An exciting start to a new orchestral collaboration for Signum Records, this disc is the first of a new series with the London Sinfonietta – one of the world’s elite contemporary music ensembles, with a reputation built on the virtuosity of its performances and ambitious programming. This live recording brings together the world premiere of Anaïs Nin, a new work for soprano and small ensemble, alongside his famed work De Staat.
Anaïs Nin is a monodrama based on the diaries of the same famed author, as well as those of her lovers (Antonin Artaud, René Allendy, Henry Miller and her own father). A sometimes disturbing tale of desire and passion, Andriessen felt that the music should “closely track the irony, despair and passion of this brilliant, many-sided woman”.
“Composed in the 1970s as "a contribution to the discussion about the place of music in politics", De Staat remains one of Andriessen's supreme achievements, an epic rechannelling of Stravinskyan rhythmic energy into his own raw-edged minimalism. That, much more than the newer work, is the reason for buying this disc.” The Guardian, 27th October 2011 ****
“With clarinet and sax used to evoke jazz-era Paris, a cabaret-flavoured, sometimes comical Kurt Weill ambience captures the amorality and loneliness in Nin's writing. It is paired with Andriessen's most famous composition, De Staat, in which the vocal group Synergy offer ruminations on music from Plato's Republic, set to the reedy, methodical cycles of Andriessen's early minimalist style.” The Independent, 28th October 2011 ***
“The music [of 'Anaïs Nin'], with its syllabic vocal writing, reflects a rawness and bleakness whose desperation arises not so much from an uncontrollable libido as from a pathetic isolation. Zavalloni is excellent. De Staat (1976) addresses the notion of music as a political and social tool.” Sunday Times, 6th November 2011
“Louis Andriessen has never shirked the big subjects, and here are two of the biggest: politics and sex. De Staat (1972-76) is a hard-hitting classic referencing Plato and Brecht in the struggle between "pure" music and its social context...this is an excellent start to the London Sinfonietta's new series for Signum.” The Observer, 20th November 2011
“One can see why Anaïs's writings, with their sexual longings constantly thwarted and coolly unpicked by herself, are the appropriate bedfellows for the composer's music interests. Zavalloni is a wonderfully intelligent singer, her English and French accents excellent.” International Record Review, January 2012
“Andriessen's score is a curious melange of Kurt Weill deviant cabaret - wobbly saxophones and Big Sid Catlett drums to the fore - with a slight neoclassical reticence to push for the expressive kill...Synergy Vocals intone Andriessen's killer vocal parts [in De Staat] with a lustier cry than elsewhere. On this disc, the vocalists have it.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2012
“Don’t get too bogged down in trying to comprehend Andriessen’s long-winded attempts to explain what the piece is about – just enjoy the noise. It’s fantastic.” The Arts Desk, 4th February 2012
“Zavelloni's fragile tone captures the loneliness and boredom of Nin, always waiting for the arrival of the next man...It's a relief to turn to the blazing conviction of De Staat, Andriessen's setting of Plato's fiercely moralistic thoughts on music. The players finally come alive, hurling out Andriessen's jagged, insistent lines with unflagging energy.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2012 ***