Jurriaan was a composer with great imagination and fantasy, very loud when in company, a person who liked drawing attention to himself, very humorous, could tell stories in a colorful way, charming, person; so that people loved him. He was allways laughing, a vain entertainer, very engaging and enthusiastic joker, who could talk endlessly on things. However his brashness and his public clown-mask was hiding a worrier, a restless and intense person who feared that his talent would not get recognition, jealous when other artists got recognition and who could do extreme things, he could change the atmosphere in a group from cold to hot, but also tried to force family life into the direction he wanted it to go. Once he kept a child upside down against her will for entertainment purposes. People either liked him or disliked him; it was rather bipolar. He was fanatically idealistic on ecological ideas, using second hand furniture which he got from the household refuse which he searched for in the streets. His main project was a musical portrait of his wife Hedwig, painting her by writing music notes (see image); on which he worked 5 years. The creative and new thing is that this portrait can be played and beautiful music results; it sounds a bit like Mozarts music.
There appeared to be another secret project too; for many years he went towards the swimming bath for a strange excercise; trying to keep under water as long as he could; making it longer and longer every time. The change of body fluid chemistry that occurs when you do this, made him feel more relaxed. He was warned time and again that he was playing with his life, one bath-master even left the building when Jurriaan entered it. The end of it came when finally he got a fatal blackout and was discovered too late to be saved. He left a wife and young child behind.
Perhaps this was a lengthy suicide project? He was used to doing that lenghty projects .
Assessment: Mercurial Style (Oldham), Borderline Personality (Millon), type E4 (Naranjo), type 7w6 (Riso, Palmer)
Jurriaan Andriessen portrait
Jurriaan Andriessen, born in Haarlem in 1951, died in an accident in 1991. His life was influenced by the musical tradition of the family. Grandfather Hendrik Andriessen, born in 1892, was a composer of romantic classical music. Hendrik had three sons: Nico (Jurriaan's father), Jurriaan and Louis. Jurriaan's uncle Jurriaan and, even more, his uncle Louis are well-known contemporary composers. It is not suprising that Jurriaan picked up music early. Schooled in the classical tradition he soon started to develop his own vision on music, adding jazzstyles such as boogie woogie to, for instance Schubert or Bach.
Yet, he also had a talent for drawing, painting and writing. He decided to go to art school: a study in journalism followed. After a short period as an illustrator at the Marten Toonder Studios he became an independent artist. From then on he spent all his energy on drawing an illustrated description of a world without waste and pollution, the Eldorian Empire. This book, The Eldorian Empire, was first published in a limited hand-crafted collectors' version. Finally a paperback-edition, Eldorica, was published 1990, one year before his death. The first recording of Hedwig's Portrait was made in 1989, after 5 years of research and labour.
The portrait `
Jurriaan andriessen was intrigued by the way things look different from nearby or from a distance. Grayscales in drawings can be dotted, but for instance also formed with characters, using more or fewer (or different) characters to make different tones. His first 'portrait', a self -portrait, was based on this principle. He used text in such a way that from a distance you can see the portrait. When you come closer there is a story to read. The next portrait consists of thousands of small drawings (humans, houses, cars, airplanes). Yet again, seen from a distance, it becomes a portrait.
Finally, after seeing one of Bach's complicated partitures, he started to experiment with the possibility of writing his own compositions in such a way that they melt into a portrait.
As discussed before, Jurriaan was influenced by both classical and contemporary music. He liked the classical musicforms like fugas and canons for the way the music weaves into new melodies. But, like Gerhwin, he was also inspired by rhythmical jazz-styles such as boogie woogie.
Hedwig's Portrait is a conceptual work because each part had to fit into the portrait> Yet the music music seems to be unaffected by the form (and even developing from within during the progress).
The 51 different parts of the portrait each have their own atmosphere and emotional value: parts of the eye, for instance have a radiance that is completely different from the parts of the neck. The differences are also caused by the fact that the composition too five years, during which period Jurriaan of course developed his version and style. The first part of the portrait reveal the classics. Your hear Bach, but also Ravel, Stravinsky or Gerhwin. At the end of the portrait Jurriaan reaches the style that he himself describes as Eldorian, called after his fantasy world of sincerity and simplicity.
The result is a unique piano piece, with also some double canons for Two pianos.