Hammer Music - Percussion and the percussive edge of the piano

Slagwerk Den Haag (Percussion The Hague) meets pianist Ralph van Raat

The instruments

There is a destinctive percussive edge to the piano. That's why virtuoso pianist Ralph van Raat teams up with Slagwerk Den Haag for a abrasive new music concert. On the programme the 4th of April 2015 in Korzo Theatre, The Hague:

  • Mayke Nas - El angel extraminator
  • Helmut Lachenmann - Guero
  • John Cage - Credo in us
  • Iannis Xenakis - Métaux
  • Peter Adriaansz - Scala II (No. 56)

Ralph van Raat

For the piece of Mayke Nas Ralph van Raat confronted a group of four percussionists: Fedor, Niels, Joey and Pepe. With Fedor using a flyswat. The sign for it being a composition with a lot of humour. And laughter was what the performers and Mayke Nas, present at the concert, got from the audience. Sliding over the keys Ralph ignited the percussionists to act. All of a sudden Joey had an unpleasant cough. As it was repeated it became clear that this is part of the score. And Niels making apologetic gestures: "I cannot help it". The music itself is like an ever commencing string of notes, with sometimes hoketus like interaction between pianist and percussionist. The piece ends with a solo by Pepe using thimbles on a piece of wood, rounded off by a piano phrase.
Guero by Helmut Lachenmann is a composition for piano solo. Ralph van Raat explores the sounds of the piano by storking it's wood, letting his nails slide over the keys and also using the pegs and finally by manually stroking the strings.

Ryoko Imai

John Cage's "Credo in us" is a highly dynamic composition, with sound samples (radio and grammaphone), bang on a can sequences, muted gongs and off course a leading piano. With Ralph van Raat occasionnaly switching to bongo drum. All with a scent of jazzy attitude. An appealing piece since it's conception in 1942.

Enric Monfort, Niels Meliefste and Joey Marijs

After the break Iannis Xenakis' much acclaimed Métaux was ably performed. Métaux is one of the four parts of composition Pléïades. All six members of Slagwerk Den Haag play on SIXXEN. (See also my description and video of the piece (also by Slagwerk Den Haag)).
Peter Adriaansz piece Scala II (No. 56) was performed for the fourth time by Slagwerk Den Haag. "With each performance the piece gains in expressiveness", stated composer Peter Adriaansz. "As it should, for you don't want it to get worse", he said chuckling. "I wrote it for Slagwerk Den Haag". A lenghty composition of about 25 minutes. In which the six percussionists are joined by pianist Ralph van Raat. The instrumentation includes two gendèrs ("a kind of chromatic gamelan, with piano tuning", said Joey) and two cembalos. Which were especially bought by Slagwerk Den Haag to perform this composition. Peter: "I included the cembalos, because of it metal strings. It has a heavy impact and is a powerful instrument." And this instrumentation was underlined by a distinct hint of Fareastern sounds.
After the concert Pepe explained:"The cembalo has metal strings and is like a rock guitar." After having said this he illustrated his words by playing a rock sequence.

Ralph van Raat and Slagwerk Den Haag - The Hague Percussion

Line up for this performance:

  • Ralph van Raat - piano
  • Ryoko Imai, Fedor Teunisse, Niels Meliefste, Joey Marijs, Pepe Garcia, Enric Monfort - percussion


Hammer Music - Slagwerk Den Haag and Ralph van Raat, 4 April 2015 (Korzo Theatre, The Hague)