Captured at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Anais Nin/De Staat is the first release in Signum's planned schedule of three live recordings by the London Sinfonietta per year.
Anais Nin, an intense sonic psychodrama for solo soprano and ensemble of eight musicians in which composer Louis Andriessen explores the life and especially loves of Nin, certainly puts Cristina Zavalloni's voice through its paces.
Snipped from Nin's diaries. The libretto concentrates on her (in)famous lovers: actor/playwright Antonin Artaud; his (and then her) psychiatrist René Allendy; writer Henry Miller, and, most controversially, her own father, the painter and composer Joaquin Nin. Backed by some suitably 1930s instrumentation, the mood is modernist with a jazz twist and makes scandalous whoopie with Hans Buhrs' taped voice (which takes the male roles). The piece finishes wistfully, with some relief from a ghostly onstage gramophone playing papa's arrangement of a Basque Christmas carol.
De Staat explores the relationship between composition and politics, taking Plato's The Republic as its text. The braying chorale builds like the most gleeful of hyperdramatic soundtracks. Here, though, the effect is not that of a Bruckheimer epic—all faux emotion—but more the lusty avant-grandeur of the likes of Werner Herzog making an elliptical examination of the state.
But as with most party political narratives, by the end the orchestra has divided, its polyphonies tussling bombastically for predominance—with none ultimately victorious. (MUSO)
'Lou Reed and Metallica aren't the only ones delving into pre-war bohemian perversity: the Dutch minimalist Louis Andriessen offers a monodrama based on the diaries of Anaïs Nin, with the soprano Cristina Zavalloni recounting Nin's sexual liaisons with Antonin Artaud, René Allendy, Henry Miller and her own father. With clarinet and sax used to evoke jazz-era Paris, a cabaret- flavoured, sometimes comical Kurt Weill ambience captures the amorality and loneliness in Nin's writing. It is paired with Andriessen's most famous composition, De Staat, in which the vocal group Synergy offer ruminations on music from Plato's Republic, set to the reedy, methodical cycles of Andriessen's early minimalist style' (The Independent)