Last year I sent the recording of the Noise in the Library concert to Michael Karman, editor of Asymmetry Music Magazine. Recently he wrote to me:
I had lost this immediately after listening to it only once, when my chief impression was “late Stravinsky.”
Then I found it right before leaving for a two month trip to Europe.
Now I’m back, and I’m listening to it and liking it all very much. I haven’t heard anything that’s really reminded me of late Stravinsky any more. It’s not reminding me of anything, really. I suppose it was the combination of serial-ish licks and warmth that reminded me of late Stravinsky the first time through. Now, I’m most taken with the emptiness. The space around the notes and the lines. The silence that you never really disturb — the notes never sound like they’re interrupting the silence. And as that’s become a rather favorite thing of mine (Sachiko M, Mattin, Hannifin and several others), it was nice to hear it in Henning, too, even though your aesthetic (and the actual sounds) are very different from those people.
Anyway, that’s what I think and what it is, too.
By seeming chance, today I ran across these kind remarks from composer Luke Ottevanger, as I rummaged through some messages:
As for your disc — for which thanks again - I have only been able to listen to the first half or so. There is lots to say — all positive — and I will try to get it all in order soon. The most striking impression — given that I’d never heard any Henning before, but ‘know’ you to an extent from your posts — was that your interest in Stravinsky seems to shine through, although in a personal way. No question of a simple aping of Strav’s mannerisms, naturally! Those two trombones, so powerfully linear and solemn-toned, gracefully finding a balance between independance and interactivity... within seconds I couldn’t help but remember the Canticum Sacrum, which must be one of my favourite late Strav works. And yet your music is very different in all details, of course. It’s a matter of similar tone, similar approach — and so in that sense, certainly, I’d say you have succeeded in striking a similar balance yourself.
Luke wrote in July of 2006, in response to the Evening Service in D.