There is something going on in the world of modern classical music. Under the influence of 20th century minimalism, exemplified by Philip Glass and Steve Reich, and the ‘new simplicity’ of Arvo Pärt and John Tavener, music that is pleasant to listen to has become ‘bon ton’ once again. This post-classical music – also referred to as ‘neoclassical’ – is peppered with repetitive elements drawn from minimalism, does not shy away from melancholy and allows the sound of the piano and strings to flirt with the infinite possibilities of sampling and synthesizers. A new generation of composers, including Max Richter, Ólafur Arnalds, Dustin O’Halloran and Nils Frahm, have seen their worldwide fan bases surge. Lovers of this music embrace the trend as a welcome reaction to a deadlocked modernism and stagnant avant-garde. Others dismiss the music as a form of nostalgia or reject it as overly simplistic. One thing is for certain: their concerts sell out in the blink of an eye to listeners of all ages.
As children of their time, the composers of this generation are just as interested in writing music for television series, blockbuster movies and dance productions. The inspiration for their atmospheric piano chords and melancholy cellos are drawn from electronic pieces by Kraftwerk or Sigur Rós, although their music is still very much akin to what we call ‘classical music’. As the Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds puts it: “There are so many people who only listen to classical music and think that pop music is of some lesser nature and also the reverse: others think classical music is something only their grandparents listen to. I want to be somewhere in between, and open people’s minds a little bit. ’Cause in the end it’s all just music.”
At this edition of inPRIMETIME, AMUZ presents a cross-section of this exciting and surprising music, which is bound to move you and make you smile. There are also three dance productions by the British choreographer Wayne McGregor on the programme, in partnership with Cinema Zuid, with music by Max Richter, Ólafur Arnalds and A Winged Victory for the Sullen. Welcome to the 21st century: it sounds divine!