Christianne Stotijn & Michel van der Aa
Michel Van der Aa’s new song cycle Spaces of Blank for mezzo-soprano, orchestra and soundtrack was successfully premiered on 19 March in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. The Dutch mezzo-soprano Christianne Stotijn was soloist, with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Ed Spanjaard.
The 26-minute work, set to texts by Emily Dickinson, Rozalie Hirs and Anne Carson, was commissioned by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Radio France, the NDR Orchestra in Hamburg and the Fund for the Creation of Music.
Co-commissioner Radio France has programmed the piece for 1 October 2010 in Lyon by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, with Christianne Stotijn returning as soloist. Performance by the NDR Orchestra in Hamburg is scheduled for later in the 2010/2011 season.
Mezzo as muse in flexible song cycle
[…] Christianne Stotijn, for whom the work was written, has – as a true muse should – roused the singer in Van der Aa.
In an idiom that is at the same time sec and sumptuous, and absolutely coherent but seldom tonal, Van der Aa unfolds flexible sound combinations, cool chords à la Stravinsky, pumping Puccinian bass notes and driving repeated notes reminiscent of the most fearful song in the history of music, Schubert’s Erlkönig. ***** (5 stars)
— De Volkskrant, Frits van der Waa, 20 March 2009
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