woensdag 18 maart 2020

The Solitary Saxophone

Claude Delangle - The Solitary Saxophone
The coming weeks I will post some of my main musical influences and inspirations. This is the album cover of Claude Delangle’s ‘The Solitary Saxophone’. Especially the Berio Soprano/Oboe ‘Sequenza’s’ inspired me as a teenager. The sound world of these pieces, and the way Delangle played this piece are something else! Both of the Berio pieces still represent the ‘contemporary’ saxophone to me. When the CD was released I remember already noticing the heavy acoustics. In spite of this, I tried to listen through the acoustics and to really hear the saxophone. How could Delangle play like this? This sounded unlike I whatever I heard on the sax before, even classical. If this is possible on a sax, what else was!?
Arno Bornkamp also released a Berio alto Sequenza on ‘Reed my Mind’ (not available anymore, in the future Bornkamp might put the audio for download again here: http://www.arnobornkamp.nl/#disco). Both recordings are extremely different, not only in acoustics. Delangle’s recording has more distance and is more objective. His sound is clear and transparent. This interpretation gives room for the listener to have his own musical association while at the same time conveying the musical thoughts of the composer.
Also the way a composer can make two completely different pieces, using a contrasting style is astonishing. The oboe Sequenza is quite avant-gardistisch and conceptual, the alto one is more melodic and much lengthier. But both pieces go beyond style. This is characteristic for true artists. Sometimes art is just so strong that within whichever style it becomes ‘music’, or even more.
It is difficult for me to explain, but together with the Stockhausen and the other repertoire, this CD represents something very dear to me. There are no concessions on this album. This is what it is. There’s no doubt in the repertoire and the way it’s played. And that’s something that gave me inspiration to pursue a career in music and especially the saxophone. Apparently this music was possible on the sax. I did not get it 100%, but this album provided me with a path to follow. I wanted to ‘understand’ this music and learn how to play it, to find other pieces like this and to learn how to play them.
And of course the saxophone technique is pure mastery. I remember listening very closely to the album while trying to analyse the sound, the intonation (I even put a tuner in front of the speaker!), the even registers, phrasing, articulation…
Here’s the Spotify link to ‘The Solitary Saxophone’: https://open.spotify.com/album/0pzbtxim3lVmSj4Y1L2KoQ…

zondag 15 maart 2020

What to do now...? Corona!

The last five years I have been in the same situation on and off that we are all in now. My advice:

Take it easy, slow down your tempo.
Go out for walks. Take a thermos of coffee or tea with you so you don’t have to go in a cafe.
Enjoy your streaming tv subscription.
Be inspired and create. Whatever. Write, make music, take photos, cook, draw, paint, whatever, but create when you feel like it. You have the time now.
Read everything that you always wanted to read.
Call your friends.
Do shopping for people who can’t.
Cook for people who need a dinner. (And leave it in front of the door!)
Rediscover you’re CD collection. Listen to Spotify’s discovery proposals, 1 out of 10 is actually worthwhile.
Play board games.
Do an online course.

For musicians: I bet you always wanted to explore creating something together from a distance with digital means. Me, @Brandt Attema, Maarten Ornstein and Dave Kutz are working a something as we speak!

Good luck.

All the best,
Ties

#Corona

dinsdag 10 maart 2020

'Duwen en Trekken' March 17th in Tilburg!

Next week on Tuesday I will play a half recital in The Link contemporary music series in het Cenakel in Tilburg. I will share the stage with Toeac accordeon duo. It's an honour! I will play Sander Germanus' 'Microphobia', Keuris' 'Canzone' (on baritone sax) and my own piece 'Duwen en Trekken' on Bari sax and electronics. The piece is almost finished. Putting the dots on the I as we speak. This concerts marks the second milestone in my Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst study Trajectory. The number of hours I put in this piece is incredible. But they were spent with so much fun and curiosity. Not only have I made an actual piece, I also became more proficient in Ableton Live and the Octatrack.
'Duwen en Trekken' differs form the pieces I made in the first months of my study trajectory in that sense that it has less rhythm. It is a more abstract work and I let the acoustics of Het Cenakel inspire me.

As some of you might know, I had a stem cell transplant two years ago. Because of this treatment against lymphoma (the 2nd time) I still have a more vulnerable defence against viruses and bacterias. But I will play this concert with taking strict care of the protocol as provided by the Dutch government: Washing hands; keeping distance; no shaking of hands.

I hope to see you all there. It would be an honour to have you there and hear my new piece together with two Dutch works that I love.

Tickets for this concert can be bought here: https://www.delink.nl/17-maart-2020-toeac-ties-mellema/

vrijdag 6 maart 2020

Eigen Haard antwoordt niet

Hoewel ik dit blog toespits op muzikale zaken vond ik dit de moeite waard:

Ik stuurde deze mail al drie keer naar Eigen Haard zonder enig resultaat. Ze antwoorden gewoon niet!

“ Geachte heer/mevrouw,

Bij deze vraag ik n.a.v. een gesprek met een van uw medewerkers een compensatie en/of huurverlaging aan vanaf het moment dat wij ons appartement trokken in 2003. Dit vanwege loden leidingen in onze keuken die ervoor zorgen dat het lood in ons water vanaf die tijd te hoog is geweest. Deze loden leiding is in het zicht.

Nota Bene: onze keuken, geiser, badkamer én het kraantje op het grensvlak van de loden met de koperen leiding zijn in de tussentijd vervangen, maar nooit heeft iemand ons geattendeerd op de loden leiding. De loodgieter die hier vorige week week zag het in één oogopslag toen hij de keuken binnenstapte. Hij zei dat de loodgieters normaliter alleen hun eigen opdrachten uitvoeren en niet letten op dit soort dingen. Maar ze moeten het gezien hebben, het is achteraf gezien wel heel erg duidelijk. Onze kinderen zijn met dit water opgegroeid. Ze hebben altijd kraanwater gedronken. Ik begreep uit uw brief dat het vooral schadelijk is voor kinderen tot 7 jaar. Onze kinderen zijn ondertussen 11 en 7.
Ikzelf heb ondertussen jarenlange chemotherapie gehad die schadelijk is voor de nieren. Ik begreep ook uit uw brief dat lood in de leidingen schadelijk kan zijn voor de nieren bij volwassenen.

U begrijpt dat wij nogal aangedaan zijn door dit nieuws én de onachtzaamheid van Eigen Haard. Wij zelf hebben de opdracht gegeven tot controle van de leidingen enkele weken geleden.

Ik hoor graag van u,

Met vriendelijke groet,
Ties”

Iemand tips?

zondag 29 december 2019

Review of the Four Baritones at Stranger than Paranoia in Paradox Tilburg

http://www.jazzenzo.nl/?e=4368

A raving review of the set we played at the 'Stranger than Paranoia'-Festival in Paradox Tilburg with the Four Baritones, the world's first baritone saxophone quartet:


I am especially proud because we played one of my first compositions, 'Christina' for four baritones saxophones and electronics. I wrote this piece as a tribute to the Bijl/Flann family who are moving to Australia as we speak.

"Baritones
The baritone is not only an impressive instrument to look at, it also sounds grand. Jan Menu, Nils van Haften, Niels Bijl and Ties Mellema form the Four Baritones, here in their program 'Stranger than Four Baritones', in which classical and jazz go hand in hand. The program is eclectic and goes from Downland and Byzantine music to experiments with electronics. Their ensemble sound is downright incomparable and seems to refer to gigantic church organs, or better said, to a Russian male choir with voices that go lower than low. The impact of the four instrumental giants is overwhelming. And justly the four musicians could count on an ovational applause." (Cyriel Pluimakers)