December 6th, 2018 at TivoliVredenburg, Club Nine Hall, in Utrecht. Kluster5 almost exactly presented the same programme they played at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 2018 on November 22nd. With one exception. The World Premiere of Hoge Uren by Celia Swart.
Guitarist Martin van Hees:"It was a privilege to work with Chaz Underriner last year during the Gaudeamus Music Week. That was one of the most fascinating projects. We premiered it in September 2017 right here in this building, at the other side of the corridor. Chaz is a personality in contemporary music. We hope to present ourselves as personalities in comtemporary music. But of course as performing musicians. You have to realise that the tradition of cooperation between composer and musician goes way back. And we, Kluster5, try to continue that tradition." Nocturne series: 8 is from 2017. Chaz, USA - 1987, combines chamber music, ambient sound and field recordings from the Texan Blanco river in this series. He aims to provoke an etherical, immersive night song by the juxtaposition of three spaces. The concert hall, The Blanco river bed and his car with open windows, with which he drives the Texan highways. The tranquility of this night music is overwhelming.
Martin:"Second this evening is a composition - of a beast - by Graham Flett. Graham Flett - look, that is nice about composers who are alive - can be asked asked to the stage and be questioned. You can work together with them and share opinions, either composer or musician. And in this way trying to achieve the highest possible. Graham thank you for writing this piece for us. Or basically kind of arrange it, for originally it was for a different setting of instruments. What can you tell us about this." Graham told:"It was originally for piano and saxophone. Then I was asked to write a piece for you guys. I secretly really loved this piece and I wanted to have it heard with this ensemble. It was very simple. But then in the process of looking at it again . Yeah, your older, things changed. It is not exactly the same piece it was. It became a piece for Kluster5." Martin:"And we are very grateful. And secretly we love this piece. Because it has a lot of drive. And that is what we like off course. Since we are an ensemble from The Hague, that's The Hague School." Graham:"It is young men's music. Cause I wrote it when I was 23 or something. Ten years passed. Got older, had a baby. Now I write slower music. Anyway it was good to revisit this. And I really got into it again. You know, recomposing. And I am really pleased with the result of 'of a beast'." Martin:"And so are we. And I am very pleased with you coming to the stage and working with us."
Violinist Isa Goldschmeding asked:"Jan-Peter, your piece was actually written for a special occasion. And also ispired by a special part of The Hague?" Jan-Peter de Graaff told :"Yes, it was written for the jubilee of the district Marlot. I don't remember how many years. 125 years? 90? OK, the 90-year jubilee. It is a district funny enough not directly connected to the city. For there is a forest between them, The Hague Forest. In terms of architecture the district developed independantly. Still it is a architectonic unity. Most of all it was an architectural experiment. And yes, I liked the idea - something that belongs to the city but is still apart - the idea of attraction and rejection, a beautiful musical element. And I worked with that element and it resulted in this piece. The first part is an explosion in reverse. It all starts with all kinds of loose fragments scattered in the musical landscape. Gradually it increases to a point where it seems to come together. But at the point the tension becomes to great and it all falls apart. I studied on that (Laughter from the audience). The second part follows the same process. Only, the instruments are not independent of each other, but form a combination of sounds which quickly follow each other in tempo. And also that, funny enough, reache a point in which it seems to all come together. At that the the time freezes in the piece. But, that also is not to last. It is only a small bright spot, a little moment of quietness. After that it explodes with a great energetic noise. About the title: Reeks en Progressie (Series and Progression). Reeks is based on a note series of 2.5 octave. That is exactly the amount of notes you have at the upper side of the piano. But, in another order. It is more then tones. Thus also including octaves and that kind of things. But I liked to limit myself a bit. Those tones from which I forged chords etc. All nice and likeable. And progression is the development of it."
Isa Goldschmeding (Videostill)
Isa Goldschmeding:"Also - as far as the first part of the The Hague Series, you are writing - your piece deals with architecture, Celia. But quite another district of The Hague." Celia Swart told:"Mainly the buildings when you walk from the Central Station towards the city center. When you look up you see high towering buildings. And that inspired me and still does, when I look at it. And on a cloudy day; yes, it looks beautiful, I think." Isa continues:"Tonight we witness the world premiere of part two of the The Hague Series and the piece is called?" Celia:"High hours. And it deals with the rush hour in The Hague. Everybody moves fast to go to work or somewhere else. Much hustle. But in the middle of the piece there is a moment of peace and quiet. But then the evening rush hour starts and it is busy again." A thrilling piece full of energy and drive like the best The Hague School compositions.
Martin asked:"What does children's toys have to do with a composition? Aart Strootman based this piece on a small film of Misha Mengelberg. Shambling Emerge a derivation of the name Misha Mengelberg. In this video he improvises on the piano. A tiny, little girl joins him by playing low notes. Exactly that solo he put to notes for piano. You will hear that near the end of the composition. But for the beginning Aart came up with a kind of wry music. That's because Misha mengelberg was suffering from Alzheimer, forgot many things. Quite serious. At one third of the piece the sourness is at it worst. Then he goes back to the sequence he played with the little girl. Old and young. In all it is a harrowing story and in a sense distressing music. We premiered the composition - and we as Kluster5 love premieres - last September during the Gaudeamus Music Week and it was a supercool experience. Aart himself is a guitarist and he constructed this guitar (Martin holding his guitar high) himself. He constructs may a musical instrument. This guitar has four high E strings. All tuned a quarter note differently. Normally there are no four high E strings. Which may be clear. The fifth string is a low E, normally an A. The final string is a low B, normally a low E. The sound of the distress in that music reflects alzheimer."
Composers Jan-Peter de Graaff, Celia Swart and Graham Flett (from l. to r.; Videostill)