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We posed a few questions to PARMA Artists Hans Bakker and Peter Greve in advance of their upcoming split release: LINES TO INFINITY (out January 13th). Both artists were included on last January's compilation, PINNACLE (along with composers Daniel Perttu, Steven Block, and Kevin M. Walczyk), and since both Netherlands-based composers discovered they lived right down the road from each other (Bakker in Amersfoort, Greve in Wijdemeren), a follow-up split album ended up being a great idea!
You can read their thoughts on the music below as we all get ready for Friday's release of LINES TO INFINITY:
What was the thought process behind this album's title: LINES TO INFINITY?
Would you please speak a little about your favorite piece of yours on the album?
PG: I can't really say: there is quite a time span between the conception of the two pieces, and both reflect my state of mind and beauty ideal at that time: different, but both are authentic and valid.
HB: All three pieces are dear to me as different as they are in shape, occupation and genesis. But I have a soft spot for the fugue in the third part of the Trio. Every time I listen to it I experience a kind of joie-de-vivre.
When did you become familiar with each other's work?
PG: During the preparation period of "Pinnacle". I knew Hans by name, but not personally: it was PARMA which brought us together: a most happy coincidence, as it turned out!
How far apart do you now live from each other?
PG: 29 kilometers (30-35 min.) by car
In what ways are your writing styles the same, and in what ways are they different?
Peter Greve (photo by Joanna Greve)
PG: I think this is for an independent third party (musicologist) to analyze, but my personal bottomline is: all composers are different individuals and consequently write different music: that is fine and definitely shall remain so, because diversity is essential for all arts.
To say the same in another way ("The Four Basic Freedoms in Music"):
*Unpermissible however are ("The Four Basic Constraints in Music"):
HAns Bakker (photo by Ton Sciaroni)
What do you most enjoy about writing for flute?
PG: I like all wind instruments (somehow more than string instruments), but the flute has the combined advantages of a large compass, great agility and a large number of flautists, among which many good amators. Besides (a practical reason), the two pieces on the CD were commissioned from me by flautists whom I personally knew and who asked me to write music for them or their ensemble.
HB: It was a challenge to write music for flutists or ensembles, I knew. Sometimes younger music colleagues, who are versed in the present-day flute techniques. For example in Mantra I for flute and piano (CD The Unnamed Source) and Leys/Krachtlijnen on this CD Lines To Infinity. Sometimes passionate amateurs, for example Suite Hinnago.
Which Dutch composers would you say have most influenced your work?
HB: Seen directly no Dutch composer in particular. I found inspiration in and had an affinity also to Eastern European music, notably Skjrabin, Janácek, Bartók, Prokofyev and Stravinsky, as well as (old) Jazz and Gershwin. But reading Peter's story I was somewhat perplexed, because I played Pijper's Pianosonata, Orthel's Thirth Sonatina and I studied extensively Ton de Leeuw's book on music theory (Music of the Twentieth Century). So indirectly we have those Dutch masters in common!
What is the atmosphere like for new music in the Netherlands today?
HB: Largely a clique affair.
PG: In one word: unfavourable! To add a second: hostile. Now, the atmosphere for new music was never very favourable in this country, which was and is heavily focused on Trade and (on Sundays) Religion. Sponsoring by state-run funds has significantly been cut by right-wing politicians (yes: democratically elected) in favour of Private Enterprise, orchestras are liquidated or forced to merge, podia are forced to think in terms of commerce and PR, i.e. bring the cast-iron repertoire and avoid new music.
Of course, the music of the modernist-composers of the 2nd half of last century did not improve the situation, nor did the advance of pop music, "easy listening", jingles, dance festivals, TV, music continuously and everywhere, etc. I can not stop these developments, but what I can do (and I am neither the first nor the only one to do so) is writing music which is accessible and understandable, but also gives the listener something to chew upon (and swallow or spit out, as applicable).
What would you most like listeners to discover after hearing this album?
PG: Basically: something in themselves which resonates with the music.
For more information, check out the catalog page for LINES TO INFINITY, where you can find detailed bios, liner notes, and browse the written music: navonarecords.com/catalog/nv6070/
Listen below for a sample, and if you like what you hear, pre-order the album at www.amazon.com/Lines-Infinity-Various-artists/dp/B01NAHXUXW/