Late last September, I began revisiting Louis Andriessen’s De staat, a 35-minute piece, primarily instrumental really, but with some choral writing, using texts taken from Plato, whence its title. My idea was to listen to it once a day for three days and blog my thoughts.
Managed to do this all right on 21 September and again on 22 September.
That was about the time when I would be traveling to hear the première of my Viola Sonata. I wanted for the third instalment of the visit to the Republic of Louis to draw up an outline of the piece, the better to focus on specific passages. Here I am three months later only reviewing that outline now, so I leave it unaltered:
De staat, schema
I 0:01 - 2:05 Double-reed invention
II 2:06 - 3:07 Low brass answer to (I)
III 3:08 - 4:56 First Chorus
IV 4:57 - 6:21 Pf ostinato, keening oboes
V 6:22 - 8:27 Add brass; extension of (IV)
VI 8:28 - 8:50 ‘Shaky unison’, quasi trill
VII 8:51 - 10:27 Running unison / hocket
VIII 10:28 - 10:49 Appoggiatura, two chords
IX 10:50 - 11:09 Quasi-Le sacre trumpets in low register
X 11:10 - 11:32 Repeated notes vs. growls / hocket
XI 11:33 - 13:00 Echo of (IV)
XII 13:01 - 15:48 Repeated notes; 2 sharp chords; sustained tone > extension of XI
XIII 15:49 - 16:34 Break-up of XII > echo of (VII)
XIV 16:35 - 16:44 Echo of (VIII)
XV 16:45 - 16:55 Slower pace, distant echo of (IX)
XVI 16:56 - 17:16 Running unison, bass/pf/strings
XVII 17:17 - 17:33 Brass answer to (XVI)
XVIII 17:34 - 17:51 Antiphonal brass
XIX 17:52 - 18:04 Plus pf, extension of (XVIII)
XX 18:05 - 19:45 Five-note brass ostinato
XXI 19:46 - 22:14 Second Chorus - I
XXII 22:15 - 23:05 Second Chorus - II
XXIII 23:06 - 24:21 Second Chorus - III
XXIV 24:22 - 27:45 Series of crescendi from nothing
XXV 27:46 - 28:59 Warming up to echo of (VI)
XXVI 29:00 - 29:34 Fading brass chords, repeated pf notes
XXVII 29:35 - 30:06 Freely syncopated unison
XXVIII 30:07 - 30:19 Return to regular pulse
XXIX 30:20 - 30:42 Echo of (VIII)
XXX 30:43 - 30:52 Big chords
XXXI 30:53 - 31:56 Sostenuto brass-&-guitar hocket
XXXII 31:57 - 33:24 Third Chorus
XXXIII 33:25 - 35:24 Brass & pf, ‘ragged antiphony’; close on unison
In the interim, I’ve at last made the acquaintance of at least two other pieces by Louis, De stijl and De tijd.
De tijd I found fabulous; indeed on first hearing it, my impression was that it is the best thing of Louis’s that I’ve heard yet. Bits of it (favorably) reminded me of Svadebka and Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum, but the piece is all Louis’s own, and a thoroughly enjoyable listen throughout its arc.
I’m not sure about the spoken bit in De stijl. Yes, the text is interesting enough, and it’s only two and a half minutes (call it 10% of the piece’s duration). My gut feels that it is something which will get tiresome with repeat visitations to the piece . . . and thus something of an albatross around the neck of an otherwise splendid piece.
Returning to De staat after these ‘new’ pieces, I do find myself liking it better than ever.