Just in: Dutch mourn their foremost composer

Just in: Dutch mourn their foremost composer


norman lebrecht

July 01, 2021

The death has just been announced of Louis Andriessen, an influential minimalist composer, probably his country’s most successful since the Renaissance.

Andriessen was 82 and had been suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.

Born into a family of composers – his father, uncle and three siblings – he studied with Luciano Berio and joined the atonal avant-garde, switching to his own brand of minimalism with lashings of American jazz.

He won the 2011 Grawemeyer Award for the opera La Commedia and was widely acclaimed for a concert work, De Tijd. Much of his work was recorded by the US Nonesuch label.


  • J Barcelo says:

    Most successful since the renaissance? That’s a bold statement. Listening to that dreck called Hoketus makes me pine for the balm of Julius Rontgen, Diepenbrock, Pijper or even Borstlap!

  • Dragonetti says:

    Fair point there La plus belle voix. Let’s be aware that not only have his family and friends had to deal with their loss but also the horrible decline that Alzheimer’s brings in inevitable stages. I speak from personal experience of dealing with a close family member here. Not nice at all.
    As far as his music goes then like everybody else, history will be the best judge. Let’s leave it at that for now.

    • La plus belle voix says:

      Quite. There is enough hate in the world right now. I have of course personal opinions about his œuvre, but see no need to share them here.

  • John Borstlap says:

    It is always sad when someone dies, and that someone was very old does not in the slightest diminish the sadness.

    As for the music: to prevent public disorder at the gates, I will refrain from commenting.

  • Peter San Diego says:

    A tough week for noted composers. Although I personally find more of value and beauty in Rzewski’s music than in Andriessen’s, I’m sure there are many who esteem the latter’s works highly. It’s tragic that he suffered for quite some time from Alzheimer’s disease, and probably a release for him to be beyond suffering. My sympathy to his family and friends.

    • John Borstlap says:

      ‘Great’? It’s sarcastic kid stuff, kicking against music. The protest of the musically-challenged.

      • Paul Sekhri says:

        You forgot to add, “in my not-so-humble opinion…” May he Rest In Peace. And I thought we were going to refrain from commenting….

      • Ricardo says:

        … all part of the rich tapestry of life

      • Gordon says:

        Thought you weren’t going to comment on the quality of his music. At any rate this sort of comment soon after someone has died says a great deal more about you than it does about Louis. It’s your comment itself which is truly the childish protest of the musically challenged.

        I wasn’t going to say it by the way, BUT, John, your music is moronic, naive, vapid, backward, pointless, self-interested, flaccid masturbation, a multi-decade black hole of obsolescence and boredom.

        • Gordon says:

          I mean to begin with, what sort of serious composer or artist spends a good part of every single day making comments on a second rate arts blog, let alone a sensationalist, agenda-laden, playing-favourites one like slippedisc?

  • Hilary says:

    I like the extreme stance of L.Andriessen’s best pieces and his (jointly written) book ‘The Appolonian Clockwork’ suggests someone in tune with the creative process. It scores 4.4/5 in goodreads.com

    Holland has done well in the 20th Century-other figures of note include Simeon Ten Holt (1923-2012) and Matthias Vermeulen (1888-1967).

  • fred says:

    RIP, but the truth is his father was a much better composer of music to be appreciated by not only the intellectual few of Amsterdam. So foremost Dutch composer not really

  • I was looking through the course catalog of the Yale School of Music in the late 80s, and there was a description of a course that Andriessen was teaching. The last sentence of the paragraph was, if I remember correctly, “And not to forget Poulenc.” I think that sums up his aesthetic rather well.