woensdag 21 februari 2007
I had a long talk with Arno about ti yesterday and all the probles seem familiar. Although he adviced me to go on with what I have. I am not sure... I want to try other saxophones. The intonation is the biggest problem. I want to continue with the Vandoren mouthpiece but it makes my SIII out of tune. It works great on a Reference I found out. So maybe I should switch... Otherwhise I cannot play a Vanodren mouthpiece and I have to continue on a C*, and that is a big problem. Since I cannot find a decent C*. I have heard from many people that the production of S80 mouthpieces changed dramatically over the years. So I guess that's why I couldn't find a good mouthpiece....
zaterdag 17 februari 2007
Now a bit of studying and then a meeting at Bagels and Beans. Tonight Ailed will dance at the Balie at the 8mm film festival.
A good Sunday! Relaxed and I am not just doing nothing! Some yoga and meditation in between....
vrijdag 16 februari 2007
Matthew's never had the inquiry before to rtry more than 3 mouthpieces of the same type. Which is strange. Maybe they don't deal with professionals so often. I don't know. I am glad I found something though. I'm going to rule out the A17 as an option (it is nice and dark like the AL3 but a bit stuffy). We'll see again!
woensdag 14 februari 2007
In the mean I am trying to do some meditations. Werner's and a book I got '3 minute meditations'. They seem to work.
I just came back from a rehearsal with Wijnand which I enjoyed but because I played so much out of tune with that new mouthpiece it was too frustrating. I cancelled some work tomorrow to go mouthpuece hunting. I hope I will find one soon. Maybe a normal C* again....
vrijdag 9 februari 2007
GJ's party was in Overtoom 301, a small theater in Amsterdam West. We performed Glazounow for the first time by heart. That was very exciting. Even more so because the crowd came to party and before us played our firends, the Boogie Tree: smooth acoustic pop music. We played hard core romantic chamber music repertoire. But we did good I think. We got through it and the piece is falling together.
After all the acts at the party the crowd seemed very happy, Wouter de Moor gives a textual and graphic impression of this evening: http://wozo66.spaces.live.com/
As I said, today we recorded Spem in Allium for forty saxophones, played by ourselves. We will perform that last four voices live. Witness this experiment live in the Noorderkerk on March 3rd!
donderdag 8 februari 2007
dinsdag 6 februari 2007
Now listening to Harry Connick Jr's new album: very good. I love his big band stuff.
zondag 4 februari 2007
donderdag 1 februari 2007
Being a classical saxophonist, influences come from all directions. Mellema's most important influence was the French saxophonist Marcel Mule. Hearing a recording of him playing la Création du Monde was one of the most important reasons to start studying saxophone and trying to imitate that sound. Michael Brecker was another important influence, Brecker is one the greatest virtuosos of the saxophone, he demonstrates that everything can be done on the saxophone and that you can truly sing on the instrument.
Next to this, there was always music sounding in Mellema' parental home, music from all styles. He was confronted at an early age with all sorts of music, ranging from the genius pianist Horowitz (who Mellema still has a great admiration for), composers like Bach and Händel to singer/songwriter Randy Newman and contemporary composers like Arvo Pärt and Louis Andriessen. Also, when choosing his instrument, he was proposed different wind instruments (Mellema had asthma, hence his parents proposed a wind instrument, this could help his illness) and in the end the choice was between clarinet and saxophone. In practice the meant choosing between a Charlie Parker and Benny Goodman album: the choice was easily made: Bird won! Mellema owned his first saxophone one month later.
Mellema's first teacher was René de Jong in the south of the Netherlands. De Jong was a very enthusiatic teacher who at that time had a exceptional number of very talented students in his class. They joined in saxophone orchestra, saxophone quartets and the big band. Ensemble playing really stimulated Mellema's love for music. He loved (and still does!) to interact with his colleagues and talk about music and saxophone playing.
When it was time to choose a school to learn how to play saxophone professionally, Mellema did not choose the school that his teacher at that time graduated from, the Tilburg conservatory. Mellema chose Amsterdam, to study with the young up and coming saxophonist Arno Bornkamp, who just won the Netherlands Music Award. Mellema also wanted to be in a major European city. Amsterdam was the place for him to discover al sorts of music and go hear the Concertgebouw Orchestra, see museums, visit underground performances. The Amsterdam Conservatory and the city itself shaped Mellema's musical background further.
Mellema's conservatory teacher was the one who taught him to combine the saxophonistic details and big form: Arno Bornkamp. He was the first generation that can really say that classical saxophone is to be taken seriously and that has a general level of playing that is comparable to that of other classical instruments, like violin, oboe, clarinet, etcetera. Bornkamp showed him how to blow through the instrument, how to make different colours, the possibilities of phrasing. Having lessons from Bornkamp and him playing for Mellema, many times was an 'aha erlebnis'; "of course it should be played like that, why didn't I think of that!".
Swedish saxophonist Christer Johnsson was Mellema's teacher during his time in Sweden. Johnsson showed him that making music is flexible and ever changing. A whole new door towards thinking about music, which in the end led to the same goal as Bornkamp.
Mellema is always looking for recordings that can inspire him. Ma, Maisky, Argerich, Heifetz, Tiempo are among his favourtie classical musicians right now. Especially freedom in making music is something that he is looking for now. To have the feeling that you are improvising, even when playing a piece that he has been playing 15 years.
"Making music is something that is very abstract, something that you cannot grab a hold of. Once you've played a note, it is gone, forever. The next time you play it it will be different, sometimes completely different. Cd recordings help to conserve the style of a plyer, but his true soul can only be heard during a live performance. That is the beauty of music. The audience always hears a concert that is especially for them. That is the only time they will hear these notes played like this. That is extraordinary. In my playing and preparation I always want be aware of this. I want to feel the notes and phrases like they are made of elastic: they keep their basic form but I can stretch them as much as I like."