Music by Arvo Pärt, Jürg Frey & Georgs Pelecis
Amstel Quartet saxophones, Pascal Meyer piano
A genre that embodies an ancient paradox in which many a composer has tried to find the most intimate purity, and which is often credited by listeners with possessing soothing and therapeutic qualities.
Behind its apparent simplicity there is often a massive, lazily shifting landscape which can leave the listener with an infinite sense of space and time.
Music by Philip Glass
Amstel Quartet & guests
With Music with Changing Parts (1970), a monumental work from Philip Glass’s early period, Amstel Quartet returns to the meditative and grooving world of hard-core minimalism.
This work, consisting of repeated melodic figures which gradually expand and contract, shares some of the rhythmic, trance-inducing aspects of the earlier Music in Similar Motion.
However, through the addition of subtle vocal parts and long tones improvised at different moments in the piece by the musicians, the music acquires a different dimension and anticipates Glass's opera work of the later 1970s, such as Einstein on the Beach.
Music by Martland, Creston, Sweelinck, Lauba, Mozart, Mellits, Torke, Scott, Franssens, Riley, Zimmerman
“Flipping the channels” has become an inherent part of contemporary pop culture. And although it might stand for the short attention span and the apparent superficiality of our era, it can also be a route towards new artistic discoveries.
Just as we zap across TV channels, or scroll through Spotify, this eclectic tour de force takes us from the meditative music of Joep Franssens to the dazzling tropical displays by Christian Lauba, and we meet all kinds of variants on the way. Discover the versatility of the most flexible wind instruments in a programme with composers who listeners either know well or wish to get to know. An evening of music varying from Renaissance pieces to present-day sounds, from world music vibes to jazzy chords and minimalist grooves.
The audience will be partly in charge of the programme by sharing with the musicians their choice for the works to be played in the concert. In this way the public will be actively involved in directing the musical exploration of the evening.
Music by Cage, Creston, Mellits, Lauba, Torke, Barber
What exactly is American music?
The answers to such questions often lead to heated debates and are fraught with contradictions and vagueness. And in the same way that the US and its New World neighbours are unique melting pots of cultures, peoples, ideas and art forms, all music with the label ‘American’ is inevitably a post-modern mixture of different styles, approaches and influences.
American Dream provides several answers to our question by means of a programme with compositions for saxophone quartet by Michael Torke, Paul Creston, Marc Mellits and Christian Lauba. And although the approaches and the music of these composers are tremendously varied, if we compare them, we see definite similarities: the influence of jazz, new approaches to musical form, a postmodern approach to combining and adapting form and genre, and especially the focus on rhythm as a primary musical aspect of the compositions.
Music by Um Kalthoum, Fairuz, Sayid Darwish, Mohammed Abdo, Rahbani Brothers and many others
Anass Habib singing, Amstel Quartet saxophones
Together with Moroccan singer Anass Habib, Amstel Quartet delves into the world of Arabic music, full of emotion and poetry. From Fairuz, ‘the cedar of Lebanon’, to the stirring music of Mohammed Abdu, and from the Egyptian father figure Sayid Darwish to the best-known works of the ‘Lady of Cairo’, Um Kalthoum.
Stories of the Soul is a wonderful exploration of the Arabic soul.
Music by Brel, Trenet, Ferré, Aznavour, Piaf, Shaff, Gall and many others
Philippe Elan singing, Amstel Quartet saxophones, with special guest Thérèse Steinmetz
In March 2019 Amstel Quartet and Philippe Elan presented their new EP Manège à Trois, the sequel to their favourably received Sax Avec Elan! of 2015.
Jacques Brel, Charles Aznavour, Edith Piaf, Ramses Shaff and France Gall: all the golden oldies make an appearance. Thérèse Steinmetz, grande dame of the music scene in the Netherlands, sporadically contributes to these concerts.
“Balm for the soul!” (Volkskrant, 2016)
Music by Cage, Dufourt, Franssens & Glass
With Classical Zen Amstel Quartet presents a full evening’s concert of iconic minimalistic music. It is compiled with a touch of mindfulness, and offers a momentary escape from the hullabaloo of daily life.
The legendary soundtrack Mishima by Philip Glass is combined with the heavenly Harmony of the Spheres by Joep Franssens and the saxophone quartet Four5 by born innovator John Cage, and special attention is given to the spectralist Hugues Dufourt.
In 2019 Amstel Quartet premiered Dufourt’s saxophone work, composed specially for them, Les courants polyphoniques d’après Klee – twenty-five years after the composition of his first saxophone quartet. The Église Wallon in Amsterdam was a splendid venue for the concert, which was attended by the composer himself. You can re-experience a few moments here on YouTube.
Music by Kraftwerk, Martland, Biegai, Torke, Kypski
Amstel Quartet, sax en EWI (electronic wind instruments)
Hendrik Walther, visuals
Man Machine, Pseudo human being, Man Machine, Super human being - KRAFTWERK
Exactly 40 years ago Kraftwerk released Der Mensch-Maschine. The legendary album announced the birth of a new genre of electronic music, the consequences of which are still felt today. Not only are countless artists still inspired by the synth pop the German foursome produced - Kraftwerk, in turn, listened closely to classical electronic pioneers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen and Pierre Henry. In this tribute the Amstel Quartet combines Kraftwerk tracks from The Man-Machine with new compositions by German composer Christina Biegai. Turntablist Kypski improvises on the Krautrock-sounds and Hendrik Walther designed video art for this super human performance. We are the robots.