This unusual collection is dedicated to the very popular style: minimal music. Over the years this has evolved from austere, almost strict repetition with tiny movements to a more varied and free approach to material and technique. This set includes works for piano solo by most of the famous minimal composers. Starting with initiator, if you will, Cage, and followed by the first generation entirely devoting itself to this style: Riley and Glass. The next generation is represented by John Adams and Michael Nyman. Dutch pianist Jeroen van Veen is fascinated by minimal music.
There's perhaps a touch of irony in the title of Dutch pianist and composer Jeroen van Veen's box set Minimal Piano Collection because at nine discs, it's a pretty massive collection. The program booklet notes that he recorded the entire set, which includes more than ten hours of music, in only six days, an astounding feat. In the program notes, van Veen offers a remarkably clear and concise history of minimalism in music. He defines it broadly enough (following the lead of composer and critic Tom Johnson) to include works by Friedrich Nietzsche and Satie. Philip Glass is the composer most widely represented, with three of the set's nine CDs devoted to his music originally for piano, as well as transcriptions from his film scores and operas. Two discs are given to van Veen's mammoth 24 Préludes, organized according to the framework of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier. Other composers range from the very well known, such as Michael Nyman, John Adams, Terry Riley, Arvo Pärt, and John Cage, to the familiar-to-specialists, like Tom Johnson, Wim Mertens, and Jacob ter Veldhuis, to those little-known to American audiences, like Klaas de Vries, Simeon ten Holt, John Borstlap, Yann Tiersen, and Carlos Micháns.
Deus Passus is one quarter of the Passion Project 2000, which celebrated not only the turning of the millennium but also commemorated the 250th anniversary of Bach’s death. German conductor Helmuth Rilling honored this occasion by commissioning Passions from four disparate composers: Wolfgang Rihm, Tan Dun, Sofia Gubaidulina, and Osvaldo Golijov. Deus Passus is a setting of the Passion according to St. Luke, and it is a marvel of a piece for many reasons. For a full hour and a half, with music that is mostly slow and largely atonal (in the sense that Berg’s music is atonal), the twisting, aching, unpredictable harmonies are totally captivating. Rihm chooses a straightforward setting, a simple, dramatic telling of the story, and it is in his capacity for restraint that the true brilliance of the piece lies. He uses the chorus sparingly, mostly for dramatic purposes, having it portray the angry rabble bent on crucifying Jesus (as it often does in Bach’s passions).
The ensemble of the Instant Composers Pool, or ICP, improvises for 45 years now on the highest level. "These guys can swing like madmen and then all of a sudden play the most sensitive ballads" according to trumpetplayer Dave Douglas.This is really an improvisational monster with ten heads!