Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Bad Interview of Great Composer: a new Series from the Vile Arts

I would like to take a moment to thank Wendy Grannon. Not only did she organise a bunch of interviews with the performers and composers and organisers of this weekend's Minimal Extreme festival (when a press person takes the Vile Arts seriously, it makes me feel warm inside), but she got hold of Louis Andriessen for me. I am easily impressed whenever I get to talk to someone who has a proper Wikipedia entry (as opposed to ones written by the person themselves). But Andriessen took the time to call me back - after I messed up the times - and almost immediately mentioned his previous visit to Glasgow. He played jazz at Tramway.

I am just annoyed I don't have more of his back catalogue.

Sven Brown, artistic director of Minimal Extreme, said that Andriessen's Hoketus would be the loudest event of the weekend. It kicks off three days of hot classical action, both the intense (Bang on a Can have a very NYC energy about them, and a leader who plays the clarinet like it is a rock guitar) and the drifting (see my rambles about Feldman and Riley). Andriessen says that he isn't all about the volume, but he does want it to be intense.

In my brief conversation with Andriessen - and through my pitiful research - I realised that here was a composer who stood right at the cross-roads of jazz, improvisation and what he doesn't like to call minimalism. I kept on describing his work as "minimalist", but he patiently pointed out that that is more a technique than a style of music. Then I decided to ask him about his use of modern technology, noting that his recent compositions involved film. He observed that film isn't all that modern.

There's nothing I enjoy more than making a fool of myself in front of an artist that I both admire and - as the interview progressed - really liked as a person.  As I flicked over his lists of works, the names of his collaborators jumped out at me: Hal Hartley and Peter Greenaway (fim makers), plus texts from Homer, Dante, Nietzsche, Job out of the Old Testament...

Lessons learnt: Hoketus is free and worth catching. Andriessen is more lively than I am, and he was borin in 1939. I ought to do a bit more research.

1 comment :

  1. Can not believe I missed him. It hurts me in my soul. Good to meet you tonight. Kevan