Simeon ten Holt: Canto Ostinato

Simeon ten Holt: Canto Ostinato

We’re pleased to announce that later in the year we will be releasing the world premiere recording of Simeon ten Holt’s Canto Ostinato arranged for symphony orchestra by Dutch composer Anthony Fiumara. The release features the Noord Nederlands Orkest conducted by David Porcelijn and will be available as double CD as well as in 3D Audio.

Canto Ostinato is by far the most popular work by Simeon ten Holt and possibly the best known work from the 20th century Dutch music literature. In his orchestration Fiumara has divided the orchestra in two and inline with the original version for piano each group has the choice the either play or not play the fragments. If you are a fan of the piano version then this arrangement for symphony orchestra should not be missed.

About Simeon ten Holt

Although Simeon ten Holt’s music is often categorized under the Minimal Music banner, the question is whether this characterization captures the true nature of his composing talent. Although the minimalist inspiration is undoubtedly present in all of his piano compositions, the distinctive feature is not so much the rhythmic and tonal structure which is so typical for this style, but much more the evolutionary space which his music actually creates for the players performing his music.

Simeon’s compositions are not just single works, but rather a collection of an infinite number of compositions, all hidden in a single written code. Like a multitude of images hidden in a holographic photographic image, the script outlines a solution space in which actual shape and form will develop in time towards its full extent and depth. Every performance is therefore unique, yet recognizable as a part of the larger collection. Like life itself, it emerges and takes shape in a complex interaction between the genotypes as a code in the score and the context of performers and audience. This evolutionary and interactive characteristic distinguishes the music from the mainstream minimal music and gives it a special position within this type of compositions. Whereas the minimal music is essentially a modernist, constructive style, Simeon’s music is better characterized as post-modernist and organic in nature.

The success of this music might be explained with this characteristic in mind, as it connects with audiences on an emotional level, taking them on a, every time unique, journey through a musical space. Adventurous but not unsafe, challenging but not beyond the stretch limit, uncharted but not random.

About Anthony Fiumara

Anthony Fiumara (Tilburg 1968) received his musical training at the University of Utrecht. He works as a full time composer, but he also enjoyed a successful career as a music journalist, producer of radio programs and lecturer. Anthony was artistic director of Orkest De Volharding and Compagnie Bischoff. He co-founded the Amsterdam Electric Festival, as wel as the indie-classical ensemble Lunapark, and the independent record label Alaska Records.

He was composer–in-residence at the North Netherlands Symphony Orchestra and he wrote music for a number of international soloists and ensembles, such as musikFabrik, Trio Mediaeval, Quartetto Maurice, and Sentieri Selvaggi. Fiumara holds the position of professor of music composition at the Academy of Music and Performance Arts (AMPA) in Tilburg.

Fiumara’s recent work is characterized by a dynamic style. Key words are speed, energy, layers, clear-cut contrasts. Witness the orchestral work As I Opened Fire (2014), the mercurial opening movement of the string quartet I Dreamed in the Cities at Night (2014) or the rushed ‘Interludes’ in Fiumara’s requiem, Memorial Park (2017), commissioned by November Music festival in Den Bosch, being the featured composer there in 2017.

An important (and also the most ear-catching) pillar is the repetitive nature of Fiumara’s work. He increasingly seems to use repetition as a means to set up a sound surface – Fiumara prefers to say ‘canvas’ – whereas the larger shape is buttressed by contrasts, collages, or maybe the blueprint of a rock song.

His music betrays a longing for immediacy, for powerful expression that has listeners by the short hairs straight away without them needing to take cognizance of the underlying constructions or deeper meanings. The essence of his work, in all its simpleness, can be taken at face value through the physical experience of the sound itself – or as Fiumara says ‘the skin or the sound’.

Fiumara is also a wanted orchestrator. He arranged the music of Steve Reich, Terry Riley, John Adams, Simeon ten Holt, Brian Eno, Aphex Twin, Massive Attack and David Bowie.

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