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Orphic Descent

Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra | Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra | Robin de Raaff

Orphic Descent

Price: € 19.95
Format: CD
Label: Challenge Classics
UPC: 0608917294224
Catnr: CC 72942
Release date: 05 May 2023
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Label
Challenge Classics
UPC
0608917294224
Catalogue number
CC 72942
Release date
05 May 2023

"A particularly visual piece full of beautiful timbres, as if you were walking around in a fairytale forest."

Nieuwe Noten, 15-12-2023
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Artist(s)
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About the album

How is it that music that is so precise and obviously well organised can at the same time move with unforced, almost improvisational fluidity? And how can it be that atonal music sounds so natural and accessible? It's because De Raaff's music is nature itself; geometrically and architecturally stylised music it may be, but no different to the way a tree puts out its branches or how a leaf forms its veins. No different to the cosmologic nature of constellations, wave patterns on water, the pictorial architecture of a murmuration of starlings or a shoal of fish. In De Raaff's work calculation and spontaneity merge into a single, monumental but never massive whole.

Imagery is also initially transformed into sound in the three works on this CD. Circulus, De Raaff's second piano concerto, deals with the circularity of time. In his Orphic Descent, an Orpheus-like figure descends, never to climb back, because it is Euridice – or whoever she is –who does this; high, low, to, fro, light, depth, pattern and chaos, movement. And the Second Violin Concerto (2019) focuses on a dazzling, moving light, a play of light and water.
'Orphic Descent' is de vierde orkestrale cd die componist Robin de Raaff bij Challenge Classics uitbrengt. Er staan drie van zijn breed gewaardeerde werken op uit de afgelopen twee decennia. De Raaff behoort tot de hedendaagse toonaangevende componisten in Nederland. Met zijn verrassend creatieve en inventieve werk staat hij ook internationaal in de belangstelling. Zijn muziek is complex en tot in details uitgewerkt, maar ligt goed in het gehoor. Het Radio Philharmonisch Orkest weet er wel raad mee en zorgt op deze opname voor een sterke uitvoering.

Hoe kan het dat muziek die zo precies en overduidelijk goed georganiseerd is, tegelijkertijd ongedwongen, van bijna improviserende vloeibaarheid is? En hoe kan het dat atonale muziek zo natuurlijk en toegankelijk klinkt? Dat komt omdat de muziek van Robin de Raaff is, als de natuur zelf. Zijn muziek mag dan geometrisch en architectonisch gestileerd zijn, maar is niet anders dan de wijze waarop een boom zijn takken spreidt of hoe een blad zijn nerven vormt. Niet anders dan de kosmologische aard van sterrenbeelden, het patroon van golven op het water, de schilderachtige architectuur van een zwerm spreeuwen of een school vissen. In het werk van De Raaff versmelten berekening en spontaniteit tot één monumentaal maar nooit massief geheel.

Ook in de drie werken op deze cd worden beelden omgezet in klanken.
Circulus’, het tweede pianoconcert van Robin de Raaff, gaat over de circulariteit van de tijd. De bijzondere locatie van Westergas, de voormalige gasfabriek in Amsterdam West, was inspiratiebron én plaats van uitvoering voor het werk dat op 10 juni 2022 tijdens het Holland Festival door het Radio Filharmonisch Orkest en Ralph van Raat onder leiding van Matthias Pintscher werd uitgevoerd. Robin de Raaff schreef ‘Circulus’ speciaal voor meesterpianist Ralph van Raat. De ruimte waarin ‘Circulus’ ontstond en de opstelling van orkest, pianist en publiek, deden denken aan een uurwerk, een metafoor voor de tijd. Dat is ook precies waarnaar De Raaff met ‘Circulus’ wil verwijzen: de vergankelijkheid van het leven en onze plaats in het universum.

In ‘Orphic descent’ daalt een Orpheus-achtige figuur af, om nooit meer op te stijgen, want het is Euridice – of wie ze ook is – die dit doet; hoog en laag, heen en weer, licht en zwaar, orde en chaos, beweging.

Robins Tweede Vioolconcert ‘North Atlantic Light’ (2019) concentreert zich op een oogverblindend, bewegend licht, een spel van licht en water. Het is geïnspireerd op het gelijknamige werk uit 1977 van schilder Willem de Kooning. Het concert werd op 18 mei 2019 in Het Concertgebouw ten doop gehouden door het Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest en violiste Tosca Opdam onder leiding van Marc Albrecht.
Wie kommt es, dass Musik, die so präzise und offensichtlich gut organisiert ist, sich gleichzeitig mit ungezwungener, fast improvisatorischer Flüssigkeit bewegen kann? Und wie kann es sein, dass atonale Musik so natürlich und zugänglich klingt? Das liegt daran, dass De Raaffs Musik die Natur selbst ist; sie mag geometrisch und architektonisch stilisierte Musik sein, aber sie unterscheidet sich nicht von der Art und Weise, wie ein Baum seine Äste ausbreitet oder wie ein Blatt seine Adern bildet. Nicht anders als die kosmologische Natur von Sternbildern, Wellenmustern auf dem Wasser, die bildhafte Architektur eines Starenschwarms oder eines Fischschwarms. In De Raaffs Werk verschmelzen Kalkül und Spontaneität zu einem einzigen, monumentalen, aber nie massiven Ganzen.
Auch in den drei Werken auf dieser CD werden Bilder zunächst in Klänge verwandelt. Circulus, das zweite Klavierkonzert von De Raaff, handelt von der Kreisförmigkeit der Zeit. In seinem Orphic Descent steigt eine Orpheus-ähnliche Figur hinab, um nie wieder aufzusteigen, denn es ist Euridice - oder wer auch immer sie ist -, die dies tut; hoch, tief, hin, her, Licht, Tiefe, Muster und Chaos, Bewegung. Und das zweite Violinkonzert (2019) konzentriert sich auf ein schillerndes, sich bewegendes Licht, ein Spiel aus Licht und Wasser.

Artist(s)

Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra

The Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra gave its first concert on 7 October 1945, led by its founder and ‘first conductor‘ Albert van Raalte, on Radio “Herrijzend Nederland”. Initially the orchestra spent most of its time in studios working on a large number of recordings for the public broadcasting system. The Netherlands Radio Philharmonic featured prominently in the Saturday Matinee as soon as the series started in 1961, and has continued to give frequent live performances ever since. The celebrated Saturday Matinee has hosted many legendary concerts. Illustrious soloists such as Kathleen Ferrier, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Clara Haskil and Jean-Pierre Rampal have shared the stage with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2004, the three classical orchestral formations of the broadcasting 15 system...
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The Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra gave its first concert on 7 October 1945, led by its founder and ‘first conductor‘ Albert van Raalte, on Radio “Herrijzend Nederland”. Initially the orchestra spent most of its time in studios working on a large number of recordings for the public broadcasting system. The Netherlands Radio Philharmonic featured prominently in the Saturday Matinee as soon as the series started in 1961, and has continued to give frequent live performances ever since. The celebrated Saturday Matinee has hosted many legendary concerts. Illustrious soloists such as Kathleen Ferrier, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Clara Haskil and Jean-Pierre Rampal have shared the stage with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra.
In 2004, the three classical orchestral formations of the broadcasting 15 system were transformed into two: the present Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic. In 2006, these two orchestras, the Netherlands Radio Choir and the Metropole Orchestra joined the Dutch public broadcasting organisation NPO.
The Radio Philharmonic Orchestra has been conducted by great names such as Bernard Haitink, Jean Fournet, Hans Vonk, Sergiu Comissiona and Edo de Waart. Jaap van Zweden was named its chief conductor in September 2005. The orchestra has also worked with numerous famed guest conductors such as Leopold Stokowski, Kirill Kondrashin, Antál Dorati, Riccardo Muti, Kurt Masur and Valery Gergiev. Soon after its founding, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic found itself foremost in Dutch musical life in the number of performances and the diversity of its repertoire, with a predilection for Dutch and contemporary works in its programming. It has honed another facet of its striking profile with a great many opera concertante performances. The orchestra has an extensive discography, ranging from legendary LPs recorded in the 1970s under such conductors as Leopold Stokowski and Antal Doráti to Jean Fournet’s much-lauded renderings of French repertoire. Under Edo de Waart, not only did it release its legendary Wagner interpretations, but also the complete orchestral works of Rachmaninov. CDs with work by contemporary composers such as Jonathan Harvey, Klas Torstensson, Jan van Vlijmen and Stravinsky have garnered prizes and much acclaim.

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Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra

The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra (NedPhO) is among the best orchestras in the country. The NedPhO and the associated Netherlands Chamber Orchestra (NKO) are the regular accompanying partners of De Nederlandse Opera (DNO) in the Muziektheater. Alongside this, both orchestras provide versatile concert programs in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and are welcome guests in other Dutch concert halls and in halls and festivals abroad. Typical of the NedPhO | NKO are their inviting programming and welcoming presentation. With their enthusiasm and passion for the music, the musicians provide a special listening experience. With the extensive NedPho GO! education and outreach program, NedPhO | NKO make classical music accessible for everyone.   Under its former chief conductor Hartmut Haenchen, NedPhO had great success with the...
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The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra (NedPhO) is among the best orchestras in the country. The NedPhO and the associated Netherlands Chamber Orchestra (NKO) are the regular accompanying partners of De Nederlandse Opera (DNO) in the Muziektheater. Alongside this, both orchestras provide versatile concert programs in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and are welcome guests in other Dutch concert halls and in halls and festivals abroad. Typical of the NedPhO | NKO are their inviting programming and welcoming presentation. With their enthusiasm and passion for the music, the musicians provide a special listening experience. With the extensive NedPho GO! education and outreach program, NedPhO | NKO make classical music accessible for everyone. Under its former chief conductor Hartmut Haenchen, NedPhO had great success with the performance of the complete Der Ring des Nibelungen (DNO, also on CD). Over the years, the orchestra has performed all the great operas by Wagner and Richard Strauss. The successful performance of Die Frau ohne Schatten led to the appointment of Marc Albrecht as chief conductor of DNO and NedPhO | NKO. In 2011 and 2012 Albrecht conducted the operas Orest and Der Schatzgräber with the NedPhO and once again received praising reviews. Next to the opera productions with DNO, Albrecht will regularly appear in the coming season with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw.

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Marc Albrecht (conductor)

Marc Albrecht, chief conductor of De Nederlandse Opera and the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, is highly regarded for his interpretations of works by Wagner and Richard Strauss, as well as contemporary works. He has been a guest conductor with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Munich Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the orchestras of Rome (Santa Cecilia), Dresden and Lyons. He has led operas including Der fliegende Holländer (Bayreuther Festspiele, 2003-2006), Die Bacchantinnen (Salzburger Festspiele, 2005) and From the House of the Dead (Opéra national de Paris, 2005). From 2001 to 2004 he was principal guest conductor at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, where his engagements included a highly acclaimed performance of Messiaen’s Saint...
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Marc Albrecht, chief conductor of De Nederlandse Opera and the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, is highly regarded for his interpretations of works by Wagner and Richard Strauss, as well as contemporary works.
He has been a guest conductor with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Munich Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the orchestras of Rome (Santa Cecilia), Dresden and Lyons. He has led operas including Der fliegende Holländer (Bayreuther Festspiele, 2003-2006), Die Bacchantinnen (Salzburger Festspiele, 2005) and From the House of the Dead (Opéra national de Paris, 2005). From 2001 to 2004 he was principal guest conductor at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, where his engagements included a highly acclaimed performance of Messiaen’s Saint François d’Assise. He was artistic director and chief conductor of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg from 2006 to 2011. He also enjoys a close association with the Semperoper Dresden, where he led the productions of Die Frau ohne Schatten and La damnation de Faust in 2007. Recent conducting engagements include The Bassarids (Bayerische Staatsoper München), Der fliegende Holländer (ROH Covent Garden), Der Prinz von Homburg (Theater an der Wien), Lulu with the Wiener Philharmoniker (Salzburg), Elektra, Orest and The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevronia (DNO) and his debut at La Scala with Die Frau ohne Schatten.

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Lawrence Renes (conductor)

Matthias Pintscher (conductor)

Composer(s)

Robin de Raaff

Robin de Raaff (Breda, 1968) discovered his own diverse musical world through playing classical piano as well as bass guitar from a very early age. After being introduced to the legend and legacy of Jaco Pastorius, De Raaff’s musical world expanded explosively as an instrumentalist. Parallel with this early development he created his own music and lyrics for his Band where instrumental sections grew in significance, ultimately in to completely scored instrumental works. These instrumental compositions led him to enrol as a student of composition. De Raaff is of the generation of Dutch composers emerging in the nineties. He first studied composition with Geert van Keulen at the Amsterdam Conservatory and later with Theo Loevendie, graduating cum laude in 1997. Still...
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Robin de Raaff (Breda, 1968) discovered his own diverse musical world through playing classical piano as well as bass guitar from a very early age. After being introduced to the legend and legacy of Jaco Pastorius, De Raaff’s musical world expanded explosively as an instrumentalist. Parallel with this early development he created his own music and lyrics for his Band where instrumental sections grew in significance, ultimately in to completely scored instrumental works. These instrumental compositions led him to enrol as a student of composition.
De Raaff is of the generation of Dutch composers emerging in the nineties. He first studied composition with Geert van Keulen at the Amsterdam Conservatory and later with Theo Loevendie, graduating cum laude in 1997. Still being a student in 1995 he encountered Pierre Boulez in a Masterclass who praised his String Quartet No. 1 “Athomus” creating a whole new momentum to his development and career. In 1999 De Raaff had the privilege of being invited to work as George Benjamin’s only composition student at the Royal College of Music in London where he also studied with Julian Anderson.
In 2000 De Raaff was invited to the renowned Tanglewood Music Center as the ‘Senior Composition Fellow’ which was the beginning of an ongoing relationship resulting in a series of commissions and performances (Piano Concerto No. 1 for the Festival of Contemporary Music and Entangled Tales for the Boston Symphony Orchestra) and performances of his septet Ennea’s Domein and Un Visage d’Emprunt. For 2015 De Raaff was commissioned to compose a Fanfare dedicated to the 75th Anniversary of the Tanglewood Music Center. His residency at Tanglewood in 2000 was the beginning of a bigger exposure with performances and residencies in North America through festivals and theaters such as: The Aspen Music Festival, Cabrillo Festival (Santa Cruz), State of the Union Festival (London), ISCM World Music Days, The Banff Center, CBC Parry Sound Festival (Ontario), Takefu International Chamber Music Festival, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Ultima Contemporary Music Festival, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center (New York), Betty Oliphant Theatre and Glenn Gould Studio (Toronto).
After a creative period of nearly 10 years, De Raaff finished his first opera RAAFF in 2004, which was commissioned by the Dutch National Opera in a co-production with the Holland Festival. The birth of this opera started with De Raaff’s success at a master class for young composers with Pierre Boulez organised by DNO in 1995.His second opera, also commissioned by DNO, resulted in Waiting for Miss Monroe (2012), which was received with much acclaim by the international press including The New York Times, Der Tagesspiegel and Der Süddeutsche Zeitung.
De Raaff’s Violin Concerto No. 1 “Angelic echoes” (2008, written for Tasmin Little and Jaap van Zweden) was selected as the Best Orchestral Work of the year 2008 in the Dutch composition competition Toonzetters. His special interest in this genre led him to compose many Concertos of which his Percussion Concerto (2014 commissioned by The New Juilliard Ensemble and premiered in Lincoln Center), is the most recent one.
In September 2016, his Oratorio “Atlantis”, an In Memoriam Pierre Boulez, was successfully premiered in Vredenburg, Utrecht (the Netherlands), to date De Raaff’s largest work for the concert stage. Early in 2017, his Symphony No. 4 “Melodies unheard” was premiered during a concert tour with the Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra as part of his term as Composer in Residence.
The 2nd Sonata for Violin and Piano “North Atlantic Light” was given its world premiere in the Kurt Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall on the 4th of June 2018. It is based on the famous painting by Willem de Kooning, a fellow countryman of De Raaff. The larger vision on this painting, Violin Concerto No. 2 “North Atlantic Light”, was premiered in the Concertgebouw of Amsterdam, both versions were written for Tosca Opdam.
With the recent world premiere of Sfera for large orchestra in the esteemed ZaterdagMatinee, De Raaff finished his Symphony No 5 “Allegory of Time, of which Sfera is movement I and Unisono for large orchestra movement II.
Commissioned by the Holland Festival for their 75th Anniversary De Raaff composed his Piano Concerto No. 2 “Circulus”, premiered by Ralph van Raat, Matthias Pintscher conducting the Radio Filharmonic Oerchestra.
For 22 successive years, De Raaff has been Professor of Composition and Instrumentation at the Composition Department of the University for the Arts in Rotterdam, Codarts.


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Press

A particularly visual piece full of beautiful timbres, as if you were walking around in a fairytale forest.
Nieuwe Noten, 15-12-2023

Highly recommended for lovers of contemporary music but also for people who want to get acquainted with it, with De Raaff as an enthusiastic guide!
De Nieuwe Koers, 15-11-2023

(...) the phenomenal way in which Lawrence Renes encourages the members of the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra to play both extremely subtle and sharply marked. The latter also applies to the two other conductors, Matthias Pintscher (also a composer of great importance, by the way) and Marc Albrecht, who not only shows that the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra is well versed in the contemporary repertoire, but no less so does the Netherlands Philharmonic, which certainly nails the performance under Albrecht, almost as if this music has been in their DNA for decades. I already mentioned the soloists, you couldn't ask for more as a composer! They too play their huge part as if it has been part of their spiritual property for an unforeseeable time. In short: a top production!
Opus Klassiek, 01-6-2023

Such a job for orchestra and violinist Tosca Opdam. How I would like to "listen to these compositions with my eyes" during live concerts.
Klassieke Zaken, 01-6-2023

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