renaissance recorders STB


1st perf. Münster, Germany, by La Fontegara Amsterdam


Kadanza was born in 1987, as the joyful and upbeat final music of a fairytale dance performance for young children called ‘Heroes’ (by the Flemish choreographer Katelijne Vanduffel; my wife Mariëlle was one of the dancers). It is a folk music from a far away country of the imagination – the one finally reached by the little dancing ‘heroes’ in the performance. One hears children dance, an old, wise and helpful sorcerer is dancing along for a while. The piece was originally played on a Yamaha DX7 synthesizer (using the Shakuhachi samples). Upon hearing this, Saskia Coolen, the virtuoso recorder player, asked me to make it into an encore piece for her band, La Fontegara Amsterdam. Together with Saskia, Han Tol and Peter Holtslag of La Fontegara I arranged it for three recorders. It became a successful encore piece indeed! By now it has been played by dozens of ensembles and has been recorded by La Fontegara Amsterdam, Trio Dreiklang Berlin, Mors, Eling and Schubert, Trio Scarabee and in 2012 by the Flanders Recorder Quartet (‘Vier op’n Rij’).

Although the music may sound a little bit like (post)minimalist music (a lot of similar rhythmic pattern that are being repeated), my model was more that of klezmer, or gypsy music: melody, or melodies (with a distinctive, closed phrase structure, AABB) and accompaniment (with a distinctive modal-tonal harmonic flow and a strong beat and afterbeat feel). There is also a hint of improvisation – if I were a recorder player I would expand that hint quite a lot! No such ‘folk’ music (real or imagined…) is ever ‘finished’.

What it means? Well, enjoy to play and make the audience rejoice in your playing!

Press comments:

“…Kadanza by contemporary Dutch composer W. Wander van Nieuwkerk sounds as though it could have been written for Laurie Anderson’s electronic violin.”

“Die Flöten schienen plötzlich zu singen – menschliche und instrumentale Stimmen gingen ineinander über.”

It is popular – a curious life as MIDI-file on the web testifies to that:

Summit of modernity: the tune is also downloadable as ringtone!.

Trio Wood’N Flutes made this video and recorded it for their own label, aptly called Kadanza Classics.
The recording below the video is the very first one ever, made by the inimitable La Fontegara Amsterdam.

A frantic punk-version has been produced by the trio aXolot, three ladies Loudly Blowing their Big Whistles:

The same ladies also produced this attractive version, fully in the spirit of my encouraging remark above: