NEWSLETTER NR. 12 AUGUST - DECEMBER 2007
The Amsterdam UITMARKT is the traditional opening of the cultural season in the dutch capital and here once more my summerleave is coming to an end on August 26. With flutist Eleonore Pameijer I play pieces from our Six Continents Project in the Lloyd Hotel, close to the harbour from where ships used to leave to all those continents. We can use this opportunity to give a try-out of some of the new works, that weНll play soon afterwards on our South-American tour, for example a new piece by the Iranean composer Resa Vali, who is currently living in the USA.
This South-American tour takes off in the Brazilian city of Santos. In the Coliseu Theatre we present our Six Continents Project at the 42nd edition of the Festival Musica Nova, the oldest Festival of Contemporary Music in Latin-America. Composer Gilberto Mendes, 85 years old now and founder of the Festival, is present at the concert. He is still composing and is curious as allways to know about us and about a lot of things happening in the world. Of course we play UrubuqueЇaba , the piece he wrote for us. We repeat the program the next day in SІo Paulo, in het SESC ConsolaЇao Theatre.
Also in SІo Paulo we play for the jewish community there in the house of the director of the Jewish Archive. In our program 'Music from the time of Anne FrankН we play works by a.o. Leo Smit, Dick Kattenburg, Nico Richter, Rosy Wertheim and Darius Milhaud. After the concert we have a talk with a dutch lady who is a former classmate of Anne Frank and even has met her in the concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen where she eventually died.
From my hotel room on the 27th floor I realize the enormous size of SІo Paulo, this incredible city with 22 million inhabitants...
We continue our tour to Buenos Aires, where we have a concert the next day in the (there we go) Salon Dorado del Edificio de la Secretaria de Cultura del Gobierno de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires, a wonderfull hall in the building of the cultural department of the Argentinean capital. Our program with music by jewish composers is really appreciated by the audience but the number of visitors is quite disappointing. The concert agency has made little publicity for the concert and especially abroad musicians are really dependent of the publicity made by the organization of the concert. ItНs such a pity as Buenos Aires has the biggest jewish community, after New York City, outside of Israel.
Fortunately on September 9 we can reach considerably more people at our concert in Rosario, ArgentinaНs second largest city.
Exactly one week later, still a bit jetlagged, we give a fresh report on our Latin experiences at the Amsterdam artist society Arti et Amicitiae on one of their sunday cultural meetings.
On September 23 I play Mompou pianoworks in Anna Paulowna, in the extreme north of Holland, in the artgallery of painter Kees Doolaard (KeesН shed, people call it). I had been stuck in a traffic jam due to an accident for two hours and for the first time in my life I arrive too late for a concert. The audience is sipping their glasses in the garden and doesnНt seem to care at all that the concert is starting half an hour late.
The next sunday I play in the Waterstaatkerk (Waterstaatchruch) in Hengelo, in the east of Holland. With Marijke van Kooten (violin) and DaniЉl Esser (cello) we play a spanish program with music by Federico Mompou and contemporaries. I play the premier of the Homenaje a Mompou for piano, that the spanish composer Elisenda FЄbregas wrote for me on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of MompouНs death and for the upcoming Mompou Festival in november.
On october 8 Eleonore and I present ourselves at the showcases in the Amsterdam BIMHUIS on the yearly нDay of Chamber MusicН, where concertagents and artistic directors of concertvenues come to listen to musicians who could perform in their series. We present our 6 Continents Project, which, due to the limited time available, we have tried to summarize in a medley of fragments of different pieces, making a trip around the world in eight minutes time.
I always like to play in Belgium and thatНs why IНm happy to leave for the flemish city of Gent, where IНll play MompouНs complete Mюsica Callada in de Rode Pomp (the Red Pump). This venue manages to program many interesting concerts every year allthough they donНt receive any subsidy from the governement. A nice incidental circumstance is that nearby is a very nice restaurant, Brasserie Het Pakhuijs, an old warehouse, from where I call my daughter Rivka in Italy to congratulate her with her 18th birthday. IНll go to visit her in Florence in a few days but still I feel sorry to miss her birthday now. This is a less pleasant aspect of being a performer, missing some important events from time to time in my family and my circle of friends.
Two days later there is a concert in the Uilenburger Synagogue in Amsterdam. With Irene Maessen (soprano) and Eleonore Pameijer (flute) we play works by Leo Kok (Sept chansons retrouvјes), Jean Wiјner (Sonatine syncopјe), John Borstlap (new songs), Marjo Tal (Engelmansongs and Chansons) and Vanessa Lann (Memory demands so much).
The songs by Leo Kok were given to me by my wifeНs aunt in Canada. She knew Leo Kok, taking part with him in the dutch resistance movement during the Second World War, ItНs very special to play this music in Amsterdam now, since they may not have been performed at all for a long time. Maybe itНs even a first performance...
In the нDrents MuseumН in Assen (in the north of Holland) there are chamber music concerts on Sunday mornings and there I play at the end of october a selection from MompouНs Preludes and the Mюsica Callada. ItНs full house and it feels good to play repeatedly a program that audiences really like. Much contemporary music unfortunately is appreciated only by a limited number of people. Mompou however seems to touch many musiclovers in a very direct way.
In Amersfoort Eleonore has been invited to program a нCarte BlancheН weekend for her and her musical friends in the first weekend of november. There is a workshop for flutists where IНm the accompanist. We give a family concert with flutist Ronald Snijders as a guest musician.
We make a musical trip around the world with our 6 Continents Project, playing works by Riad Abdel-Gawad (Egypt), Valton Bequiri (Kosovo), Pablo Escande (Argentina), Gilberto Mendes (Brazil) , Lalanath de Silva (Sri Lanka), Sinta Wullur (Indonesia/ the Netherlands ) and Ronald Snijders (Surinam/ the Netherlands).
ItНs a busy weekend for me anyway, as I also have a Mompou solorecital in Amsterdam in the Centrum Beeldende Kunst Oost-Watergraafsmeer, a big artgallery where paintings can be hired as well. I play some of MompouНs works for the first time, like his Paisajes and Suburbis. In this way I have bit by bit played almost MompouНs complete works for piano in order to be prepared for the Mompou Festival, that will start next weekend. During the concert paintings by the dutch painter Raymond de Boekelder, inspired by MompouНs music, can be seen in the hall.
Then there is finally the start of the three days Mompou Festival in Amsterdam after a long time of preparing it. There are concerts in the BethaniЉnklooster and the Noorderkerk and during the intermissions people can watch the documentary film L'homme et sa musique (the man and his music), a film of french television on Mompou from 1970. There are more additional events like an exposition of dutch painter Hetty van der Linden with paintings inspired on MompouНs native Spain. Artist and cook Henri Roquas takes care of the food, Catalan dishes and tapas, after the last concert on sunday, november 11.
With Marijke van Kooten (violin), DaniЉl Esser (cello), Irene Maessen (soprano) en Martin Kaaij (guitar) we play the almost complete chamber music by Mompou. We have two guests, bayanplayer Oleg Fateev from Moldavia (he performs a.o. MompouНs Cancion y Danza nr.15, which is originally for organ, sounding wonderful on bayan as well!) and actor Rudolf Lucieer who recites the poems by Dutch poet Rein Bloem, made in connection to all the 28 parts of Mюsica Callada. The concerts attract a considerable number of listeners and also thanks to the Concertzender, a dutch national radio station for new music, jazz and world music, that broadcasts all four concerts, Mompou receives a lot of attention during these days.
On november 18 I give a lecture-recital about Federico MompouНs pianomusic at the yearly congres o the dutch branch of the EPTA (European Piano Teachers Association). Hopefully MompouНs music will be gradually be played more by amateur pianists. From the point of view of dexterity the music is very suitable and accesible for amateurs.
Also in the нKunsthuisН (Arthouse) in Rosmalen, on November 24, itНs all about Spanish music. Soprano Irene Maessen and I have put together a almost exclusively spanish program with songs by Federico Mompou and Joaquin Nin-Culmell, with lyrics by a.o. Federico Garcia Lorca. Also Francis Poulencs Trois Chansons de Lorca are on the program. The нKunsthuisН, at the same time being the home of painter Cјcile Potjes, is packed - like it was last time when I played here - and the intimate atmosphere make playing music really a joy.
In Nederhorst den Berg I play the day after in н't JagthuisН, originally a farmhouse in the lovely countryside near Amsterdam. Also here Mompou is present on the program, this time with his Mюsica Callada. Also in ннt Jagthuis н there is a close contact between musicians and the audience and often these intimate concerts are more rewarding than those given in bigger halls...
With Eleonore I play - by the end of november - in the Atrium of the Twon Hall in the Hague. Our performance is part of an information evening about the new building of the International Criminal Court, the construction of which is about to begin. Suspects of genocide will be put on trial here and the works by Dick Kattenburg and Leo Smit, who were also victims of genocide during World War II, do fit very well in the evenings program. The Mayor of the Hague, Wim Deetman, and Ernst Hirsch Ballin, the dutch Minister of Justice, are among the speakers tonight.
In Music Centre нde ToonzaalН in нs Hertogenbosch we play once more the Spanish program we did allready in Hengelo in september, this time with Larissa Groeneveld as a cellist. Before the concert delicious Indian food is catered for us - an exceptonial service for a concert venue!
The Uilenburger Synagogue in Amsterdam now still is where the National Restauration Centre is being established. However there are plans to give back the synagogue to the jewish commmunity and to organize events there with a jewish character, more fitting of course for such a place. With Eleonore I play on a fundraising event, on december 2, as a lot of money will be needed to transform the synagogue for its new destination.
In the beginning of december I am busy preparing for my new CD recording with music by the composer Joaquin Nin-Culmell. In this context I visit the Spanish pianist Maria Luisa Cantos, who is living in Switzerland, in a village between Basel and ZЪrich. She has studied the complete works for piano by Nin-Culmell with the composer himself and she really is the authority to give me advice and suggestions on his music.
On december 9 there is a dinner for sponsors in the Art Gallery of the Paint-a-Future Foundation in Amsterdam. Paint-a-Future realizes dreams of children in developping countries by inviting painters to produce works, inspired by childrens drawings, in which these children express their dreams. These painting are sold and the complete profit is being spent then to the benefit of the childs family, its school or its village. I play TangoНs with the Argentinean singer Omar Mollo and with the Moldavian bayanplayer Oleg Fateev. Omar carries the audience away with his passionate singing. Everybody understand where he is singing about, even those who donНt know a single word of spanish.
On december 18 and 22 december I record the new CD with music for piano by Joaquin Nin-Culmell in the Concerthall of Middelburg. Jacco van der Heijden and Walter Calbo do the recording for their label Zefir Records, for which I made allready two CDНs with music by Mompou. In spring 2008 this CD is due to be released. The Steinway grand used to be in the Kloveniersdoelen, a beautifull old building in Middelburg, and by that time I recorded my Tango CD on this instrument. I still like the sound a lot, allthough some tones in the upper register are not easy to control.
On december 29 I play during the yearly three-day piano competition in нde DoelenН in Rotterdam. This year the theme of this event is Swing and therefore I play twentieth century repertoire for piano with influences of jazz. With works by a.o. George Gershwin, Erroll Garner and Erwin Schulhoff I conclude musically speaking the year of 2007.
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