MiM quiz – Expert level / Education

Remember, this quiz is not about testing your knowledge about contemporary music. It's all about getting to know the four composers - their music, techniques, but also inspirations and private stories. We invite you to take on this challenge - discover the universe of four personalities and dive in into their music.

Which ones among the four composers created such ensembles?

Many contemporary composers were also performers of their own (and not only their own) music; some even founded ensembles specialising in performances of contemporary works (not only their own).

In 1976 Pierre Boulez founded Ensemble Intercontemporain – an ensemble of 31 soloists specializing in new music, which became a model for similar enterprises in France and other countries. Louis Andriessen sought to create a new type of ensembles, providing an alternative to the line-ups and modes of operation of conventional orchestras and chamber ensembles – he put his concepts into practice in Orkest de Volharding and Hoketus, which he co-founded.

Here are some names of performers important to the four composers for some reason. Link them to the right name.

Reinbert de Leeuw

The conductor Reinbert de Leeuw, together with the Dutch ensembles Schönberg Ensemble and Asko Ensemble (now combined into one Asko/Schönberg Ensemble) performed and premiered many of Louis Andriessen’s works.

Maurizio Pollini

Maurizio Pollini is a brilliant interpreter of Pierre Boulez’s piano sonatas, especially No. 2, which he believes is a milestone in the repertoire for the instrument on a par with Beethoven’s sonatas.

Gidon Kremer

Gidon Kremer is a great advocate of Arvo Pärt’s music – at his request the composer wrote Tabula Rasa; Kremer was also the first performer of Fratres in the version for violin and piano.

Les Percussions de Strasbourg

Les Percussions de Strasbourg premiered Kazimierz Serocki’s percussion sextet Continuum.

Which ones among the four composers wrote music for the youngest performers?

Match each statement with a composer.

He knew how to establish a bond with young listeners, but was not interested in simplifying his musical language to enable the youngest performers to play or sing his works.

Pierre Boulez was once asked to write a piece for an album of modern compositions for piano learners. He did comply with the request and the piece was published on the album, but Une page d’éphéméride is a very demanding composition technically – in any case Boulez himself admitted that he seemed to be unable to write anything simpler.

He wrote a lot of functional music, including instrumental music, like pieces for not very advanced pianists.

Kazimierz Serocki’s The Gnomes, a collection of pieces for young pianists, became very popular and was even arranged in various transcriptions for other instruments.

He wrote pieces featuring children’s choirs, but they are not music for children, as is evidenced, for example, by the texts, which talk about death.

In Louis Andriessen’s Dancing on the Bones, a piece the composer described as a “diabolical scherzo”, a children’s choir sings about what happens to the body after death.

He composed pieces for children’s choir to be performed by children and for children, with titles unequivocally indicating their addressees (for example, “I Am Already Big” or “Saint Nicholas”)

Arvo Pärt’s “children’s” works were issued on the Songs from Childhood album.

Read more about his Music for Children.

Creative periods - Arvo Pärt

Which work by the composer is earlier? Which is later?

The earlier one should be indicated.

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Perpetuum mobile (1963) was written before Arvo Pärt’s tintinnabuli period, Adam’s Lament (2010) is one of more recent works by Arvo Pärt.

Creative periods - Louis Andriessen

Which work by the composer is earlier? Which is later?

The earlier one should be indicated.

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Louis Andriessen’s music is often divided into pre- and post-De Staat (1972):

  1. Ittrospezione III (1965) – music that fits in well with the avant-garde of the 1960s.
  2. Excerpt from De Materie (first part) - its characteristic features include clear pulsation, repetitions, Stravinsky and jazz influences.

In which example is the sound of instruments transformed electronically?

Choose one or more:

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Pierre Boulez – …explosante-fixe… for MIDI flute, two flutes, ensemble and electronics (1991–93).

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Louis Andriessen De Tijd for choir and orchestra (1980–81). Louis Andriessen sometimes used electronics, but the sophisticated colours and effects in the piece are achieved without electronics.

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Kazimierz SerockiPianophonie for piano with electronic transformation of sound and orchestra (1979).

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Arvo Pärt – Miserere (1989–92). Arvo Pärt did not use electronics, the reverberation is, of course, entirely natural.

Well done!

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