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Around the World – Keuris Quartet

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What does a tirade from Ukraine sound like, or a tranquil Swedish landscape, or a rhythm section from the US, or a tropical storm in Taiwan? The Keuris Saxophone Quartet got to know the composers Dan VanHassel (USA), Alexey Retinsky (Ukraine), Frej Wedlund (Sweden) and Tsu-Yao Yang (Taiwan) during the 2017 Gaudeamus Muziekweek. The Quartet selected them from the respondents to an ‘open call’ for new works, and collaborated with them on first sketches for new pieces.

This collaboration proved so fruitful that they decided to finish off the compositions and to premiere them during the 2018 Muziekweek. The result of these four new works is a colourful mix of current music and visions from distant lands.

Photo © Merlijn Doomernik

Frej Wedlund’s new work makes you think of a vast Scandinavian winter landscape, depicted in music. In a chilled state, everything moves slowly and every sound is muffled to a whisper-soft pianissimo.

Dan VanHassel transforms the Keuris Quartet into a rhythmical machine. With a huge range of sound effects, he pays homage to the beatbox culture which is rooted in the USA.

Alexey Retinsky is working on a musical tirade which, with many unison passages, irregular rhythms and microtonality, tries to catch you off guard; one minute the music appears impulsive, and the next calculating.

Tsu-Yao Yang was inspired by tropical storm Nesat that buffeted the windows of his apartment in Taiwan with squalls of rain whipped up by a lashing wind. The storm swells up from softly gurgling key clicks to swirling strings of notes twisting wildly around each other.

Keuris Quartet

Tsu-Yao Yang - new piece
Frej Wedlund - new piece
Alexey Retinsky - new piece
Dan VanHassel - new piece

Download the programme notes