I was present as audience and artist at the international Sax14 Festival.
My good friend tenorsaxophonist Niels Bijl gave a recital at the BIMhuis, Hollands nicest concert hall. And Niels played great. He played new pieces written for him interchanged with Telemann Fantasies. To be honest, I liked the Telemann Fantasies the best. Niels was at his best here. I heard him play these Fantasies several times and this time they were the most free and expressive.
Niels bought a tenor mark VI a while ago and I heard him before on this instrument, it sounded absolutely marvelous! I thought he played this instrument during his recital. Everything I heard confirmed the Mark VI. But it turned out to be his old series II. How wrong could I be!
Jan Menu's piece Little Bird (Depressed) deserves special attention, what a beautiful piece! as well as Jabra Latham – The second Thing, which was a great minimal piece. It was bases on a popular tune by Roxette. But I could never have guessed. This might inspire me to finally compose something myself,
The organisation did great job programming. The concerts were very interesting and highly original. A great mix as well, but it's a shame this concert wasn't packed!
The Amsterdam Conservatory Ensemble The Ebonit Saxophone Quartet is an ensemble I already know as a judge for a saxophone quartet competition in Den Bosch. They make a point of playing everything by heart, which is extremely effective.
As I wrote before on this blog: the Ebonit is one of the newest and most promising quartets around. I heard them before at the Den Bosch saxophone quartet competition and I was blown away. And I still am. What a great ensemble playing, and everything by heart... Wow!
Just one little thing that is probably highly subjective: when they played for the radio, their energy is aimed towards the middle of the ensemble, and sometimes it could be aimed more outward.
Artvark Saxophone Quartet was a revelation. I was so pleased to meet them. I knew Rolf Delfos and Bart Wirtz already from other groups (the Houdinis are my youth heroes!). Artvark was great, original, fantastic tunes (the Turkish quarter tones one was a highlight). They also did a great job in de Stijl by Andriessen.
I heard many great things about Artvark the past years. And I must say, they are very inspiring. I am fond of the sax4tet and they bring something new to the genre. By composing their tunes themselves, but also because they do not limit themselves to their own genre. They want to get beyond their comfort zone.
Artvark paired with ASKO-Schoenberg and Etienne Siebens in Andriessen's De Stijl. Andriessen's style is very recognizable, to some even cliche and smug. But for me, I loved it, it was very impressive. Yes, it was too long, the form wasn't too clear, but wow, this man can compose. And the execution was great as well. Bravo Artvark!