Characteristics[ edit ] It is a melodically indeterminate piece; this means there is no key and no defined melody. Sections may be repeated as many times as the conductor wishes, resulting in varying performance lengths. Every instrument plays different notes that follow the same rhythm and ascending or descending patterns. This creates an atonal piece with many polyphonic phrases. There are points in the piece where the ensemble splits into two groups.
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Louis Andriessen b. His father and brother were both composers, and while he had an immediate entree into European modernism in the beginning of his musical life, by the end of the s he was a full-on Marxist. His music forms a bridge between the trance-like works of Reich and Glass and the music of David Lang. He stands on the other side of Minimalism - with its large structure and length, Workers Union , written for "any loud sounding group of instruments," is an assault of repetition and dynamics.
Andriessen replaces the pretty hypnosis of American Minimalism with jerky rhythms and dissonance. His music springs from his political idealism, his challenge of the status quo, his belief in struggle.
He takes the influences of Stravinsky, the obsessively rhythmic form of Boogie Woogie jazz, and early Minimalism to create his own style; his music sounds like Steve Reich with his hand in a meat grinder. The score of Workers Union gives performers specific rhythms without specific pitches; the challenge of choosing their own notes for the minute duration is part of the way the piece acts out his political intensity.
Workers Union (Andriessen)