A musical tour of Europe’s great cities: Amsterdam
Minimalism and modernism have thrived here, but look a little deeper for some wonderful curiosities, while the city’s key role in period performance practice, and its world famous orchestra ensure its place as one of Europe’s great musical centres
Friday 4 November 2016 12.55 GMT
OK, my friends, I accept I may have made an error of judgment by making a musical stopover in Amsterdam. @abkquan puts it very nicely: “Here the problem is the opposite to Vienna: what to include instead of what to exclude.”
The Netherlands is a nation of performers – and painters of course – but composers are thin on the ground. It doesn’t have its equivalent of Sibelius, Nielsen or Grieg, a composer who came to symbolise 19th-century nationhood. I feel there is probably a good PhD thesis to be written explaining why.
But we have made our bed and now must lie in it. The great thing about @abkquan is that he does not give up. “I’ll tentatively put forward Louis Andriessen, whose pungent De Staat is widely considered a minimalist masterpiece.” De Staat is a setting of and commentary on Plato’s Republic, and has been brilliantly deconstructed by Guardian writer Tom Service. Immerse yourself in it, and you will find yourself perplexed, inspired, seduced.