In memoriam Louis Andriessen



Like countless music lovers and colleagues around the world, we are deeply moved by the news of the death of Louis Andriessen on Thursday 1 July. Many memories are flooding back to us. On 5 December 2020, in the middle of the coronary crisis, the NTR Saturday Matinee has organised an extra matinee with the world premiere of May, his last major composition. The previously planned performance in the Holland Festival had been forced to be cancelled due to the same crisis. Just like the Holland Festival, Cappella Amsterdam, the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century and the Friends of the Matinee, we had the profound wish that the composer would live to see his choral work performed. It was no secret that his health was precarious, and we felt that further delay was not justified. No audience was allowed in the hall, but Louis, along with many other listeners, was connected to the Concertgebouw via NPO Radio 4. A historic and moving event.

The ZaterdagMatinee has worked closely with Louis Andriessen almost from the beginning of the series. Let me pick out a few moments. In the 1963-1964 Matinee season, music by the then almost 25-year-old composer was on the programme for the first time. On 31 January 1998, the thousandth Saturday Matinee was celebrated with the Dutch premiere of the cycle De Trilogie van de Laatste Dag, conducted by Andriessen's bosom friend Reinbert de Leeuw. At the end of the work, the composer asks the question: "Death, what is that?" The answer is Louis Andriessen all over: "Death is when your breathing stops, you no longer poop, you no longer pee, you no longer think." Frits van der Waa wrote words in response to The Trilogy that get to the heart of the matter: "It is of a disarming sobriety that makes short work of the illusion that all those clashing, harrowing or tranquil chords of the previous hour originate from a tormented mind. After all, music is only music.

The paradox of Andriessen: music is on the one hand 'everything', on the other hand 'only music'. These kinds of extremes also characterise Andriessen's compositions, in which he displays extremes of expression, wilfulness and originality, but never loses himself in romantic wallowing. During a rehearsal I can still hear him shouting from the audience, right through the music: "Ho, stop, it's not Mahler, ladies and gentlemen, remember that!

The Matineeteam and I will miss Louis Andriessen terribly. He left behind an oeuvre that is considered of lasting importance at home and abroad. Keeping that oeuvre alive is now of the utmost importance. We owe it to Louis Andriessen, to his music and to all lovers of good music.

Kees Vlaardingerbroek
artistic director NTR ZaterdagMatinee


Louis Andriessen in the Matinee:

04-04-1964 - Triplum per chitarra
17-02-1968 - Sweet for recorders
21-10-1972 - Anachronie I (to the memory of C. Ives)
25-04-1986 - The State (version for two pianos)
27-02-1988 - Satie: Messe des pauvres (bew. Andriessen)
24-11-1990 - Mausoleum
24-11-1990 - Bach: Sonata BWV 1003 (bew. Andriessen for 8 horns)
01-01-1994 - Symphonies of the Netherlands
20-01-1996 - Silver
31-01-1998 - Trilogy of The Last Day
24-04-1999 - Passeggiata in tram in America e ritorno
03-05-2003 - La Passione
24-04-2004 - Mausoleum
18-12-2004 - Anachronie II
23-04-2005 - Anachronie I
24-03-2007 - from The Matter: Hadewijch
17-05-2008 - Dances
06-06-2009 - Nocturnes
06-06-2009 - Haags hakkûh
06-06-2009 - Vermeer Pictures (bew. Rundell)
02-02-2013 - Dances
18-05-2013 - Rosa's Horses (bew. Rundell)
25-05-2014 - Tapdance
07-02-2015 - On Jimmy Yancey
19-09-2015 - ... miserere ... (version for string orchestra)
19-01-2019 - Agamemnon
07-11-2019 - The only one
05-12-2020 - May

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