July 17, 2019

Simeon ten Holt

Good morning.

Today we’re listening to Simeon ten Holt, a Dutch minimalist composer. Ten Holt’s most famous work is Canto Ostinato ("Obstinate Song"). Meant for multiple pianos, the work consists of 106 phrases that the performers play ad libitum, or as many times as they desire. Given this freedom, performances of the Canto Ostinato can last from an hour to multiple days. Our chosen recording, by pianists Tomoko Mukaiyama and Gerard Bouwhuis, came out this past spring and falls at the shorter end of the length spectrum. Ten Holt’s minimalism eschews the dissonance of mainstream 20th century classical music, though the second album we recommend today, Incantation IV, strikes slightly harsher tones than the Canto. Holt passed away in 2012 at the age of 89.

Canto Ostinato by Simeon ten Holt (80m) Spotify / Apple Music / YouTube Music / Google Play / Tidal

Incantation IV by Simeon ten Holt (60m) Spotify / Apple Music / Google Play / Tidal (alternate recording)

Have a lovely Wednesday.

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