vrijdag 29 juni 2007

Top 5 best pieces for saxophone, in no particular order: -Edison Denis...

Top 5 best pieces for saxophone, in no particular order:

-Edison Denisow Sonata for alto saxophone and piano. One of the most impressive pieces I have ever heard for saxophone. I never got around to playing it when I was in school, I guess I was looking up to it.
-Prelude Fugue et Variation, Cesar Franck arr. Remco Jak. The best piece on the Amstel repertoire. We haven't played it for a while but next season we're starting it again. Can't wait :-)
-Florent Schmitt, Legende. I am listening to it now, in Delangle's new version, recorded on BIS. Beautiful music, I will start it this coming season.
-Hindemith Sonata, actually for horn, but also for saxophone. Very good music, Hindemith in general.
-... hm, maybe Creston Sonata. B composers tend to write A-pieces for saxophone, and A-composers B pieces (like Glazounow...)

donderdag 28 juni 2007

I have been practicing on my new horn, the Reference, I bought it, I d...

I have been practicing on my new horn, the Reference, I bought it, I decided yesterday. It has a fat sound, maybe too fat for now, but I think I can shape it when I practice more.

Wijnand had a great idea: Bach violin Sonatas for soprano saxophone and piano! I want to play more Bach.

Yesterday Wijnand and me recorded the Mendelssohn Cello Sonata for our new CD 'Roots' (presentation on December 30th in the Concertgebouw. I guess it went alright. It was hard though. I always get insecure about reeds, sound, intonation. But we tried our best. We worked with a different recording guy for the first time. It was very different. He let us play longer stretches of music... I am very curious for the result!
This was the last big thing before the holidays, I have some other appointments but now I can prepare for the holidays. And I am ready for them! I am very tired and I did a lot of things...

zondag 24 juni 2007

Yesterday me and Wijnand played our own 'Concert in the Park', Vondelp...

Yesterday me and Wijnand played our own 'Concert in the Park', Vondelpark Open Air Theater. The circumstances were not ideal, for one, it was raining, and second, we had to play amplified, and third, well, that's been my leitmotiv this past couple of months, I am not sure about my alto. I asked some colleagues who came to listen yesterday and they confirmed that the intonation of the alto can be strange: too low! The day before I found maybe my new alto: a Reference. At Matthews in Edam. I tried many and I felt immeddiately right about this one. Today I am still good on the horn and I have been practicing on it. It is still an option and tonight I will have a colleague listen to it for a second opinion. So I hope this will be it. I am glad I didn't rush my decision last month when I had two other References as an option. They didn't feel good, and this one does. That would mean I can really start working again on a set up that I am happy with. It took some effort and some concerts that I wasn't too sure about but I am about to be all set again!

vrijdag 22 juni 2007

Another session with Anner Bijlsma today

Another session with Anner Bijlsma today. We played Mendelssohn again, we worked on the flow of the second movement. Very educational :-) ! We also played Wijnand's Bach arrangement which he loved. As a Bach connaisseur I thought he would have a lot to say but he loved it. Which was great because as a saxophpnist we dont play so much Bach but he he said I had a connection with the music. So that was a great compliment. I invited him for a masterclass next year in Tilburg. That should be great for our students.

woensdag 20 juni 2007

My top 5 deserted island list: (in no particular order) -Heavy Metal B...

My top 5 deserted island list: (in no particular order)
-Heavy Metal Bebop Brecker Brothers
-Brahms Clarinet Quintet (with Boeykens please!)
-Michel Camilo One More Once
-Creation du Monde (Milhaud conducting!)
-Gould and Bach

The holidays are coming

The holidays are coming. I am so ready for them. We still need to book something. BUt there isn't enough time. Always too little. I have my solo CD recording next week (Thirsday and Friday) and I am getting ready for them. Very exciting. We are recording the Mendelssohn Cello Sonata in Bb. There will be criticism of course for doing this, but what can you do? We want to play this music and feel strongly about it. It works in the instrument with some adaptations. We had the last quartet activity yesterday. A workshop by the Delta Saxophone Quartet, educaiton. I think we learned something. We don't really have educaitonal projects coming up but they can come in the further future. Anyway we had a good time.

zaterdag 16 juni 2007

The Hague was looking for a new festival after the North Sea Jazz left...

The Hague was looking for a new festival after the North Sea Jazz left the city. idtv (de Winter) came up with Festival Classique. 150 concert in all of the Hague. We played a concert for the festival today in the Theater aan 't Spui. The festival is a great idea. But I heard that the audience is not coming as much as they expected.We only had about 60 audience in the hall, which was disappointing. Then again, I heard that we are not prominently mentioned in the programme book. The whole presentation of the festival was somewhat old fashioned although the festival was organised by an organisation that had no previous experience with classical music. This can and should be an advantage, but apparantly it wasn't. It was the first edition, next year should be better. It is can be a wonderfull that is great for classical music in the Netherlands. So much good music in so little time in the whole of the Hague.
We played a good concert. It was the last concert of the season with the quartet. We can be proud of it. The audience liked it as well I think. We played a very diverse programme with different styles and we played well!

vrijdag 15 juni 2007

Yesterday during the concert in Luxemburg we played Sweelinck again

Yesterday during the concert in Luxemburg we played Sweelinck again. I just love that piece, the chromatic fantasy, originally for keyboard. Bass arranged. But I must admit, I was very tired (see below!). Although we played a good concert (it was a concert to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the BeNeLux parliament in Luxemburg) I forget to enter in my part. I missed the first note. I was dreaming away. I wasn't especially nervous, although the Grand Duke was in the hall (we had to play the Luxemburg Wilherlmus when he entered, along with the anthems of the BeNeLux contries, and the European anthem (being the famous Beethoven mvt, I did not know that!). But I did miss that note. I had a minor black out and I was too tired to worry about that. I guess that was good, because after that I played ok. I felt good and the notes came out like they should. It was strange to play a normal concert again. We have been doing Dogtroep performances for a long time now (well, two weeks...) and yesterday it was all about us again!

We came back from Luxemburg last night at 400 in the morning. Woke up quite late today. Tonight last Dogtroep show, then tomorrow the last 4tet concert of the season in the Hague (Festival Classique). We'll play Glazounow, Vrolijk and Sweelinck. We have a small rehearsal right before the show tonight.
I'll be glad when the season ends, although I have some concerts in Chili in the middle of my holidays.
The Thuiskopiefonds decides to support Ties Mellema's newest CD project: 'Roots' with new works by Wijnand Van Klaveren and Martin Fondse, and older work by Johann Sebastian Bach (arr. Van Klaveren) and Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. Earlier the Maurits Van Kattendijke Stichting also decided to support this project. The presentation of the CD will be on December 30th 2007 in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam (Serie Sundaymorning Concerts).

zondag 10 juni 2007

Monday today

Monday today. Doing dishes and almost off to Wijnand's. I overslept today. Always back late from Dogtroep performances. My parents were there yesterday and they liked it a lot.
It's very busy now. I really have to find some time to do my own things. Yesterday I went biking with Dickie for a couple of hours. That was fun. I need some time to do these things. I cannot plan my whole life ahead!
The Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds decided to support Ties Mellema's new saxophone out of the Henny de Vries Fonds for Cultural scholarships. The presentation of the scholarship will be on June 28th on 16:00 at Podium Mozaiek in Amsterdam.

vrijdag 8 juni 2007

First week of Dogtroep performances

First week of Dogtroep performances. One week to go. It's great fun. Hard work though. Hardly any time to work by myself. Yesterday we played a special performance for the Dutch queen. She opened the new theater in Almere where we're playing with Dogtroep.
Yesterday the second half of the show was cancelled because of lightning danger.

This past week I had to turn down some applicants for the conservatori...

This past week I had to turn down some applicants for the conservatories I am teaching at. Some of them I have been teaching in the preparation year, so I have a connection with them. I didn't accept them last year for the first year because the committee was not sure if they had the skills to get ready for endexam in four years. It was very hard to do but some of them did not develop well enough in the past year. I had a good relation with them, but in some cases I had to keep saying the same things over and over again. It might be the chemistry between teacher and student. Maybe my words did not come over clear enough for some reason. I don't know. But in the end the commission can decide that there was enough development in the last year. It happens. The music world is hard, but in these cases also fair. It is not to say that they have no future in music. This year was just not the best year. Maybe a bump in the way can help their ideas cristallize more.

zaterdag 2 juni 2007

Blog time

Blog time! We just played at the award ceremony for the Mees Pierson Award. We did not win. This prize is handed to one concert of the three Young Dutchmen Concerts in the Concertgebouw. Each concert is a half recital for a Dutch musician or an ensemble. Wijnand and me shared this concert the Amstel Quartet (in which I am the baritone player). We played a programme with some risks involved. With Wijnand we played a piece by Louis Van Dijk, which is very typical for his music and for us it was a tribute. Unfortunately the jury did not appreciate this work. They said our talent is not supported by this piece. Which can be true in some way but I love this work and the man who wrote it... It is something we need to play! Also they said there are beter compositions for saxophone than Wijnand Poulenc's tribute. I do not agree again, in that sense that Wijnand's music is music that should be heard and played. It is great music, genius, filled with melodies and harmonies that come out of his heart. It is worth playing! Also they commented on my AZIZ shirt.... What can you do :-) One jury member said that I should be aware that it is not what the people expect. After the break they said that Amstel Quartet draws young audience which is good and that could be one of our roles in chamber music. Also there were some doubts about our arrangements.... Why did we not play more modern music? Well, because we don;t feel the need. There's a lot of music to discover, even for saxophone. Luckily Roland Kieft stood up for us and said that maybe it might seem that nothing is sacred to us, but in the end, he said that all music is sacred to us because of the way we handle it.
So there was a lot to discuss, which is always good.
Oh, and Lavinia and Tjeerd won, what a great musicians, BRAVO and congrats!