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DVD included with films out past and present
Loekis Stardust 1980 Loeki STardust 1987
Loeki Stardust 2008
1978 Amsterdam Loeki Stardust Quartet 2008
When we participated in the competition at the Musica Antiqua Festival in Bruges, we made it to the finals. No one was more surprised than we were. We believed that a recorder quartet couldn’t limit itself to music of the 16th and 17th centuries, and that led us to include a pop song on the program. We performed it at the end of the program. under the pseudonym “When shall my sorrowful sunshine slack”. It was against all the rules, but the resulting ruckus and the unexpected prize that we won were the beginning of a lot more. We performed with Christopher Hogwood in Wigmore Hall, we got a recording contract, and our debut album, “Virtuoso Recorder Music” was a tremendous hit. We had our first tours, and we had years when we gave more than a hundred concerts. We got better instruments and we learned more and more about tuning, color, interaction, and repertoire. “Repertoire” is a constantly recurring theme for us. It’s a completely different state of affairs than with a string quartet who can grab any one of a limitless number of masterpieces off the music shelf. For us, even the most obvious repertoire choices are never simple. It always means a lot of playing through music, careful listening, testing, and experimentation with different instruments.
We have recorded a lot of CDs, first with Decca, later with Channel Classics, who gave us a lot of artistic freedom.
Some of the high points of the last thirty years would certainly include that festival in Bruges, winning the Edison classic award, performing with a big band, recording in the Abbey Road studios, our concerts for the Royal Family of the Netherlands, and the many fascinating encounters, with colleagues, composers, recorder makers, and audiences, that we had during concert tours. To celebrate this, we have put together a CD which includes choices made by each of us from his favorite recordings. As an extra, there is a DVD with three concerts, an interview, and some material from our private archives. All together, they provide an illustrated history of our quartet.
Karel van Steenhoven
1: Loud, Fulvio Caldini (Fade Control) 4’37
2: La Chanteuse et le Bois Sauvage, Karel van Steenhoven 7”16
3: Fugue Op. 87, 22 Dmitri Shostakovich ()
Performing in our Quartet has allowed me to give both of my passions—consort music and contemporary music—their fullest possible expression. Nevertheless, I always felt that the work of the great composers was missing among contemporary works for the recorder (not just for quartet). There were no modern compositions of a caliber comparable to the works of Palestrina, Purcell, or Byrd. So I have always felt that it was one of our quartet’s important missions to make use of our performing style as a way of demonstrating sounds and structures to composers that might suggest a basis for new compositions. As one might expect, the younger generation was readier to try an occasional experiment. As a result, we got wonderful pieces from composers including Chiel Meijering, Philip Wharton, Bart de Kemp, and Stefan Pohlit. But why didn’t we have something by Louis Andriessen, Györgi Ligeti, Olivier Messiaen? I will always continue to try and excite the interest of the great composers, and overcome their prejudices. I’m particularly proud of the three works that I chose for this recording, because we’ve been able to refute several important allegations of weakness: that the sustaining capacity of a recorder quartet was supposedly much too limited to carry a longer structure (La Chanteuse); that minimalism was supposedly not interesting and couldn’t included sufficient variety (Loud); and that complex modulations could not be played in tune in equal temperament while preserving the rich sound of a recorder consort (Fugue 22). It certainly took us a long time to achieve the last of these, but after years of constantly reshuffling the myriad variable elements (dynamics, tone color, pitch, difference tones, vibrato, and overtone structure), we finally managed it. That allowed us to perform Purcell’s fantasies, and even a work as chromatically inflected as a Shostakovich fugue. Although works like this can be convincingly performed on the recorder, it is not our intention to redefine them as recorder repertoire. What we do want to show is that the recorder’s possibilities are limitless and timeless, and that composers who don’t include this kind of ensemble in their musical vocabulary are missing an important opportunity.
Karel van Steenhoven, 25 July 2008
Anthony Holborne – [Pavan] Paradizo & [Galliard] The Sighes
From The Image of Melancholy 4:37
Patrick Mundo—Like as the day 2:44
From Consort Songs
Johann Sebastian Bach—Contrapunctus 11 à 4 6:47
From The Art of Fugue
Holborne and Mundo will probably never have a place in the Concertgebouw’s “Hall of Fame”. But just as in museums, miniatures sometimes have more charm for me than the bigger canvases.
Holborne presents an admirably colorful and original treatment of a musical form [Pavane—Galliarde] which is by definition fairly inflexible. In “Like as the Day”, music and poetry are beautifully and movingly interwoven. This piece, at the same time, is a fine souvenir of an inspiring collaboration with the boy soprano Connor Burrowes, who played tennis as well as the organ during the breaks in our recording sessions. For me, Contrapunctus 11 from Bach’s Kunst der Fuge is the ultimate in originality and, at the same time, something like a car whose make has been restyled and renewed after decades of perfect performance and awards.
Incidentally, our recording of the Kunst der Fuge had to be delayed for a couple of months because of major, unstoppable pile-driving operations about 500 feet from the Remonstrantse Kerk in Haarlem. After a half day’s worth of work, the thumping began to disturb the rhythm of the fugues rather seriously, even though we had carefully prepared all of our tempi using a metronome… After this, we decided to mark the church’s wooden floor with several crosses made of adhesive tape. Thanks to the sacristan, they were still intact three months later, enabling us to recreate our optimal positioning for performers and microphones.
Musica antiqua finale 1/8/1981 5:27
When shall my Sorrowful sunshine Slack 4:31
Fuga- Gottlieb Muffat from Fugue around the Clock CCS SA 19403 4:31
Pavan No. 4 in C Major-Richard Mico from Fantazia CCS 16998
I think that Gottlieb Muffat’s Fuga is a good example of the often-cited but only superficial similarity between our sound and that of an organ. The flexibility and melodic possibilities of individual wind instruments give the work a whole new dimension.
The sad-toned optimism of Richard Mico’s Pavane, where the upper voices are played on bass recorders, is a very physical moment. The four of us together feel like some enormous animal. It’s about as deep as you can go.
John Dowland’s Sorrow, come is my daughter’s absolute favorite piece. For me, the flexibility of the human voice is always a source of inspiration for any instrumentalist. At the same time, I must admit to my daughter that Connor Burrowes is irresistible.
To our surprise, when we participated in the Musica Antiqua Festival competition in Bruges in 1981, we reached the final round. We thought that it might be fun to do something a little naughty. The last piece of the evening was When Shall My Sorrowful Sunshine Slack, by an anonymous composer. In fact, this wasn’t a pre-1600 composition; it was a pseudonym, masking an arrangement of a pop song. Completely against the rules, and quite exciting. We didn’t pay much attention at first, but winning that competition made a big difference. The Belgian Radio recorded that particular round of the finals. The Estampita and the closing piece are my sonic souvenir of the audible excitement and the fun that we were having.
From: The Image of Melancholly- Anthony Holborne
Track1: Bona Speranza & The teares of the Muses
From: Fantazia- Henry Purcell
Track1: Fantasia r
From: Die Kunst der Fuge- Johann Sebastian Bach
Track 11& 12: Contrapunctus à 3 & Contrapunctus à 3 inversus
Many of the pieces which we have played since our beginnings as a quartet were composed during the Renaissance. Within that period, English and Italian composers take pride of place, and we have browsed the repertoire endlessly, always finding new music, often works by composers who were unknown or unfamiliar to us.
There are so many that it’s hard to make a choice.
That’s why I chose, not a quartet piece, but a 5-voiced pavane and gaillarde by Anthony Holborne, performed with the participation of Kees Boeke, one of our teachers. Another little homage, in view of Kees’s special love for this music.
I think that Purcell’s Fantasies are one of the high points of the old English consort tradition. It took a long time, more than 20 years, before we felt bold enough to make a complete recording of this music. For me, Purcell represents extremes in both instrumentation and harmony, but at the same time he composes very melodiously, and those melodies have taken root in my memory.
Bach’s Kunst der Fuge is another one of those extreme works. We’ve been performing some of the fugues since our very first concerts, but it wasn’t until much later that we managed the complete cycle.
Fugues are often associated with a serious, cerebral way of making music. These two 3-voiced mirror fugues appeal to me because of their combination of structural mastery, their playful character, and the humor expressed by literally playing a piece “upside down”.
|Main artist||Amsterdam Loeki Stardust Quartet|
|Format||Normal PCM CD|
|Year of release||2008|
|Number of cd's||2|
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