At the quarterly Dag in de Branding Festival in The Hague, The Netherlands Ensemble Klang XL staged the Dutch premiere of Fausto Romitelli's 'Professor Bad Trip'. But there was more on the program for that Saturday May 14th, 2016. Ensemble Klang, by means of their two saxofonists Michiel van Dijk and Erik-Jan de With, cooperated with high school students of the Edith Stein College and their music teacher. Together they worked out an own Professor Bad Trip project. The kids experienced that the music made them pretty uncomfortable, so they turned it into a bit more positive psychedelic piece. With vocals, keyboards, acoustic and electric guitars, harmonica and stamping their feet and clapping hands and with propulsive accompaniment of the two saxes the students presented their interpretation of a bad trip. Culminating in a whistle battle between the girls and the boys.
Then Ensemble Klang XL took the stage for the reprise of Pete Harden's Forgiveness. With two groups of players one being Klang itself, with absent trombone player Anton van Houten replaced by Joost Geevers. The battle between the two groups evolve into teaming of instruments of both groups in pairs and finally a kind of symbiosis.
In his introduction to Professor Bad Trip conductor and artist-in-residence and artistic co÷rdinator of the Festival Dag in de Branding, Christian Karlsen, mentioned that surprisingly the piece was never played before in The Netherlands. That is until he got the score and realised it was propably one of the most technically demanding pieces you ever come across. Christian told:"You all know Ensemble Klang and that they never ever before have worked with a conductor. But the fact we all felt this piece was difficult to get down, they decided 'well this is the moment we do a conducted piece'.
A hellish sound trip by Ensemble Klang XL, ably supported by lighting and video by Meeus van Dis, this piece by Fausto Romitelli. Some consider it to be the best composition of the last twenty years. And with a hallucinating (distorted) cello solo by Arno van der Vuurst. A lengthy and interesting 45 minute trip.
After the concert I confided to Erik-Jan de With I hadn't heard about Romitelli ever before. To my relief he hadn't either. And Mark Kaptijn, trumpet player in David Kweksilber's Big Band remarked:"I didn't experience the piece as a bad trip. I like the music."