Hysteresis, the virtuosic new clarinet concerto by Michel van der Aa, is receiving first performances in London and Cologne.
Michel van der Aa’s new clarinet concerto, Hysteresis, was premiered in April by the London Sinfonietta with Mark van de Wiel as the hyperactive soloist. The portrait concert conducted by Baldur Brönnimann also included the UK premiere of the complete Here Trilogy and Memo for violin and cassette recorder. A further performances of the new concerto takes place on 7 June in Cologne with Carl Rosman and musikFabrik conducted by Susanna Mälkki, and plans are underway for Kari Krikkuu to play the concerto in the Netherlands in the 2015/16 season supported by Fonds Podiumkunsten.
The title Hysteresis refers to the process of time having an effect on material, rather like a rubber band changing shape after repeated stretching. As well as being a physical phenomenon this is something readily applicable to music, particularly through sound recording and electronic treatment, activities close to van der Aa’s creative heart. Material is passed between the live musicians and the soundtrack, foreshadowing, remembering, and transformed in real time. But whatever the sonic sophistication, what is most impressive about Hysteresis is its sheer musical impact:
“What we hear is simply a clarinet concerto, but one bristling with life. Even Van der Aa’s characteristic layers of sound – a recorded soundtrack, the static from an old record player, analogue synthesiser sounds – seem incidental and could almost be swept away in favour of the virtuoso writing that Hysteresis gives to the solo clarinet and small orchestra. Mark van de Wiel, principal clarinet of the London Sinfonietta, made a spine-tingling job of it as the music raced to its frenetic conclusion.”
“A genuine concerto, where the soloist dominated proceedings from first to last… The solo line, played with authority and verve by van der Wiel, leaps and capers through every conceivable virtuoso loop, its fast-and-furious quality rarely toning down into anything gentler or more obviously lyrical; it made a thrilling display piece nevertheless, with the composer’s inventive percussion writing and use of a soundtrack adding distinctive perspectives to the accompaniment.”
“…the tape soundtrack pulsates inventively. There is real interaction. Mark van de Wiel’s virtuosity was stretched to the limit but to potent effect. Tension is maintained by a palpable structure climaxing in a series of rising curves.”
Continuing in concerto mode, Michel van der Aa is currently writing a new work for violinist Janine Jansen and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra due for premiere in November. He then undertakes preparatory work for his next chamber opera, Blank Out.
> Read an interview with van der Aa about Hysteresis
Photo: Marco Borggreve
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