They come from everywhere over the world, the members of the Ensemble. Double Bass player Giovanni Bermudez from Equador; Baroque violinist Lucia Giraudo from Argentina; pianist Krists Auznieks from Latvia; Soprano saxophonist Hugo Loi from Macau , while percussionist Brendan Faegre hails from the USA.
As introduction Brendan adressed the audience with the philosophy behind the music. The keyword for the music is edge. Brendan explained:"I will just say a few quick words about the Ensemble. First, about what we are doing. In the world we perceive all objects and systems, their edges are always touching. The edge of one object or system is by definition the edge of another, and at these boundaries, like at the border between two ecosystems, one tends to find the most diversity of species. So, as we as an ensemble are exploring the intersection of various musical traditions, and hoping this will lead to new evolutionary possibilities to new interactions among contrasting systems, with new links and common tones between them. And we want to turn that into a unique and coherent voice. With the Ensemble we have performers from a number of different, varying performance traditions. Primarily from contemporary western classical, historically informed performance and jazz. One of the goals of the Ensemble has been to find the common links between these different traditions.
And where these different edges of musical traditions meet, take advantage of the interesting combinations that can come about from the fruitful interaction between them. So, for example the interest in microtonality from western contemporary classical music finds a nice pair with the historically informed performance interest in and temperaments (Note: Temperaments are tuning systems used frequently before the equal-temperament of the modern piano became common). With early music, the interest in ornamentation and improvised cadenzas sits easily with the melodic improvisation of jazz. The rhythmic subtleties of jazz pair well with the interest in precision and subtlety from contemporary classical music. Likewise we have some other traditions coming in from myself as a composer. I started off live as a rock drummer, so this is also coming into play. And I spent four months in India really immersed in the Hindustani classical tradition. And also a year spent living in Oslo, Norway, where the special intonation of Norwegian folk music had a big influence on me. So you hear these different environments as well interacting within this larger world of the Edge Ensemble.".
Just before the audience entered the hall the Ensemble started to play a piece called Rust Beauty. A more tranquil piece with a distinct Hindustani influence. In the second piece "Tides and mirrors" the performers followed five different routes through the music. They navigated through it independantly, sometimes lining up, sometimes really conflicting and fighting each other. A very rythmic piece! The third piece appeared to me to be an homage to Brendan's composition professor Peter Adriaansz, who himself attended the concert. Again the five performers follow differents routes. This time however with a restricted repertoire of tones and creating interesting music by varying length en volume of tones. The Ensemble finally played a piece - called Groove Check - in which composer Brendan Faegre started with writing the percussion part. On top of that came the parts for the other instruments and solo's. With saxophonist Hugo Loi drawing a mid-piece applause from the audience after his solo. And off course the composition is very rythmic. A fine Debut concert.
After the gig Brendan told about his studies at the University of Indiana and the reason for coming to The Netherlands to study compostion: The heavy hitting the Hague style of compositions. Krists Auznieks confided:"I am a former piano player now turned composer. But I like to play and experience new music." Hugo Loi told he, being from Macau (a Portugese part of China) has a EU passport. For his saxophone studies he did not go to Portugal because he is not a master at Portugese language. Great Britain was to expensive. In Holland he finds the right atmosphere for his music and .... everybody talks English.