"Canto Ostinato" is a piece by Dutch composer Simeon ten Holt written for relaxation from behind the piano between 1976 and 1979. It predominently pertains to the concept of time: taking your time, pastime, making time. The composer used to call his work “the tonality after the death of tonality.”
The most remarkable aspect about this work is the amount of freedom that is given to the performer(s). The piece can be performed on different instruments and by a different number of performers. Other aspects which illustrate this freedom can be found in how this piece has been built up. The composer created a hundred and six small cells called 'sections' of a few bars, which can be played ad libitum and be repeated either one or many more times. Interpreting artists are free to decide themselves how they vary these smaller pieces and for how long they repeat them. Because of this build-up, performance may take from some two hours to more than a day.
Since its premiere in 1979 in Bergen (the Netherlands), Canto Ostinato grew out to be a hypnotizing masterpiece, revered by audiences and composers all over the world. Many people call a performance of Canto Ostinato a mesmerizing ritual, a trip, a life altering experience.