New music for neo-fanfare | English notes
Opening your suitcase, grabbing your instrument and playing away. The audience close around you and the wind in your hair.
For me, that is the core of the brass band or harmony, the place where, like many brass players, I started playing as a child. And exactly the spontaneous feeling that is so strongly associated with that, I occasionally missed in the classical concert practice (beautiful though it is!), which I entered after graduating as a trombonist.
I also noticed that so much good, newly composed music was only heard by a small group of people. There had to be another way! Stimulated by the New York Asphalt Orchestra, a theatrical marching band that meets you as you play from the New York subway, the first idea for neofanfare 9×13 was born.
A brass band that plays new music, in a theatrical format, and brings it directly to the people; from the boulevard to a festival site or city center.
9×13 plays all the music by heart and combines it with a theme, direction and choreography. A spirited combination that calls for musicians who are not afraid to color outside the lines and take on considerable challenges.
Since its inception in 2016, we have been inviting contemporary composers to write new compositions and arrange ments for us. After five great performances, I thought it was time to capture some of that music. And so this debut album of 9×13 was born, with music from Morendo, Trance, Les Fauves, Halt en Sta Stil and Onder NAP. So that everyone can take home a piece of 9×13.
Of course, none of this would have ever existed without the amazing team around 9×13. Besides being an ode to new music, the album is also an ode to the musicians who embarked on this adventure with me: Arthur, Arne, Daan, Deborah, Jeroen, Joost, Rosanne, Wim and Agata, and former members Emeline, Ilse, Laura and Pierre.
Furthermore Pete Harden - thanks for all the support, trust and friendship , Niké - the sweetest
in the world and Evelien - for all the production support. Thank you!
Have fun listening!
Anton van Houten
Founder neofanfare 9×13
Artistic director & trombonist
Morendo (in music terms "dying, disappearing"), 9×13's 2016 debut performance, is about farewells. In this "most swinging funeral procession ever," you experienced the story of a brass band that had become seasoned in saying goodbye, so many members it had already lost under sad circumstances. But, when it came to bugles, euphoniums and a timpanist, the band had to say goodbye to its trumpet player. And there aren't that many of those....
Of the forty-five regular members of the brass band, only eight are left
anyway. So basically, the brass band is doomed. However, they have become very good at saying goodbye. They go to funerals more often than to competitions. And we see that in Morendo.
The group's regular ritual at a farewell. In a beautiful procession, worthy of brass bands.
But.... is the trumpeter ready to go?
This album features Morendo's Zappaesque [fig.3] by Oscar Bettison. The work was originally written for the Musikfabrik, a German new music ensemble, for a project involving animations based on old cartoons. The title [fig. 3] refers to illustrations in a book. In addition Ciacconissimo, a contemporary arrangement of Bertali's Ciaccona by Pete Harden, can be heard. With this arrangement, he follows the lead of composers such as Steve Martland, who made a remix of music by Marin Marais.
Dark leather clothing, a black steal chariot and dark rituals. Trance, the second performance of 9×13, was in many ways the opposite of Morendo. Gone was the cute brass band; on the festival grounds we now saw a wasteland brass band with musicians that seemed straight out of the movie Mad Max.
In this post-apocalyptic proposition, we experienced the initiation of a new member of neo-fanfare 9×13. An initiation that does not go without a struggle and where the question is whether this new saxophonist may eventually really join the fanfare.
The percussion was central to this initiation ritual. For centuries drums have been used as companions for journeys to other worlds, and in Trance they also guide a unique journey, aided by a percussion chariot packed with tribal elements, traditional percussion, junk percussion, electronics and other props.
Trance was badass, smooth and dark and had a particularly diverse musical approach.
From Trance, the album features the absurdist march A! La! Marcia! By Marc Kaptein, based on The Thunderer by John Philip Sousa and inspired by Mauricio Kagel's 10 Marche, um den Sieg zu verfehlen. Also to be heard is the beautiful Agnus Dei by Il Hoon Son, with a sound world that seems to have come straight out of a work by Olivier Messiaen, but of course slightly different.
Les Fauves (2018)
Colorful, playful and surreal. Inspired by the painting movement Fauvism, the decay of Hotel Europa so beautifully described by Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer, and the surreal worlds of film maker Wes Anderson, we took the audience in Les Fauves into a wondrous hotel lobby where the lives of nine different people converged.
On the outside it seemed mostly cheerful and dynamic, but beneath the surface bubbled melancholy, longing and decay....
From Les Fauves, the swinging, almost hypnotic 9x13 Orange Drummer Beat! by Vanessa Lann and the exuberant and compelling work This Way to the Big Show by Huba de Graaff can be heard.
Furthermore, the album features the arrangements Lise Morrison made of three works by the quirky American percussionist and composer Moondog, aka "the Viking of 6th Avenue," namely Bumbo, Bird's Lament and New Amsterdam. Finally, we hear the beautiful, hushed E Reo Atea (Tahitian for: Une voix lointaine/ a voice from afar) by Reza Namavar.
Halt en sta stil (2021)
With Halt en sta stil (Halt and stand still), 9×13 celebrated in its fifth anniversary in 2021! This performance took us back to our roots in the world of brass bands and harmony. The title will bring recognition among most HaFaBra musicians, as it is the rhythmic percussion motif that heralds the stopping of a marching brass band.
Halt en sta stil is about place, taking a step back, recalibrating, and then moving forward again with fresh courage. In addition, the performance was above all an ode to childlikeness and play. And an ode to discovering the new, old world.
Themes that brought much recognition in the turbulent Covid years when the performance was made.
Composer Genevieve Murphy wrote the 30 minute work Evoke for this performance, in which the harmony and brass band tradition is clearly recognizable, but which eventually, after an onenote solo by the tuba, culminates in an almost danceable technoparty with soaring solos, pumping basses and thick chords. Genevieve created a special abridged version for this album.
Onder NAP (2022)
The 'Normaal Amsterdams Peil'. The Normal Amsterdam Level. NAP.
(All heights in the Netherlands are measured relative to the same level, the Normal Amsterdam Level (NAP). A NAP height of 0 m is approximately equal to the mean sea level of the North Sea.)
A term possibly even more Dutch than the fanfare.
More than half of the Netherlands is below sea level, and we actually think that's quite normal. But in these days of melting ice caps, rising sea levels and devastating river floods, is it? Aren't we ignoring a big pink elephant seal that literally threatens to take us under....?
Or is it not so bad? Is Brabant by the sea an illusion and can we continue to polder together? Oh well, we'll solve it when we get our feet wet.
In Onder NAP / Below NAP, the ten musicians of 9×13 took the audience into this climatic dichotomy in their own unique way. In a slapstick-like
and swinging 30-minute performance full of brass and percussion, the romantic atmosphere of Jaques Tati was mixed with the absurdist humor of Monty Python. But nothing is as serious as comedy, especially when it comes to climate….
Onder NAP took place against the backdrop of thinking about the environment, our footprint, circularity and sustainability. We therefore felt it was only fitting
to reuse the music, clothing and sets from previous performances. Much of the music on this album could therefore be heard in this performance.