This CD celebrates 20 years of the Orkest de Volharding. In Holland's forgotten streets, in harbour areas, in community centres, you still come across the word: laundries, shipyards and workers' choirs still bear the proud name DE VOLHARDING - an echo from before the War, when socialism was not just a bitter necessity, but carried within the promise of a better world, a world which could only ever be achieved through unremitting VOLHARDING - "perseverance".
Orkest de Volharding was founded by the composer Louis Andriessen who created both a piece of music and a band to play it at the same moment. Andriessen's decision to name the new work De Volharding, with all its connotations, was no accident. The changes which they were trying to introduce were not restricted to music: they had a social dimension as well. It was 1971. De Volharding's aim was to clear away the barriers between composer and performer, between high and low culture, between the music of the concert hall and the music of the street.
Together with saxophonist Willem Breuker, Andriessen assembled an orchestra made up partly of jazz musicians, and partly of classically trained players. They made it a wind band, since the ensemble was often going to perform in the open air. The composer appeared as the pianist, and there was no conductor, because authority was anathema. Maarten Altena, Bob Driessen, Jan Wolff and others also joined in.
Twenty years later, one or two things have changed. Of the original group only three members remain. The orchestra no longer plays at demonstrations in the freezing cold. The music of Protest has disappeared from their repertoire, and since 1989 the orchestra has even had a conductor. With only a few exceptions, they continue to play mostly music which has been written specially for them, through a close interaction between musicians and composer.
The eight works on this recording provide a retrospective glance at the first 15 years of the Volharding repertoire, from a total of 130 compositions.
Short notes on the compositions:
Louis Andriessen's On Jimmy Yancey is a musical transplant of themes written by the pioneer of boogie-woogie piano. Misha Mengelberg's Dressoir explores the contents of a dresser, some movements having emerged during improvisations with Han Bennink. Vasques Dias' Balada do Amor Militante (Ballad of Militant Love) is based on a poem by Manuel Alegre. Van Manen's Trajekten (1981) quotes jazz, Stravisnky and early 20th century French music. Klas Torstensson's Jarn (Iron) is composed of 3 linked sessions "striving towards velocity and violence", while Van Zeeland's Lacune refers to "the void which still exists between the music of Stockhausen, Monk, Varèse and Zappa", using Zappa's and Stockhausen's paralell chords; Varèse's holding of a given sound; and Monk's shuttering motion. Janssen's Woeha explores the use of different tempos, working toward disintegration, and is a tribute to Hergè's and Tintin's dog. Louis Andriessen's Dat Gebeurt in Vietnam (This is happenning in Vietnam) uses, according to the composer, "elements from American gangster film music".
Dil Engelhard - Flute; Beatrice Driver - French Horn; Marteen van Norden - Saxs; Rutger van Norden - Saxs; Bob Driessen - Saxs, Clarinets; Reijer Dorrensteijn - Trumpet; Louis Lanzing - Trumpet; Anita van Soest - Trumpet; Willem van Soest - Trumpet; Carl Daleboudt - Trumpet (except 2 & 5); Johan de Meij - Trombone; Hans Visser - Bass Trombone; Jaap Dercksen - Piano; Sjeng Schupp - Double Bass, Bass Guitar, Cover Illustration; Cees van Zeeland - Conductor; Klas Torstensson - Conductor (on #5)
1. Louis Andriessen - On Jimmy Yancey (1973)
2. Misha Mengelberg - Dressoir (1977)
3. Amílcar Vasques Dias - Balada do Amor Militante (1981)
4. Willem van Manen - Trajekten (1981)
5. Klas Torstensson - Järn (1982)
6. Cees van Zeeland - Lacune (1984)
7. Guus Janssen - Woeha (1984)
8. Louis Andriessen - Dat Gebeurt in Vietnam (1972)
Recorded in October 1991 in Amsterdam.
Released by NM Classics - Radio Nederland Transcription Service in 1992