This Friday, we will play Luc Ferrari’s ‘A la recherche du rythme perdu’ in our new series News from the Front. Here is a brief description of this piece, and a clip from YouTube:

‘“It is a rather complex affair, if, as the title suggests, one gives the matter a minute’s thought. First came in 1972 a composition entitled ‘Programme commun pour clavecin et bande magnétique’ (Common programme for harpsichord and tape) created and played many times by Elisabeth Chojnacka. Then, in 1978, the same tape was used for another score entitled ‘A la recherche du rythme perdu’ (Searching for the lost rhythm) for piano, percussion and tape, which was always played without percussion. Last came in 1989 this recording that profits by the active participation of a tambourine player (this instrument takes the percussion role). This ‘rocambolesque’ story tells the interesting adventure (thus the title: Reflection on writing) of a score and a magnetic tape that gave birth to several ‘compostions’. ’A la recherche du rhythme perdu’ is truly linked to oral tradition, i. e. speech replaces writing. And even though the code still exists, it isn’t there anymore to point to the score, but rather as an appeal to musical intuition. The same for the rhythm – a body becomes animated with a rhythmic reality through all those slight variations which do not appear in the score. This is what the title points to. As for the sound and the story it tells, it’s up to the listener to find his way.’

(Source: Luc Ferrari ‘A la recherche du rythme perdu’.)

Metamkine: Collection Cinéma pour l’oreille

This is an excellent series of 3” CDs (ranging from 12 to 21 minutes long) in neat packaging, focussing on electro-acoustic and musique concrete composers (if your CD-player can’t already cope with the 3” format, adaptors are readily available).

Luc Ferrari’s Unheimlich Schön comes from 1971 and is much more restrained than the Marchetti piece. It starts with the voice of Ilse Lau repeating the title, and as the verbal content of her voice is allowed to deteriorate, extraneous sounds like breathing come to the fore. The effect is interesting and reminiscent of Alvin Lucier’s I Am Sitting in a Room.


A series matter – Time Out Amsterdam

Amsterdam’s original ‘Temple of Enlightenment’ Felix Meritis is tuning up with three new concert series. Tim Peterson spoke with organisers Arjan Hebly and John Snijders.

Given the enormous anticipated rollback of government funding for classical music in Holland, it would make sense to see a bit more conservative programming from classical venues right now. Surprisingly, the folks at Felix Meritis, the stately, columned monument to arts and science on the Keizersgracht, are doing just the opposite.
Starting this month with a performance from Amsterdam-based contemporary chamber group the Ives Ensemble, music programming manager Arjan Hebly, along with help from Ives’ founder and artistic director John Snijders, has conjured up three new series – 22 concerts in total – through May 2012. The previous year’s count: 12.
‘I wanted some regularity in the programming, not just one every month,’ says Hebly, who came to the Felix Meritis two years ago from a cultural centre in Hoofddorp. ‘We want to establish our new-old concert hall. When you have too few concerts, people start to forget you.’
The ‘new-old’ hall to which Hebly is referring received a complete new paint job and modern ventilation system just last year. The project was part of a massive renovation that’s been going on for 20 years in preparation for the 225th anniversary of the building in 2013. That year also marks the 125th birthday of the Concertgebouw and 300 years of the beloved grachtengordel, so some significant collaborative concerts are in the works.
Until the 19th century, the main Felix Meritis concert hall, which was actually the model for the Concertgebouw’s small hall, was pretty much the only musical performance venue in Amsterdam, often playing host to period rock stars including Robert and Clara Schumann, Johannes Brahms, Camille Saint-Saëns and Julius Röntgen.
Deputy director of international programmes Joanneke Lootsma said it was time to ‘revive the concert practice as it once was.’ Hebly agrees: ‘It was the natural moment.’
September kicks off the new music schedule with the first series, ‘News Amsterdam’s original ‘Temple of Enlightenment’ Felix Meritis is tuning up with three new concert series. Tim Peterson spoke with organisers Arjan Hebly and John Snijders Felix cats: The Ives Ensemble makes for the Meritis. Below: ‘Die Kammersängerin’ A series matter from the Front’, which focuses on unpacking the term ‘modern music’ through classical, contemporary and new compositions, and features concerts from Ives as well as 18th-century specialists the Van Swieten Society and contemporary vocalists the Asko Chamber Choir.
‘“Old” and “modern” don’t have anything to do with the time that music’s been written,’ says Snijders. ‘Music written in the 14th century could sound like it’s been written in the 1940s. Someone like Beethoven or Haydn – their music was avant-garde in its own right, not contemporary but modern. That quality doesn’t get lost in time.’
There’s only one concert this month: ‘Two Women’ on 16 September features two half-hour pieces. The first is ‘Les Emois d’Aphrodite’, a collection of three dances for an ‘invisible’ goddess, written by musique concrète pioneer Luc Ferrari. Following is award-winning musical theatre production ‘Die Kammersängerin’, a work for high soprano and nine musicians from Dutch composer Richard Rijnvos, based on texts from 20th-century Austrian poet Ernst Jandl.
The rest of the programming doesn’t really get going until November, but there’s plenty on the roster thereafter.
As far as the national budget cuts are concerned, Felix Meritis isn’t expecting much of an impact; it receives only half of one per cent of its annual operating budget from the local government, according to director Linda Bouws, and nothing from The Hague. The rest? Rent from letting all of the building’s seven unique halls: ‘Some days there’s a photo shoot, a summer course or a business conference,’ says Lootsma. In that sense, Felix Meritis is already running as The Hague would like: using income earned from mostly private sources.
‘Even though the government is doing everything they can to destroy as much as they can manage, we’ll go on ‘When you have too few concerts, people start to forget you’ regardless,’ says Snijders. ‘A message can come from our concerts, but it’s not the reason for them. We’re more musicians than politicians.’ Maybe they can be a little of both.
The Ives Ensemble performs at Felix Meritis, Keizersgracht 324, Friday 16.

Komende concerten

Twee Vrouwen
Vrijdag 16 september / 20.15 uur / Felix Meritis, Amsterdam  
Facebook event 

Luc Ferrari – Unheimlich Schön (1971) & A la Recherche du Rhytme perdu (1978)
Van Luc Ferrari (1929-2005) klinkt zijn prachtige electronische werk Unheimlich schön, een werk met als ondertitel “hoe ademt een jonge vrouw die aan iets anders denkt?”. De grootmeester van de musique concrète onderzoekt ritme en improvisatie in het jazzy uitbundige  A la Recherche du Rhytme perdu voor piano, slagwerk en band.

Richard Rijnvos – Die Kammersängerin
In het muziektheaterwerk Die Kammersängerin, op teksten van Ernst Jandl, laat Richard Rijnvos (geb. 1964) in 21 Lieder, 3 ohne Worte, een zangeres de dag beleven. De regie van Die Kammersängerin is in handen van Jos van Kan, het decor is van Michiel Voet en de geheel in de voorstelling geïntegreerde boventiteling door studenten van de afdeling Kunst, Media en Technologie van de Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht. Soliste is de sopraan Marijje van Stralen. Over de première van het werk in april 2010 zei de pers: “het kan nu al aangemerkt worden als één van de muzikale hoogtepunten van 2010.”
Dit concert maakt onderdeel uit van een serie die het Ives Ensemble in Felix Meritis heeft geëntameerd, getiteld ‘Nieuws van het Front.’ Drie Ensembles, Het Ives Ensemble, Van Swieten Society en het Asko Kamerkoor hebben de handen ineengeslagen om het publiek ervan te overtuigen dat er in alle eeuwen vernieuwende muziek is geweest, of het nu de 18e of de 21e eeuw is. Tijdens 1 van de 8 concerten treden alle drie ensembles in verrassende en afwisselende combinaties op.

Entreeprijs per concert is € 25. Bij een abonnement voor 4 concerten krijgt u 20% korting. Indien u een abonnement voor alle 8 concerten aanschaft is de korting 25%. Kijk hiervoor op

Woensdag 21 september / 20.15 / Muziekgebouw aan’t IJ, Amsterdam 
Zondag 2 oktober / 11.30 / Theater aan het Vrijthof, Maastricht

De plek waar je opgroeit is ook voor veel componisten de belangrijkste plek op aarde: hun thuis, het landschap van hun jeugd, de geuren, geluiden en kleuren van hun stad of dorp. Er is hier geen sprake van sentimentaliteit of chauvinisme, maar van inspiratie voor de meest uiteenlopende soorten muziek. Van de landschappen van Japan en noord Engeland, verklankt door Takemitsu en Fox, de volksmuziek van Duitsland en Mexico verwerkt door Zimmermann en Revueltas, tot de kindergedichtjes van Tsjechië en de Flamenco van zuid Spanje bij Janáček en de Falla, in Heimat laat het Ives Ensemble horen dat de vaderlandse cultuur in veel landen een onuitputtelijke bron van ideeën vormt.
In Maastricht wordt in dit programma het werk ‘Říkadla’ van Leoš Janáček uitgevoerd samen met Cappella Amsterdam.

Meer nieuws op 

What were your earliest musical memories?

I suppose that would be the radio, because radio was something completely new. I was a kid during the Second World War and even before that my parents had one of the first radio sets, and there was Radio London. I can still remember those four timpani strokes, and then that mishmash of voices scrambled by electronic devices, through which you could hear those surrealistic messages, like cadavres exquis! Wonderful sound memories. You turned on the radio and heard all kinds of things. One day it was “Pacific 231” by Honegger, which really had an effect on me: it was absolutely astounding, noise-music. After the War they started talking about contemporary musicians—I was 15 years old and followed the programmes passionately-the first things I heard by Webern and Schoenberg were about that time, just after the War.

Read full interview with Luc Ferrari by Dan Warburton from 1998.