Canto Ostinato has often been compared to American minimal music, which itself was the most far-reaching protest against the extreme complexity and highly cerebral slant of much post-war music. Terry Riley’s In C (1964), which music historians now regard as the first work in the genre of minimal music, is a collection of 53 musical excerpts of variable length from 18th century works; Riley instructs that they are to be played randomly and interchangeably by an undefined ensemble of musicians. Many compositions classified as minimal music have a highly repetitive character, which is often attributed to the influence of Eastern meditation techniques on its composers.
It is clear from the very beginning of Canto Ostinato that it is dominated by a repetitive element, namely the quintuple rhythm that opens the piece. Canto Ostinato is certainly not a cheerful anarchic jumble like Riley’s In C, although a social aspect, to use Ten Holt‘s own term, is essential to the piece:
”Canto leaves room for its performers: you can deviate from the text for a moment by looking at each other and by reacting in a certain way. You’re not changing the com- position, that’s not allowed; but you can choose to remain on one moment but not on another. With Canto and with other pieces that followed I created works that em- phasise the social aspect of music. These are pieces that presuppose that people listen and respond to each other.”
Because the players themselves decide how often fragments are repeated, the length of performances can vary greatly. It is Canto Ostinato’s commitment to beauty of sound that sets it substantially apart from minimal music of the 1960s and 1970s. Whilst Riley’s In C is audibly and deliberately non-aestheticising, Canto Ostinato makesfull use of the sonority of the concert grand piano.
1] Sectie 1
2] Sectie 16
3] Sectie 36
4] Sectie 41
5] Sectie 74 thema
6] Sectie 88
7] Sectie 88 C maat 17 8] Sectie 88 A maat 41 9] Sectie 88C maat 69