Michel Van der Aa’s Violin Concerto may be his first major work without electronics in almost a decade, but that did not stop it earning strong reviews after its first performances in The Netherlands, Germany and Norway.
‘Your ears are popping to put it mildly,’ said Peter van der Lint in Trouw. ‘You might even need a second set to grasp everything that’s happening … For sure, it needs more than one hearing but it’s a real concerto; a musical duel between the soloist and the orchestra with challenging music for both partners.’
Critics drew attention to the fact that this is a concerto in the traditional, ‘old-fashioned’ sense, although one that also has a contemporary sensibility. ‘Here ancient and modern meet in congenial symbiosis,’ noted Peter Bilsing of Der OpernFreund.
The concerto was specially written for the Dutch superstar Janine Jansen, and Mischa Spel (NRC) wrote that ‘the music embraced her podium charisma and vibrant body language as the only theatrical elements of the piece. This was interesting because much of van der Aa’s recent work has incorporated multi-media aspects. Do you recognize van der Aa if he’s composing unplugged? Straight away!’
A live recording of the concerto will be released as a CD on Concertgebouw Orchestra’s RCOlive label