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HOKETUS: OF HIERARCHY AND HICCUPS1

  • Nick Williams
Abstract

Between 1976 and 1986 the Dutch group Hoketus were central to the creation of the sound and aesthetic of the Hague school. Through their rehearsal process they challenged and redefined the role of the composers who wrote for them in relation to the ensemble, and in doing so they challenged conventional notions of composer privilege and power. While not going as far as free improvisation groups in erasing the boundaries between composers and performers, they created a situation in which traditional hierarchies were overturned. Without ever claiming co-ownership of the resulting works, the group actively participated in the creative process and so could claim a higher degree of ownership and responsibility for the music they played than is usually the case.

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A shorter version of this article was presented at the conference ‘Classical Music, Critical Challenges' at King's College, London, on 17 October 2014. I would like to thank composers and former members of Hoketus for their invaluable help, in particular Louis Andriessen, Cornelis de Bondt, Huib Emmer, Diderik Wagenaar and Patricio Wang.

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2 Andriessen, Louis, quoted in Kevin Whitehead, New Dutch Swing (New York: Billboard Books, 1999) p. 81.

3 A pun on ‘nutcrackers'. Noten can mean both nuts and notes, and ‘krakers' refers to squatters (squatting had become a contentious issue in Amsterdam at this time). For information on the Notenkrakers, see Adlington, Robert, Composing Dissent: Avant-garde Music in 1960s Amsterdam (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).

4 Collini, Stephan, ‘On Variousness; and on Persuasion’, New Left Review 27 (2004), pp. 6597.

5 Kelleher, Joe, Theatre and Politics (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), p. 5.

6 Adlington, , Louis Andriessen: De Staat (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004), p. 22.

7 Andriessen, Louis, ‘Brief History of Volharding’, in The Art of Stealing Time, edited by Zegers, Mirjam, translated by Yates, Clare (Todmorden: Arc, 2002), p. 128.

8 Adlington, De Staat, p. 22.

9 Cornelis de Bondt, private email communication with the author, 5 September 2014. I have retained the original English.

10 Diderik Wagenaar, private email communication with the author, 12 September 2014.

11 Private email communication with the author, 8 October 2014. I have retained the original English.

12 Andriessen, ‘Brief History of Volharding’, p. 138.

13 Hiu, Pay-Uun, ‘De Haagse Hik’, in De Slag van Andriessen, ed. van de Waa, Frits (Amsterdam: Uitgeverij de Bezige, 1993), pp. 7287.

14 Huib Emmer, private email communication with the author, 11 September 2014.

15 Roland de Beer, ‘Hoketus stopt na tien jaar: “Het geluid is op”’, De Volskrant, 13 September 1986, quoted in Everett, Yayoi Uno, The Music of Louis Andriessen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), p. 145.

16 De Beer, ‘Hoketus', as quoted in Everett, The Music of Louis Andriessen, p.145.

17 Everett, The Music of Louis Andriessen, p.168.

18 Holloway, John, How To Change The World Without Taking Power (London: Pluto Press, 2010), p. 28.

19 Attali, Jacques, trans. Massumi, Brian, Noise: The Political Economy of Music (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1985), p. 66.

20 Bookchin, Murray, Anarchism, Marxism and the Future of the Left: Interviews and Essays 1993–1998 (San Francisco: AK Press, 1999), p. 55.

21 Andriessen, ‘Brief History of Volharding’, p. 129.

22 Huib Emmer, private email communication with the author, 11 September 2014.

23 Andriessen, ‘Brief History of Volharding’, p. 137.

24 In 2012 Cornelis de Bondt withdrew all his scores from public circulation, but he has since made a new version of Bint for a different instrumentation.

25 Huib Emmer, in De Beer, ‘Hoketus stopt na tien jaar’.

26 Louis Andriessen, personal communication with the author, 28 September 2014.

27 Carl, Gene, ‘A Sense of Escalation: Diderik Wagenaar's Discrete Evolution’, Key Notes 24 (1987), pp. 1422.

28 Graeber, David, Revolutions in Reverse: Essays on Politics, Violence, Art and Imagination (London: Minor Compositions, n.d.), p. 82.

1 A shorter version of this article was presented at the conference ‘Classical Music, Critical Challenges' at King's College, London, on 17 October 2014. I would like to thank composers and former members of Hoketus for their invaluable help, in particular Louis Andriessen, Cornelis de Bondt, Huib Emmer, Diderik Wagenaar and Patricio Wang.

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Tempo
  • ISSN: 0040-2982
  • EISSN: 1478-2286
  • URL: /core/journals/tempo
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