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9th Calarts Festival: So What's New?

March 17, 1985|DANIEL CARIAGA

Large-scale or quasi-operatic works are the traditional fare at the centerpiece concert of every CalArts festival Saturday night. In 1985, the Saturday night event was no exception; it offered, between 8:30 and 10:45, two sizable musical canvases by the Dutch avant-gardist Louis Andriessen, "De Staat" (Republic) and "De Tijd" (Time).

Indeed, Andriessen, scion of a family of 20th-Century musicians, was present for the festivities, and for the considerable admiration of the noisily approving festival audience.

Nevertheless, neither of these overlong pieces--the first occupies 35 minutes, the second, 45--seems to require a second hearing. "De Staat," which uses words of Plato in ways probably not intended to clarify them, asks little modulation of a loud, actually belligerent, palette of instrumental/vocal sounds; it merely sets them before the listener in an unpolished state.

"De Tijd" deals with timelessness in a similarly one-dimensional way: by putting in motion a series of slow-changing orchestral chords, and very gradually increasing their motion. What results is predictably unchallenging, unengrossing and uncompelling.

The sizable student forces performing these pieces were in both cases conducted energetically by Mosko. At the end of each performance, loud approbation greeted players and conductor.

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