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Los Angeles Master Chorale and Louis Andriessen 

Heavy-metal Minimalism

Wednesday, Nov 14 2007
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Louis Andriessen hates the German romantics, loves jazz, and has the chutzpah to thumb his nose at Boulezian serialism, Schoenbergian intellectualism and, with a few exceptions, American minimalism. In fact, today’s leading Dutch composer has been fondly described as “the European heavy metal answer to American minimalism.” But it’s not that easy to classify Andriessen, who isn’t all “processed driven rhythms” and “hard-edged sonorities.” Poetry and lyricism lurk in the shadows of his music as well — all of which might come together this week in the world premiere of The City of Dis, or: Ship of Fools, from La Commedia, his opera-under-construction based on Dante’s Divine Comedy. Referring to that level of hell reserved for the non-believers, The City of Dis is a rather roaring display of sonorous economics that features wind, brass, pianos and electric guitars, and is Andriessen’s aural exploration of “politics, time, velocity, matter and morality.” Andriessen himself describes the work as “close to something by Fellini: part nightmare, part dream.” The Los Angeles Master Chorale, which commissioned the work, performs it this weekend under the direction of Grant Gershon, along with Estonian composer Veljo Tormis’ God Protect Us From War. In addition, Jeffrey Kahane conducts the Chorale and the L.A. Chamber Orchestra in the third of the two organizations’ “Homage to Haydn” collaborations, the Mass in Time of War. And as a special treat, Andriessen appears for a pre-concert talk. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Sun., Nov. 18, 7 p.m.; “Listen Up!” pre-concert talk at 6 p.m.; $19-$114; student rush available two hours before performance. (213) 972-7282 or (800) 787-5262, www.lamc.org.

—Mary Beth Crain

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