Louis Andriessen

Life (2009)


1 percussionist

6 players total

Sop. Sax (or clarinet); Perc- Vibraphone, foot Bass Drum, large triangle, sizzle cymbal, gong, almglock or cowbell, 5 metal objects; Piano; guitar; Cello; Double Bass

Approx.. 16’

For more than twenty years I have enjoyed a strong friendship with the Bang on a Can All-Stars and the Bang on a Can composers. Since then, the All-Stars have played the pieces of mine that are more or less suited for their instrumentation, and they have done so with brilliance and with so much commitment that I have walked around for at least ten years with the intention to compose especially for them. However, it took a long time to find a solution, because I found the combination of their instruments rather difficult: 19th century strings with contemporary instruments like guitar and percussion. I found a way when I decided to see this instrumentation as an advantage, and I was supported by a plan with the artist Marijke van Warmerdam. We decided to make a kind of contemporary Pictures at an Exhibition: short pieces of music to accompany video clips. This resulted in Life—four short compositions which combine late romantic ‘European’ music with hip ‘American’ repetitive music. This combination is stretched by the use of cross-references, parallel with what happens in the four films: every film is completely independent, but contains allusions to the others.

—Louis Andriessen


Annotated by Tyler Flynt