Hendrik Andriessen: Symphonic Works, Vol. 2
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This second release in CPO’s ongoing series of Hendrik Andriessen’s symphonic music is, if anything, even better than Volume One. Andriessen was a splendid composer, one of those true craftsmen who wrote short works that sound larger than they are because not a single note is wasted, and each piece or movement is so rich in content. The Second Symphony of 1937 is a gaunt, serious piece in three concise movements, lasting less than twenty minutes. Like all of Andriessen’s music there’s a strong polyphonic element, and although the idiom isn’t traditionally melodic, the argument is easy to follow and the motivic material consistently arresting.
The three remaining works all fall easier on the ear, but are no less tightly written. Ricercare is a virtuoso hunk of music full of ebullient counterpoint and pure, vibrant instrumental sonorities. Mascherata, a four-movement suite composed for the Concertgebouw Orchestra in 1962, is witty, brilliant, at times mysterious, and glitteringly scored to boot. It deserves regular performance as a repertory stable, surely. Wilhelmus van Nassouwe is a concert overture based on the Dutch national anthem, but it must be one of the least chest-pounding patriotic works ever written. This doesn’t mean that it lacks grandeur or solemnity; rather Andriessen makes his points without a trace of bombast or pretension. The music has dignity, and class.
As with the previous issue, the performances are excellent. David Porcelijn has the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra playing at a very high level, and with the sort of proprietary confidence that the music needs and deserves. Add in excellent engineering, and I can only look forward to Volume Three with great anticipation.
-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Catalog Number: 777722-2
Composer: Hendrik Andriessen
Conductor: David Porcelijn
Orchestra/Ensemble: Netherlands Symphony Orchestra