably distorted, stretched, and reversed in their music. Both believe that there can only be a big sound if there is also a very small sound, and play the highest instruments sometimes even higher and the lowest even lower to create extreme contrast. Listen to Reza’s Bach in Persia and hear what’s in store for you.

New piece ‘Bleeding’ by Maxim: Maxim had nothing to do with Bruckner until he heard the mighty elephant steps of his music in Ingmar Bergman’s film Sarabande. He is fascinated by the sense of weightlessness in Bruckner’s music and has thirteen brass players from the Ludwig Ensemble open organ-like with the closing speech from Bruckner’s 8th. Time and space no longer exist and Maxim’s music takes you to another galaxy. Listen to Maxim’s Severade and hear what’s in store for you.

the new composition

Reza on his new composition

‘Bruckner is the man of the grand sound. He was often criticized for his orchestral doublings (multiple instruments playing the same thing), but this can also be viewed differently: Isn’t a massive sound (tutti: everyone playing) the ultimate end of orchestral density? He achieves his grand sound through 1. doublings, 2. tutti, and 3. stretching the range, the ‘ambitus’. The latter means making the highest instruments play higher and the lowest instruments play lower. I want to compose four movements, like the third symphony, that deal with this grand sound versus a very small sound, because my idea is that you only notice grand sound if there is also small sound.’

‘The first movement I will compose is a dialogue between tutti and solo, the second movement is for various solos, the third movement is a soft tutti, and the final movement is a very sharp dynamic contrast between solo and tutti, which I will enhance by extending the range (higher highs, lower lows) and having the solo/tutti contrast sometimes change measure by measure. This way, the piece will give the impression of working towards something. It will be a piece where foreground and background sharply contrast and interchange more frequently. Also, what strikes me about the third symphony is the sparseness of material; that is, building a huge piece with minimal thematic material. This suits me because that’s how I was trained at the conservatory with Louis Andriessen.’

‘During the corona period, I reviewed all of Antonio Vivaldi’s concertos and realized that he is also a composer who achieves a lot with few means. Such composers are very suitable for me to reflect upon. In other words, a painting with only red and white stands out more than a painting with all colours. By dosing and developing your ideas (instead of simply placing them side by side), the piece gains enormous unity and character. I want to maintain this focus per movement, achieved through few ideas, which I hope will sharpen the technique of what I tried to explain earlier (foreground and background, tutti/solo, etc.). This also explains my choice for the relatively large instrumentation of my new work because it allows me to make and develop the foreground and background play even more clearly. The symphony contains long notes (chords), accompaniment figures, and short motifs, and that’s essentially it. I plan to roughly adopt this pattern; they are excellent building blocks for a work.’

the composer

Maxim Shalygin

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

‘Bleeding’

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.’

het ensemble

New European Ensemble

The New European Ensemble was founded in 2009 by passionate international musicians and has been acclaimed in the press for its ‘fantastic’ (NRC) and ‘exemplary performances’ (Volkskrant), praised as ‘one of the best ensembles in the Netherlands’ (Nieuwe Noten). Leading composers including Kaija Saariaho, Magnus Lindberg, Mark Anthony Turnage, Bright Sheng, and Anna Thorvaldsdóttir work with the group. The ensemble’s mission is to present contemporary and 20th-century repertoire in an engaging and accessible way for a broad audience. Therefore, they often seek combinations with film, literature, dance, theatre, and visual arts.

the ensemble

Emlyn Stam, New European Ensemble

‘We have established an extremely successful trajectory for the composition class with young talent from the Royal Conservatory in The Hague in collaboration with Reza. From this ambitious educational collaboration, the desire arose to have Reza write new work for our Ensemble. In particular, the refined orchestration and the exciting dramaturgical build-up of Reza’s compositions greatly appeal to the ensemble. His earlier work Tiaré Tahiti, from 2020, highlights these qualities, showing his remarkable ability to build melodic developments into an impressive arch. We look forward to our collaboration in Bruckner Casco!’

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.

FAVORITE YOUTUBE VERSION

Symphony No. 3

Listen from minute 7:40 to minute 9:00 in this final movement; one of the most explosive and expressionistic moments in all Bruckner symphonies. Herbert Blomstedt plays only this first version of the third symphony because, according to Blomstedt, it does most justice to Bruckner.

Symfonie No. 3 (1873 versie): IV. Finale. Herbert Blomstedt Berliner Philharmoniker live.

FAVORITE YOUTUBE VERSION

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.