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Between Past and Future. Frank Scheffer films a fruitful meeting between East and West #HF21

Saturday 26 June at the Holland Festival, a special evening around two music films by Frank Scheffer: the documentary Inner Landscape and the opera film Si Fan. Supplemented by a short live performance by Chinese musician Wu Wei. This will present a musical journey from the seventh-century Tang Dynasty to contemporary electronic music. An evening with unexpected perspectives.

Goodbye movie house, longing for museums: (my) insights after corona

What does culture visit after corona look like? The topic came up regularly on this site in recent months. I myself wrote two personal contributions on it. Now that cultural institutions may almost reopen their doors, the crystal ball is giving way to reality. In my article on 'the promise of the empty hall', I noted a reluctance to... 

Gaudeamus: as a 75-year-old younger than ever

Anno 2020, Music Week is buzzing like never before. Even corona has barely caught on. How many 'Mozarts' have emerged by now I will leave open, but the rich and varied off- and online offerings create some choice stress. At 75, the organisation is younger than ever: Gaudeamus is the place to be.

What is the remplaçanten-cao and why is it so bad that the NPO applies it to the Eurovision Song Contest?

[update: they get even less, see post below] We received confusing news last weekend. The occasion was the festive announcement by the organisers of the Eurovision Song Contest that a special symphonic happening would take place at the final in Rotterdam. Invited were third-year and master students from Rotterdam Conservatoire, part of Codarts, as well as young professional musicians. For the performances... 

First aid for blaze. Rudolf Escher offers solace with Musique pour l'esprit en deuil

Monday 15 April 2019, this date is forever etched in our memory. I couldn't keep dry at the images of the all-consuming fire at Notre-Dame de Paris. Like millions of others, I sat glued to my screen for hours with bated breath: this cannot be true! When the structure, the rose windows and even the organ turned out to be saved, I jumped... 

Why it's good that De Nederlandse Reisopera is coming to you with Die Tote Stadt.

In 1920, Erich Wolfgang Korngold experienced triumphs with his psychological opera Die tote Stadt. The work was performed in more than eighty cities at the time, with unanimous critical acclaim. The opera then disappeared from the stage for a long time but is nowadays performed again sparsely. So it is good that the Nederlandse Reisopera is bringing this almost forgotten piece back to the stage.... 

Music publicist Maarten Brandt: 'For one note from Mahler's Ninth, I would give the gift of Shostakovich's entire oeuvre'

Sounding Alchemy, is the name of the chunky volume recently published by music publicist Maarten Brandt (1953). It has 715 pages, including illustrations and an extensive index. In 98 articles, Brandt unfolds his views on music and music programming. He dedicated the beautifully designed book to his admired Marius Flothuis, programmer of the Concertgebouw Orchestra for many years. His heirs received a first copy during... 

Composer Marijn Simons: 'Everything is about timing'

Although the press picks it up only sparsely, not only the NTRZaterdagMatinee pays much attention to Dutch composers. Indeed, they are also well represented in the AVROTROS Vrijdagconcert (formerly De Vrijdag van Vredenburg). In 2014, for instance, Joey Roukens wrote The building of the temple to mark the reopening of TivoliVredenburg. Two years later, the season opened with Atlantis by Robin... 

Ton de Leeuw by Groot Omroepkoor & RFO brass ensemble: music of 'being' versus music of 'becoming'

At the end of the nineteenth century, Western music gradually began to come apart at the seams. Composers used more and more dissonances so that the familiar tonality hardly fitted into its shell. From a constant desire for even more expression, the orchestra was expanded with ever-newer instruments. This led to monster productions such as Gustav Mahler's 'Symphony of the Tausend', with more than a thousand... 

Franui: Consolation and cheers band from Tyrol surprises with true-life songs #HF17

Florian Boesch is at the front of the stage, around him are his bandmates. On big screen behind the band, a chair slowly melts away. Boesch has hands casually in his pockets. With a smile, the violinist initiates a horlepie-like tune. Wie leiblich und frölich, Zu schweben, zu singen, Von glänzender Höhe, Zur Erde zu blicken! By the clutches... 

Alain Platel sets all of Carré on edge with overwhelming Nicht Schlafen #HF17

The plofnies came totally unexpectedly. The family father behind me, out with wife and presumably reluctant adolescent son, burst out after about 10 minutes into the performance. Just when a deafening silence had descended over the sold-out Theatre Carré. At least four people, including myself, were shocked to the core. A sneeze had never been this loud before, but as quiet as during... 

Franui and Boesch unpretentious #HF17

Some 25 years ago, 10 musicians got together in Innervillgraten. A hamlet in East Tyrol, to play funeral marches. A band formed: Franui. By making quirky arrangements of music such as by Schubert and Mahler, Franui gained international success. At the 2017 Holland Festival, they will perform a programme of music about life and impermanence. In collaboration with baritone Florian... 

Arnold Schoenberg is dead, long live Arnold Schoenberg!

Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951) is often accused of driving audiences out of the hall with his drive for innovation. After all, his twelve-tone system swept away the foundations of tonality, which had provided listeners with a safe haven for centuries. Deprived of its foothold, it would have turned its back on contemporary music forever. Nonsense, because not only did Schoenberg write fantastic works, but also... 

How I found love for opera in Sexyland. (And how you can too) #0FF17

A prelaunch of the Opera Forward Festival OFF [hints]From 18 to 31 March at De Nationale Opera (formerly the Muziektheater/Stopera)[/hints], among other venues, was organised last night at Amsterdam's new society Sexyland. I was impressed. Pretty surprising. Opera Nopera Disclaimer: the author of this one is not an opera director. The last two operas I saw were both by Philip Glass (the true... 

Conductor Han-Na Chang: 'Music never offers just one answer'

'She is the embodiment of the incredible lightness of existence, agile, alert and precise on the beat.' So says one critic about Korean-American conductor Han-Na Chang (Suwon, 1982), who led just about every major orchestra after her debut in 2007. In 2014, she scored highly at the renowned BBC Proms with her fresh interpretation of the Fifth Symphony.... 

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra 2016-17: Amsterdam meets Daniele Gatti

'The most important thing is to bring music to the audience,' says Daniele Gatti on Thursday 25 February during the presentation of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra's new season. 'Amsterdam meets Gatti' we read on large posters behind him. That does not appear to be a word too many: the brand-new principal conductor will be involved in all series, travels on the tour RCO meets Europe,... 

Music journalist Erik Voermans: 'I keep interviewing composers whether they want to or not'

On 4 February, music journalist and musicologist Erik Voermans' latest book was presented: From Andriessen to Zappa. After twenty-five years of writing for Het Parool, Voermans has collected his conversations with the greats of modern-classical music in a chic edition. Paul van der Steen's detailed drawings inspire listening to the music discussed. The presentation in the Great Hall of the Muziekgebouw... 

Singing Gustav Mahler and stammering Beat Furrer touch the soul

Mahler on a programme by Asko|Schönberg - the face of avant-garde atonality, is that possible? For regular guest conductor Etienne Siebens, this is no question: in his programmes, he likes to explore the boundaries between beloved classics and composers still alive. On Thursday, 4 February, he places the ensemble version of Mahler's romantically singing Fourth Symphony - performed with... 

Krzysztof Penderecki: 'In chamber music you can't gloss over anything'

In 1961, Krzysztof Penderecki (Dębica, 1933) put his name on the map in one fell swoop with Lament for the Victims of Hiroshima. This avant-garde, expressionist piece for string orchestra flogs the ears with heavily dissonant harmonies full of microtones. With this uncompromising orgy of sound, the Pole struck the mental and physical inferno caused by the atomic bomb on the Japanese city in 1945 in the... 

Storioni Festival: champagne bottle whose cork almost pops off

Thursday 21 January sees the start of the ninth edition of the Storioni Festival, dedicated to the five-hundredth anniversary of Hieronymus Bosch's death. Free after his famous triptych Garden of Earthly Delights, the musicians of the Storioni Trio and Frank Veenstra, artistic manager of Muziekgebouw Eindhoven, chose the theme 'Dreams and Demons'. Composer in residence is Poland's Krzysztof Penderecki, who became famous... 

You are young and you want classical music

Last summer, the Britten Youth String Orchestra made its own Tour de France. It kicked off in Zwolle, where conductor Loes Visser founded the ensemble in 2007 to give young string players orchestral and stage experience. Interested parties are tested on things like intonation, bowing technique and musicality during a rigorous audition and those who are admitted must rehearse every week and participate in all concerts.... 

HET Symphony Orchestra won't get its 2016 budget done

THE Symphony Orchestra does not have a balanced budget for 2016. Without additional money from the province, it can no longer perform its core task, nor can it fulfil all the commitments it made earlier. That is the gist of the letter CDA deputy commissioner Hester Maij sent to Provincial Council, ahead of its meeting on 7 October. The subject of the letter: "progress business plan/redemption subsidy HET Symfonieorkest".... 

Orlando Festival is broad and varied - with one blind spot: the female composer

Thursday 20 August sees the start of the annual Orlando Festival again in Kerkrade. Established in 1982 by cellist Stefan Metz, this event has been luring young musicians to Rolduc Abbey for over three decades to train in musical practice. Named after the then renowned Orlando Quartet, the festival traditionally pays close attention to strings, but other instruments are not forgotten either.... 

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