MICHEL VAN DER AA (b.1970): Violin Concerto (Janine Jansen [violin], Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra; Vladimir Jurowski), Hysteresis for Clarinet, Ensemble and Soundtrack (Kari Kriikku [clarinet], Amsterdam Sinfonietta; Candida Thompson).
Catalogue Number: 05R075
Label: Disquiet Media
Reference: DQM 05
Description: The 2014 concerto (this very recording appeared on the RCO Live label last May - 05Q081) is a contemporary take on the traditional form; in three movements, it confronts a theatrically virtuosic solo part with an urgently discursive, even combative orchestra. The style is eclectic, sometimes motoric and largely tonal, even suggesting non-classical styles; sometimes spikily atonal, and in the central slow movement, lyrically melancholy and increasingly tragic, with a frenzied cadenza-like episode in which orchestral soloists are drawn into the argument. Hysteresis (2013) refers to the property of matter to delay its response to a stimulus, 'remembering' its previous state, so to speak. Throughout, the work plays with this concept of memory, with gestures from the soloist returning as distorted reflections or recollections of themselves in the ensemble or the electronic part, or in some cases ambiguously prefiguring material heard in more concrete form later. The strongly rhythmic, 'looped' nature of these repeating fragments recalls the composer's background in non-classical electronica, while the hyperactively virtuosic clarinet writing belongs firmly in the European avant garde tradition.